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Old 11-07-2006, 10:01 AM   #21
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randjg1---Reading your post brings back many memories. "Been there done that" several times over the years. Wife and I now retired with our family grown, even the grand children. I can tell you first hand that the stress of payments ,deciding what type of trailer you need, filling water tanks and keeping batterys charged, coming home late sunday only to have to get ready for work the next day, backing in a campsite late friday after dark with two hungry kids ,etc is all insignificant compared to the memorys we have of our times with our boys as they grew up. ---pieman
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Old 11-13-2006, 11:51 PM   #22
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Mike, your post sounds quite like my mindset for sure. Were you in an airstream back in the day with your kids growing up? Many posts concerning the choice of a 19ft being too small has me second guessing myself. I suppose i could go a bit larger and maybe just maybe go with a safari with stainless interior. But then how big do i really need to go then? I know we could fit in the 75th anniversary 19 right now but, for how long? Then possible send the boys to a tent outside except for bad weather. I am curious how you did what i intend to do. Thanks to you all for continuing this thread. All the point of views help. --RandJG1
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Old 11-14-2006, 12:31 AM   #23
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Randjg1,
There are times when I post too much and am possibly too free with my opinions, and times when I wonder if adding another opinion will just muddy the water.
This is one of those times.
Do I think you can be happy in a 19' Bambi? Yes. Stephroberts and others have proven that.
Do I have concerns about 2 growing kids? yes, especially given the fact that you mentioned a 15 year note. IMO you will not have a 19' trailer for 15 years with 2 growing kids, but you might. Who knows.
My first A/S (after a couple of SOBs and a camper/pickup combo) was a 25' Safari. That worked out well with 3 kids and would recommend it to anyone. My current trailer is a 21' trailer and with just my wife and I in there most of the time it works, but the extra 4 feet would be nice at times. We now have a wet bath, the 25' had a decent shower.
I'm NOT trying to talk you into or out of anything, just some things to think about. The decision is ultimately yours, and I truly think you will have a ball in either one.
And the intimidation is short lived as far as batteries, etc.
Good luck, you're smart to ask the questions up front.
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Old 11-14-2006, 07:26 AM   #24
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If you camp 2x a season, and you have $$ to burn, get the 75th.

In 2003, we made a similar decision and went with a 19' Bambi. It was cute, better than tenting or other RVs and our car could in fact tow it.

One year later we moved to a 25' Safari.

The 19' Bambi was a great little unit. But that was just it, a great LITTLE unit.

Two folks and a dog at the time and we were fairly cramped.

I seem to recall skimming this thread and the suggestion may have come up, buy a great used 25', or a great newer used unit. I think that suggestion, regardless of which way you go with the size is the most sound advice you could get. Either way if you make payments you'll be able to write off any interest since it's considered a second home. The issue though is that the major depreciation hit will already have been taken off a good used unit. Want proof, take a look at the Airstream website and see what the MSRP is (even with say a 19% negoit off list). The go to NADA and take a look at what last years model and the year before that are going for. The only ones I've seen hold their value longer are the slide outs, but even they too loose their value, only slower from what I've seen.

Bottom line, look at a good newer pre-owned Airstream. You may be able to get more for you $$$ and since you may only go 2x a year, seems like a better choice. Now again, if you have $$$ to burn, go for it, but you may see some space limitations of a 19, with more than 2 people.
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:17 AM   #25
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Can you get to a rally? It sure would be great if you and the family could go and sit in a similar sized unit and spend some time in a real camping situation.

Have the four of you sat in the bambi with the door closed for a good amount of time? Have you tried to mimick your daily activities, one in bed, one at the sink, now kids getting up waiting for the bathroom. Have you passed each other in the aisle? It may seem silly but we went to the dealers and spent as much time as we could inside the unit. It's one thing to see the units all decked out in all its finery with no one inside and another thing to see all your stuff inside that same space and need to ask others to sit or move to accomplish your routine tasks. The smaller the unit the more imperative to keep things in their place. The more convertability the more transfer of bedding and gear from one place to another (X4)

I wonder if you could do a poll and see how many bambi owners buying new kept their units for what length of time. Many smaller unit owners trade up in size shortly.

If you love it and it fits get it. The 15 year part would make me nervous. New units depreciate as you sign the papers big time, talk to what your dealer will exactly do for you if you decide to go bigger. Consider buying used and then you basically have free use of it and a tutor to seek your camping style and you can turn around and sell it for what you paid for it maybe even make a profit on the deal if you are shrewd at both negotiations. There is always going to be a new unit waiting for you, perhaps jump in a bit more cautiously in regard to an extended financial committment. You need to buy tacky lights and gas, remember.
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:19 AM   #26
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When I first looked at trailers I was very interested in a Bambi. My SUV could pull it, it was "cute", and it looked easy to handle. My practical side got the best of me, and I bought a Safari 25. I am glad I did. I would get cabin fever in the little Bambi.

