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Old 04-25-2009, 10:08 AM   #15
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2007 19' Safari SE
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So you are considering what might be upwards of a $60K purchase of an item that is subject to depreciation. This means that you have to get it right first, or a trade up will cost you big time.

I and my partner share a 19 foot Safari SE in comfort. We have met couples (mostly DINKs or retirees) who do the same. 19 feet is just right for 2 people who don't need to have all the comforts of home and who want to use more primitive sites that are off limits to larger rigs. I did look at a 20 footer, but the bed was in the front and used all of that nice panoramic window (I don't need to lie in bed to look outside, and I need a dark room to sleep in.) I also didn't look at anything larger because it would require paying for a new gas guzzling tow vehicle the only purpose of which was to tow the trailer on my infrequent vacations.

Your situation is pretty different in that you have a growing family. In 4 years, just when you've paid off the depreciation and are approaching a positive equity situation, you will have a 6 year old. I would say that by that time there is a chance that you would want a larger trailer.

It really depends on how you want to travel. Do you want your own portable hotel suite, or do you want to have some flavor of primitive "roughing it." As a kid I traveled across the country with my family (4) and two dogs, in a popup trailer with no bathroom facilities. We stayed at unimproved sites, national parks and state/provincial parks. I loved it, but I am sure that it wasn't so easy on my parents having to do setup and takedown. Today's campers are divided into the luxury set and the roughing it set. The luxury set has the desire (and financial resources) to stay in a mobile hotel suite. They usually have big (expensive) rigs and stay at full hookup sites, or try to squeeze into smaller sites for the amenities (view, etc.). They spend a lot of time in their rigs even on beautiful days, and are almost never outdoors in the cool or damp weather. Who can blame them? The roughing it set could be accused of making sacrifices for financial reasons, but a lot of us really like the mobility, smaller ecological footprint, and coziness of the small trailer. Roughing it campers usually live inside and outside their rigs. They often have a screened enclosure for cooking and eating, and usually have a campfire going. Often there is a pup tent set up for the kids to sleep. You will see them inside and outside, except during the worst weather.

A 19 footer certainly is luxury for me and my partner. We have shared it with a 3rd adult, and then it becomes cozy. With two kids, you guys might be looking at a pup tent for them to sleep in, and a screened room addition for your ZipDee awning. You also have to remember that a 19 footer has limited space for clothing, toys, and especially food (pantry and fridge space are limited). This could be answered by extra space for luggage and a cooler in you tow vehicle. The smaller the trailer you choose, the more like "roughing it" you will feel. You have to really ask yourselves if you can rough it.

Another thing to do is to narrow down your trailer choices to a range that you can afford and then ask the dealer to let you and your family not just walk through, but to stay in your top two or three choices for an hour or more each. During that time, lie on the beds, sit at the table, and try to mimic some of the traffic patterns you might see yourselves doing. It is hard to do this for an hour, but you have to remember the financial commitment you are making.
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Old 04-25-2009, 04:30 PM   #16
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Bambi vs. 20ft

We just purchased a new 19ft Bambi.. ( 7 weeks ago).. just got back from our trip.. We purchased in Vegas and drove to FL and then back to SF CA..

We love the Bambi.. It totally meets our needs.. but we are 2 adults & one large dog.. (not me..)

What we found out is that you become the space.. so I imagine if you get a 20ft you just assume the space..

I didn't feel cramped or confined on our 7 week trip, especially with the panoramic windows sitting at the front dinette.. My wife seemed to adapt to the lack of counter space by just using the dinette for cooking/preparing.. My guess that on the 20ft the double sink is a plus..

I did find that the corner bed allowed the other to basically get out of bed in the middle of the night w/o totally trampling the other person (me..) as opposed to a bed situated the width of the trailer..

Towing was pretty easy, although I'm towing with a 2008 Highlander w/Tow pkg.. so it doesn't scream going up a steep grade.. around 40-45mph.. we're not speed demons so we kept to 60mph on the highway and got 14.8 MPG for the trip.. I am probably going to upgrade my TV..

We like it.. if there are 2 small kids.. I would say what the heck either or.. especially if your thinking taking the AS out less than a month at a time..

This is the time to purchase..as we got around 40% off MSRP..

I think you'll get that "emotional" connection to whatever you purchase..
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Old 04-25-2009, 06:09 PM   #17
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Getting back to the original question, a 19' (16')Airstream is to small for four, unless you're Mormon and three of those are wives.

Very good.

I'm feeling that the reality is our 13 year old son is too big with flailing limbs for a 19' or 20' to work. We're 4'ish hours from Colonial and will go down in a couple of weeks to hang out in various models and see what will work realistically. Then we can look for newish.

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.
Robin
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Old 04-25-2009, 10:59 PM   #18
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We had a 19 foot Bambi. For a month.

You really need to go to the dealer and lay on the bed. Sit on the throne and wander around the trailer. If you are not comfy in the bed or bath you won't be happy.

Floor plans and pictures are not the same as being there. Go with an open mind and pick the one with the floor plan that works for you.
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Old 04-25-2009, 11:32 PM   #19
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Good responses

May I just say that I thought the comments contained herein were fairand thoughtful? Any reasonable person like Robin should be able to read these and be adequately appraised of the variously pluses and minus of the 19'ers as well as the reasons for getting a 25'er (my favorite!).
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Old 04-26-2009, 06:09 AM   #20
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We're 4'ish hours from Colonial and will go down in a couple of weeks to hang out in various models and see what will work realistically.
Be prepared to be overwhelmed. We bounced back and forth between a few models before we finally settled on our 20'. Take your time. Colonial won't rush you. Bring the whole family so you can trip over each other and find a tolerable level of tripping.
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:14 PM   #21
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Thanks all! Very helpful.

On another thread, it was mentioned that MSRP mark-up for the dealers is approximately 28%. Zimode, did you really get 40% off a new one??? Realistically, what's a good discount?

Thanks,
Robin
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Old 04-26-2009, 07:14 PM   #22
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Wayne and Sam, that is exactly what we intend to do!
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:15 PM   #23
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Run the numbers for late model pre-owned...

As attractive as "Cute and New" is, there is an option besides buying a vintage trailer and doing the full monte/ground up rebuild...

There are lots of late model gently used trailers from 2003 to 2005 that are half the price of new ones or less, including the new FC.. In this market, you can also happily buy a 3 or 4 year old tow vehicle for close to $10,000, including Suburban's, Club Cab Pickups or Van's, that would easily tow a 23 or 25' trailer.. At those prices, you can park the truck under a cover when not using it and not feel bad, and have both for less than the price of a new trailer alone. The 25' rear bedroom models are among the most common, and offer a good floor plan for moving around and sleeping for 4...
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Old 04-27-2009, 11:12 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metilling65 View Post
Thanks all! Very helpful.

On another thread, it was mentioned that MSRP mark-up for the dealers is approximately 28%. Zimode, did you really get 40% off a new one??? Realistically, what's a good discount?

Thanks,
Robin
I'm not too sure what is a good discount.. We we're in the right place at the right time.. It was a new 2008 Bambi that had been sitting on the lot for a long time (they had 3 of them left)..we picked it up April 2009 (so it's effectively a year old.. but never been used and 2 year warranty starts at sale time...so we just did it) they we're just interested in taking the write-off to get it off the books..so here's my guess.. the dealer cost was 32-35k on the 50k msrp..

There maybe a couple of dealerships out there in similar situations.. We drove to Vegas to pick ours up.. I would definitely shop the internet as you never know what the heck is out there..

Not too sure if this helps.. but just look around.. It took me a couple of months to stumble on this one..
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