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Old 11-21-2009, 04:50 AM   #1
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i have moved north to VIRGINIA CITY , Nevada
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FULLTIMERS.... want your opinion on this....

I was planning to buy a a 34ft airstream earlier this year but i never did do it. i have been thinking about the costs of fulltiming vs buying a small house to live in. when i say small..... i am talking 2bed maybe 800 sq ft.

anyway..... i love the idea of having an AS as my home but i wondered what the expenses would be vs a house. if i lived in an AS i would be moving with the seasons and would not opt for staying in one place thru weather that required an airconditioner or any REAL heating.

so... i guess i am wondering what you fulltimers think about an AS vs a small house. i would STILL have to get out of the bad weather season wherever i lived... whether it was extreme heat or cold. thats why i was thinking about fulltiming in the first place. i am definitely a traveler and never seem to stay planted for more than a year or 2.

right now i live in a SMALL studio apartment..... so i am used to small spaces. just cant decide what to do.

so..... tell me what you think.....i want to hear what you are doing and why... and what you think about it.

thanks
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Old 11-21-2009, 06:35 AM   #2
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Now on Year 4

I'm still working, and I do a bit of weekend traveling, plus 3 to 6 big trips per year. Luckily my home base is in coastal Virginia so I only endure 4 to 8 weeks of "winter" - rarely with snow. I do have to put a heater cable on the water hose, and run my furnace for a couple of weeks. For the rest of winter the heat pump does the trick, augmented with a small ceramic heater is fine.

If you're in a position to travel, and are comfortable with small spaces it sounds like a great plan to me. With a 34 you'll have to have a big tow truck - and being in the west you'll need to consider mountain towing. I'd consider a 3/4 ton diesel truck.... Or gasser if you prefer.

The only trouble with a 34 would be gas station size. Truck stops would be your best choice.

LEARN all you can about towing and backing. Find a mentor among forum members and practice, practice, practice. Though you won't find one as long as a 34' you could rent a utility trailer or U-haul to get some of the basics of backing up!

There are lots of single women towing. You will want to know that you can manage the stabilizer jacks and hitching and un-hitching by yourself. I found that I could change a tire on both my tow vehicle and on the trailer (sigh). I've learned that I cannot buy toilet paper or paper towels at Sams Club - unless I split it with two or three other people. I've also vastly downsized what I have in my kitchen. Dinner for more than four involves paper plates.

They aren't making 34's any longer, so you'll have to start looking in the gently used market. I think there is one in the Classifieds now. You may also luck out if you locate some of the "Airstream only" parks. Fortunately there are a lot of retirees who use, and then age out of these units so there are more available than in the 25 - 28 foot range.

Happy Hunting!

Paula
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Old 11-21-2009, 07:01 AM   #3
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Hello and welcome,

We have a small house, about 1200 sq ft, and a small RV, a beautiful 22' Interstate. It is like a luxury studio apartment on wheels. We are retired, the house is paid for and we are traveling about 8 months out of the year.

For us, having a home nest was a must. We have 5 adult kids and 9 grandbabies, have to have a home to have them to and to spend the holidays. A small class B with no tow allows us to have both---one payment.

We have found that it is much less expensive living on the road that we initially thought when we started out 2 years ago. There are many ways to keep expenses down, while still living and traveling very comfortably, and lots of information on these forums about how to do that.

If it is just you, the lure of traveling while you can would be quite a call to the road. There is so much beautiful country out there, and lots of interesting places to see and people to meet. Go for it!

