Updated April 2020.
One of the most popular travel questions I’ve been seeing lately is “How can I go out to eat solo?” At first I didn’t quite understand the question, but then I realized sometimes it can be intimidating! But there are actually a lot of benefits to dining solo, and if you’re still not convinced, I’ve got some suggestions to help you enjoy a solo meal instead of dread it!
Benefits of Dining Solo
What?! There are positive things about going out to eat alone? Of course there are! Here are my top 5:
1. Eat When You Want
I like to eat early—like, sometimes I want supper at 4:00 so I can be in bed reading myself to sleep by 6:00! But some people don’t want to eat until 8:00pm or later, and they’ll still be snoozing when I’m up for my run at 5:00am! To each their own, because individuals are different! Just like solo travel gives you maximum schedule flexibility, dining solo means you can eat when you want!
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2. Eat What You Want
Are you the only person in your life who loves sushi? Maybe everyone else in your group always wants Mexican, and you just can’t take it. When you dine solo, you can eat exactly what you want! Pizza, Mediterranean, Ethiopian, Moroccan, German… whatever food tickles your fancy, that’s what you should get!
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3. Take Your Time… or Scarf It Down!
Eat at your own pace. I’m a fast eater. Some people like to take their time and really savor their food. My mom likes to eat and be on her way, while my dad likes to eat, then sit and let everything settle for a while. Sometimes it’s nice to just have the dining experience you want.
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4. Change Your Mind
Sometimes I get to a restaurant I was looking forward to trying, and it’s not quite what I thought it would be. If you’re with someone else, it’s a little harder to just turn and burn! But if you’re on your own, you can just leave!
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5. Time to Decompress
Solo travel is all about whatever you want to do. And that includes going out to eat on your own. Take the time you have to decompress, think, or do whatever you want. Which leads me to my next point…
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What to Do When Dining Solo
Think you might feel awkward when dining alone? Think it will be weird? Might attract too much attention? Well, don’t worry about that last one—other people will be too occupied with their own meal! Here are some things I do when I’m dining alone, and hopefully one or more of these suggestions will help you find the fun and joy of dining solo!
1. Read a Book
I love to read, and sometimes I take a book with me when I go out to eat solo. It’s awesome! I’m always trying to find more time to read, and while I’m waiting for my food is a great time! And while I’m waiting for dessert is a good time, too! And between bites!
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2. Take Notes
If you’re traveling solo, you might want to take some notes to help you remember your great trip! Or if you’re a blogger, you’ll be taking notes on what you eat, see, and do for “work.” I almost always catch up on my note taking over a meal because it’s the only time in the day I know I’ll be sitting down!
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3. Text a Loved One
Before I married my sweet husband, I didn’t mind eating or doing anything solo. But now when he travels for work, I take the opportunity to travel solo. And we miss each other, so we text! But you can text your mom, your best friend, your boyfriend, your brother—anyone! Sometimes traveling solo is lonely (but mostly it’s awesome), and there’s no shame in that. Text or e-mail someone you love if it helps!
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4. Make Plans
One of my favorite things to do over supper is to plan my next day! I check out Trip Advisor, do a little Internet searching, check opening hours for museums or other sites I might want to visit, and take the opportunity to get excited for tomorrow!
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5. Get Take-out
Really not feeling the solo eating vibe? It’s a-okay! Just ask for take-out, or call ahead, and take your food back to your accommodation for the night. There is no shame in grabbing something to-go so you can eat and go about your business, or take it to a nearby park for a picnic!
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Need more solo travel tips? You’ll find everything you need and more on my dedicated Solo Travel Page!
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