A Not-So-Romantic Vacation

October 23rd, 2014

As a Marriage Counselor, I often advise couples to get away for a “romantic vacation” – just some time alone, together. I tell couples that they need to “invest in their relationship.”  After reading the following story, I am reconsidering that advice.  😉

Dr. Randy Chatelain


A Not-So-Romantic Vacation

My husband and I had a long weekend off together so we decided to plan a quick trip to California for a last hurrah of summer. My husband, being the financial planner, immediately booked some cheap flights and researched a two-man camper to rent. He thought it would be so beneficial having a car and hotel in one! He showed me his awesome plan.  At first I was a skeptic but soon my thoughts turned to a romantic weekend alone together in our own little camper.    After reading through all the reviews I agreed to book it for our trip. The weekend finally arrived and we made the flight to California.


As we were exiting the plane we got a call from the owners of the romantic vehicle and they informed us that there was a slight problem with the battery so if we wanted we could just get a refund and not take it. Or we could still try it out and if it broke down anywhere they would come rescue us. Since we had made all our plans around driving and sleeping wherever we ended up, it was a risk we were willing to make….. And then it got worse.

The owner explained to us that to avoid battery issues with the camper we should probably avoid using any power other than the car. So no toilet, shower, fridge, sink, or air conditioning. My next thought from this point was well at least we could camp by the beach with a camp fire and wake up to the sound of romantic waves.  The owner then explained that no camping is allowed by the beach and camping can only be done at an RV park which would be $60.00 dollars a night. Yes that would be in addition to the cost of renting the camper. So my husband decided we could just stay over nights parked in neighborhoods to keep cost down.



This is where my vacation turned not so romantic but my husband’s budget-saving adventure was just getting started.


Once we had the camper and we started to drive, we realized that California is not so flat, that the hills are really big, and how fast one can go down! At one point, the camper actually died half way up a hill and we both started to panic. Luckily it restarted and we were able to turn back down the hill.  Parking to eat out — forget about it, let alone trying to do it in a camper! It took almost 45 minutes to park everywhere we went. Trying to find a grocery market in the city was a little nuts, but we had decided to save on buying food during the day so we could go out for dinners. Lacking electricity, we had to turn the camper’s fridge into a cooler.  We continually bought ice, and laid towels down because it was a stand up cooler that drained on its own. That led to rotating soaked towels so they didn’t mildew and stink up the camper. No, stinking up the camper was due to my husband’s convenient use of the toilet in the mornings with a bottle of emergency water to wash it down.  We had a pass to the YMCA for showering.

I didn’t get any sleep the whole trip.  Since we were sleeping in neighborhoods and I was so hot without air conditioning, I wore next to nothing.  I was not willing to open the windows because I was wearing next to nothing! I ended up so grumpy in the mornings and near a meltdown. Interestingly, my husband was always able to sleep and wake with a smile every morning. To cheer me up, he would make me laugh while we ate our slightly warm milk and cereal by telling stories of awful family vacations in Africa. He was so happy knowing that we were doing these great things during the day and saving money at the same time. It’s hilarious to think about because this trip was painful and amusing all in one. The trip actually ended up good because we did all the fun tourist stuff, took lots of pictures, and had great food but maybe next time I’ll tread more cautiously. ~Victoria


*Dr. Randy Chatelain is a Marriage & Family Therapist, popular speaker, and a member of the Utah Marriage Commission.