There’s no doubt that the prospect of eating alone can be one of the most intimidating things about travelling on your own, whether you’re on a business trip or backpacking. Just Google “eating alone in public” and you will be greeted with a plethora of people offering advice on how to make it through a meal for a one.
The fear of eating alone in public, or solomangarephobia (yes, there’s even a name for it) can be genuinely debilitating. We’ve heard countless stories from friends and family who’ve been sent away on business to wonderful new cities they may never normally get to visit, and who, after having spent all day enclosed inside an office or at a conference, wanted to get out, explore, and experience what the place has to offer, but didn't feel comfortable or confident enough to venture out and dine alone, and ended up staying in their hotel room and ordering room service. And these are not people we would normally describe as shy!
At 22 years old, I found the prospect of eating alone in public so nerve-wracking that I made myself go on a few practice test runs in the safety of my home town so that I wouldn't be totally out of depth when I was faced with no other choice but to do it while backpacking on my first solo adventure in North America. Six years later, I have now traveled much further and wider, and have since eaten out alone on many occasions - but I have to admit I still feel some apprehension before each time.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong or embarrassing about eating alone in a restaurant. We all need food to survive, and when you’re on the road it’s not always possible to eat in privacy. Enjoying a meal by yourself can also be relaxing, and even liberating - there’s no having to make small talk, and no-one to make you feel guilty about ordering a starter and dessert. Some people will proclaim its brilliance - saying how peaceful dining out for one can be, how they love to be left alone to get stuck into their latest book whilst enjoying a delicious dinner they haven’t had to cook.
But for many others, the thought of sitting through a whole meal on their own in public will fill them with dread. And there’ll also be those who have no real problem with dining alone, but don’t like the idea of being approached by another diner who thinks they’re out on their own because they're just waiting to be chatted up.
If either of these sound like you, TripLinks could be just the thing you’re looking for.
67% of people surveyed said they'd use TripLinks to meet someone for dinner whilst travelling.
This smart new travel app brings people together, and allows them to meet up with new people all across the country, and even the world. Perhaps you're in Birmingham overnight on business and want to make a reservation for that great sushi restaurant your colleagues were recommending, but can’t face going alone? Check into TripLinks, create an event to let people know your plans, and wait for them to ask to join you. It’s that simple! There’s no photos, and no swiping - TripLinks is not a dating app, it just aims to connect people in the hopes of making travelling alone a little less lonely.
Who knows, you might just make a new friend for life… and if not, you won’t be short of company for the evening at least. What do you have to lose?