If you buy new, and then change your mind on the size trailer you need, you will suffer huge depreciation. Why not buy a slightly used one from someone else who bought too small a trailer?
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Old 11-14-2006, 09:59 AM   #27
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sound advice

I'm leaning more and more toward the used idea. and larger. Although my heart is less enthused as the 75th really does it for me. All four of us have sat in there to debate this size issue. We converted the table and couch to beds and all laid down fine. Although i can see my boys being in too close of proximity to each other to sleep too well. However we are talking about camping. And a tent is way more cramped than this would ever be. Ugh. Thats why i vacillate. I see the sound advice of buying used and larger. But also buying a tow vehicle will be a deal breaker i fear. It does seem foolish to bet the depreciation costs that i will want to keep it forever. Perhaps a safer bet is used first. Wait for next special edition i love and trade up if we end up loving this new pasttime.
Of course thats the logical approach so we shall see! Ha.

Thanks again to all who chime in. The debate is so very helpful.
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:03 AM   #28
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I love my tiny trailer - but I HATE converting the bed every night!

If you buy a used trailer (even a used Bambi) you would have more funds available to change your tow vehicle. The best bang for your buck in a tow vehicle is a full sized van. They are cheap, plentiful, built on truck chassis and tow! They also hold lots of stuff - a big plus if you have a tiny trailer.
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Old 11-14-2006, 10:14 AM   #29
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Welcome Randjg1,

Which Airstream to purchase is always a very personal thing but as you note there are all sorts of great people here to help you along. Here are my two cents for what they are worth; The 75th Anniv. Bambi is a wonderful trailer and a beauty to behold. But are you looking for a family sized trailer or something that looks great? Currently my brother is facing the exact problem you are. He has two daughters and is in love with the International 19' Bambi. Our local dealer has two wonderful 19' used Bambis on their lot right now. Basically brand new. One is the International with the bunk bed option and the other is the Safari. Both were purchased from the deal this past spring and both were traded in within the last 45 days for larger trailers. That tells you a lot! The 2006 International Bambi I know sold for $42,200.00. They are offering it to my brother for $29,900 with the balance (18 month) of the warranty. If you plan an doing a lot of camping over the many years ahead with you boys, a 19' Bambi is not the trailer for you.

Well enough of that. Once again welcome to the forum and keep us posted on what you decide!
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:04 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Randjg1
Mike, your post sounds quite like my mindset for sure. Were you in an airstream back in the day with your kids growing up? Many posts concerning the choice of a 19ft being too small has me second guessing myself. I suppose i could go a bit larger and maybe just maybe go with a safari with stainless interior. But then how big do i really need to go then? I know we could fit in the 75th anniversary 19 right now but, for how long? Then possible send the boys to a tent outside except for bad weather. I am curious how you did what i intend to do. Thanks to you all for continuing this thread. All the point of views help. --RandJG1
Randjg1--I just read the rest of the comments following mine. There is lots of good ideas here that you'll have to digest. I'll add a few more and hope not to add to the confusion.
{1}--if you error , error on the big side. While some folks down size most trade up.
{2}--your needs will change !! Even if what your purchase today fits your needs exactly, it won't forever, especially 15 years.
{3}--limited addition and anniversary models while neat and attractive cost more and as a general rule the additional cost can't be recovered when trading later. you can buy more trailer in a standard production model for the same or maybe less $$.
{4}--used vs new--{my opinon} i recomend you first be new for a couple reasons. used will most likely have some maintenance requirements and unless your somewhat rv savie this can be stressful. ---- in most cases you can finance a new unit longer than used and often a used will have a higher payment than new for this reason.---new will have full factory warranty thus giving you a couple years of trouble free repairs should they be needed.
Over the years we traded multiple times--bought things that were neat but didn't fit our needs etc. lost a ton of money by trading so much, etc. Knowing what I know now things would be different, but we all have to start somewhere. That said I wouldn't trade all that for the good times the family had and the wife and I continue to have at retirement. As a PS I'll mention the 06/30' Classic we have now is the 3rd AS we've bought in as many years--AND YOU ASK ME FOR ADVICE?????------pieman
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Old 11-14-2006, 11:50 AM   #31
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We're a family of four (2 girls, 9 and 5) who started with a used ('76), and larger (23') Airstream. A year later we sold the older Airstream and bought a new Bambi. What we learned from trying out a used one first was:

- we really enjoyed family camping in an Airstream and seeing the places our Airstream allowed us to get out and see;
- we preferred staying small and light, with both the tow vehicle and the trailer. We are one of those families that has mostly only weekend time for camping and we need to keep it simple now. We don't have time to maintain a second home.
- we didn't enjoy the maintenance and upkeep of an older trailer
- we did enjoy all the newer stuff in the new Airstream -- the easy to clean metal interior, the lighting, fantastic fan, newer automatic appliances -- all these things made camping easier so that we could do what we wanted to do and get out and enjoy the outdoors;
- layout is more important than size. Our larger Airstream was harder to live in with the kids than our newer Bambi is, and this is due mostly to the layout.
- yes, making up the bed each day is not fun. But the overall experience is a heck of a lot easier and more fun than tent camping.

Hindsight is 20/20 and we all hike our own hike (trying to cram as many cliches as I can in here all at once ) but if we were to do it again, we'd have followed our heart to a new Bambi from the start. We dearly love her now and wouldn't part with her.

