When my husband and I set off on a seven-week road trip in our new-to-us motorhome late last summer, we had our concerns. Chief among mine was whether I’d get tired of so much togetherness — eating, working, sleeping, and traveling 24/7 in a 280-square-foot space.
Spoiler alert: I didn’t. Turns out, I fell more in love with my spouse after traveling with him in our RV from Colorado to Maine and back. We had our share of mishaps (more on that below), but still our marriage survived — and thrived.
Along the way, I also fell more in love with my home country. We saw amazing natural wonders on our journey through 23 different states. The experience of witnessing exquisite sunrises and sunsets, hiking through national parks, and rolling through small towns just made me want more.
Similarly, as a gal who vowed several years ago never to camp in a tent again, I became enamored with the concept of camping in an RV. I loved our cozy home on wheels, not only because it was our happy place to return to after a day of exploring a new locale on foot, but because it allowed us to cover a lot of ground in a little time. And since my husband was the sole driver, I was able to admire the ever-changing scenery from the comfort of my passenger seat as BB (“Beige Bettie”) the RV cruised along.
So in all senses of the word “romantic” — whether in terms of feeling love for my spouse or “the emotional appeal of what is adventurous, mysterious, or idealized” — traveling via camper absolutely fits the bill.
Here are just a few reasons why I think RV road trips are the most romantic way to travel.
My Spouse And I Are A Team
On our multiweek RV trips, my husband Quent and I are each other’s lone companion (except for a few stops to visit friends and family along the way). It’s the two of us against the world, and to make our RV travels work, we remember — always — to have each other’s back.
Also, we split up duties. I take the lead in keeping the interior of the RV clean, and I’m chief navigator and campground booker (RV Parky is my favorite app for finding campgrounds). Quent handles all the driving, the setting up and tearing down at campgrounds (e.g., hooking up electrical, water, and sewer), and any mechanical issues.
The trip couldn’t happen with either of us slacking on our tasks, so it feels good for both of us to be contributing to the success of our adventure. Plus, there’s something super sexy about a man who will readily empty your black tank, has no problem figuring out why the heat went out, and can back a 32-foot motorhome into a narrow campsite on the first try. (Trust me, it’s hot.)
We Refine Our Communication Skills
Keeping communication lines open is Marriage 101. Indeed, talking things out — all the time — helps us ensure we are both on the same page and in good spirits throughout our RV trips.
There have been times when we failed at communicating. For example, once I got angry when I felt Quent was rushing me out of a campground, but I hadn’t let him know the check-out time was noon, not 11:30 a.m.
Another time, he moved my phone in its set spot from the front of the RV to the back without letting me know (silly, but I like things in their proper places!). Sometimes I forget to put the Happy Campers disinfectant in the toilet (this is key to a sweet-smelling RV!).
So when we’re camping in our RV, we focus on overcommunicating: “I moved your phone” and “Did you Happy Campers the toilet?” and “Check-out is at noon” are a few of the many logistical comments and questions we share with one another during the day. This keeps us from a) making mistakes and b) bugging each other.
We’re also constantly checking in to confirm we’re both enjoying ourselves on the trip: “Do we really have time for that side trip?” or “Are you game for another hike, or do you need to take time to do some work?” We’re always making our needs known and opening ourselves up to flexibility in our schedule to prevent any resentment or unhappiness from settling in.
Communication is key in any partnership, and RV trips allow for plenty of opportunities to connect — in many more ways than one. (Cue the Barry White tunes.)
We’re Reminded Often Of The Importance Of Forgiveness
There are a lot of characteristics that go into a healthy partnership, including the ability to forgive readily. This can be put to the test daily (sometimes hourly!) on an RV road trip.
As I mentioned, I’m in charge of navigating on the road — mapping out our plans for getting from point A to point B. And more than once, I totally screwed up on the job. One time, I guided our RV onto a back road, thinking it would be faster than going a longer highway route. Big mistake! The bumpy dirt road meant we traveled at about 15 miles per hour, tacking on time.
Another day, I brought us to a city road riddled with potholes so deep they knocked our bikes off the rack on the back of the RV, shattering a headlight on the Jeep we were towing. (Oops.)
But my screwups elicit from my husband the mantra we often used when our kids were young: “It’s okay. Everyone makes mistakes.” He could have flown off the handle when I accidentally navigated us north for miles when we were supposed to be going south, but his patient response — “No big deal. We’re not in a hurry.” — just made me love him even more.
Waking Up In New Places Adds To The Anticipation And Mystery
The focus of our RV road-trip itineraries has been on visiting locations we’ve never been to before. (I want to see all the national parks in the continental United States!) We’ve generally been on a time frame, needing to end our RV trips on a certain date, so we don’t linger too long in one place.
I find it exciting every single time we pull into a new campground. What will it look like? Who will our neighbors be? And I wake up with excitement every morning. What will today’s adventures bring?
The places we’ve overnighted on our RV road trips — from a North Dakota Walmart parking lot to an upscale California RV resort to a Kentucky distillery — have been so incredibly varied. Each spot is so different that I’m waking up to a novel view outside my front door nearly every single day.
RV Travel Is About The Journey
Train travel is alluring for a reason. You can sit back and let someone else do the driving while you admire the passing countryside through big windows. Being a passenger in an RV is similar.
Though I do need to keep an eye on the navigation app, I get to gaze out our rig’s front and side windows to see sprawling hayfields whiz by. We’ve driven right through downtown Chicago and across New York City’s Throgs Neck Bridge. We’ve climbed high mountain passes, skirted the Atlantic Ocean, made our way through deserts dotted with giant cacti — and I had a front-seat view of the glory all along the way.
Watching the countryside pass by makes RV adventures much more about the journey. That said, as romantic as it is to regularly hit the road, not knowing what’s around the next corner, settling into a campground and relaxing with a glass of wine and a cheese plate while listening to the murmurings of neighbors (or next-door cows mooing!) is wonderfully comforting as well.
My husband and I have learned that RV travel suits us. It’s certainly not all sunshine and rainbows, but togetherness on the road — when it’s just he and I, working as a team, exploring our beautiful country — has brought us closer. Investing in a motorhome is one of the best things we could have done for our marriage, and I can’t wait to get out there in BB the RV again soon.
Inspired to travel by RV? Here’s some further reading: