image 10 Tips for Dining Solo while Travelling

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Bo-Kaap, Cape Town

Eating alone isn’t so bad. The thought of eating alone is sometimes terrifying especially for solo travelers. What will people think and how can I eat out without someone to talk to or share a bottle of wine with? Throughout my years of travelling I have learnt a couple of different ways to overcome what for many travelers is the most unpleasant aspect of going it alone.

  1. Chat with the service people. Waiters and waitresses are some of the best sources to find out about the local city you are exploring. And it feels good when someone greets you with a smile the next time you go there, it helps make you feel a bit at home in a foreign country.
  2. A lot of guides include a section on the “Singles Scene” in many cities; you might not be out to meet someone special, but this should offer some options for socialing nonetheless.

       3. Cafe and outdoor dining is some of the most attractive places for single travelers. Sitting alone with a book in a cafe isn’t as unusual as a table for one at a fancy restaurant and its a great place to sit and people watch.

4. Choose a counter seat or a seat at the bar. Here you usually end up talking to the barman or to the other single diners who end up sitting at the counter.

5. Go to a restaurant that has booths, which offer more privacy. This way you can have a booth all to yourself where you can hide with a good book and your hot chocolate.

Bo-Kaap, Cape Town
Walking through Cape Town

6. You might be tempted to live on fast food, just to avoid awkward restaurant situations. Don’t. In fact, fancy establishments are fantastic places to dine alone. Waiters are happy to help solo diners who smile and say, “I made a special trip just to eat here. What do you recommend?”

7. Bring reading materials. If you start to feel uneasy sitting alone and staring down at your food, you can crack open a book, whip out your Kindle or read a magazine. One hint: The more high-minded your pursuit appears, the more likely folks are either to ignore you, or to become intrigued and maybe say hello. If you sit there studying the local city guide you will be surprised how easily other travellers will come up to you and offer some advice.

8. If you don’t want to endure yet another meal alone, use room service. It’s often no more expensive than local restaurants and you can watch a movie while enjoying your dinner.

9. Eat well. Just because you’re alone and on the run doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take time for sit-down meals. Enjoy a leisurely cup of coffee or a decadent dessert in one of the beautiful cafe’s of the city.

10. Seek out an ex-pat bar where you can hang out and speak your native tongue with some fellow expatriates and travelers. Here you will always be able to find a fellow solo traveller to share a meal with.

Do you have any other tips you would like to add?

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15 comments

  1. I don’t know if this is possible, but maybe meet a friend from social media as a local contact?

    That way we can learn about must visit places in the city and have a good conversation with local. Nice article!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post (and pictures). I couldn’t agree more. I have traveled solo a lot both for work and pleasure and made a decision early on not to be bothered by eating alone. I have been surprised by how many women who are traveling alone tell me they tend to have a large lunch so they can just snack in their room for dinner. I read a book (now my Kindle), plan my next day activities, write in a journal about what I did that day (I have had restaurant staff ask me if I was a food critic), or listen to an audio book. My only issues were in Italy where I have had restaurants refuse a reservation for a single diner or have had not so friendly staff assume I wasn’t going to eat a full meal. I never let this bother me. Some restaurants will have a house table where they seat single diners, where you chat with the other solo diners.

    Liked by 1 person

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