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  • Sheryl S.

Just you for dinner?

Scared of dining alone? Fear not, you are in good company! Dining out by oneself seems to be a well-known issue that stresses solo travelers to the point of avoiding the joys that come from exploring local delicacies. The most common suggestion I have seen is to sit at the bar as it is easier to strike up a conversation whether it be with other customers or the bartender. I think this is a great idea and one that works for many. However, if you are vertically challenged (such as me -- 4’11 on a good day), hopping up on a bar stool (especially in a short skirt) is just not all that comfortable, let alone elegant in getting up and down. For others, who may be or are feeling more introverted, the bar might not be the best option.

What to do then? Be brave and confident, breathe in and out, and know that most people won’t even notice. If they do, they are not going to think any less of you, a person they have never met. Likely, they are thinking how lucky you are to be there by yourself!

If people-watching as an activity, or sitting quietly doesn’t feel “right,” bring a book to read, journal your day (you will want to capture these moments and your time traveling to look back on later), or draw in a sketchbook (think back to crayons in a restaurant and how that helps kids pass the time until their food arrives).

If you really don’t want to go out by yourself though, here are a few other ideas:

1. Visit a market where food stands are in abundance, and eat among many. “Street Food” is often the best and least expensive way to experiment with new cuisines that you wouldn’t find at home. Be sure to pick from stalls that have large lines and hot items to avoid any potential food-borne illnesses.

2. Head to a local grocery store and choose prepared meals to take on a picnic with yourself or even back to your hotel room.

3. Sign up for a Food Tour, find a Meetup or similar group, or reach out via the many travel apps designed to connect you with others (e.g., Couchsurfing or Facebook) to help in finding a dining buddy.

I promise though, once you accomplish this harrowing feat, you'll have no reservation in making reservations for one.

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