We'll look for you on the road.
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:38 AM   #4
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Annie,

I am currently a Full Timer on week 3 in my 72 Ambassador 29-I don't see where you need more than 29 feet. I have keep all pertainent possessions aboard and stored the rest of my junk in Walmart Plastic bins. Some minor head butting, I am 6'2', but so far a enjoyable situation. Being single helps, but there would be room for a significant other of like mind set. It is nice not to have to maintain a full size house and being mobile. Also being self-employed one can "go" to where the work is-EXPECT this type of living to become common as people loose their homes and jobs. A Gypsy culture is emerging in America and the Airstreams should be streadily climbing in value-Buy two, fix one up, sell it and reinvest the profits into the second to make it the way you want it. 34 FEET is big-expect dents-parking issues-Good Luck!
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Foiled Again View Post
LEARN all you can about towing and backing. Find a mentor among forum members and practice, practice, practice. Though you won't find one as long as a 34' you could rent a utility trailer or U-haul to get some of the basics of backing up!
True; the longer the trailer (unless you're Desi and Lucy), the easier it is to back up, that's why the 18-wheelers make it look so easy. That being said, it still takes some practice to think in reverse. I taught a couple how to do it by buying some cheap cone markers and simulated conditions in a unused part of a big box store parking lot.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:10 AM   #6
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i have moved north to VIRGINIA CITY , Nevada
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thanks for your comments everyone. maybe i didnt make myself very clear. LOL i cant decide if i want to buy a small house or an AS to have as my permanent residence.

i dont think i am going to get a 34ft. i was considering THAT when i was thinking that i would not move it for 8 months of the year. but i have come round to thinking that maybe i would like to move with the seasons and if i am going to be towing it.....i would like a gently used 27' or a 28 foot.

for that.... i have checked with a ford dealer.... and i could get a ford 150 with the right engine to tow it easily.

it would be just me and i dont have much stuff but its the expense of owning a house vs living full time in an AS that i was wondering about.

i dont have alot of money comming in so it would have to be one or the other. LOL i cant have both. i would love the option of living in the AS but if it would be more expensive than maintaining a house i'm not sure i could do it.

so thats what i was asking...... what do you think?
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:13 AM   #7
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Full time in a 30' Classic....

Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post

<SNIP>

so... i guess i am wondering what you fulltimers think about an AS vs a small house. i would STILL have to get out of the bad weather season wherever i lived... whether it was extreme heat or cold. thats why i was thinking about fulltiming in the first place. i am definitely a traveler and never seem to stay planted for more than a year or 2.

<SNIP>

thanks
For a single person a 34' Airstream is a bit large according to a friend - he has a 30' Classic and tells us that he rambles about in it since his wife passed away. He has been full time since 2005.

For what it is worth, we traveled for 7 years on motorcycles and "upgraded" to a 30' Classic a bit more than two years ago and have been traveling in the Airstream full time since since 2007.

We tend to move with the weather but do find that we use the heater and air conditioners a fair amount. For two of us we would not want anything smaller than our 30' Classic. But, having said that, we definitely do not want anything larger either.

The down side to the Airstream is limited storage space. We, however, view that as a positive - lack of storage prevents us from hauling too much "stuff" along with us. We became very good at carrying only that which we really needed when on the motorcycles; applying that to the Airstream has worked well.

As for cost keep in mind that no matter where you live you will have expenses related to maintenance and upkeep; in other words, "there is no free lunch".

The interest amount of the payment you make on your trailer can be deducted from your taxes because it is your primary residence; the same as you do for a house. No advantage to either.

Should you decide to go for the mobile lifestyle be sure to get a tow vehicle that will be able to handle the size trailer that you ultimately purchase. And be sure the hitch works properly. Also be sure the wheels on the trailer are balanced properly. There are lots of threads on this here forum about this stuff.

We have found that moving on a daily basis is the most expensive way to travel. Weekly stays reduce costs and monthly stays reduce the cost for space to park the most. And, there is always boon-docking. If you are going to purchase a new trailer be sure to order the solar option. A small generator is also a nice thing to have along for these types of adventures.

We will not be looking for any other place to live as long as we can continue to physically deal with our mobile lifestyle.

Good luck whatever you decide...

