Friday, October 22, 2021


7 tips for keeping a happy marriage while RVing

Imagine that you and your partner just got married. You dated for three years, got married, and have now decided to buy an RV and travel the country. Wonderful, right? Absolutely! Until you’re three months in and 300 square feet suddenly seems small… very small.

Do most marriages survive RV living? Well, of course, it depends on the couple, but once couples learn how to maneuver around the small space, and the country, together, married RV life is a wonderful life!

Here are seven things to do for a happy marriage in an RV.

1. Be flexible

Things aren’t always going to go as planned. Sometimes the RV park will have lost your reservation, sometimes there’s an accident up ahead on the highway that may delay you for hours, sometimes the place you drove two hours to will be closed, sometimes it will rain, pour… and sometimes the roof may leak… the list goes on. Remember, you’re in this together. If both partners remain flexible, if you can come up with a good backup plan together, you’ll have smooth travels ahead.

2. Respect personal space

Folks, 300 square feet is small. What happens when your partner is watching TV in the “living room” and you’re trying to read in the bedroom? Well, you’ll probably give up reading and go join them because you can’t concentrate on your book with the noise.

What happens if you’re trying to sleep in but your partner is up at 5 a.m., the coffee pot is gurgling, the bacon is sizzling, the microwave is beeping… yeah. Good luck.

The point being, respect each other’s personal space. Maybe the TV volume can be a bit lower, maybe the bacon can wait… If someone needs some alone time, make sure they have it.

3. Don’t eat beans…

On the subject of personal space, have you ever shared 300 square feet with someone who ate a can of baked beans for dinner? Or Brussels sprouts? Broccoli? Folks, if you want your marriage to last your RV trip, know what magical fruits make you… well, you know, and hold off on those.

4. Packing light… or not…

If you know your wife wants to bring her favorite pair of slippers even though she’s already bringing seven other pairs of shoes… let her. You’re going to have to pick your battles. If she says, “No, no, honey, you’re right. I should leave them behind.” Do her a favor and sneak them into her bag. She’ll be so happy when she learns you’ve brought them along anyway. Just because you’re on the road doesn’t mean doing special things for one another stops.

5. Backing up

If you’ve never gotten into an argument while backing up the rig, you’ve never been RVing with a significant other. It’s bound to happen. Practice your techniques when your RV is parked (whatever those techniques are) and know exactly what your partner is doing back there when they’re waving their arms one way or the other. If you know exactly what your partner means when they’re yelling at you to turn the wheel right but back up left (and watch out for that tree!), you’ll avoid the arguments. You can thank us later.

6. Listen to the GPS

You know how they say men don’t ask for directions? Well, sometimes men don’t listen to the GPS either. Men, if your partner tells you to go one way, just listen and go that darn way. “Backseat drivers” may be annoying, but they’re the ones studying the map, aren’t they? Not to mention the fact that the GPS could be wrong.

7. Watch the gas tank

One sure way to get into an argument? Run out of gas. Again, that “backseat” or “passenger” driver knows if you’re leaving town soon and the next town isn’t for 100 miles (they’ve got the map, remember?). If they say, “How’s the gas tank? The next gas station isn’t for a while.” You’d be smart to fill up if you want to keep the peace.

There are, of course, a hundred and one other things you can do to help your marriage survive your RV trip, or, if you’re extremely brave, full-time RV life. Do you have any suggestions for those just getting started with their partner in an RV? Leave them in the comments below.



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8 months ago

I think neatness or lack thereof is also a source of irritation when RVing. Since space is so limited, knowing you can find things in their assigned spot, especially in the kitchen, plays a significant role in avoiding arguments…

Gordy B
9 months ago

If you are worried about close quarters, how about the standard sleeper with closets on a Peterbilt Tractor. My wife and I spent the first 5&1/2 yrs of marriage and nearly a million miles in one. We had only one argument and I will be the first to admit it was my fault. We also after 26 yrs of marriage spent 27 mo and 220,000 mi delivering RV units. The working yrs in between we were on the road every vacation we could. Our biggest deterrent to a disagreement was “don’t sweat the small stuff”. “I love you” was an everyday occurrence and still is after 31+years. We are retired now and travel is limited due to health. We are proof that travel can be done with a lot of fun. Happy trails!

Betty Danet
9 months ago

Headphones! Either for the TV or Bose for the reader.