All the advice in this thread is good, very good, but it all pertains mostly to the person who is offering the advice. No one knows what you want and what your family wants as well as you do, and so I'm sure when you all sit down to decide together, whatever you decide will be the best way to go. And, of course, all of us will always be around to support you in whatever decision you make, as long as it's Airstream!

Good luck!

-J
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Old 11-14-2006, 06:59 PM   #32
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Quote:
All the advice in this thread is good, very good, but it all pertains mostly to the person who is offering the advice. No one knows what you want and what your family wants as well as you do, and so I'm sure when you all sit down to decide together, whatever you decide will be the best way to go. And, of course, all of us will always be around to support you in whatever decision you make, as long as it's Airstream!
This is what it all boils down to isn't it.

Well said "J"
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Old 11-14-2006, 08:03 PM   #33
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One more option - rent. Although it is nigh on impossible to actually rent an A/S, we found an acceptable alternative. We wanted to try trailer travel before buying, and found we could rent a typical box-type unit. However, we know that if we're going to buy something, we're going to invest for the long haul, and will want an A/S. So, or course, we wanted the A/S experience. Our closest Airstream dealer offers a "vacation club", where you purchase eight weeks of Bambi use (and any unused balance can be applied against a purchase). We did this, recently used our first week, had a great time, and now look at the coming year with great anticipation as we plan future trips. BTW-we were able to buy less than eight weeks. This is obviously a slow time of year for trailer sales at the north end of the country, so negotiation is always possible.
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Old 04-05-2007, 06:38 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Lewis
randjg1---Reading your post brings back many memories. "Been there done that" several times over the years. Wife and I now retired with our family grown, even the grand children. I can tell you first hand that the stress of payments ,deciding what type of trailer you need, filling water tanks and keeping batterys charged, coming home late sunday only to have to get ready for work the next day, backing in a campsite late friday after dark with two hungry kids ,etc is all insignificant compared to the memorys we have of our times with our boys as they grew up. ---pieman
here here, that's the exact reason I'm biting the payment bullit. Been great so far.
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Old 04-05-2007, 07:51 AM   #35
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Yup, same position last year.

My wife and I had never owned a trailer and were becoming increasingly disinterested with weekends in a tent. We bought the bambi 19' because it suited our needs. Also, being a first time tower, I was not comfortable going with anything much bigger. We spent the better part of a couple of hours, on a couple seperate occassions, at the dealership "hanging out" and trying to get feel for the bambi (both 16' and 19'). We quickly found that it was more than enough room for us and our dog Spokes.

We now find ourselves in early April making trips to the storage area to visit the trailer, hoping the temps warm soon, so we can go and spend some time in the bambi.

In terms of payment, they're expensive, more than they should be in my opinion. However, they appear to be the only trailer that has any residual value or interest if you were to sell again.

Other stuff like setup/takedown, it doesn't take any more time than rolling up the tent and sleeping bags and after a few practices, you'll get a routine that works for you. Batteries, sewage, etc are all things that are easily looked after and really shouldn't be a concern.

enjoy! it sounds like you're well on your way to a decision.

brad.
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Old 04-05-2007, 08:56 AM   #36
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I'm a big fan of buying "newly used" vehicles. We bought our 2002 22' CCD in 2004 when it was two years old..... saved about $20,000 over the cost of a new one... That can buy a lot of gas! Turned out to be a great decision. Late model used Airstreams (at a good price) can be hard to find in some areas, but well worth the quest. Good luck!
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Old 10-10-2007, 11:45 AM   #37
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We're probably going to buy a 2005 used 19' Bambi. It will just be two of us and a teacup poodle, for the most part. I anticipate upgrading to a 25' someday but DH is concerned about the larger tv required and just wants to start out small. Okay, fine. Either way, I can't wait to get started!
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Old 10-12-2007, 11:07 AM   #38
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I'm a new Airstreamer. I'm a new camper. I bought a brand new 16' Bambi in March of this year. I LOVE IT but... with more than two people and my big Labrador...it's small! I'm thinking that I will upgrade in a few years. I bought the small one because I was nervous about towing & maneuvering
the trailer. Turns out - it's a snap!
I do agree with Janet that if you are using the 16' - it's best to have a large tow vehicle to carry all that extra stuff!

Go for it! Life is too short!
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Old 10-12-2007, 05:49 PM   #39
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We're going to go for it as soon as we find it. It's not as easy as it looks. F'rinstance, we're looking at an '06, 19', wrap-around windows. Seller wants 32k, saying he paid 36k. B-b-b-u-t, I think that's a bit much, given that in a couple of months it'll be two years old. That said, I hope he gets his price. Meantime, we'll keep looking. We're chasing a dream of finding a 19' Bambi 2005 upward, for under 30k. I know, I know, we might as well whistle Dixie.
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Old 10-12-2007, 06:40 PM   #40
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i'd buy a 25' international CCD.

look at the storage space, they sleep six, and your friends want to party inside 24/7.

and compared to a bambi, there cheap...

just sayin...

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