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Single Travel: Tips for Going Solo

Tips for Dining
street cafe Eating alone isn't so bad. Many solo travelers (and frequent business travelers) are terrified of eating alone, worried that they appear like some worn-out Willy Loman of the road. There's even a name for it: solomangarephobia. (Occasionally the fear is justified -- see Terror at the Table for One.) Nonetheless, the following tips can help you overcome what for many travelers is the most unpleasant aspect of going it alone.

  • Chat with the service people. Waiters and waitresses are some of the best local color you'll find.

  • Zagat guides include a section on the "Singles Scene" in many cities; you might not be out to meet a new beau, but this should offer some options nonetheless.

  • Cafe and outdoor dining is often attractive to single travelers; sitting alone with a book in a cafe isn't as unusual as a table for one at a fancy restaurant.

  • Choose a counter seat or a seat at the bar.

  • Go to a restaurant that has booths, which offer more privacy.

  • Bring reading materials. If you start to feel uneasy sitting alone and staring down at your food, you can crack open a book, whip out your Kindle or read a magazine. One hint: The more high-minded your pursuit appears, the more likely folks are either to ignore you, or to become intrigued and maybe say hello.

  • If you don't want to endure yet another meal alone, use room service. It's often no more expensive than local restaurants.

  • Eat well. Just because you're alone and on the run doesn't mean you shouldn't take time for sit-down meals, a leisurely cup of coffee or a decadent dessert.

  • Female travelers can check out a site called Invite for a Bite, which organizes meet-ups for meals with other women. For more info, see Take a Bite Out of Solo Dining.

  • SoloDining.com is a good source of advice for those eating alone.

    When You've Just About Had It
    The constant sensory input and vigilance of traveling alone can wear you down. If you feel your attention or your body flagging, don't be afraid to back off your ambitious itinerary, slow the pace and kick back for a bit.

    When traveling abroad, seek out an ex-pat bar -- locals will often know where these are -- where you can hang out and speak your native tongue with some fellow expatriates and travelers. When traveling in more familiar locales, a hot shower and a night in front of the boob tube in a nice hotel room can often give you enough of a reprieve to send you out eagerly the next morning.

    Poll: What's Your Favorite Thing About Traveling Alone?

    Resource List
  • airplane woman hat windowAllSinglesTravel.com offers tours and cruises for singles, guaranteeing you a roommate as long as you book 90 days in advance. The company will also make an effort to waive the single supplement for you if you'd prefer a room of your own.

  • Connecting: Solo Travel Network features tales and tips from solo travelers. Membership grants you access to a wide range of tips, a subscription to its e-mail newsletter and the opportunity to connect with other solo travelers.

  • Singles Travel International guarantees to find you a roommate whenever you pay in full by the cut-off date. If it doesn't, the company will pay the single supplement on its tours, cruises and weekend trips.

  • Solo Traveler offers tips, resources and feature stories for solo travelers, as well as a free solo travel e-book called Travel Alone and Love it!

  • Women Traveling Together is for women whose companions can't or won't travel with them and who prefer not to travel alone. The company offers tours, retreats and other getaways, complete with roommate matching.

  • SafeCheckIn.com is a service that allows solo travelers to register their trips in order to make sure they get back safely. For a monthly membership fee, you can enter specific information about when you should return from a particular trip or outing. If you don't check in with the site at the designated time, SafeCheckIn.com will attempt to contact you; if you're out of reach, the site will reach out to your emergency contacts and, if necessary, the local authorities.

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