There is a lot of dread associated around the idea of eating alone. When you’re a solo traveler sometimes you don’t have a choice.
I find now that I actually look forward to eating by myself.
I can go to whatever restaurant I want and stay as long as I want. We have become so socialized to eat with others that the idea of eating alone becomes really scary.
Don’t get me wrong, I love to share food with others. It’s one of my most favorite activities to be honest. Especially if I cook a big meal and have friends over at home.
But sometimes, when you’re off on an adventure, you might find yourself without a friend.
Most people tend to use their phone or smart device to avoid looking lonely. I really think this takes away from engaging with the situation around you. Plus, you might have an awkward moment where you look up and realize your server has been standing there waiting for you to notice… ::ooppss::
Don’t despair. If you can’t convince someone to dine with you, here are some tips on how to make the experience less painful and more enjoyable.
Eating Alone and How to Enjoy it While Traveling:
Bring a book.
This is the most time tested, easiest way to make it look like you went to eat alone with intention. Most of us don’t read as much as we would like anyway, so order your food and then sink into your story. I personally suck at reading and eating at the same time, but other people seem to be good at it.
Ask your server to order for you.
This of course requires a little bit of faith, but you get some things out of it. You get to try something you might not have, plus have a conversation with your server. The restaurant wants you to have a good time, so let them help you!
Write or draw.
In line with bringing a book, you can also bring a notebook. I like to journal while I’m at a restaurant alone so I don’t forget all the cool things I did. You can make to do lists, doodle, whatever. Or, you could write out postcards to friends back home (they love that, trust me).
Eat at the bar.
This is the most conversational of places and plenty of people sit there alone (insider tip: drinking helps everyone chat). I did this so many times at my favorite sushi place that the chef started giving me small treats while I waited for my dish. I think maybe he felt bad for me, but I get to try awesome fresh dishes he made up on the spot! Points to me.
Sit near a window/view.
I prefer this to reading a book, because I LOVE to people watch. I really recommend not relying on the crutch of a phone or other device to play with because there are so many interesting things going on around you. Take the time to take it all in.
Take it to go.
Find a lovely park, spread out a blanket and enjoy the sunshine. It seems less strange to be alone in a park. And then you can check something else off of your things to see and do in a new place!
Remember that no one really cares that you’re eating alone, and even if they do, well whatever! You’re on vacation having an amazing time. It will give you more time to focus on the food, and less stress about coming up with conversational topics.
If you’re really worried about appearances, find some street food (one of the best things about traveling anyway, let’s be real) and wander around enjoying your treat. No tables, no stress.
BONUS, if the restaurant you want to at eat is busy, you likely won’t have to wait as long in line! Easier to seat one person, than six. I have cut past many groups at busy times in popular spots because it was just me… #sorrynotsorry
Also, you don’t have to take the worst seat in the restaurant. If they put you in a seat that is really miserable, like staring at the bathroom, you can ask for another table if one is available.
Just because you’re eating alone, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, the view and the food. No one puts this dame in a corner ::smirk::
Be confident, be mysterious and enjoy the time with yourself. Really taste your food. Be mindful and then tell me about because I love to eat!
Where’s your favorite spot to eat alone?
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