Ask the Fit RV: How Can I Make My Spouse Like RVing?

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Hi gang! Here’s an interesting dilemma that seems to come up every so often with RVing couples. See if you can relate:

Dear Stef,

I always had it in my head that once my spouse and I retired, we’d hit the road. Even though we are a few years from retirement, we ended up buying our first rig almost a year ago now so we’d be all set once we finally decided to retire. Problem is, my spouse hasn’t taken to the RV at all. It’s actually gotten worse over this past year, and at this point she’s completely uninterested in doing any road trips. Any suggestions on how to convince her to like RVing?


Desperately Seeking Adventure (with my wife!)


Dear Desperately Seeking Adventure,

The root of your spouse’s distaste for RVing most likely stems from her aversion to The Discomfort Zone. I wrote about that recently and its impact on our life choices. I’m sure if I could ask her what specifically she dislikes about RVing, all her reasons would boil right down to comfort, or lack thereof. Since I don’t have any specifics, I’ll try my best on this one!

Talk to her.  If you want to convince your spouse to like RVing, start with an open and honest and non-judgmental conversation so you can learn what she dislikes. Once you have a clear understanding of her reasons for disliking RV trips, you’ll be better equipped to find solutions to the things that are causing her negative feelings towards RVing.

Create an environment in the RV that makes her more comfortable. This depends on her preferences but here are some examples of what I mean. Change the RV bedding or mattress so she’s excited to get to sleep in the RV each night. Have things like a portable fan or heated auto blanket handy to help her regulate her temperature. Does she have a favorite show she hates missing on the road? Get her an iPad with wifi so she never misses out. If she can take along many of her comforts she enjoys at home, she might be more amenable to time in the RV.

Analyze whether your rig meets your style of RVing. You didn’t say what type of RV you have, but perhaps a big part of the problem is the rig itself. So maybe you’re in a van and she hates the “cramped” feeling. Or you’re in a huge Class A and she dislikes driving along in such a big rig. Or a 5th wheel, and she dreads the stress of setting it up and breaking camp. If during your “talk”, she lets on anything about the rig itself, perhaps you both need to evaluate whether swapping your rig for one more appropriate for your style of RVing might be worth considering.

Plan the tempo and destinations of your trips around things that appeal to her. Do you have grandkids cross country? Does her sister live a few states over? Getting to see loved ones she doesn’t see often might make your spouse much more interested in taking a trip. As for the tempo, perhaps she prefers shorter stops and would enjoy moving along more frequently (or vice versa). Talk to her about her preferences, and brainstorm destinations that would excite her.


And finally, while I hope she’ll eventually grow to love RVing as much as you do, in reality she may never totally take to RVing. Even though we can encourage  and suggest, we can really never change another person…we can only adapt and change ourselves. And in this case, perhaps that means you should try a solo RV trip. It’s actually quite healthy to learn to love spending time alone with just ourselves for company. Who knows, once the pressure’s off her and you’re out on your own adventures, maybe she’ll meet you halfway. Maybe the next trip, she’ll be ready.

Health and Happiness,



After 15 years as an educator in both the public K-12 setting and the University level in Special Physical Education, Stef made the leap to her true passion… the fitness world. She’s currently a personal trainer and wellness coach specializing in seniors, medical conditions, and injuries. Stef loves running, cycling, and being “Mugga” to her two favorite mini-humans — Punky and Marshmallow. ❤️

    22 thoughts on “Ask the Fit RV: How Can I Make My Spouse Like RVing?

    1. Martin H.

      Sorry – your points when it comes to me are not even close. My wife loves it, and I don’t. I did it for more than 20 years and my complaints are simple:
      1. It is LOTS of work for me each time. I’ve done everything from Class C units to the small popups to 5th wheels to class A. No matter what – it is lots of work for me. I really just don’t enjoy that. Getting there, setting up, cramped quarters, limitations on what one can do and so forth.
      2. Money – RVs are holes in the air I have to throw money at. The only thing I get lots of in return is more work to do. Upkeep, cleaning, payments…. No thanks.
      3. I’ve been to 34 states and Canada. I’ve done every type of camping imaginable from just a sleeping bag in the open to RV park to being on a mountain pass in a tent. I’m no spring chicken anymore so that part of my life is done and I have other things I like to do with my time.

      I appreciate your article and it may help some folks but not everyone. Think of it like this – RVing is a peach. It may be the sweetest, perfectly ripe, and just picked peach that would make someone very happy. Some people however just don’t like peaches.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Yep, I totally get it. It’s not for everyone, and you certainly can’t make someone like peaches when they just don’t. But! Sometimes we make concessions for our partners… when something is important to them, we find ways to tolerate it and support their interests. So! Think of the article like this: It gives RV-disliking readers who have RV-loving spouses ideas on how they can tolerate it more, for the sake of their partner. Depending on how motivated you are to get on board with your spouse’s interest, these strategies may or may not work. But for those willing, it’s certainly worth a try.

