Quick Tips: Eating Alone in a Foreign Country
For some, the idea of traveling solo can be scary and intimidating, trust me I understand. But prefer to be bold and throw all caution to the wind. Once you have yourself settled on this step, you now have to prepare yourself for all things that come while traveling solo, which will only get easier with time. One of these things is eating alone, which is not a terrible problem to have, but for some can also be scary and intimidating. However, we are on a new wave, and as Auntie Maxine put it, reclaim your time! And as I will put it, reclaim your life! One way to look at solo travel is using this alone time to simply enjoy your peace and yourself. Don’t get caught up in being nervous or anxious, instead focus on hitting the reset button. So, because a girls gotta eat, here are some quick, straight to the point tips for eating alone in a foreign country.
Beating the local and tourist rush can reduce the stares if that's your worry. Less eyes to look at you, so arriving before the crowds might be more of an ideal situation. Get in, eat, and get out.
Try to speak the language
...with a smile, might I add. It can help let people know that you are, at least, friendly and if you are struggling with speaking the language they might help you, which can in turn put you at ease. It's all about being comfortable in the moment and less like a deer in headlights.
Go to a cafe
If you visit a cafe instead of an actual restaurant, then there's a greater chance of seeing people that look just like you, i.e. people dining alone. Think about the cafes and smaller restaurants near where you live. Lots of people pop in alone for a quick bite then carry on with their day. Use this same idea when heading out to dine.
Sit at the bar
If you are worried about how it looks eating at a table alone, i.e. the stares, then head to the bar. It looks less obvious because everyone is seated next to each other, and if anything you can chat with the person next to you or the bartender if it's a slow night. A great way to meet people so double bonus with this tip!
Bonus: when paying your bill, check for any service charge already included (unless you want to overtip) and in your research prior to visiting check to see if tipping is customary in that country.
Still intimidated and uncomfortable? You can easily put these tips to the test in your hometown prior to leaving. Take yourself to breakfast or dinner and try some of the tips mentioned above. It might help guide you to see which way works best for you and help you build that confidence.
Have any other suggestions for eating alone in a foreign county? Leave a comment!