9 months ago

No finger pointing if there is a problem!
We concentrate on the solution instead.

9 months ago

As the co-pilot, I can get mixed up with the right or left when on multi-lane freeways (I panic) – why I don’t have the foggiest. We decided to say turn my-side or your-side. If we missed the turn or exit, we keep going until we can go back. And Yes, GPS is not always right – I use my cell google maps as backup. Backing up is getting much better as we watched YOUTube videos on parking signals. Being level is my tipping point – has be level. We have learned to get over it and don’t hold a grudge! Can hardly wait to get on the road again when it’s safe and the border opens!

Chic Sanders
9 months ago

#8 Remember what you pack and where you put it in the coach.

Bob P
9 months ago

I’m sorry if this offends anyone, but my copilot is a passenger only. She doesn’t read maps, look for landmarks unless I ask her to watch for a road name. And yes I do listen to that natural blonde inside the GPS and make wrong turns down roads to nowhere, and then try to figure out how to turn around and go back, at which time she comes alive a tells me I shouldn’t listen to everything she says. But I love her and wouldn’t trade her in for the world and that’s my only complaint about her. I should go back to using what I used for years, a commercial drivers atlas. That tells about low clearances, narrow roads, and bridge weight limits and a bunch of other things to keep you out of trouble.

9 months ago

Could we all please just get over the national farting phobia?!? It’s a normal body function – we all do it. Beans, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cabbage are all very healthy foods, that we should all be eating more of and regularly.

Bob P
9 months ago
Reply to  Beth

Yes you’re right it is a natural occurrence and we all do it, however I try my best to excuse myself for a couple of minutes for relief. I will never forget the time I was standing in line at the grocery store behind this woman dressed in her many layers of head scarfs draped around her and she dropped gas that an elephant would’ve been proud of(loud). I don’t know what her diet consisted of but it had to have been dead for a week, luckily I wasn’t the only person affected by the smell and the line broke up allowing me to escape. After she was gone the cashier said that happens regularly with people like her, so I guess in their society that’s routine to fart when it wants to come out.

9 months ago

If you rely on Google Maps like we do, always use the ‘download offline maps’ mode. Typical google design, this can be hard to find, but you can google for instructions (how to download offline maps).

Anyway, you can navigate, find new routes, get unlost, even with no cell signal. Another nail in the Rand McNally coffin…

Also, remember, keep the phone charged and have 3 methods just in case (engine battery, house battery, usb battery, solar usb battery…).

Dogs and Horses
10 months ago

We have one additional, unbreakable rule. Whomever the cat is sitting on has a free pass until the cat chooses to remove himself. Dishes need washing…”Cat”. Time to vacuum….”Cat”.

RV Staff (@rvstaff)
10 months ago

😆 —Diane at

10 months ago

The only time we got really lost was when the maps on the iPhone went blank. (No signal for several miles). Without a paper map we had the turn by turn directions to go by. Little did we know that the road we were looking for was a loop with two entrances on the hwy. of course we took the wrong one. After several miles I turned left on a road that I thought went to the RV park. Wrong again, got instructions from a pair of hunters in a very off road keep. They told us where to turn around ( did I say that the road became 1 lane). The best part is that we found a working radio telescope in the middle of nowhere. I guess that explains why there was no cell coverage. After our return we got an RV specific GPS. So now the GPS and the iPhone argue with each other as we go down the road.

Ron T.
10 months ago

We don’t have a GPS, but a cell phone & Google maps do come in handy at times. Yes, sometimes there are no bars but I do carry paper maps and generally know where I’m headed anyway. That phone also allows us to arrange a space for the evening. Only a few times have we had to just continue driving for a while before finding a place.

Al and May
10 months ago

We are firm believers in three magic words: the three magic words are in addition to and definitely do not replace the ever popular and very meaningful “I love you” which we use multiple times a day. But the three truly magic words are: “you’re right, dear”….whether said begrudgingly, ruefully, reluctantly, or happily, these three words work magically in making everything all better for us. BTW we travel in a 22ft Class B, so I get lots of practice in using magic words in tight quarters (chuckle…).

Abe Loughin
10 months ago

The gas guage one struck a nerve. I drove many miles for 36 years without ever running out of gas. That came to an end about 8 miles from our first workcamping job when a combination of fatigue, anxiety and just wanting to get to our destination, I never thought to check the guage. 3 plus years later the wife will ask what the fuel situation is when we’ve been on the road for a while.

