Dining Solo - Yay or Nay?
Updated: Jun 10
Some of the most common questions I get when I travel solo revolve around meals and dining.
Do you eat alone?
You mean you go to a sit-down restaurant alone, not just a quick or fast food option?
Don't you feel weird about that?
What do you DO at the table by yourself (other than, you know, eat)?
Even for someone who is very comfortable traveling on their own, dining solo can be intimidating. I would encourage you to push through that discomfort, because truly some of my most favorite dining experiences have been when I was solo, either on vacation or even in my own town.
So how do you get over that mental hump and enjoy those solo meals?
First - truly, no one is as concerned or worried about it as you are, and I promise you very few other diners are even looking at you and wondering why you're dining alone. (And if they are, to heck with them!)
Here are some tips and ideas to hopefully help you start to including and enjoying solo dining.
1) Start at home, and go to some of your favorite local places solo. If you've got a big vacation coming up and want to dine solo, but are worried you'll be intimidated, start in your city and enjoy some of your favorite places solo. Practice makes perfect, and you'll start to work through any anxiousness about solo dining if your first experiences with it are in familiar places.
2) When you check in for your reservation or are inquiring about availability at the hostess stand, request a place you'd like to sit. I've found when dining solo, sometimes I'm put at great tables, and other times at one not so great. It might mean you wait a little bit longer to get that table next to the window at California Grill at Walt Disney World, for instance - but it's worth it!
3) Chat up your server. Some of my best dining experiences have been solo simply because I got to chat with and get to know my server, and they shared their recommendations or what would make the best experience.
4) If you think you're going to want something to do at the table, plan ahead. Use your phone to play games, catch up on the news, etc or even bring your Kindle or something to read. You might not need to use it, but if you're feeling uncomfortable and want something to do, it'll come in handy.
5) Order whatever you feel like, even if you're the only one eating it. Get the glass of wine, the appetizer, the dessert. If you're traveling and have a hotel or AirBNB where you've got a way to refridgerate it, those leftovers make a great breakfast or a midnight snack!
6) Have FUN! Going out to a restaurant is a special and fun occasion, whether you've got your own company or are with a group of people. Don't miss out on special or unique experiences because you're worried about dining solo. It would be a real shame if you missed out on that Michelin Star restaurant, or your favorite local place, because you didn't have anyone to go with.
I hope you add some solo dining plans to your next vacation! Cheers to YOU!