So, you’re travelling solo, but the one thing that terrifies you is going to a restaurant and asking for a dreaded table for one. You figure that everyone and their mother will be staring at you and judging you.
“Poor girl. She got stood up.”
“Where are all her friends?”
“Is that girl really eating and drinking by herself? She must be depressed.”
Ohhh, piss off! Tell those thoughts to get the hell out of your head. Seriously!
I often get asked as a solo traveller, if asking for a table for one and eating alone is awkward. The other thing I get asked is, what do I do when I’m by myself at the table?
Ummm…I eat my food!? Lol
I’m not anti-social by any means, but I do love my alone time, especially while travelling. I’d like to call myself a social introvert. After working all day in an office environment and constantly communicating with people throughout the day, it’s nice to just be able to shut down and keep to myself. I probably travel solo most of the time FOR that exact reason. I’ve always been a bit of a lone wolf. Maybe I don’t like making small talk while I eat, who knows? It’s just something I’ve always done.
For those of you that are anxious as hell about eating alone while travelling, I’ve got some tips to make your experience dining out a bit more bearable!
Read more: What Solo Travel has Taught Me
Bring something to read
If you feel awkward about sitting at the table and eating in silence, bring a book, magazine, or even a map with you of the city you are exploring. It’ll divert your attention elsewhere and keep you occupied.
Talk to the waiter or waitress
If I’m dining out solo in an area that I’m not familiar with, nine times out of ten you’ll catch me chatting it up with the waitstaff. They are usually chalk full of places to go and things to do that are hidden gems and off the beaten tourist track. If they aren’t busy, I’ve even had lengthy conversations with them and learn a lot of really cool things about them. They appreciate the chat too, considering most of their conversations tend to just involve getting asked to bring customers food, drinks and extra dipping sauce.
Stop thinking that people are staring at you and gossiping
A lot of people don’t eat at restaurants solo because they think that other diners are looking at them and thinking why they are eating alone, wondering if they are lonely, or feeling sorry for them. News flash…nobody gives a shit and nobody is thinking anything horrible about you. Just eat your food, relax and enjoy!
Dine on a patio and people watch
You don’t need to be creepy about it, but people watching is one of the best things to do while dining alone, especially if the restaurant has a patio and the weather is nice. You can sit back, relax and enjoying the scenery and street views while sipping on a cold one without a care in the world.
Join a communal dining table experience
If you are still uneasy with dining alone in another city, or country while travelling solo, there are many sites where you can actually dine with locals at communal tables. EatWith has communal tables in over 200 cities! From New York to Tel Aviv, you’ll never have to worry about dining alone and it’s a great way to meet other people from all over the world as well. Bonus!
Read more: Why I love solo travel
I’ve had meals solo in romantic restaurants with only couples eating around me, mom & pop restaurants where they go above and beyond to serve you well and even a busy sports bar, which was mostly occupied by men watching a game. I still to this day, email and chat with a retired teacher that I met while we were both dining solo in Heidelberg, Germany almost two years ago. You never know who you’ll meet, so don’t be afraid to chat to other diners.
Read more: 5 Solo Travel Myths That Need To Be Debunked
If you’re still nervous about eating alone while travelling solo, there’s always the hotel room, I guess? Just kidding, don’t do that! Get out, have a drink (or two), eat up a storm and enjoy! xo