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Old 07-19-2011, 10:35 AM   #1
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Cool Full time in the Florida Keys.

Me and my wife are going to full time it next March (2012) in the Key Largo, Islamorada area. We are going to rent our home in north Georgia for that time period. What is that time period you ask? Well it depends on how we like it. We both plan to work part time while down there. Any suggestions on AS size and lay out ( I am going to purchase a 70-80 model and renovate it.). The AS will have to accommodate me, my wife and our dog. I would also like any input as to long term RV , trailer park sights in that general area. Thanks.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:08 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by cjf111 View Post
Me and my wife are going to full time it next March (2012) in the Key Largo, Islamorada area... Any suggestions on AS size and lay out ( I am going to purchase a 70-80 model and renovate it.). The AS will have to accommodate me, my wife and our dog. I would also like any input as to long term RV , trailer park sights in that general area. Thanks.
cjf111:

Your question about AS size and layout is a personal one. Do you currently have an RV? Have you been RVing before? There are people fulltiming in all types and sizes of RV's from popups to 45' Prevosts. So it comes done to personal preference. How small of a living space are you confortable living in? It's one thing to go RVing for 1 to 3 months and it's another to be living in it 24/7/365.

I can't help you on places in the Keys as I have not been there.

Renovating an Airstream is a big project and I would suggest that you read the section on these forums about renovations as others here have a lot of knowledge in this area.
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Old 07-19-2011, 10:19 PM   #3
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Following the various threads on full-timing I can't help but notice that the majority opinion seems to be that Airstreams aren't really designed to live in full-time. I couldn't say, never tried it. I'm curious - what kind of RV WOULD you all recommend? Motorhome? Fifth wheel? Other brand of trailer?
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:46 PM   #4
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I'm curious - what kind of RV WOULD you all recommend? Motorhome? Fifth wheel? Other brand of trailer?
The Escapees RV Club took a survey of its members in 2010. There were 3,366 respondents. 46% spend 12 months a year in their RV. The type of RV owned by the Escapee members were:

Class - A - 48.5% Averge length 38 ft
Class - B - 2.0% Averge length 23 ft
Class - C - 7.4% Averge length 23 ft
Bus - 1.0%

Total for motorhomes is 58.9%

5th wheel - 30.0% Averge length 35 ft
Trailers - 8.0% Averge length 27 ft
Other - 3.1%

The type of RV one chooses to fulltime in is a personal decision. There are advantages to each type.

Motorhomes are usually selected where one is going to be moving often. 5th wheels are selected when one is usually moving less and also want more of a "home" feeling to it. It doesn't have a drivers seat in it. I would recommed going to the Escapees forum and searching for motorhome vs 5 wheel as this issue has been discussed many times. The RV.net forum has also discussed this issue many times.

I believe that people decide to fulltime then select an RV; and don't usually select Airstream. People who fulltime in an Airstream usually wanted an Airstream first then want to fulltime. The Airstream is a three season unit as are many other RVs. An Airstream has less storage space than many other RVs. In spite of its limitations we would use our Airstream to fulltime in because we like the Airstream. I would consider moving up to a pre-owned Bluebird or Prevost. However the disadavantage is that the maintenance cost and fuel cost is much higher. The Airstream is fairly simple to use and maintain.

It is my belief, based upon attending two Escapees Escapades, that of the people fulltiming about 1% to 1.5% are fulltiming in an Airstream; about the same number as fulltiming in a bus.

I can't make a recommendation of a specific type of RV for someone else as there are too many variables involed requiring personal choices.

The more research you do the happier you will be with your decision.
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Old 07-20-2011, 02:55 PM   #5
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Welcome to the forums, cjf.

The advice above is all good.

My main advice would be that you should not plan to fulltime before you have traveled in an RV for several trips. Once you have done that you'll have a better understanding of the tradeoffs.

I believe that most people fulltiming successfully in an Airstream are single.

Traveling with a dog while working poses problems in that most campgrounds discourage people from leaving dogs unattended. It may depend on how comfortable the dog is while traveling. Some travel well. Mine have not.
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Old 07-20-2011, 03:51 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Mr.Bill View Post
Following the various threads on full-timing I can't help but notice that the majority opinion seems to be that Airstreams aren't really designed to live in full-time. I couldn't say, never tried it. I'm curious - what kind of RV WOULD you all recommend? Motorhome? Fifth wheel? Other brand of trailer?
I'm not really a fulltimer although I am presently going through a brief period where I do not have a stick house.

Most fulltimers seem to place great emphasis on square footage, and on storage space.

My observation, borne out by the Escapees' statistics, is that most fulltimers live in very large class A motorhomes and pull a toad. It is my observation that these rigs usually have multiple slides and have roughly twice the floor space of an 34' Airstream. They also have many times more storage space.

A sizable minority of fulltimers live in extremely large trailers, which in today's world means 5th wheels.

