As much as traveling the world is exciting, it is also intimidating. Especially for female solo travelers!
If you’re contemplating going someplace you’ve never been to all by yourself, you’ve probably researched all you can about the place. You must also have read countless safety tips on traveling alone. Perhaps you’re ready to go on your first solo adventure.
But what’s stopping you? Fear or anxiety about being all by yourself, especially at a restaurant! Being comfortable with eating alone is tough if you’ve never eaten alone. Even if you have eaten alone in the confines of your home several times, eating alone at a restaurant is a different ballgame.
So what do you do? Stick to eating junk or order a takeaway meal every time you’re hungry? Definitely no! You just have to be comfortable with yourself when you’re out at a restaurant. And the earlier you start the better because you can’t ruin your solo travels just for this one reason.
Here are a few tips to help you.
You don’t have to wait to get abroad to begin eating out alone. You probably go out with friends and loved ones regularly. Start small by going to a quiet café for a quick breakfast or brunch.
Don’t go to a place that is jam-packed. Seeing people around you having fun with their friends will only make you feel lonely. And you don’t want your first eating out experience to scar you for life.
Dress to Kill
Yes, people are going to stare. So you may as well dress up and give them a reason to stare! By dressing well and looking hip, you’ll be able to ooze confidence and you won’t have people looking at you with pity for being all alone.
Remember that more often than not, the people around you will be thinking that you are a confident and independent woman. Show them that you have what it takes to travel alone!
Chat up the Waiter
Your waiter or waitress will probably be a local and if you can get them talking, you’ll have a ton of information to unearth. If you use the services of a reliable tour operator like HolidayBirds, you’ll get to know a lot about your destination from them. But nothing can compare to a local’s version of the place!
Begin by asking them questions about the restaurant and the food. Once you establish a good rapport with the wait staff, you’re sure to feel a lot less lonely. You might also be invited to a free kitchen tour.
Don’t Shun Your Phone
Even if you’re traveling to take in the sights and stay away from technology! When feeling uncomfortable and lonely at a restaurant, your phone can be your solace. Quickly go through your friends’ updates on social networking sites or chat with a close relative while having your meal. You’ll feel at home and loved instantly.
Take a Book Along
Don’t worry if reading while waiting for your meal to arrive or eating your meal will upset others. Do what makes you feel comfortable. Take an interesting novel or your e-reader with you.
If you like doodling, writing, or simply noting down things, take a notepad and pen with you. This will keep you occupied and you might come across as a food critic to the staff and be served better!
Treat Yourself to the Best
By ordering something that’s truly exceptional, you’ll be able to concentrate on the food and not dwell on the fact that you’re alone.
Remember; never pass up an opportunity to eat good food just because you’re feeling awkward.
Eat during off-Peak Hours
If the feeling of having all eyes in the restaurant on you is too disturbing, avoid eating during peak hours. Eating alone with fewer people around you will be a lot more manageable. Chances are, you may see a couple of other lone diners during off-peak hours too!
Consider Eating at a Bar
If you can’t get over the depression, eat at a bar. You won’t have an empty chair to stare at and the bartender could be your new friend!
At a bar, you can also eat at your own pace without having to worry about other diners waiting to sit down.
At times, you may be invited by other diners to join them at their table. If you’re okay with that, go ahead and join them! Don’t assume that they are pitying you for being all alone. Maybe they admire your confidence and just want to know you better.
Of course, you’re not obliged to accept their invitation. And you should certainly trust your instincts and decline an invitation if you feel that the person is trying to get over-friendly with you.
Letting your hair down doesn’t mean that you don’t exercise caution at all.
Invite Others to Join You
You can’t just walk up to a random person on the street and invite them to join you for a meal. But if you’re staying at a hostel, you’ll meet an interesting bunch of people and they may be willing to have meals with you.
Do note that you can’t rely on others to keep you company at all times; you have to learn to rely on yourself.
With advancements in technology and the popularity of social networking sites and messenger applications, it really isn’t possible to feel alone even if you are poles apart from your loved ones.
While technology makes it possible to stay connected to your loved ones, chatting with them all day long is not what you’re traveling alone for. So you’ll have to ensure that you’re okay on your own.
Eating out alone may seem to be something that you can never get comfortable with. However, once you get started, you’ll be alright.