Travelling alone can be an incredible experience; no one to drag along behind you to the museum you’ve been wanting to visit for decades, walking on end through cities to your heart’s content….but what happens when your tummy starts to rumble and you dread the prospect of eating alone?
When travelling abroad, you will want to experience every element of your destination’s culture; including the cuisine. A famous dish might draw you in to a fine restaurant but how do you deal with the attention you get for being a solitary diner? With this guide, offering you tips that we’ve gathered from expert travellers, we assure you that eating solo will no longer cause concern and anxiety, but instead encourage you to walk head held high in to even the most prestigious and swanky restaurants.
Keep yourself occupied
You are far more likely to attract attention and feel uncomfortable, eating and staring in to space or watching other fellow diners. I believe that these are one of the occasions that Sudoku was intended for, to keep you occupied while waiting for your meal and perhaps even, while you are eating. You’d be surprised how quickly you finish a meal without a partner to indulge in conversation with. Enjoy the atmosphere, soak in the culture and keep yourself occupied with reading a book or writing in a travel diary whilst eating to avoid indigestion and making eye contact with waiters too frequently.
Not in the sniffing out close-by food sense, no. Instead, take a wander round the streets and inconspicuously peer through the windows of potential eateries. If you are greeted by candles and over-affectionate couples dining, perhaps it is best you continue wandering. If however you are greeted by bubbly characters, groups, other individuals, then head on in! This is the best tactic to avoid any awkwardness when it is too late and you are sat in a restaurant twiddling your thumbs surrounded by company behaving as though it is Valentine’s Day.
Fine dine at luncheon
If there is a restaurant that you have been desperate to visit after reading spectacular reviews on TripAdvisor, it is very likely to be fully booked, and you can’t really book for one person now can you. Instead, book for two people and show up on the night; after all, they can’t deny you your table. An even better alternative is to dine at lunch, not only will it be less expensive but you are more likely to be amongst similar company as opposed to romantic couples on dates.
Recall your day’s events
If you intend to keep a travel diary whilst on your trip, this is the ideal time to recall and record your day’s events. Use the waiting on your meal and sipping on your wine period to begin listing what areas you visited and approximately what time. Whilst enjoying your meal you can then begin to fill in the gaps, ‘food for thought’ as they say, will be likely to encourage your recollection of particular things you may seen or done that day that had slipped your mind.
Strive to be a connoisseur
Show some interest in the food and wine and the waiters will show interest in you. It is not untrue that waiters will want to free up the table for 4 that you are currently occupying, the split second you scrape together the last spoonful of your desert. However, by befriending waiters from the get go, you are far more likely to feel at ease and take your time to enjoy your meal. Ask the year of the wine, query that divine ‘je ne sais quoi’ tang in your Hollandaise, restaurant staff love to be quizzed on their cuisine, and rightly so!
The UK is famous for its delicious sandwiches available from almost every supermarket. Most foreign countries are not; in fact you will be very lucky to find a half decent selection of sarnies abroad. However, there are far more bakeries, kiosks and markets abroad that provide absolutely delicious freshly made food. Not only can you enjoy the same typical taste concoctions as you might in a restaurant, but you can take these freshly prepared meals with you to a landmark and enjoy the best of both that way.
Most importantly, do not let certain snooty and haughty individuals spoil your meal. Disregard their looks of shock and disdain as your sit, companionless enjoying the fine food of your destination. It is most likely mere jealousy that you have the opportunity and confidence to travel alone without a care in the world but yourself. There are many people who would love to be in your shoes, so sit back, enjoy the culture and soak in the atmosphere.
Written by Sofia Kluge on Google+