      2. Jerry Casaday

        I’ve had every sort of miserable tent-camping experience from spending multiple days and nights in Florida and Georgia swamps in infernally hot and steamy mosquito hell to tent-camping on the beach with sand blowing sideways every day of every stay. I’ve been eaten by sand-fleas, no see-ums, wasps, spiders and, did I mention mosquitoes?
        How could RV camping possibly be more uncomfortable? If it costs me as much as maintaining my traditional home-with-mortgage, at least I’ll be mobile and pick more sensible places to camp than my friends and family always have.

    2. nj

      I can relate to the wife. My idea of retirement was to travel in an SUV/hotel it around the country. I’m in RV hell. My anxiety level is through the roof in our RV. You have all the issues of home maintenance combined with mechanical issues of a vehicle. Not my idea of relaxation-too much to worry and think about. Then there’s the RV campgrounds and your neighbors-yuck! Don’t care for the concept-very old minded retirees and rednecks with rowdy kids. Don’t like the close proximity to people I don’t care about or want to know. Boondocking as an answer is way to scary for me. I love to travel but RV’ing is not for me. Unfortunately no matter what you do she’ll never buy in to it and I’m right there with her. It’s just not for everyone.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        I really appreciate this perspective from a non-RV-lover, thanks for your comment! Honestly, lots of the things you listed, I don’t like about RVing either! But with anything we do in life there’s good and bad; challenges and perks. Nothing of value in life comes without trade-offs and even a little discomfort. The question is, do the perks outweigh the challenges? Sounds like for you they don’t, and likely never will. For us, they most definitely do! And there’s no right or wrong here, it’s all personal preference. May you have incredible hotel/SUV adventures! xoxo

      2. Michelle Harwell

        Thank you for this post. You are talking about me, same sentiments, hrs on the road, the ride is rough. Pulling a 35 ft travel trailer, hate RV parks!
        We are retired and into this for the last year, after last trip told Hubby no more!
        We traveled prior all over in car, beautiful condos, trips to Europe, cruises, and now it’s that stupid RV.
        He won’t go by himself, asking him to sell it will probably make him resentful.
        What’s a Gal to do?

    3. Don Thompson

      Wife wants A. I want B. We agreed to do some of each. (I’m hoping for 50/50 on time, but don’t expect it.) We, and our relatives live in the east. I love things in the west, especially national parks. We took one trip where I drove out and back and she flew west and back home in the middle. We both liked being alone for a week. Too bad she missed the black hills including Mt. Rushmore on my way back home. Now, she no longer wants to fly.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Thanks, Nancy! I’ve had this conversation enough times and gathered enough tips from couples who’ve gone through it that it was an easy one for me to write!!!

    4. Karen

      Love the article. You actually pointed out some great ideas and suggestions on how to overcome obstacles. Great job. My only other suggestion to the couple is if they’ve been married long enough to each other to reach retirement age, they should be able to overcome how to rv together. Our biggest issue was and continues to be getting there. I get so nervous in heavy construction traffic so in order to overcome the issue, I just get up and move to a side couch and lie down until we get through the city traffic. The upshot, there is always something to work out if you try hard enough.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Karen thanks so much for this insight. You’re spot on. Even James and I, who both love RVing, have to make compromises. Take our current beach trip, James hates sand, I love it. Still, he’s here because he knows it’s my favorite RV destination. Give and take is inevitable with RV couples. Thanks for pointing that out!

    5. Eric Eltinge

      Just took my wife to KOA Mendocino CA. They had Father’s Day wine tasting, pancake breakfast, and 7th NBA game party. Wife enjoyed with daughter visiting. Now at Klamath River CA campground with DIRECTV and furnace blasting. Just had gin and tonics by fire pit. She seems happy, and bulldog curled up nearby. Just keep trying everything!

      1. Stefany - Post author

        So glad she’s enjoying your trip! Way to go Eric, sounds like you’ve identified her needs, incorporated tons of things that make her happy, and it worked! May you two have many many years of RV adventures ahead. So happy for you!

    6. Rocky

      I don’t know why but as I read your comments all I could hear in my head was Tammy Wynette singing “Our D-I-V-O-R-C-E becomes final today”

      1. Stefany - Post author

        LOL Rocky, I sing that to James all the time so you were probably just hearing me sing it. 😉

    7. Larry

      It may also be *how* you take your RV trips. My SO loves wilderness and would hate going from RV park to RV park. Yours may be the opposite. Some people like long drives, others hate them.

      More than anything, I think everyone hates to be left out when it comes to planning a vacation. RV or not, don’t plan a trip for her. Plan it with her.

      1. Stefany - Post author

        Yes, Larry! Great points, thanks for bringing them up. The HOW is everything in RVing, most definitely. And including your spouse in the planning gives them a little ownership and responsibility in how the trip will go. That’s a great way to up the “like” factor!


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