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Old 05-25-2014, 07:05 AM   #1
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Interstate Economics

Has anyone worked up the true cost of ownership of a new (or late model) Interstate?

Just back of the envelope, I conservatively estimate annual costs around:
- $10,000 depreciation
- $10,000 opportunity cost of $150,000 capital tied up in the RV
- $3,000 insurance, maintenance, parking/storage & misc stuff one buys for an RV (not gas)

So, for $23,000/yr one could rent a 30 foot Class C from CruiseAmerica.com for at least a 100 nights ($150/night + 0.34/mile).

Benefits of owning:
- dedicated rig, with full time access from where it is stored
- options to customize
- leave your stuff in the RV all the time
- use 365 day/yr if you want

Benefits of renting:
- no time spent maintaining, cleaning, or furnishing
- no headaches or worries about the rig
- different and potentially newer rig every time you rent
- probably cheaper for 90% of users since so few camp >100 days/year

How do you all justify the cost? Is everyone here retired and living in the Interstate? Why deal with all the ownership headaches?

Thanks,

Jack
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:14 AM   #2
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It's a lifestyle. One has to make a decision if it's for you or not. It was easy to financially justify my old $14,000 SOB (1993 dollars). The family saw virtually the whole country in that trailer and it paid for itself over and over through the years. After 25 years of trailering, it was in our blood. Evenings around a fire outdoors just began to have a value greater than the economics. We didn't have to get an expensive AS, but it's how we want to spend our retirement.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:32 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by jack69ph View Post
How do you all justify the cost? Is everyone here retired and living in the Interstate? Why deal with all the ownership headaches?
I don't justify the cost. If everything had to be cost-effective, no one would own a bass boat, either. By the time you compute the costs associated with a fast recreational fishing boat, those fish you catch are the most expensive you'll ever eat.

It's the same with an Airstream Interstate. Get it because you want it and can afford it, and consider it an expensive hobby rather than an investment.

Here are some intangibles that make owning an Interstate better than renting a CÖ
1 - Driving the same RV every time is safer than having to learn a new vehicle's handling every time you take a trip. And a Mercedes Sprinter has superior handling to begin with! What was that you said about no headaches or worries about the rig with a rental?
2 - The camaraderie of belonging to not one, but two exclusive groups, Airstream owners and Sprinter B-van owners. Instant friendship when you meet each other in a campground.
3 - using it as a daily driver when you're not camping because it will fit in many parking spaces if you have the chance to back in. I've taken mine to work on multiple occasions. Just try that with a rental Class C! That one's a tangible benefit as well, because if you spread the cost over each day of use, and not just each day of camping, the cost per day comes way down.
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Old 05-25-2014, 07:59 AM   #4
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How much economic sense do more than half of the decisions most Americans make?

Do you NEED THAT house or THAT car?

The American economy is dependent on frivolous spending, but the economy is not my responsibility.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:36 AM   #5
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It is a choice, and one that some of us love.

A very economical way to travel, that lets you go almost anywhere. Your house is on your back, with all of your needs met....wherever you are.

I am not aware of anyone who fulltimes in a B-Van, but we did trips of 3-4 months at a stretch, and had the time of our lives.

What's not to love, or hard to justify?



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Old 05-25-2014, 08:38 AM   #6
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The American economy is dependent on frivolous spending, but the economy is not my responsibility.
I don't consider my Airstream to be "frivolous spending."

I've known too many people who died within a year of retirement because they didn't know what to do with themselves after they quit work. I don't intend to be one of them, so my Airstream will be my retirement plan, for maintaining my sanity and my life.
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Old 05-25-2014, 08:42 AM   #7
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It wasn't a slam at all.

I was simply pointing out in my own way that most all of our choices are beyond simple utility and a spartan existence.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:14 AM   #8
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Met a man at a KOA in Asheville with a rental class c. He rented it on the east coast, already 3 blow outs which he had to handle himself and then put a claim in later to the rental co. He said they had to clean it themselves after discovering unsanitary conditions in the bathroom and kitchen. He was also worried about the bed. If you own it, you know who cleaned it and most importantly who got it dirty and how! Rental? Not a chance for me. I would rather rent a car and get a first class motel.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:15 AM   #9
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We knew it wasn't a great financial decision to buy ours, but we bought it anyway.

Why? Because we can afford it. And, because we too, have seen too many friends and aquaintances (SP?) die suddenly or suddenly become disabled due to accidents and diseases. So, we decided to stop dreaming about it, and to just do it.

And, we wanted our own, not a rental, so that we could do whatever we want with it, whenever we want.
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:31 AM   #10
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Camping is really a hobby. Traveling around seeing the country and being able to afford it is the primary interest. Naturally you could pack a tent and go even with less $$$ but this is doing it in comfort (in a camper/trailer). Like any hobby, costs become justified; however, being a wise shopper is still permitted!
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Old 05-25-2014, 09:40 AM   #11
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Huh, What?
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:12 AM   #12
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If we looked at costs on everything, why would we get married???? Rentals are cheaper.
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Old 05-25-2014, 11:25 AM   #13
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And, let's not forget those guys who recently found a DEAD BODY in the storage compartment on their rental RV!!!!!! That alone should be motivation to not crunch the numbers!
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Old 05-25-2014, 03:35 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack69ph View Post
Has anyone worked up the true cost of ownership of a new (or late model) Interstate?

Just back of the envelope, I conservatively estimate annual costs around:
- $10,000 depreciation
- $10,000 opportunity cost of $150,000 capital tied up in the RV
- $3,000 insurance, maintenance, parking/storage & misc stuff one buys for an RV (not gas)

So, for $23,000/yr one could rent a 30 foot Class C from CruiseAmerica.com for at least a 100 nights ($150/night + 0.34/mile).

Benefits of owning:
- dedicated rig, with full time access from where it is stored
- options to customize
- leave your stuff in the RV all the time
- use 365 day/yr if you want

Benefits of renting:
- no time spent maintaining, cleaning, or furnishing
- no headaches or worries about the rig
- different and potentially newer rig every time you rent
- probably cheaper for 90% of users since so few camp >100 days/year

How do you all justify the cost? Is everyone here retired and living in the Interstate? Why deal with all the ownership headaches?

Thanks,

Jack
Welcome to the Airforums.

I guess you got your answer(s). The only time I could see that it might make sense to rent would be to help make the decision on whether to buy one or not. But as many issues as we as owners have crop up, I wouldn't want to chance renting one regularly that I had no idea of its maintenance history or unfixed issues.

Surprised no one mentioned that your post could be regarded as a promo for the aforementioned website.
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