Travelling by yourself is a great experience and can be a huge personal challenge. It allows you to go where you want and do what you like, without needing to consider anyone else. It does have its downsides, you can feel lonely and it can be quite daunting to dine alone. Luckily there are some tricks you can use to make eating when travelling solo more enjoyable.

Find other diners

Quite often you can find other solo eaters when you are in a destination and join them for a culinary experience.

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You can look for local MeetUp groups that get together for food and go to one of their events. You could find yourself in a restaurant you might never consider dining alone at but is much more pleasant when with a large group.

If you want to dive head first into some local cuisine you could sign up for a cooking class. That way you can learn how to make savoury dishes and sweet treats with other students and then get to eat your hard work together afterwards.  Fun and yum.

Another idea is to find people who host dinner parties where you are visiting. There are applications such as EatWith that you can search for a spot at a table in someone’s home. This gives you a good chance to avoid dining by yourself and instead share some good conversation over a plate of food.

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If you inquire at a hostel you may discover they are organising trips to local eateries, and you can tag along even if you are not staying there, but do check first!

Alternatively, you can post a note to the hostel’s notice board asking if anyone fancies joining you for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There are likely to be others in the same situation as you and you can team up to go for food with them.

These are not only great ways to not always have to dine alone but also to meet locals and other travellers.

Seek out solo friendly eateries

If you don’t fancy meeting a bunch of new people or you don’t find any other solo food buddies then you can research places where dining alone might not be so intimidating.

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Many restaurants offer communal dining, where you may sit on a long bench with other patrons. This means that although you are not eating with them, you don’t stick out like a sore thumb. It is nicer for you, as you blend in with the crowd and it is easy for the establishment to accommodate customers on their own, so this is a nice option.

Look for somewhere that offers relaxed experience, such as cafes, as opposed to places that specialise in gourmet food or fine dining. Head to small places that don’t require formal attire, as they are often much more welcoming to solo diners.

Similarly, local hangouts can have the same kind of laid-back atmosphere. If you head off the normal tourist trail there is a good chance you can find somewhere less intimidating, friendlier and cheaper.

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If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Street food markets and night markets are also great options for those who need to chow down when travelling alone. You can wander through the area and check out the different options available and usually find some free seating nearby.

If the weather is nice and there is a park nearby why not try a picnic? There are often amazing delicatessens just waiting for someone to pop in and ask for a selection of their finest goods. They are most likely are full of local produce and offer a tasty insight into regional delicacies. Head off outside with your spork and indulge in a private alfresco smorgasbord.

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Another good idea is to become a ‘bar fly’. If it is a pub or somewhere that has an area with stools at the bar then you can find it much more easy to grab something there if you are on your own. There are probably other people doing the same and it saves you asking for a table for one!

Just Go For It

Alternatively, you can just head to the place you fancy and be brave. Travelling is a great way to boost your confidence by pushing you out of your comfort zone, and it actually is not that scary. There are many ways that you can make it more comfortable too.

 

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Take a book or some other form of non-intrusive activity with you. This way you can engross yourself in a novel, write a story yourself, listen to music through your headphones or, if it’s buzzy and filled with chatter, then catch up with friends and family on Skype.

You can take this opportunity to catch up with some essential trip management. For example, you can research places to visit, how to get to your next destination and book activities. If you are trying to do many places in a short period then using your mealtimes for planning can be very efficient. Plus there could be free WIFI thrown in!

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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Whilst having your food, you could make the situation more comfortable by chatting with the staff. If you can communicate using their native tongue, a common language, a point-it-book or apps such as Google Translate you might find out some very useful local info.

Finally, the best advice is to really enjoy the food and be present in the experience. If you have a busy lifestyle then taking time out to relax and savour every mouthful is rare. You might never be able to try some of the wonderful flavours and ingredients at home, so be mindful of what you are tasting, after all, you have come a long way to eat this food!

To get the most out of travelling solo you should take every opportunity and enjoy as much as you can. Eating alone needn’t be a scary or difficult experience, as there are plenty of ways to make it a nice occasion. What are your tips for eating alone when travelling solo? Pop them into the comments below:

Like this post? Subscribe to the Soulful Travel newsletter for Annie’s packing checklist plus travel related advice, news, competitions and more. Sign up here.
If you need travel advice, request a free 30 minute coaching session. In the chat Annie will help you choose a destination, create your itinerary and review safety precautions. Or she can discuss how you can incorporate more travel into your life by saving, making money, travelling for free or being paid to travel.

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