posted by Guest blogger - Janice Waugh | 1 Comments
This is the second guest post from Janice Waugh, author of The Solo Traveler’s Handbook, now in its 2nd edition, and publisher of Solo Traveler, the blog for those who travel alone. She speaks on solo travel and has been a go-to person on the subject for CNN, the Oprah Blog, the LA Times and more. To keep up to date with Janice make sure to follow her on Twitter and like the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.
It’s funny – the things that people worry about. Comments from my readers suggest that solo travellers are concerned about dining alone almost as much as they are concerned about safety. But truly, dining solo can be a great experience. Here are seven tips to make eating on your own fun...not daunting.
1. Eat at the bar...literally
The bar seats are made for singles. Eat at a stool in the bar and you don’t stand out at all.
2. Take notes
Take your travel diary and make notes on your day. Who knows, others may think you’re an important food critic.
3. Go at lunch
Go to finer restaurants at lunch hour. The food is just as good because it’s from the same kitchen but the prices are typically lower and there are fewer romantic couples.
4. Make a reservation...for two
When you reserve in advance say that there will be two of you. After all, there are no tables for one. This will give you a better chance for a good table.
5. Speak up!
If you arrive and they try to put you at a less-than-desirable table, ask to be moved. Your rights are equal to those of couples and groups.
6. Show interest
Ask questions about the food and its origin. When you show real interest the staff will take an interest in you.
7. Take a book
This is a classic. Take a book or anything else for entertainment.
In fact, eating out on your own can be a social experience. In New Orleans I was at a diner and the person beside me at the counter was clearly a local and a regular so I asked him to order for me. I can’t say that I enjoyed the Chili Cheese Omelette he ordered but the company was fantastic. Another time in Ambleside in the Lake District of England, I went to a place called the Unicorn Pub. After taking a picture of my dinner I made friends with the people beside me. I subsequently went back to that pub the next three nights gathering more friends each time.
Then there was the time in Rochester, New York. I dashed out for a bite at a local restaurant with plans to simply eat at the bar. I squeezed into the one spot left at the end of the bar and promptly met a great couple who invited me to join them when their table was ready. Then, the original owners of the restaurant joined us. It was a fabulous evening of stories and banter and my new friends refused to let me pay for dinner.
So, yes, I often go out to dine solo. Even though it may not sound like a very social situation, that’s exactly how it ends up. Whether your goal is to meet someone interesting or simply have some alone time, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
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