Jim
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:20 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
thanks for your comments everyone. maybe i didnt make myself very clear. LOL i cant decide if i want to buy a small house or an AS to have as my permanent residence.

i dont think i am going to get a 34ft. i was considering THAT when i was thinking that i would not move it for 8 months of the year. but i have come round to thinking that maybe i would like to move with the seasons and if i am going to be towing it.....i would like a gently used 27' or a 28 foot.

for that.... i have checked with a ford dealer.... and i could get a ford 150 with the right engine to tow it easily.

it would be just me and i dont have much stuff but its the expense of owning a house vs living full time in an AS that i was wondering about.

i dont have alot of money comming in so it would have to be one or the other. LOL i cant have both. i would love the option of living in the AS but if it would be more expensive than maintaining a house i'm not sure i could do it.

so thats what i was asking...... what do you think?
Living in the Airstream, I believe is cheaper in the long run.

To begin with, no annual property taxes.

Yes, a license plate annualy, but far cheaper than property taxes.

Insurance in both cases.

If you don't like your neighbors, it's easy to relocate with the Airstream.

Learning the hookup's, the traveling, and the parking again, is all easy, if taught properly.

If you have even a little mechanic ability, the rest comes easy.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:24 AM   #9
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i have moved north to VIRGINIA CITY , Nevada
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Quote:
Originally Posted by norsea View Post
For a single person a 34' Airstream is a bit large according to a friend - he has a 30' Classic and tells us that he rambles about in it since his wife passed away. He has been full time since 2005.

For what it is worth, we traveled for 7 years on motorcycles and "upgraded" to a 30' Classic a bit more than two years ago and have been traveling in the Airstream full time since since 2007.

We tend to move with the weather but do find that we use the heater and air conditioners a fair amount. For two of us we would not want anything smaller than our 30' Classic. But, having said that, we definitely do not want anything larger either.

The down side to the Airstream is limited storage space. We, however, view that as a positive - lack of storage prevents us from hauling too much "stuff" along with us. We became very good at carrying only that which we really needed when on the motorcycles; applying that to the Airstream has worked well.

As for cost keep in mind that no matter where you live you will have expenses related to maintenance and upkeep; in other words, "there is no free lunch".

The interest amount of the payment you make on your trailer can be deducted from your taxes because it is your primary residence; the same as you do for a house. No advantage to either.

Should you decide to go for the mobile lifestyle be sure to get a tow vehicle that will be able to handle the size trailer that you ultimately purchase. And be sure the hitch works properly. Also be sure the wheels on the trailer are balanced properly. There are lots of threads on this here forum about this stuff.

We have found that moving on a daily basis is the most expensive way to travel. Weekly stays reduce costs and monthly stays reduce the cost for space to park the most. And, there is always boon-docking. If you are going to purchase a new trailer be sure to order the solar option. A small generator is also a nice thing to have along for these types of adventures.

We will not be looking for any other place to live as long as we can continue to physically deal with our mobile lifestyle.

Good luck whatever you decide...

Jim
Hi thanks for your post.... if i do decide to get an AS it will most likely be a 27 or 28 foot.
and you are right... there is no free lunch but since i have never owned either a house or and AS i dont know which would be the more expensive of the two.

it would only be a small house but then would have to stay there ALL the time. LOL i have been wandering for 30 years....just moving from place to place every year or 2. so this kind of thing is already built into
my brain. LOL

as far as the deduction .... i'll be paying cash for whatever i get so there wont be a mortage on it.

i wouldnt be moving daily or weekly it would most likely be every 3 or 4 months. when i get to someplace new.... i like to stay a while.

and i do like your comment about doing it as long as you are physically able. i guess thats something to keep in mind. thanks so much for your input.
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:28 AM   #10
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i have moved north to VIRGINIA CITY , Nevada
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Inland RV Center, In View Post
Living in the Airstream, I believe is cheaper in the long run.

To begin with, no annual property taxes.

Yes, a license plate annualy, but far cheaper than property taxes.

Insurance in both cases.

If you don't like your neighbors, it's easy to relocate with the Airstream.

