The Secret to Solo Female Travel Confidence: Drink Champagne

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Kate with Cava in Spain

The older I get, the more I realize that nobody has a clue what they’re doing. We’re all just winging it, hoping for the best.

And that goes for me with my solo travels. After nearly five years of constant travel, most of it solo, I’d like to think I’ve gotten a bit better at it. But while I have no problem going to the movies alone, or visiting a museum alone, I still feel a little bit of anxiety and nervousness when I go out to eat alone, or when I go somewhere when I’m surrounded by couples and groups.

It’s not that bad — no panic attacks or anything — I just feel a bit uncomfortable and like I don’t belong. I worry about how I look, how I act, and what other people are thinking about me. I micromanage every move I make, and I don’t like feeling this way.

Then I stumbled upon a stunningly simple answer to this problem: drink champagne.

It doesn’t have to be strictly champagne. Prosecco will do, as will any other sparkling wine. It’s about the image it conveys more than anything else.

Champagne immediately turns you into the most mysterious person in the room. Who is the kind of woman who goes and orders a glass of champagne for herself, on her own, assuming it’s not a wedding or New Year’s? A confident woman. A chic woman. A woman who enjoys the finer things in life. A woman who deems any day a reason to celebrate.

And champagne helps me believe that I am this woman.

I first noticed it in Barcelona a few weeks ago. It was late in the afternoon in Gracia. Sunlight was falling across the plaza, couples and families strolled down the streets together, children kicked footballs around, and I was exhausted from a day of walking all over the city.

So I sat down at an outdoor cafe and ordered a glass of cava.

And something magical happened.

I expected to do my usual thing: turn on my Kindle and read, or maybe ask for the wifi password and catch up on Snapchat. But instead, I didn’t want to do either of these things: I was here in the moment to enjoy.

I sat up a bit straighter. I may not speak this language, but I belong here in this city.

And so I did it again.

Kate with Cava in Barcelona

It was all cava, all the time, for the rest of my time in Barcelona. I paired this one with a tortilla española — the perfect late afternoon snack.

I think the cat’s eye sunglasses (Elizabeth and James in Lafaytette) and red lips (Kat von D in Bachelorette) added to the glamour factor!

Kate with Prosecco in Santorini

In Santorini, not only was I surrounded by loved-up couples, but all the couples started to befriend each other. It made me feel a bit left out as they traded their life stories. No worries — I had champagne to drink, and it gave me a smile along with an extra boost of confidence.

(Until the children arrived and started cannonballing right behind me. Seriously, you’d think having the word “bar” in your establishment’s name would keep the families away…)

Kate with Prosecco in Saranda

In Saranda, Albania, I had my first meal by the water and accidentally ordered too much food: the country salad (Albania’s answer to the Greek salad) was enormous; the shellfish platter featured enough plump mussels, octopus, squid, and shrimp to feed a small army.

Normally that would make me feel a bit embarrassed or sheepish, but having the glass of champagne sent a message: “Don’t mind me. I know exactly what I’m doing.”

Kate with Prosecco in Tirana

And by the time I got to Tirana, Albania’s capital, I knew exactly what to order as I took in the sunset from the top of the Sky Tower. And at just $3 for a glass, you can’t argue with that price!

Yep — I’m a champagne drinker now. And this random little solo travel tip has given me more confidence than I could imagine.The Key to Solo Female Travel Confidence: Champagne

Are you a champagne drinker? How do you feel more confident when you’re alone?

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89 thoughts on “The Secret to Solo Female Travel Confidence: Drink Champagne”

  1. Gorgeous! We are all world (well universe really!) citizens and you are doing a fantastic job of flying the flag for solo females, you have every reason to celebrate! 🙂

    1. Hi, Sylvie — thanks so much for reading and commenting!

      It’s against my comment policy for you to include unrelated links in the comment field, so please don’t do that in the future.

  2. Drinking and eating alone can be the hardest part of solo travel. It’s easy to ask for the wi-fi password and dig into social media to distract yourself, but it’s better to take in the moment, savor some good food, and enjoy yourself. Champagne is always a fun choice! 🙂

  3. I loved this! For all of the times I’ve traveled solo I never thought to specifically order a glass of champagne. This post honestly just made me smile. Cheers to celebrating the beauty of everyday with a glass of bubbly!

  4. Personally I LOVE traveling alone. It gives me the freedom that
    I cherish, so eating alone has never been an issue although I
    am more of a picnic in the park, rather then go to a restaurant
    kind of person. Glad you found a way to ease your anxiety Kate, but
    hope that with time you will be confident from the joy you feel
    within and not need champagne to get there…

  5. Wonderful idea. I usually travel with family but I am finding myself at times when I am alone for several days and try to not get lonely. And yes the word bar does NOT stop families from going. I remember being a kid once and yelling at my dad that we couldn’t go to Apple Bee bc the word “bar” was in it and he said it was okay.