I note that the fulltimer lifestyle typically does not involve frequent and lengthy travel. These enormous rigs are largely stationary in most cases making short moves except for seasonal changes.
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Old 07-20-2011, 04:08 PM   #7
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Expensive in the Keys!! jim
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Old 07-23-2011, 10:00 PM   #8
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Thanks all for the advice. We are still weighing our options.
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Old 07-25-2011, 03:55 PM   #9
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I purchased my AS with full-time intent, but have since realized the lifestyle would not suit me at present. The main reason is the RV Park I had intended on living at is very expensive because of the over-inflated real-estate prices here. (Would cost me over $900/month). My mortgage is less than that!

However, someday I may sell out and do the full-time thing at various RV parks and campgrounds. I like the idea of being a vagabound retiree.
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:37 PM   #10
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Hi and welcome , well we have been full timing in our 71 airstream 31ft sol, we work and travel 2 of us and our Beagle. We have more room in this rig than the 34ft Jayco we had before it is a blast and it works for us you may find that a toy hauler 5th wheel has more room for travel if carrying a few toys, but we have the best a restored vintage trailer with our vintage polished canoe and older diesel truck all paid for and just us on the open road never know you may like it,
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Old 07-26-2011, 08:40 PM   #11
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EL MAR Rv Resort.

http://www.elmarrvresort.com/

Have been there twice.

Do a search and read my review.

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Old 07-27-2011, 02:02 PM   #12
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Howdy!

We are Escapees Class of 2007 fulltime RVer's and we own two RV's. We have a 36' five slide Carri-Lite that we have been fulltiming in for almost five years. It is setup with solar / generator for boondocking which we have done a lot of. We also have a 29' Airstream Excella. Will tell you now if we are going to travel to and spent long periods of time some were (winter in Quartszite, AZ) I would take the 5er. If we were planning to travel Alaska or Nova Scotia and back to our home base in Texas I would would take the Airstream. I believe Airstreams are better suited for mobility the larger 5er is better suited for longer stays as mentioned above.

The Airstream is a great RV and wife and I could fulltime in it if it was the only RV we had. In fact we are in Indiana now and while here we are going to visit the Earthbound RV factory located here. We are interested in the Earthbound RV's and the way they are made as a comparison to the Airstream. Also like that the Earthbound RV's have more storage which is needed for fulltime RVer's. We also like that they weigh less, and the prices are half that compared to a new Airstream.

"Happy Trails"
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Old 07-27-2011, 02:37 PM   #13
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Trying Out Fulltiming

We purchased our Airstream last July 3rd with absolutely no intention of full timing. It was a more economical and health choice than hotels for vacation. We have two dogs (great dane & blue heeler) that cost over $330 to board for more than a week and two kids one of which is allergic to scents in laundry detergent and fabric softener. The Airstream was an answer to both problems.

I will not say that we are full timers but we are two months into an extended trip with no end in sight. It could last 6 months it could last 9 years... we are out here until it doesn't work for us.

This is what I can tell you -

There are 6 breathing creatures in our 27ft Stream. 3 that are adult sized and 3 that are child sized. Everyone and everything has its place... something or someone gets out of place and it effects everyone.

In our vintage unit if it's above 99 outside and you are in full sun it will be just barely comfortable inside with A/C blowing full blast.

When it's cold outside you will need quilts/blankets/etc. The walls radiate both heat and cold in our a/s. For a very long time we had a draft in our bedroom area that blew down my back in the middle of the night. It has since been fixed.

We have camped in 24 degree temps without freezing our water but our propane didn't last long. And we had to supplement with a small electrical heater.

We travel every week or two.

Our 1971 Overlander has, I've been told, more space than some Airstreams but still we pared down our "needs" considerably.

We also found that after being on the road that we'd brought too much. We had to make a dump into our storage shed to pare down what didn't get used.

Here is a list of unnecessary things we carry:

TV (you could argue this one if you live in Tornado Alley)
Movie Hard Drive (has all our DVDs on it)
Portable DVD Player
DVD's for Truck
Wii
Kids Toys
4 Board Games (the ones that are compact from target that look ilke books) - 2 others in regular box
card games

Having said all of the above, it is about your expectations. We had done several long trips in our Stream before taking the leap. We traveled almost 3 weeks last December in our Stream. We had a fair idea of what does and doesn't work for us. Everyone must get up within 30 minutes of each other so we can turn from bedtime to daytime mode.

How much room do you really want or need? We used very little of our house so the switch wasn't too bad.
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Old 07-27-2011, 03:48 PM   #14
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I lived in my 27' 1972 Overlander in Florida for almost 2 years while renovating a house. I was hooked to the well, septic and a 30amp outlet. Life in the trailer was great. I had minimal possessions and loved it that way. I did however have all of my tools in a storage shed on the property. When the house was done, I moved in to the house. a 590 square foot bungalow. It was almost too big... if that can be imagined. Tough economic times a few years later forced me to sell my Overlander. More recent improved economic times have allowed me to just purchase a 1977 31' Sovereign. I intend to completely redo it, and use it for living space as well as traveling.

Living quarters (size) is definitely a personal thing. For me, 27' - 31' is just enough. Definitely check out some trailers for spaciousness and get a feel for what you can live with, and without. Good luck.
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