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Solo Travel and B&B's: Intruding Into a Couple's World?

It's been more than 15 years since I stayed in a UK B&B. I didn't like it, since I was surrounded by happy smiling couples who considered me the odd man out. Too many questions and too many glances.

After that, I made a point of staying in hotels.

Now, I'm going back to the UK for the first time since 2001. So, I am asking:

Do solo travelers stick out like sore thumbs at B&B's" Or, do people not care?

I have visions of explaining myself at the communal B&B breakfast table, which is something I'd Iike to avoid.

Posted by
9363 posts

I have traveled alone to Ireland and I stayed in B&Bs. Never once did anyone question me or even seem to pay particular attention to the fact that I had no companion. You'll find that in B&Bs there are tables of various sizes in the dining rooms. Just take a table for two and don't worry about it. In one B&B, in fact, the only two guests at breakfast were myself and another single woman. Don't be so sensitive about what other people may think, and do what you want. Do you wonder, or ask, about other travelers' situations? They won't ask about yours either.

Posted by
484 posts

The times I have stayed in b&b's that had a communal table everyones breakfast was both ordered and served individually, no family style where it's "eats the fastest gets the most." The ones that have individual tables all have smaller tables designed for two. From my experiences your apprehensions will not be a problem.

Pat

Posted by
97 posts

I've stayed in a couple of B&Bs in the UK and they all seemed to have a bunch of small tables instead of one big one. Nobody batted an eye at the woman traveling by herself. In fact, I've found that solo travelers -- male and female -- get a lot of impressed comments about how brave it is to travel alone, and a lot of questions about whether it's safe/boring/annoying.

"I like traveling by myself" is the only explanation anyone deserves!

Posted by
484 posts

j.c.----I have made three trips to Ireland by myself and aside from someone maybe asking if I was by myself after talking to them for a few minutes no one was really interested one way or the other. I find it is much easier to have someone else start a conversation with me if I am by myself and not conversing with a spouse. At a b&b in Kinsale we all ate at the same breakfast table and no one really asked any personal questions. If I can offer an observation you may be overly sensitive and even if people are curious it is none of their business and you will never see any of these people again anyway.

Posted by
970 posts

It's not that I'm concerned about what others think. My memories of B&B's are almost 20 years old at this point. What I remember are things not working and not having a choice of tables. Breakfast was served at a single table, family style. Sometimes in the morning, you know, I might not want to fight with a complete stranger for the last piece of toast.

I dunno if those were representative or just my bad luck, but I made a point after that of staying at smaller hotels.

Sounds like you're saying it's different these days.

Posted by
1455 posts

You can't let other people's glances affect how you travel. Solo travelers are more common than you think.

Most B+B's do offer cozy tables, or, take it to your room if they allow it.

You are there for yourself, not some tourist who you don't know. So enjoy, bring a book or read the morning paper. If someone is bold enough to ask if you are traveling by yourself, you can say "yes I am. Are you?" Who knows? Maybe he/she is too!

Posted by
21356 posts

J,c, -- stay with your hotels. I think you will be happier. We each have our own travel style.

Posted by
525 posts

j.c. I'm sorry you had some discomforts when traveling alone. My husband and I were in Ireland and met a single lady traveling by herself. We started talking to her at breakfast. We thought it was great she felt comfortable traveling alone. I don't know if I would or not. We invited her to go to the Cliffs of Moher with us that day but she declined as she had committed to a tour and didn't feel she should cancel. We met up with her in the evening and went to dinner then to listen to music. We had a great time. Perhaps you just haven't met the "right" people. I don't think we made Kathryn feel as the odd man out. We are interested in their experiences as well as the couples we meet. Hopefully you will meet up with some other singles that you can "hook" up with or a couple that includes you in their plans. What do you find offensive by people asking if you are traveling alone?

Posted by
970 posts

Miss B, I didn't mean to imply that I don't like solo travel, or that I've been annoyed by people asking me if I was on my own. Also, my original comment was intended to be specific to my experience years ago with British B&B's.

I've done a lot of solo travel, stayed in all kinds of places, and, frankly, few people have wondered if I was with someone or not. Other travelers never care.

I can't say the same about a few of the UK B&B proprietors I ran into 15 years ago. I recall one who forthrightly told me it was "awkward" having solo guests. That's not what you want to hear after a long day.

But, 15 years ago is a long time. Things change. And, maybe my luck was bad.

Posted by
410 posts

I cannot speak as a solo traveller but as one who has been with my husband in plenty of B& B's with solo travellers. It generally seems to go one of two ways - often depending on the size of the dining room. The solo person will have his/her head in a book/papers (often working people I have found as well as tourists) or will strike up a conversation. Either way is fine - we are always happy to chat to people in the dining room - or not - and would usually leave it to them to initiate. Or take our cue from a brief 'good morning, lovely day' or whatever.

Posted by
3580 posts

Speaking as a solo traveler, I agree with Liz. People traveling as couples often appear in the breakfast room as singles. I love conversing with other travelers, but usually have something to read with me so I can entertain myself. The only time I hated being a single in a B&B breakfast room was when they paired me up with another single and we felt obliged to talk even tho neither of us really wanted to.

Posted by
50 posts

I would recommend getting a single room or double with another soloer at an upper-class hostel. There are the many the cost a little more and have better atmospheres (especially in London). A lot of people travel solo there (I am a solo traveler and have had the same B&B issue). It's nice to meet with other solo travelers who are usually more fun than couples. Good luck!