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Art of Solo Dining & Tips: Embrace Experience Of Your Solo Travel

Art of Solo Dining

Traveling alone can be one of the most incredible and empowering things you can do, yet many people worry about the eating side of it! So, we’re here to put your mind at ease and to provide you with some useful tips to help you find the right restaurants and enjoy your experience when you’re there for Solo Dining! From initial research, where to sit, and things to do while you’re at the restaurant, we’ve got you covered. Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to enjoy it the first time around, as it’s completely normal not to!

Don’t Overthink It

Art of Solo Dining
Credit: Oleksandr P

The first thing to remember when it comes to solo dining is to not overthink it. Throughout your daily life, you do so many different things on your own, from supermarket shops to evenings alone, getting public transport, and weekend walks; so why should dining abroad be any different? Food can be a social thing; however, for the most of our lives, it’s something we do alone at home.

So, if you’re comfortable doing everything else on your own, then solo dining will be a piece of cake once you’ve remembered that it’s just another activity. It can feel weird because it’s not something you’re used to, simply spending time on your own with good food can be an incredible experience that everyone should try a good few times.

Treat It Like a Date!

Treat It Like a Date
Credit: Edward Eyer

Our next tip is to treat it like a date when you’re solo dining! You will likely feel more awkward if you try to rush the experience with a cheap meal just to get through it, but we’d highly recommend having a couple of courses, a nice drink, and maybe even getting a bit dressed up in your favorite corset top and jeans or a cute dress.

You deserve to treat yourself and give yourself the time and attention you would another person, and so use this opportunity as an occasion to do just that! Of course, you probably wouldn’t do this for every meal on your solo trip, but treating yourself once or twice will help you to thoroughly enjoy your solo dining experience.

Do Your Research

Do Your Research

Something else that you should consider is to make sure you do your research. You should look for restaurants that look nice and comfortable, with good reviews and friendly staff, and that seem to be busy. The last thing you want is a completely dead restaurant! So, before your trip, do a bit of research and come up with a list of places you’d like to try.

Perhaps you could go for a little walk to look at a few of them to make sure it’s somewhere you’d feel comfortable going (especially if you’re a solo female traveler) and that it’s quite easy to get there and back to your accommodation when you’re on your own. If you struggle with going into completely new situations on your own, this can just provide that bit of reassurance that you need to give you confidence heading into your solo dining experience.

Start Somewhere Casual

Start Somewhere Casual
Credit: Beyzanur, K

If you’re new to solo dining and feeling quite nervous, our best piece of advice is to start somewhere casual. Head for a coffee and snack on your own, then work up to brunch, lunch, and eventually dinner. You could also dine at more laid-back places where you tend to spend less time eating if you want to adjust to this new experience. Some people really don’t mind eating on their own, but for others, it takes a bit of getting used to before they can thoroughly enjoy it. So, a way to speed up this process is to go from smaller, casual places and work your way up as your confidence increases!

Sit At the Bar

Sit At the Bar
Credit: Pavel Danilyuk

When you’re eating alone, a great option is to sit at the bar. Firstly, it’s quite a common thing to do for solo diners, so you will likely be sitting near other people eating alone. Plus, it tends to be a more informal setting, so if you’re concerned about sitting down for a long and formal meal, then this should really help.

You’ve also got the bartender there to have a bit of a chat, with whom you can ask for more local recommendations for the rest of your trip. You also tend to get quicker service at the bar sometimes, so that’s another bonus! Give this a go as well as sitting at a normal table to compare the two and see what you prefer.

Avoid Rush Hour

Avoid Rush Hour
Credit: Andrea Piacquadio

Whilst you do want a restaurant to have people in it, try to avoid very core times, unless you can book a table in advance. Not having to wait ages for food or queuing to get in will help to enhance your experience with better and more attentive service. Perhaps you could have brunch at your accommodation, then go for an early dinner around 5 pm, or choose lunchtime for your meal instead of the evening.

If you love the hustle and bustle of a busy restaurant, by all means, go in the peak time; however, if you’re brand new to solo dining and want a bit more of a relaxed experience, then we’d recommend avoiding the really busy periods.

Chat With the Staff/Locals

Chat With the Staff/Locals

 Credit: Ketut Subiyanto

Dining alone definitely doesn’t mean you need to sit in silence with your own thoughts. If you’re solo traveling but are open to meeting people, restaurants and bars are the perfect place to get to know people! Have a chat with the staff, locals, or other travelers to find out about the best local spots, more about the history of the town, and generally just to have good conversations with like-minded people.

Solo traveling is all about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone, so don’t be afraid to speak to people if you fancy it and learn more about wherever you’re visiting! You may end up finding people to spend more time with on the trip if that’s what you’re hoping to do.

Use The Opportunity to Journal

Use The Opportunity to Journal
Credit: Jess Bailey Designs

If you don’t like the thought of sitting and not doing anything while you eat (we’re sure you’ll get used to it eventually however for the first few times, we understand!), then use your solo dining as an opportunity to create a travel journal is a great option. You can write down your experience of the trip so far, what you’ve learned about the place, what you’ve learned about yourself, and what else you want to achieve from the rest of your trip.

When you’re feeling quite overwhelmed, journaling can help you to process feelings and emotions to make everything that bit clearer. If you’re solo traveling for the first time, it’s normal to experience lots of different emotions, and so using your dining time to journal not only keeps you occupied but doubles as a great self-care activity to enhance your trip and how positive you feel coming out of it.

Try A Food Tour – Solo Dining

Try A Food Tour
Credit: Bas Linders

Whilst solo dining can be great, if you want to meet people on your trip, then trying a food tour is a fantastic way to enjoy great food whilst also meeting great people! There are usually food tours in most places, where you will be introduced to fantastic local food with a group of like-minded people who also want to see what the place has to offer.

It may be groups of friends, couples, families, or other solo travelers, but you’re sure to meet a good group of people. You can find food tours that are specific to solo travelers, too, if that’s what you want to do, although this is more common in more tourist destinations, so this might be worth bearing in mind when you decide when choosing your location!

Final Thoughts

Solo dining can seem overwhelming for the first few times, but we’ve done it plenty and can assure you that it’s nowhere near as scary as it seems. Everyone is different, and if you don’t feel very confident the first few times, or at all, then that’s completely normal. Just take your time with it, do what you feel comfortable with, and try to enjoy the experience.

If it’s not for you at all, that’s also okay, as it’s not for everyone! Solo travel and dining can be so empowering and enjoyable, so give it a go, and you may find it’s right up your street. Plus, you’ll get to enjoy great food and drinks in the process! And no matter where you choose for your next solo travel adventure, always remember to Travel Till You Drop!

About Jill

Hi, Jill Here

Hi! I’m Jill, a Dallas, Texas girl traveling the world. After a career in the Air Force and touring over 50 countries later, my need to explore keeps going! It’s time to rock & roll and find all those places I never knew I was missing.

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I only recommend products I would use myself, and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.