Learning the hookup's, the traveling, and the parking again, is all easy, if taught properly.

If you have even a little mechanic ability, the rest comes easy.

Andy

thanks Andy..... you wouldnt happen to know of anyone that has a gently used 28 foot AS would you? LOL
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:30 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieD View Post
thanks Andy..... you wouldnt happen to know of anyone that has a gently used 28 foot AS would you? LOL
Not off hand, but I will check around Monday and Tuesday for you.

Andy
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Old 11-21-2009, 11:33 AM   #12
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In the area I live North Florida Panhandle you can get a monthly campsite for 350. on up to around 500. with full hookups some even have cable and wifi I think it would be cheaper to travel and like has been said if you dont like your neighbors just move. I have a 27 ft and I think it would be large enough for 1 person but myself I stay outside mostly just use it for sleeping but I to only go for a couple days at a time....SAM
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:35 PM   #13
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We just started full timing is a 34 ftr but there are 2 of us. We're on a fixed income but so far we've been able to stay with in our budget. Haven't needed to boondock but just got a generator so that may be in our future. We just paid for a month in a park in Tucson, AZ and it was $469 with water and power included, also wifi. Thats a big saving for us as our house payments were $900.

Anne Marie
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Old 11-21-2009, 08:46 PM   #14
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Cost - now I'm probably atypical, but my annual expenses are less than $10K. And that includes 4 new tires on both the tow vehicle and A/S this year. How do I do it?
  1. Condo campground - my membership cost provides 30 weeks per year in one primary "residence" total $1250 dues & maintenance (yes it's the deal of the century - details of how to closely replicate it are below)
  2. Boondocking/short trips - I still work in a field where I can sometimes write off travel - but between stints at my primary residence (1 week off after 4 on) I take a weekend trip boondocking and stay at other local campgrounds for 4 days at around $200 per week.
  3. Winter camping - the primary campground closes on Jan 1 to March 31, so any other local campground has winter rates of about $350 per month. Last year we bought a business in Georgia in late December. Business paid for the whole month!
  4. Maintenance - I pay to have my Airstream washed. Not often enough - but it's something I CAN afford, so I do. Women can learn to do all of the routine maintenance like greasing the hubs, etc. And we should learn enough to know that it's being done properly if we choose to have others do it. I have relatives in Ohio, so there is at least one trip per year to JC where I get the big stuff done, normally at 15% off during "winter rate sale". Bigger rallies - especially in spring will have a maintenance seminar or two - that's WBCCI club side.
  5. Do buy a collapsible ladder - resealing a litttle leak can happen unexpectedly as can the need to replace vent covers or lubricate your tv antenna, clean leaves out of the refrigerator vent, or get a branch out from under it so that it will come down properly.
Condo campgrounds - NEVER buy an RV park membership in a new campground from a realtor. Almost ALL of them lose value big time. Take a quick look on e-bay, craigslist, or just drive up to the gate of an attractive one and ask if there are memberships for sale. If you join WBCCI, you'll get lots of ads from Airstream only parks - where you can often buy bargain memberships from estates of people who are in the big campground in the sky. At Airstream parks, especially really beautiful ones, the resales stay higher, but in many "snowbird" areas in the south the deals are much better. The campground I bought at isn't Airstream only. It had initially sold memberships at 18K - and you needed 2 memberships to stay 28 days. That campground was almost 35 years old and the vast majority of the original members had moved out, aged out or died out. I bought in at the low point, and now memberships are actually going up slightly - about $2500 each. Still, A far far cry from $18K x 2!

BTW - the same holds absolutely true for vacation apartment type time share condos! My sister paid $4K for one, I bought one on e-bay for "take over annual dues" of $300 per year.

I don't think you'd spend more maintaining an Airstream vs. a House. However the water heater - figure it will last about 5-7 years at most if you're fulltiming. Just a lot smaller than a home water heater - will wear out faster.

Paula
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