7 Date Ideas for Vanlife Couples
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Amber Brooks
Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com and DatingNews.com. She has written in-depth profiles on dating professionals, reviewed dating sites, given dating advice, and covered the latest trends in the dating scene.
17th Jul | 9 min read

Table of Contents

    When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, every facet of life changed in a matter of weeks. The lockdowns caused rippled effects into how we work, shop, socialize, and even vacation. Before being stuck at home, the idea of taking to the open road with a significant other was a pipe dream for many couples and families – and then COVID gave a new generation of intrepid explorers the push to take that trip and embrace #vanlife.

    Now it’s not all that uncommon to hear stories of couples who work remote and choose to live lean from an RV or campervan. Some vans have been DIY projects tackled during lockdown, and others are rented from professionals who trick out vehicles with all types of cubbies, gadgets, and even some comforts of home.

    However you choose to travel, it’s important to have a roadmap laid out with your partner so you know what to expect on your travels and can avoid unwanted surprises and detours along the journey.

    A #vanlife adventure, even if it’s only for a week-long vacation, can give couples a chance to relax and recharge away from the everyday stresses of life. While sitting together in the wilderness, you can be free of civilization’s yolk and remember what’s really important in your relationship. Here are some tips for making the most of your next #vanlife date.

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    1. Plan For Fantastic Photo Moments

    One of the most fun parts of traveling by campervan is all the great photogenic places and moments you can capture along the way.

    Couples can arrange matching outfits to post against the backdrop of the Rocky Mountains or the Great Lakes. They may even want to try some fun couples poses such as one person twirling the other or a classic kissing selfie.

    Be sure to keep your camera or smartphone handy for those spontaneous moments that happen along the way. You never know when a field of flowers, an animal crossing, or just a funny moment with your partner could give you a great photogenic opportunity.

    Some travelers post frequent #vanlifediaries where they share their #wanderlust with others in the #vanlifemovement. It can be fun to engage with people online in this way because it keeps you connected to a community even while #ontheroad.

    2. Binge Watch Shows & Movies Under The Stars

    Couples can put a fun twist on the classic movie date by moving it into the great outdoors. You’ll need to plan ahead with this one by downloading your watch list to your handy mobile device or laptop while you’re in civilization. You can choose the genre and set the tone for your date night. Maybe you want to binge watch “Game of Thrones,” or maybe you have a rom-com or Pixar movie in mind to lighten the mood.

    If you have a projector and a sheet, you can rig up a private drive-in movie experience at your campground. Gather together some pillows and blankets to make the view experience extra cozy.

    And don’t forget to have a treat prepared as well. No need for waiting in long lines at the lobby when you can make your own campfire popcorn, hot dogs, or s’mores.

    3. Always Breakfast in Bed

    What better way to start the day than with breakfast in bed? In a campervan, your bed is probably arms reach from your kitchen, so it’s very doable on a road trip.

    Have some ready-to-go breakfast supplies in the cabinet or fridge for an easy and delightful beginning to your adventure day.

    Couples can reclaim those precious morning moments by snuggling up together in bed with a bowl of cereal and a glass of orange juice. Or perhaps some freshly brewed coffee to get that caffeine kick to fuel you on the drive or the hike.

    Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day because it sets the tone for everything to come. Enjoy that quiet moment and make it a mini date tradition where you can check in with your partner, maybe split a grapefruit or a yogurt, and talk about the plans ahead for that day or week.

    4. Look for Trails Less Traveled

    One of the best parts of taking a significant other on the open road is witnessing the beautiful scenery and landscapes along the way. You’ll probably start with an itinerary and hiking routes mapped out, but don’t hesitate to go off on a side quest or make a detour if you see something interesting on your way to somewhere else.

    Sometimes the most famous bluff and lakes aren’t the ones that make the most impressive sites to visit. You can find a romantic and secluded spot simply by looking for those smaller trails or less busy roadways on the map.

    It’s all about making memories, right? So be present enough to notice those opportunities to create a moment with a loved one. 

    One great idea is to have an endpoint in mind for each day of your trip but to keep the schedule flexible so you can stop for a picnic by a small stream or a photoshoot in a random field of flowers. Let spontaneity be your guide, and you never know what you’ll be able to do and see before the day is done.

