Summer vacay is upon us and many are really ready for that well deserved break. As you know I will travel for food, hands up who does the same? Sometimes I want company, sometimes I just want to soak it all up unconditionally my way. I think foodie travel is perfect for a solo trip as you will make fellow foodie friends a long the way. And those are the best of people … foodie people.
In May 2019 I went to Beaune, Burgundy for a 2 night/3 day mini- solo trip and LOVED it. My reason for going alone was I booked an all day cooking class I had been dying to go too since I got their cook book last fall: The Cooks Atelier, link HERE. I wanted to go alone as I wanted to soak up the class and learn as much as possible without compromise nor distraction. I traveled by train, my preferred eco-friendly travel medium and under 5 hours from Brussels to Beaune, boem. I enjoyed taking my time to visit the Hospices ( ancient hospital) on a self guided audio tour and hop from café to café sampling different burgundy wines. The cooking class took all of Saturday where I met a simply lovely couple from California and we continued the party with some bubbly in the garden of their B&B. Before hopping back on the train the next day, I visited the winemaker Maison Champy wine cellars and had the prestige wine tasting before lunch. It was totally delish, very informative and fab as it was just me and one more lady from Paris.
It was a perfect solo trip, I was able to enjoy my me-time uninterrupted, I always had someone to talk to if not the owner or server of the restaurant or café than one of the local patrons or fellow tourists would start up a conversation… pure BLISS.
It made me think about what makes a solo trip absolutely blissful, so here my x top tips for solo foodie travel:
- Make your mini break short and sweet; for me 2 nights/3 days is perfect for a small town, 3 nights/4 days for a busy metropolis.
- Book a very cute and central located hotel or B&B. You don’t want to be too far walking distance from all the bars and restaurants when walking home alone at night. Take time to chat with the front desk / reception staff, inform them of your plans so they know your whereabouts.
- Plan one full foodie day activity for example: a cooking class with gourmet lunch, a vineyard visit and wine tasting or a kitchen garden visit and afternoon tea. This will give you a solid plan to work around and discover the rest as ease.
- Book your restaurants in advance or research the local hang outs and dine at the counter. The first night I tend to take a fabulous book as a date and enjoy multiple courses with matching wines. I generally have ( after a full day of foodie fun) a night in, where I have an early dinner and enjoy some netflix me-time in my hotel room with a splendid bottle of wine.
- Pick one cultural or historical spot to visit, maybe a museum or a historical site. You can plan ahead or just pop int the local tourist office and see what they ve going on and offer. Often a solo theater or musical ticket can be snatched up at a good price last minute as well.
- Slow down! Instead of tea or coffee to-go at a universal brand store, choose a cup of joy at a local barista or tea shop and chat away. Found a gorgeous spot, sit down and just soak it all up. Feel like sleeping in, sure why not, put on the do-not-disturb sign and enjoy.
- Take plenty of pictures and share on social media or with friends. I love being on a solo trip as you can take forever if you like to get the picture just right, you are not rushed by friends waiting patiently ( or not).
- Bring a notebook and contemplate the future! Yep one of my favourite things to do on the train is whip out a fun (pink) notebook and pen and just wait for the ideas to come. Often being on a journey literally inspires me to think about my journey in general and of other trips I want to take, things I want to do. And wherever there is free wifi is I actually research and plan the next trip or my next challenge. There is nobody to interrupt your train ( pun intended) of thought so go for it!
- Have a 10 second intro ready. When you strike up a conversation with a stranger, have a little spiel ready that covers where you are from, and why you are here. Don’t give out too much info but feel free to compliment the city/country. I always start by saying I am a foodie and what I love about the local cuisine and ask if they have any recommendations for absolute must-eats. Later if I feel good about the conversation I share my website and go more into detail of my passion.
- Trust your instinct. If it doesn’t feel right, just leave! Yes it’s great to meet strangers but sometimes they don’t ve the best of intentions nor are the best company. Don’t ruin your day or night by feeling “forced” to spend time together with this stranger. Just say “no thank you”, walk away or (pretend) to take a phone call from a friend.
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals.