There are many things that Solo traveling will teach you, but there are also several things that you just have to get used to doing alone. Going into a restaurant, bar, or anywhere else to eat can seem embarrassing and daunting. But there are so many memories to be made and people to meet when you are traveling alone. Though waltzing into a packed restaurant by yourself on a weekend night may seem like a terrible idea there are plenty of ways to navigate this experience so that you and the wait staff feel comfortable.Although safety always comes first here are a few of our favorite solo dining tips and tricks to consider the next time you find yourself traveling alone.
While practicing may seem strange, we aren’t talking about standing in front of your mirror and practicing your order before you go to a restaurant. However you can start small by going to cafes or coffee shops that allow you to order at the front and then pick your table to sit. Cafes in coffee shops are used to having people come in alone and work for hours by themselves. This is a great way for you to get comfortable with being alone. After you have nailed the coffee shop experience try going to a busy Breakfast House; these are a little less daunting than fine dining restaurants. Eventually you will work your way up to those nice steakhouses and you will be eating alone comfortably in no time.
Study The Restaurant Beforehand
It may seem nice to show up to a restaurant and be completely surprised by the menu, it may be beneficial to take a look at the restaurant beforehand. This will ensure that you are able to get a table alone, let you know if you need to make reservations, and plan your dining trip accordingly. Some fine dining restaurants will not take a table of 1 and they are too busy. It is important to know this information before you waste your time in those restaurants. A good option for those easing their way into dining alone is to sit at the bar and enjoy a meal. it is likely that you will find several others doing the same.
Take A Distraction
It is to no surprise that most restaurants are filled with people staring at their cell phones. Oh, if you are uninterested in doing that, try taking some sort of distraction. This could be a book, a newspaper, a laptop, or anything to keep you distracted on your solo wait. Not only does this give off the impression that you know what you’re doing, it also shows others that you’re comfortable being by yourself and that you aren’t expecting anyone. The last thing you would want is for someone to think you’re getting stood up on a date.
Save Your Seat
If you aren’t interested in taking something as a distraction, make sure you take something to save your seat. Unlike when you are traveling with others, if you get up and go to the restroom it is likely that the wait staff will think that you left and they may clear your table. By putting something on the table to ensure that you are coming back and that you are not finished with your meal, this will let the way to staff now to leave your table be. Same goes for at the bar you may want to lean your chair forward and put an item that you brought with you that isn’t super valuable near your plate.
Remember You Are Your Biggest Critic
Sure it is easy to think that people will look at you funny if you go on a dining experience by yourself. But just remember that people are self-absorbed and they are probably paying very little attention to what’s going on at your table. There are many successful business men and women who have lunch or dinner by themselves quite frequently. Whether you are traveling for business or just on a solo Journey tell your inner critic to quiet down because you will be okay.
No matter what the reason is that you are traveling or dining alone it is never anything to be ashamed of. You can ensure that you are safe, full and happy when you leave. I just practiced a few of these tips. You can also get a good laugh out of people watching at the surrounding tables around you or just things passing by through the window. We hope you enjoy your solo dining experience.