    Technically that place is family friendy. lol

  6. This is actually a seemingly very good advice. as long as you stick to one glass! I’m unfortunately super-selfconscious which makes people notice my nervousness, and then I get even more nervous/tense. This is mostly due to experiences of bullying. i know I get a bit more related and less tense with alcohol, but you don’t want to get too tipsy or drunk obviously. But one glass of champagne could perhaps help to get over this occasionally:)

  7. Very true.
    But just know that champagne is just your placebo, because deep down you’re all of the confident things that champers makes you feel xo

  8. omg I love this post so much. Especially this: ‘A woman who deems any day a reason to celebrate.’
    I’ve travelled alone and I’m currently travelling with my partner, and as much as I love travelling with him it has made me nervous to travel solo in the future as I’ve got used to the company. I remember when I did travel alone, as much as I loved it, sometimes it was daunting. I’ll definitely have to try the champagne trick next time I do travel solo!

  9. I always say: there are very few things in life that cannot be improved with champagne and glitter.

    Love this post and just sent it to my girlfriends who all know of my love of champagne.

  10. Oh how I loved this. You are right, drink champagne and you instantly look more refined, richer, and worldly. Hey you can even buy cheap champagne, no one can tell once in the glass. Hold on while I go buy more champagne.

    Great fun post 😉

    Katie @ Katie Wanders

  11. I am also a solo traveler and I eat alone all the time, even in my home country. On my recent trip to Italy I ordered Prosecco several times although this is not the norm for me. I don’t care to much what others think and do what I like. Sometimes I read and sometimes not. Other times I talk to fellow diners if it seems appropriate. I think we are way more aware of ourselves than others are. Just go with it! Cheers Kate!

  12. I’m about to head out to my first solo trip (Trier & Luxembourg)! I had already planned on using booze to make me less awkward dining alone, but now I might just have to go for this champagne tip. Or a martini…I don’t really like them, but it screams mysterious female James Bond and I think that could work too! Clearly an experiment I must try.

  13. I’m not traveling right now, but I thought of this post when I went to hear some friends sing at a local wine bar (I’m in Chicago). I ordered myself a cava and felt totally confident and glamorous, despite having gotten caught in a torrential downpour a few minutes prior–and then an old man at the end of the bar bought me another one! Ha. Anyway, thanks for the advice! 🙂

  14. That’s a really great tip! I’m not a fan of sitting by myself in a restaurant when traveling alone, but your advice makes a lot of sense.

  15. Never thought of Tirana as the pace to be but at $3 for champagne: Tirana here I come.

    Bubbles, be it champagne, prosecco or cava, has always been My Drink. No matter where, when, with whom, and especially not ‘why’. Every moment is suited to be a bubbles moment.

    Unfortunately a medical condition forces me to cut back my alcohol consumption to one glass per month, which totally sucks:-(.

    Anyho, reading your post was a blast. I can so relate and think you’ve found the most mysterious, classy and glam solution possible. Having said that, kudos to you for solo traveling. I have done it, but for me it sucked. It’s not for me.

    Cheers, gal!

  16. Well, a bit of alcohol has that tendency to give a confidence boost 🙂 But you’re right, champagne does make you feel more sophisticated and like you could totally belong anywhere.

  17. I think champagne makes women think they are special indeed. Each time I am in a club and meet a girl and ask her to drink something (along with her female friend), they almost always want champagne! Since I am not usually in the mood of paying 300 Euros for a Moet bottle, girl goes away and finds somebody else to drink champagne… 🙁

  18. What an idea you gave me! I normally do a lot of travel family blogger, but I do some field exploring myself before, of visit travel exhibitions alone, or just do some quick weekend photo blog travel by myself on some weekends… and more than onece I find myself not going to the restaurant, or just sitting on a distant corner because of the exact same feeling. And do believe me, as much as I enjoy traveling with the whole gang, there are times I wait for and long for these alone pauses I allow myself once a month or so… So here we go. I’m heading to Istanbul at the end of the month and I’m dying to go out at night and smoke some narguile… but again, that feeling, that voice at the back of my hear “sitting there, smoking narguile on some terrace bar alone? you must be mad!” I now do how to deal with this.

    Thank you, Kate!

  19. Love your take champagne . A while back I received some bad news on a Thursday . Since then I began a tradition of having champagne every Thursday . ?

  20. This is hilarious and AMAZING!!! I need to start doing this!!! (Although you should definitely try it with some limoncello thrown in…)

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