Q&A: Top Tips for Eating out Alone as a Solo Traveler
Updated: May 30, 2019
As a solo traveler, you'll likely be alone less than you think. Especially if you stay in hostels, and sign up for activities like tours and excursions, you'll find that making friends happens often and quite easily. When you're by yourself, you're more motivated to seek new connections and you'll be more approachable, which is why traveling alone can be such a social experience.
BUT—of course, you will spend time alone. It's part of the experience, and the solitude you find when traveling solo can be fruitful and empowering! There's one instance, though, where it can be hard for some of us to see the joy and benefits of being alone: and that's when dining out by yourself. 🍽
The thought of eating alone at a restaurant gives many women anxiety. Many of us worry about how we'll fill the time spent waiting for food without someone to talk to, whether we'll feel lonely, and if other diners or staff will be judging us.
That's why, for this week's Q&A Wednesday, I asked female solo travelers (FSTs) on Instagram to share their best tips for dining alone for female solo travelers, along with a photo of themselves eating out alone in their travels!
^Angela, SheGoes founder. I have two main tips for dining alone. The first is to remember that being comfortable with eating alone in a restaurant is a learnable skill. You can and will get better at it—and can even work your way up to truly enjoying it. You simply have to practice.
The second is to change the dialogue in your mind. Many women worry that others are judging them or pitying them for being in a restaurant alone—but how do you know that they're not envious? Make it your default thought pattern to assume that anyone who seems to be looking at you simply aspires to be as comfortable and confident with themselves as you are—that they admire and look up to you for enjoying a meal alone.
Thato from South Africa, shown dining alone in Thailand
"My best tip is that if I'm in a new place, I always focus on the food and being friendly with the staff. I ask a lot of questions about how the food is made, if it's a common local dish, in which order/way to eat the food. I've found that the staff then start paying attention to me and often I get to meet the chef and get something on the house."
Priscilla from Malaysia, shown dining alone in Mexico
"Personally, dining alone vs. dining with company brings two completely different experiences, neither better than the other. My best tip for dining out solo is to firstly know that no one is staring at you! (And if they are, give 'em a good show and truly enjoy the food! 😉)
Second is to think of your first priority as filling up your tummy, your heart, and your taste buds. Really enjoy the flavours and focus on the dish rather than the environment."
Muneerah from Singapore, shown dining alone in Malaysia
When Muneerah dines alone abroad, she does it in style! 🤩 Her best tip for female solo travelers eating out alone: "Bring a book or have something to read with you."
Sam from Indonesia, shown dining alone in Scotland
"Strike up a conversation with the waiter/waitress, bartender, or owner and ask for tips on where to go and what to do. You never know what they have to share!
The waitress who served me in this photo ended up being my bar buddy for the rest of the trip in Edinburgh, Scotland. She even gave me one of her jackets saying, "It's about time this thing sees the world," and I still wear it to this day!"
Regine from the USA, shown dining alone in Cuba
"My tip is to start small with perhaps breakfast. Also, be kind to yourself. You may experience self doubt, fear, and even loneliness if it's your first time. I say feel the feels, but know that you are in the best company. Get to know yourself, and perhaps even treat yourself to a special meal!"
Masuma from Tanzania, shown dining alone on a plane to India for a solo trip
"I took time to enjoy each and every part of the meal that day," says Masuma. While it might be tempting to turn to your phone for something to do, she advises putting it away so you can focus on the experience. "Enjoy your food!! Stay away from your phone and really be in the moment."
Venice from the Philippines, dining alone on a dinner cruise in the Czech Republic
"My best tip for female solo travelers is to enjoy the time of being alone." She also advises to "not underspend on food! This is your chance to try that country's best dishes." Make the most of your solitude and savor every bite!
Faith from the USA, shown dining alone in Germany
One of the best parts of solo travel is that you get to make all the decisions—and that includes what you order when dining out alone! FST Faith says: "Get dessert! No one is judging you 😉😆"
My online course teaches women everything they need to know to confidently travel alone, including resources and advice for becoming comfortable with dining solo. Learn more about Solo Travel 101.
Bon appétit and happy travels,