My Four Least Romantic Travel Experiences

Just to preface this post, these are my personal least romantic experiences. I don’t mean to say that these activities are themselves inherently unromantic, but for us they were anything but romantic.

1. Flying anywhere – I can’t think of anything that can ruin a romantic mood more than a flight going anywhere on any airline. You may be embarking on a trip off a lifetime, but leave it to the modern flying experience to douse that flame of love. While the characters in ‘Pan Am’ may have been able to travel in style, even long haul business class doesn’t afford the same luxury it used to just a few years ago. Add to that cramped spaces, limited bin space and people who left all manners at home, and you have the least romantic travel experience imaginable.



2. Galapagos kayaking – It sounds very romantic at first, sea kayaking in the Galapagos with penguins swimming past and the sun setting in the distance. And it was great for about 60 seconds before we realized that a tandem kayak was the fastest way to couples therapy. Being a methodical person, I wanted us to paddle at the same time, in order to get moving faster. My partner didn’t get the memo on this though and before I knew it, we were going in circles, literally. Every time we tried to correct and stop the almost vomit-inducing levels of spinning, the kayak would simply start spinning the other direction. Of course that’s when we weren’t crashing into rocks. In the process of going nowhere fast, we erupted into a horrible argument, each blaming the other for the paddling disaster. Finally, the Zodiac boat pulled alongside, asked if we needed help and we gave up. We were no longer speaking to each other and I think I had stopped paddling altogether. They hooked us up to the Zodiac, and towed us back to the ship. Even though it sounded promising, this was without question one of the least romantic experiences of my life.

3. Stingray city – The idea of sailing along in the warm Caribbean to a remarkable wildlife viewing area sounds romantic, to me at least. That was before I met the voracious giant stingrays located on a sand bar near Grand Cayman. Unless you’re conspiring in some dubious banking activities or buying jewelry, there’s not a lot to do on Grand Cayman. The tourist highlight is the opportunity to swim with and feed hundreds of docile stingrays. We took the excursion boat out to the sandbar, joyfully jumped in the water and began what we hoped would be a romantic adventure. What I didn’t know was that after feeding the stingrays the supplied fish parts, I should not have wiped the residue on my chest. That’s because the giant stingrays smelled the yummy fishiness on me and attempted to suck it off. The result was a series of bright red and equally disgusting stingray hickies all over my chest and stomach. Nothing kills a romantic moment like fish guts and stingray hickies, take it from me.


4.Vienna Opera – I had the best intentions, I really did. We were on a trip around central Europe and our last stop was in one of the most romantic cities in the world, Vienna. It was my partner’s birthday and I decided to surprise him with a night out at the Vienna Opera House. I can’t say that either of us enjoys opera really, but I thought it would be one of those once-in-a-lifetime moments to see a show in the famous building. I’m a planner, so I tried to buy the tickets before leaving for the trip. At the time the only way to do this was through the Vienna Opera web site, the English version of which was a strange combination of German and English and what I maintain was pure gibberish. I really wasn’t sure what kind of seats I was buying, but I figured it couldn’t be that bad and confirmed the purchase. Finally the day arrived, we were in Vienna, tickets in hand and we entered the grand Opera House. Walking through I could just imagine the members of high society who had once frequented that very spot. Everything seemed to be going well until we got to our seats, which were in a box in the balcony, behind other people. The way the boxes were organized, it was impossible to see anything except for the backs of the people’s heads in front of us. So there we sat for about an hour, listening to music we didn’t understand or particularly like, telling a story we didn’t know anything about, watching the person in front of us react. It was a disaster. We left at intermission, my tail between my legs for the failed romantic attempt.

These are some of my failed romantic travel moments, what are some of yours?

By: Matt Long

Matt has a true passion for travel. As someone who has a bad case of the travel bug, Matt travels the world in order to share tips on where to go, what to see and how to experience the best the world has to offer.

