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but it's easy to let them absorb all your free time

Finding Private Time As RVing Parents

How the “full-time RV family” life will ruin your marriage, if you let it…

To make private time as RVing parents, steal small moments of affection when you can, like a warm hug in the middle of doing chores.

With every shiny, perfect YouTube video of family RV life, there’s an untold story of sacrifice and compromise. This is usually in the name of the parents sacrificing and compromising their own mental health, and their relationship as a couple. It’s hard to find private time as RVing parents!

Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing more and more families enjoying this lifestyle! They all seem to have stumbled on researching this lifestyle for the same reason we did 5 years ago, and all of the knowledge available to them through articles and YouTube videos is much more than it used to be back when we first started looking. As amazing as this lifestyle can be, the ups and downs can take a toll on relationships. Here’s how we juggle the fun of RV life with the reality of RVing with our kids.

Kids are wonderful, but it's easy to let them absorb all your free time, leaving minimal time for your partner.

If you let it, this lifestyle will steal away your Date Night.

The aforementioned sacrifice is justifiable in my opinion. If you are like us and have lived this life for any amount of time, you know why. We love the time it affords us to spend as a family and the adventure we get to seek; we wouldn’t trade it for anything!

However, in our first year of RVing, we had a serious problem brewing, and it’s one that I think any couple (not just RVers and not just parents) are subject to suffer if they’re not diligent. We didn’t go on a real date night for close to a year or longer when we first started RVing. Even now, after realizing it’s a problem, I can still count on one hand how many “real” date nights we get in a year. I believe there are a lot of factors involved, but RV life (and probably our own negligence) is to blame for completely forgetting our responsibility to each other.

I believe this life only amplifies problems that can exist in “normal” life. The nice part about the problem being amplified is it speeds up how quickly you notice something is not quite right.

Get creative with your private time as RVing parents.

If you’re expecting a babysitter to just show up at your door you might be waiting for a while! If you’re lucky, you’ll find RVing friends who are happy to swap childcare, allowing you a night out in exchange for watching both your and their kids another time so they can go out.

Even so, you have to be willing to take control of the problem. That means being deliberate about planning 1 on 1 time, setting aside private time for you as parents. You can’t just keep waiting for the perfect scenario. Talk with your significant other about it and maybe you can brainstorm some ideas for your needs.

A tray of cheese with a glass of wine is a great way to have a simple date night with your co-parent.

Are you just not creative and are in need of some ideas?

  • Wine and Cheese Night After the kids are asleep and all done whining, you can take some time with your significant other and enjoy some wine-ing yourselves!
  • Night Out(side your RV) After those littles have gone to sleep you can escape to outside your RV and just that little bit of separation is enough to make it feel like more of a date night.
  • Book a Plane Ticket Go check out prices on flights for that family member that might have the time to come fly out for a weekend so you can earn yourself a real proper date night.
  • Trade “Date Nights” with Another RVing Family I can only recommend this one if you have complete trust in the safety and wellbeing of your children while you’re gone. If you think you might be a little too worried while on your date, it’s just not worth it, and I recommend trying something else.
  • Just Bring the Kids If you don’t already go on family date nights, I suggest that as step one. You’re a family after all, and you can still work on your relationship with your significant other with “distractions” because that’s how important you are to each other. Other RVing parents have shared some of their favorite family-friendly games here, great for family date nights!
  • Go Visit with Family Confession from a 3+ year full-time RV family: We love when we go visit family and can get away for a proper date night by leaving the kids with family or friends! But, we simply don’t have that luxury all of the time.

To make private time as RVing parents, steal small moments of affection when you can, like a warm hug in the middle of doing chores.

Steal those “little moments” without hesitation.

In any family’s life, there are moments during the day where the parents can seize the opportunity to steal a kiss, or a long embrace, because if you don’t… those moments slip away. I’d say a high majority of our 1 on 1 time, now that we have two kids, is in these stolen moments. And they’re so important!

If you’re ignoring these kinds of moments, you’re missing out on some premium private time as RVing parents. I know sometimes these moments aren’t even about physical touch. Sometimes it’s a quick conversation, or a lustful glance, but regardless of what it is, the important thing is that we take the time for each other.

Sometimes it’s even necessary to do a little “situational engineering” and get those kids distracted with a good book or a favorite movie of theirs to buy you some time to be a couple again.

It’s important not to feel guilty or selfish when doing this. You’re doing it for your well-being which translates to the well-being of your whole family! We lead by example after all, and someday I hope all the focus we place on mental health will pay off in some well adapted adults. When Rikki and I can finally claim that, it’ll be our kids turn!

Looking for more advice on finding those moments of joy in each day? This article from fellow Xscapers Katherine Larson may help. 

You are NOT ALONE!

This is not a problem exclusive to just you or me, I promise! It’s not even exclusive to RVers or couples with kids. This is something that I have noticed so many people neglect, and my happiest of friends are the ones who have figured it out and are now doing it right! They’re still dating each other, they still have that spark, and they’re determined to never lose it!

When it really comes down to it, all you need to be is committed to each other, and you can improve the frequency of your date nights!

You might be asking “How often should we be going out?” right now.

Well, my parents set a great standard. They have for 10+ years now guaranteed themselves at least one date night a week, and in my humble opinion I think their immense happiness and love for each other can be attributed to this.

So go step up your date night game and love each other!

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Finding Private Time As RVing Parents 1
Finding Private Time As RVing Parents 2


Andrew & Rikki Pullen

Andrew, Rikki and Harper have been traveling full time for almost 2 years. After Harper was born in 2016, unhappy with the long work hours and time away from family, Andrew found full-time RVing. Their time traveling together has completely transformed them and their family dynamic and they never plan to return to a “normal life”. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram @pullenontheroad.

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