Samantha Brown Shares Her Best Tips For Solo Travelers Worried About Dining Alone

While solo travel is wonderful in so many ways, one of the elements that travelers sometimes worry about is dining alone. There is even a name for this fear due to how common it is — solomangarephobia. Travel aficionado Samantha Brown has been to 62 countries in her career, so she has shared her tips for solo travel on her website, Samantha Brown's Places to Love.

Her advice is to plan for your solo dining experience in advance, by deciding on the best restaurant in a new city, and where in the restaurant to sit. If you don't want to be disturbed during your meal, she recommends bringing something to read and choosing a quiet area to sit in. It may be easier to dine during the day when there are more table options available, like sitting on an outside patio or by the window. However, if you do want to chat with folks, sit near the bar or in a busy area where you are more likely to meet people who also want to socialize.

More dining tips for solo travelers

For those looking to make friends, communal tables can be an excellent way to get talking. As these tables are generally for people who are alone or happy to chat, it can be easier to strike up a conversation. If you'd like a change from restaurant dining, you could try street food from a truck or market instead, allowing you to eat somewhere picturesque without being confined to a certain location. It is also a good way to stick to a budget on your trip and lets you discover new flavors. 

Overall, Brown recommends trusting your inner feelings. A novel way of meeting fellow travelers through eating together, alone but not alone, is to take a local food tour. Gastronomic tourism is an opportunity to try new dishes, and you can discuss your enjoyment of these tasty food experiences with others in the group. Foodie solo travelers could also take a cooking class, as it is a great opportunity to learn how to make local food to recreate back at home. At the end of the class, participants often sit together to try what they've made, so it's a social experience, too. You can also save money by taking some leftovers for later. 

Safety tips for solo travelers when dining

When you are dining out, make sure to never put your bag on the floor as outdoor seating areas in the street can sometimes attract thieves looking to grab phones or bags. Put it on your lap and zip it up so that the contents are not on display, which could encourage someone to steal it. Some people tie their bags to a chair or table, which seems like a good idea, but if it is grabbed, it can pull the furniture over and cause an injury.

If you don't want to draw attention to yourself, act like a local – eat what they eat, relax, and blend in with the crowd. Brown recommends not wearing bright colors as they will make you stand out more to thieves. Point in case, sometimes you may arrive at a city when it is dark and may not know an area very well, in which case, a delivery may be a safer option than venturing out alone. You can try room service at your hotel or order takeout to be delivered to your accommodation. There are options to dine safely and solo.