Solo Dining: 5 Reasons To Take Yourself Out to Eat

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When you’re a solo traveler, you have to get used to doing things on your own. Solo dining is one of them.

It seems a lot of people are really afraid of or at the very least mildly bothered by the idea of eating alone at a restaurant. I admit it, I used to put these ridiculous limitations on eating out, saying that a solo lunch was fine but somehow a solo dinner was too awkward.

I now realize that my way of thinking was not only illogical, but also unnecessarily negative. A meal out should be enjoyable, not just a way to keep your body fed.

Here are my top 5 reasons to take yourself out to a meal alone.

1. You can order whatever you want

Okay, you can order whatever you want with friends too, but be honest- do you always?

Solo dining means getting what you want, how you want it, and spending however much on it you want. No messy splitting of the bill.

No one else to judge you when they decide they aren’t very hungry, and you get dessert.

While I really believe you should always feel comfortable ordering whatever you want, we all know it’s much easier when there is no one to influence you with their cravings or budget.

2. You can catch up on your reading

It can be so hard to find time to read when there are so many other distractions. While you are traveling you want to see and do everything, it’s hard to take a moment to just sit down and read.

When you go out to eat on you own, a book is an excellent companion. Don’t have a book? Pick up a magazine, a newspaper or just spend your time scanning a menu in a foreign language.

Dining alone gives you time to invest in some lovely quiet time.

Dining solo is a great time to people watch.

3. Quality people watching

When you’re dining alone you are so much more aware of your surroundings. Pick a table near a window or with a good view of other tables in the restaurant and you are bound to spot some interesting people.

I love making up personalities and conversations for the people around me. Though dining solo seems intimidating at first, you might quickly find that you’ve spent your entire day just enjoying the scenery and the people watching from your little cafe!

4. Get some writing done

Whether it be poetry scribbled in a notebook or blogging on your laptop, you can get a lot of work done during a meal alone. You’ll also find that being alone in public with your notebook or laptop can really get you focused in a way the hostel couch cannot.

Grab your journal, settle in, and enjoy having some quiet time to get your thoughts on paper.

5. Take as long as you want

No rushing! You have only your schedule to deal with so you can enjoy as much food as you want while you read, write, people watch or whatever else you want to do.

Remember to tip your server for their time, but other than that, dining solo means you’re really free to leisurely enjoy your meal.

Do you have any tips for dining solo? Do you feel nervous about eating alone?

Share.

About Author

Rease gave up on office life before she turned 22. She believes in hard work, but only if it makes you incredibly happy. Rease is a writing, traveling, kid-loving, Spanish-speaking nerd of a girl who may be the craziest balance of 40-year-old responsible logic and 7-year-old childlike amusement. She is currently living the expat life in Buenos Aires, Argentina, writing for Travelated.com and planning her next trip - in other words- living the dream.

11 Comments

  1. It took me so long to work up the nerve to go out to dinner on my own when I was traveling, and you’re right, it’s so worth it! I had the best time when I finally went for it – I was soaking wet at the end of a rainy day in Cornwall, and looked into a cute little seafront restaurant with candles and…dry people. I went in and asked for a table, and had such a relaxing, delicious meal, spent reading and writing. Plus, the waitress was so, so friendly with me as a solo diner. A wonderful experience, I love your post!

  2. Before I started traveling, I had no problems eating in a restaurant on my own. In fact, a lot of times I preferred it for some of the same reasons you have listed. Now that I am traveling solo and on a strict budget, a good meal in a restaurant as a treat to myself. I try to do it once a week, and it doesn’t always have to be a splurge.

  3. I think there are places where you can perfectly go alone and others where you rather feel uncomfortable. I’ve traveled alone a few times and enjoy having a proper meal, traditional from the country I’m in and usually don’t care much about what “one may think”. But to be true, eating out alone in Spain is quite different. You feel observed. Maybe not in a bad way! But people are curious about what you are actually doing or thinking of, after all, in Spain, eating is a social event – you hardly do that alone.

  4. I agree with your article. People, especially women, shouldn’t feel too self-conscious about eating or having coffee alone. It’s an excellent time to people watch and catch up on your reading. Or, when not traveling, to just catch one’s breath when things become too crazy at work. (& I envy that you get to live the dream!) 🙂

    • Oh it’s not always the dream, I eat a lot of rice and beans I buy in bulk, too! Haha, I do feel lucky to have made it this far though!

  5. Eating alone can be a chance to meet people. I was travelling in Poland and sitting alone in a café, and two people came over and asked to share my table. We got chatting and I ended up getting invited to a salsa dancing class! You never know when opportunities will arise.

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  7. One of the things I love the most about eating alone is that I can actually enjoy the food. Conversation is a distraction!

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