Gene Bjerke
10 months ago

It appears that the main thing that recommended me to my wife is that I had a motorhome and she loved to travel. We’ve never looked back.

Mike Sherman
10 months ago

If possible, get in your vehicle and leave by yourself for a few hours or the entire afternoon. Give your mate some space, peace and quiet. It works wonders.

10 months ago

Before we retired and went full timing we attended a “Life On Wheels” conference. The first thing they asked was are you married to your best friend. If not then this lifestyle will be very difficult.

10 months ago

We’re still kinda new, but we decided from the beginning to go 50/50 on all the things. One of us drives there, the other home. On arrival/departure day, we trade inside/outside work. I usually cook and he usually does the dishes, but he also finds the best burger/whatever for takeout meals. We both know how everything works. Either of us can take care of everything, if needed.

Neal Davis
10 months ago

I enjoyed reading the list. We lived for 8 months in our RV while overseeing the construction of our house. We had huge advantages — we’d already been married 28 years and were living in 450 square feet, not 300. It still took work, lots of work, by both of us to survive that.

Would add to divide the routine tasks — cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., — and carry out all assignments cheerfully. Also, if the other is having a bad day, then at least temporarily do some extra tasks outside one’s assignments. Marriage is not 50-50, it can vary from 0-100 to 100-0, sometimes in the same day; don’t keep score.

Debra Rohm
9 months ago
Reply to  Neal Davis

I LOVE the last sentence in your post Neal. That is so true and so important. Married 41 years.

10 months ago

You keep referring to the back seat driver & their map. Who uses a map today? Your gps tells you everything you could want to know; how to get where you’re going, the next turn, where to get fuel, your options for lunch or dinner & campgrounds nearby. It even overlays the realtime rain or snow patterns on your map & even gives you live traffic updates. It provides info your partner was never able to do in the past. Your partner is now just along for the ride. They can just sit back & read their Kindle or Skype/ Zoom with the grandkids while you’re rolling down the road. I have a road atlas behind the front seat that I haven’t opened in several years.

Deborah Mason
10 months ago
Reply to  Fred

And sometimes you gps will give you bad guidance. Our first trip with a gps unit we were “practicing” on a known route to get used to it. At one point it wanted us to pass up our turn, drive many miles out of our way & go over a mountain pass instead of a gentle road along the river. We put her “to sleep” for a while. Another time, trying to find a national park unit, it kept landing us at the gate of a sewage treatment plant. Maps are a good back up.

Cassie Ferrier
10 months ago
Reply to  Fred

GPS can definitely be wrong. Ours, the Good Sam from Camping World, has told us numerous times our RV Park is on the opposite side of the road. Caused us one time to try and turn our 43′ Motorhome around on dead end street maneuvering a 4 point turn! I suggest also calling RV Parks ahead of time to get any tricky directions.

10 months ago
Reply to  Fred

As I read this section, I was reminded of a pact we made years ago, even before we RV’d.
When the driver adamantly differs with the navigator, the driver is the captain, has the ultimate decision. We’d rather a U-turn than an accident.

10 months ago
Reply to  Fred

My “RV GPS” cost me a roof-mounted TV antenna. We were following its directions in Oceanside CA that led to a dead-end canyon containing Interstate 5. Picking our way through a maze of residential surface streets, we passed under an overhanging tree limb. It was not feasible to back up so I eyeball-guesstimated the height, crossed my fingers & passed under. The immediate whack & thump-thump-thump-thump-thump sounds from the roof told us I had chosen poorly. The limb had sheared off the antenna. About $150 later we had TV again

9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

Fred, hello, this thread is somewhat old so I don’t know if you will get this. Or if I will get your reply, so

Anyway, what map program are you using, specifically for the weather overlays? I get all the things you listed but I have to skip around about 4 apps to do it, and thats annoying and can be confusing.

Let me see Google Maps (planning, driving directions, traffic, restaurants, poi)


Road Conditions / weather – the links on RV Travel

Campgrounds/dumpstations/rest stops & overnights – RV Parky & Allstays Web

Thanks looking for suggestions to streamline & improve…!

Debra Rohm
9 months ago
Reply to  Fred

I am a map GEEK. I love looking at them and when we leave for a big trip I already have a proposed route highlighted on each state map. The roads may vary a bit depending on bridge heights, road types, etc for THAT we depend on the RV GPS.