    5. Bring Your Pets Too!

    Going on vanlife adventure with your pets along for the ride can make a trip all the better. After all, many couples consider their pets part of the family – their fur babies – so it makes sense not to leave them out of the experience. 

    It’s a good idea if you’re traveling with a pet (or multiple pets) to have a dedicated space for them to nap and relax while in the van. This could be a cozy dog bed, a spacious crate, or even your own lap with a blanket on it if you prefer. The important thing is to make sure they’re comfortable and know where they belong while in their home away from home.

    When you go out on your hiking date, you can take your dog on an extendable and retractable leash to provide plenty of leeway to roam ahead or stay sniffing behind. Larger dogs can even carry supplies for picnics or camping. Some dog harnesses have multiple pockets to allow for carrying water bottles, food bowls, snacks (for humans and pups), and other essentials. 

    Of course, one of the most challenging aspects of traveling on the road with pets is having to make multiple pit stops throughout the day to ensure they don’t have an accident inside. Packing some pee pads for dogs or a litterbox for cats is something to consider. Just ensure those areas have enough ventilation not to disrupt the living space indoors. 

    Remember that many national parks are not animal-friendly – especially those in bear country – so be sure to look up the rules of the campground before you set off on your journey with your furry friend.

    6. Play Car Games Along The Way

    Campervans offer an affordable, flexible, and uniquely mobile way to vacation with loved ones. But it can get boring on the highway and back roads in between must-see destinations. That’s why couples should be prepared with plenty of car games ready to distract, entertain, and perhaps even relieve tension on the road. Those car tips can count as dates too with the right attitude!

    Whether you’re playing the license plate game or I Spy, you can become more conscious of your surroundings and find conversation topics literally all around you with the right car game.

    Some crafty couples prepare ahead of time by putting together unique BINGO cards with things like a cactus or a flat tire to be marked off. But a good car game doesn’t need to be very elaborate. It could be as easy as downloading the FMK app or visiting the 20 Questions website to get inspiration and spark a playful conversation.

    7. Create a Cozy Space for Cuddling

    One of the most stressful parts of a vacation is knowing what to pack, but traveling by campervan makes things easier by providing storage for the essentials as well as some important comforts of home. Most importantly, campervans typically have a mattress bed for getting shut-eye and enjoying cuddle sessions in comfort and safety. Having curtains is also an important amenity because it ensures couples can have their privacy whether they’re in the wilderness or a shopping center parking lot.

    A well-stocked campervan promises an adventure and spontaneity with the added benefit of supplying those creature comforts of home. For a multi-day trip, you’ll have all you need within arm’s reach, so some couples may want to carve out time just for staying in and snuggling up in their shared space. It’s all the best parts of a vacation and staycation rolled into one.

    Seasoned vanlife travelers often comment on how the amenities make all the difference and can turn a cramped road trip into an all-out glamping experience. Modern campervans can include mini fridges, foldout couches, bookshelves, and even a small stove or a shower with running hot water. Couples should discuss which types of modern conveniences they want to have and which they can live without during their travels.

    It’s possible to build a cozy home within that van space, so put your imagination to work and see what you can create with your partner.

    A Romantic Journey Starts With You

    Couples can experience the freedom of life on the road and the joys of finding a hidden spot in the wilderness or on the beach. The #vanlife experience can be enriching for people in a committed relationship. It’s the opportunity to make precious memories together and expand your horizons, one mile at a time.

    During the COVID pandemic, many people have joined the outdoor community of adventurers, romantics, and wanderers. There are campervan rental companies, outdoor guides, and DIY tips to help newcomers to vanlife get the lay of the land before they set off.

    Now memorable holidays and romantic getaways don’t need to involve fancy hotel rooms and sky-high budgets. A campervan vacay can be affordable and stress-free as long as you have a good plan and the right partner to join you on the road. 

    Adventure is out there. And, thanks to the outdoor travel boom during COVID, couples can find more opportunities than ever for #vanlife date adventures. Do your research into rugged places to go and plan an unforgettable journey with that special person in your life. Safe travels!

    Amber Brooks is the Editor-in-Chief at DatingAdvice.com and DatingNews.com. She has written in-depth profiles on dating professionals, reviewed dating sites, given dating advice, and covered the latest trends in the dating scene. Amber's insights have appeared on various media outlets, including the Washington Times

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