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Jo Fitzsimons is a freelance travel writer who has visited over 50 countries. www.indianajo.com is the place where she shares destination details, travel itineraries, planning and booking tips and trip tales. Her aim: to help you plan your travel adventure on your terms and to your budget.

32 Responses

  1. Sammi
    Sammi at | | Reply

    Thank you for this article! 🙂 I am traveling alone for the first time and heading to Hong Kong. What makes me most nervous is dining alone during my trip which is frustrating to me.. this article had some great ways to shift my thinking! Also, bringing along a travel guidebook is something I will definitely do! Great idea! haha

  2. Kevin B
    Kevin B at | | Reply

    I like you am mostly a single diner, and I do agree with pretty much all of your comments: I also, like you, dread the “how many” at the start of the meal. It is so humiliating. Plus being stuck in a freezing corner to keep me away from intruding on any possible romantic couples is also very annoying, too. I also endlessly get people thinking at I am the “boss” from head office, and I am only there to critique their performance. Oh, how many people who have cleaned before me when I am eating! I so endlessly have to calm so many people down. Or, more annoyingly, the things that most women miss: The bravado
    of most guys who, if they can — and most do, pick seating arrangements to make darn sure that I notice that their with their girlfriends/wife’s, and try to make me endlessly jealous to puff up their enormous egos. I simply don’t care as, of course, I have “been” with women myself. But, it doesn’t stop these boneheads from trying to get my goat.

  3. Dennis Sanchez
    Dennis Sanchez at | | Reply

    I love what you said about trying their lunch or coffee before deciding if you want to try their full dinner meals. My friend is planning on doing a bit of traveling over the course of a few months, and he was curious as to how to find the best local diners. I’ll make sure he tries out something small, as that is generally a good indicator of the quality of their food.

  4. Why Solo Restaurant Dining is Hard and What to do About it
    Why Solo Restaurant Dining is Hard and What to do About it at |

    […] or breakfast in a café is a better start. As blogger Indiana Jo points out in her super list of 20 tips for eating out alone, something about breakfast and lunch is less intimidating than dinner as a […]

  5. journeyofnadine
    journeyofnadine at | | Reply

    Great tips! Thank you for sharing. I’m dining alone quite often, but still it doesn’t feel comfortable.. I see myself finding distractions so I don’t feel awkward about being alone. You mention this in tip 12 as well, but actually I don’t like doing this as it’s a kind of conformation that you don’t feel confident and on ease about dining alone without the props. I tried once to switch of my phone and just be in the moment, but damnnn time goes really slow then! You’ve experienced this as well?

    Quite some things you mention about dining alone I’ve experienced myself as well. I have been rejected because I was JUST one pretty much! I was at the Lake District in the UK, so many groups and couples there.. I just wanted a quick healthy bite as I was going to the theatre after. Everything was full and at the end I ended up in a restaurant sitting in a relaxing area with couches and chairs and had to eat my meal, which I had too wait for over 40 mins, on my lap!! I felt so embarrassed.. And because it took so long I had to run to the theatre to be on time! Pfff.. not my best “dining alone” experience, haha. Luckily I have had quite some other nice experiences as well 🙂

    This summer I will start an adventure full of dining alone experiences as I’m going traveling on my own to South America!! Quiting my job, leaving everything behind and ready to start exploring the world!

  6. Mike Rogers
    Mike Rogers at | | Reply

    This was a brilliant write-up. As a fellow blogger just now getting comfortable with going out alone it really resonated. My biggest fear has always been what other people think of me. I know how rediculus that is, so I’m in the middle of ridding myself of such a nonsensical phobia. I’m finally at the point know where I’m actually starting to love going out to do things all by myself. It’s quickly becoming my preference, in fact.

  7. Jodi
    Jodi at | | Reply

    I am a European 23-year-old girl doing an internship in South Africa and I went to get take-out pizza yesterday. Maybe next time I will dare to just sit down and eat there or somewhere else. Otherwise I will start feeling like a hermit, because three months is a long time… Thanks for the tips.

    1. Jodi
      Jodi at | | Reply

      One of the things stopping me is that I already get stared at a lot when I am just walking around on my own. It’s uncomfortable, but I made myself enjoy a long walk this afternoon.