20 thoughts on “My Four Least Romantic Travel Experiences”

  1. Not sure I have anything specific to add but I just have to tell you about an old buddy of mine. He has a real thing about eating – he can’t stand watching other people eat. So when his long-term (and long-suffering) girlfriend splashed out on a reservation at a really fancy restaurant in London he spent the entire meal hating the experience – which ruined it for them both. Fortunately I don’t have this problem although it could be said that eating tacos or something similarly impractical can cause a degree of awkwardness. But then taco for two is not perhaps the most romantic gesture anyway?

  2. Awesome shares! Least romantic for us? Entry into Venice in the rain, with no clear idea of where we were going, and not enough Euros OR patience. After that, we were golden!

  3. I can totally relate to the kayak being a bit of a mood killer. My experience was in the Pacific near Tofino, and my partner kept taking breaks from paddling to film an alligator puppet for scenes he intended to use in a music video. Not something he mentioned to me BEFORE the trip! His weirdness is endearing, but the sea was pretty rough and I could have used some help.

  4. Flying can be fun but when it’s supposed to be a romantic trip, I’d rather take another mode of transport, maybe a cruise or a simple road trip would be better.

    The one thing I hate about flying is that there’s no privacy and you can’t exactly control any disturbances you encounter in a flight (e.g. a child (not a baby) crying nonstop when you’re trying to get some shuteye).

  5. I spent my 31st birthday at Disney World with my partner who forgot it was my birthday until the date was mentioned on the news that evening back at the hotel. Needless to say, that relationship didn’t last. BTW…I can’t stop laughing over “stingray hickies”. I’m sorry you had to experience that but I’m oh so thankful you shared.

  6. I had to laugh about Stingray City — when I did it, I got separated from the rest of the group by the stingrays, and the group leader was yelling at me to rejoin everyone, but the huge mass of stingrays was blocking me… I imagine it wasn’t very romantic…

  7. I think the best antidote for the unromantic aeroplane journey is the headphone splitter… so you can still listen to music or watch a movie together. Oh and, on a more risqué note, don’t forget the “mile high club”… still, the discomfort of plane seats and the close proximity to snorers/crying babies/nose pickers etc does make plane travel somewhat of a turn-off! Love the idea for the post! Although I have a confession to make… kayaking turns me on… *blush*!

  8. Somehow I can really related to the last one. Sounds like really a bad experience but at least you can laugh about it now! (I hope so!) :)

  9. My hubby and I went on a snorkeling adventure in the Keys of Florida. We were told that the jellyfish were rampant in the area but it was safe to go just avoid them, and if they do sting it will be unconfortable but not painful. I grew up with a pool and I was a confident swimmer. We were told not to leave our partners and always be with in arms length. That is just good snorkel safety. Out in the open ocean 30 feet away from the boat, I am mesmorized by the reef, My husband and I are bopping around pointing out fish to each other. Very romantic! Then all the sudden I get water in my snorkel, and my instinct is to grab at something to get my barings. Only there is nothing to grab, I am in the open ocean! I am 30 feet from the boat! I am coughing and I look up and see pink circle Jellyfish to the left and right! I panic freak out and take off for the boat leaving my husband behind. I could feel him grabbing my foot and trying to pull me to the side, in what he later told me was his attempt to save me from the jellyfish school I was swimming towords, but it was too late…. I could feel what seemed like little beestings all down my arm and leg! Epic fail in the romance department!

    1. Oh no! I understand that panic though, and it’s a horrible feeling. I hope you weren’t in too much pain, but now you have a great story!

  10. This post had me smiling knowingly. Travelling is one of the most and one of the least romantic things you can do.
    Living in a campervan with your partner has romantic connotations but in reality you both stink, you’re filthy, you can’t stand to sleep next to eachother because it’s so hot and sweaty you stick together…lovely eh?
    The stingray hickies sounds petrifying!

  11. I share your sentiments about Grand Cayman and not being particularly much to do. Looks like I made the right choice in avoiding Stingray City!

Comments are closed.

I help you experience the best the world has to offer!

Please enter a valid email address.
Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.