Stephanie Spitler
February 11, 2014 4:00 pm

It’s almost February 14. Yes, that means Valentine’s Day. I’m sure you’ve already been confronted with pink and red displays of heart-shaped chocolate-filled boxes at every turn. Maybe you’re already preparing yourself for the onslaught of sappy posts on your Facebook newsfeed and love-filled lists on every website this week. No matter what, whether you’re in love with love or convinced that cupid hates you, Valentine’s Day can be tough to get through.

So let’s lighten things up around here. Let’s forget about hearts and flowers and grandiose gestures of eternal devotion. I’ve already covered my romantic travel wish list here, so this year I decided to switch things up. This year, I’m going to talk about the LEAST romantic places I’ve ever been.

Like a bus station at midnight. Now, this shouldn’t really need any further explanation. Bus stations usually rank just slightly above gas station bathrooms in terms of general creepiness. This particular bus station experience was a layover during an almost 24-hour trip from Philadelphia to North Carolina (long trip, long story). The particular city this bus station was in shall remain nameless. But picture it: the space was filled with fluorescent lights and walls stained yellow from cigarette smoke; the molded plastic chairs served one purpose only, to prevent you from sleeping or even just sitting comfortably. No wonder they were in still in such good shape, since they looked like they’d been there since the early ’70s (guess it’s not hard to stay like-new when no one can sit on you for more than 30 seconds). All in all, it wasn’t exactly a setting that would inspire love poems. So if you want to take a romantic trip, I’d recommend renting a car. Or a bicycle. Or just walking.

Speaking of transportation, let’s talk airplanes. Now, I love being able to get to the other side of the world in a matter of hours, but being squished into the middle seat of a plane older than me, with no leg room or space to recline, is not a recipe for romance. The stale air leads to dry skin and chapped lips, and the lack of sleep makes me look like a hung-over vagabond. And just to be clear, that’s not a sexy look for me (or anyone, really).

Of course, once you get to your destination, you’re going to need a place to stay. Which leads me to my next most un-romantic spot: any hostel dorm room. Don’t get me wrong; hostels are great for lots of reasons. They’re cheap and can be awesome places to meet people while traveling. But sleeping on the bottom bunk, in a room with seven strangers, with your backpack padlocked to the bed frame, doesn’t exactly conjure warm and fuzzy feelings.

So, there’s my list of the most un-romantic places. It’s funny, though. If you’re with the right person, none of what I said above matters. The Greyhound bus ride from hell becomes an adventure. The hostel dorm room bunk bed becomes a snuggle-fest. These regular places can become the most romantic places if you’re with someone special. And if you’re not, they turn into really great stories.

What’s the most unromantic place you’ve ever been?

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