  8. Courtney
    Courtney at | | Reply

    I ate out alone for the first time on Sunday at a Brewery I had never been too and I was scared out of my wits! They placed me at a table (with 4 chairs) smack dab in the middle of the dining floor and I could swear I felt everyone watch me get ranch all over my hands or every time I reached for my phone I heard everyone thinking “Oh, shes one of THOSE.” But I enjoyed myself! And I can’t wait for my next outing!

  9. Getting Around Solo in Croatia - Little Things Travel Blog
    Getting Around Solo in Croatia - Little Things Travel Blog at |

    […] alone in a restaurant can be a daunting experience if you’re not used to it. But practice makes perfect. The more you do it, the more comfortable you’ll feel doing it. If you really must sample fine […]

  10. Inna
    Inna at | | Reply

    Anyways, my usual trick for any uncomfortable situation is to smile and, well, act normally, if I’m not doing anything wrong.

  11. Inna
    Inna at | | Reply

    I guess, a lot depends on the area indeed. I’ve managed to go on eating solo for years not knowing at all that it was such an issue (and I’m a girl, and a rather shy one). Including travels to some predominantly Muslim countries. And not before I got to a popular island resort did I feel something was wrong 🙂 But then, it might be not the waiters or the people around, but my own feeling that I miss my friends (though I adore travelling and having meals on my own, sometimes there’s too much of a good thing)

  12. Marie
    Marie at | | Reply

    It has been 2 years since I ate out alone. More often I have been just getting it to go. Or going out with Family to eat. Today was the day I decided to go out and eat alone at a Restaurant I haven’t revisited for about 1-2 years. I felt it was a disaster. First of all I did dress in something I haven’t worn out in public yet. Then I went to the wrong door that was the old front entrance and is no longer. They changed everything. I complimented the gentleman on the establishment’s new renovations. They did do a great job. Then flopped into the booth oh so ever clumsy. They did ask me 3 times total if it was just for one. Then the menu….The menu was updated and had all new things to choose from. As excited I was to have such a selection, I also needed a lot more time to look..they kept asking also about 3 times if I was ready to order yet. I was so unprepared. Then I forgot to not put your utensils on the plate unless you are ready for them to take it. This experience is what brought me to this article. Well written I must say. Great tips on dining for one. I do however now feel bad for the 2 dollar tip I left because I thought they were being rude. Really I should had been better prepared. My typical tip dining alone is always 5 at least if not more unless I’m sitting at the bar.

  13. Alone But Not Lonely: The Reality of Solo Travel
    Alone But Not Lonely: The Reality of Solo Travel at |

    […] Still a little bit nervous about dining alone? Check out this article by Indiana Jo entitled “20 Tips for Eating Out Alone – From A Seasoned Solo Diner” […]

  14. Tiny
    Tiny at | | Reply

    I never had a problem eating solo, probably because I live in an area full of working singles so it is common seeing solo eaters. That kind of just goes with me since I guess I have the alter ego of ‘I am on a business trip so being solo is normal’ mentality. Personally, I love places that have bars or counters; they have the solo person in mind if you feel awkward about looking out of place. I love chatting with the bartender since they recommend food/drinks and even sites to see. But I also love a good glass of wine with my meal;)

  15. jonny
    jonny at | | Reply

    Istanbul helped me get over my fear of dining alone. No way was I going to miss out on those kebabs due to social anxiety! Now I don’t think twice about eating alone whilst travelling.

  16. Murissa
    Murissa at | | Reply

    Great post Jo!
    I have learned to dine alone and it really doesn’t bother me anymore as long as I have my phone and a book of some kind. Even my own writing book to jot down story ideas. I consider it having dinner with myself where I ask questions about my day and get some creativity out while I have the time.

  17. Ed
    Ed at | | Reply

    Great post. I used to be a bit depressed about dining alone too but I’d worked out many of these on my own over the years. I didn’t remember ever having the “save your seat” prop though and that is a good one. I must be the camel you mentioned…

  18. Becky
    Becky at | | Reply

    Great tips! I eat out on my own semi-frequently when traveling and have no self-consciousness at breakfast or lunch, but agree it seems to be more taboo at dinner (especially at nicer restaurants). Still, dining is a big part of my travel experience and I won’t give it up just because I’m solo!

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