Dining Alone - Solo Travelers & Backpackers

Dining alone need not be an uncomfortable experience while on the road. In fact you should turn this to your advantage and try and meet people while you eat.

Choosing somewhere to eat

Well common sense should tell you to avoid cosy romantic places with dim lighting. You really are not going to fit in here, believe me!

Look for places that are quite busy and more importantly where other people are dining alone. This could be your chance to approach someone with a simple 'would you mind if I joined you for dinner?' Even if you do not have the confidence to approach someone you will still feel more comfortable surrounded by other solos.

A good place to go would be a bar or a pub because you can then dine at the bar and engage is conversation with the staff or better still with other travellers.

What to bring with you to the cafe or restaurant

Well you could bring a book or a magazine with you. If you are content to be by yourself while you are dining then this is a great way to fill in the time between eating and ordering.

If you are looking to meet other travellers then still bring a book. You don't have to sit there with your face in it. Just having a book on the table can make you approachable to other people. They will automatically assume you are on your own and may ask you if they can join you at your table. The mere subject of the book or magazine might help strike up a conversation.

The most important thing to bring with you is a smiling face! Don't sit there looking miserable in the corner of the restaurant if you don't want to be alone. Also ensure you are looking outwards and not facing the window or wall!

Bring a notepad of something with you. You can either write your journal or plan your next day's travel.

Other points to consider while dining alone

Dining alone may well be one the most awkward times of solo travel but like anything the more you do it the more you get used to it. In this day and age other diners are highly unlikely to be bothered or perturbed by a single person dining alone.

There are alternatives of course. Just eat on the fly. By some food from a supermarket and sit in a park or open space and eat it.

Part of the travelling experience is to dine on different food and this will inevitable mean eating out. One great place to eat in Asia and Africa are night markets. Many will have a real convivial atmosphere and apart from anything you will save a lot of money! You are likely to meet many other travellers and locals alike.

To sum up eating alone while traveling

As a solo traveller dining alone is an inevitable part of your day. Look forward to your evening meal and go in with an open mind. Look out for traveller cafes and don't discount where locals eat.

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