So, a few years ago I promised myself that I'd take a yearly vacation whether there was anyone able to go with me or not. Since then, I've taken several solo trips to Hawaii and a group trip through my work (where I didn't know a single other person) to Europe. I think the most awkward part for me still is the whole dining alone thing. I've found some restaurants that I wouldn't recommend/eat at again because of the way they reacted to being asked for a table for one.
What tips do you have, dining solo specific or solo travel in general?
May 7, '12
Since becoming single five years ago, I've done several solo trips...to Palm Springs, Asheville, NC, and South Florida. I usually pick a place with a kitchen/kitchenette and cook my own meals since I hate going to restaurants alone (fast food is o.k. but sit down restaurants, I'm just too intimidated to do).
I've done two other solo vacations, but joined a tour group where I didn't know anyone was to Thailand and India...there I dined with the group and that was fun meeting nice people and traveling with a tour guide. I haven't gone anywhere the last couple of years due to finances and other priorities, but if no one is going to take me or going anywhere, I just go myself.
May 7, '12
I actually enjoy going to a restaurant alone and really don't feel like I get funny looks. Granted, I'm not showing up at the height of the dinner hour at a fancy place, but I find breakfast and off hours work just fine. I just go with a book or a newspaper and pay no attention to those around me.
One time years ago I did have a server question me about coming in for breakfast alone. I explained that (back then) I had 2 small children and a high maintance husband...it was the only meal I got to eat peacefully the entire week and the one I looked forward to the most. From that point on that sweetheart nearly knocked herself out to "take care" of me each week.
My parents have taken several cruises in the US and a couple of tours thru Europe. They always seem to run into a nurse somewhere that is traveling alone. My husband doesn't like to fly and they assure me that if I ever want to take a trip alone the group tours just tend to adopt anyone traveling alone and it doesn't seem odd at all.
May 9, '12
Traveling alone can be fun or frightening . Preferably I like a travel buddy. But, the dining alone part I hate because !! I Just Plain oh No Likey! Asheville Is beautiful.
May 10, '12
My boyfriend travels for work a lot and he tends to avoid the whole table-for-one thing at restaurants by eating at the bar. It seems a little less glaring than being at a table by yourself (not that you should be ashamed of being at a table by yourself!) But if it's a little uncomfortable, the bar may be easier and you can usually chit chat with the bartender or other patrons.
May 11, '12
Traveling/eating out alone should NOT mean you are relegated to fast food or even chain restaurants! I've been traveling alone for 15 yrs now and do treat myself to fine dining when I want. It's all in the attitude - dress well, walk in as if you own the place, request a table for one - specify where you wish to sit (I like seats by a window or with a good view of the room). Don't allow yourself to be shuffled off by the kitchen door. Order a glass of wine (or other beverage) to sip while you wait for your meal. If someone is looking at you, smile and nod. Be mysterious, make people wonder "Who is that?" Have fun with it.
I love to "people watch" while out, but if you feel terribly self concious realize that everywhere now people (even in groups) are checking their smartphones - pull yours out and peruse the Allnurses app while waiting for your meal.
May 12, '12
I have traveled to the following places alone: Belize, Tanzania, Costa Rica, Panama, Malta, Barbados and Morocco. In several places (Belize, Tanzania, Malta and Morocco), I participated in group events (volunteering or yoga) but didn't know a soul before I arrived. I have also just traveled alone and not met anyone along the way.
As far as the eating thing goes, I would never go to a sit down restaurant with a waiter alone at home but I have no problem doing it while on vacation. Just bring a book or a newspaper and people will leave you alone.