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Old 04-22-2012, 04:50 PM   #1
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Scarborough , Maine
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28' vs. 30' Asking for your input on which to purchase

We have found a 28' International Serenity that we like very much. The question is, should we go for a 30" unit? The MSRP difference is less than $ 10,000.00. The 30" has greater storage and a higher carrying capacity. GVW is 7,600 vs. 8,800. (We are not interested in the Classic in part becuase of its heavier weight, GVW being 10,000lbs.)
I realize that the 28' is a little less than 28' in length, and the 30' is closer to 31' in length.
We are planning on doing a lot of traveling, with grandchilden. I'm thinking that the extra weight that we would be hauling around, based on GVW, should be under a maximum of 1,200 lbs. The trailer would be 2 feet longer. Would these difference ultimately prove to be negligible in terms of mpg towing, and in overall operating costs, including the cost of campsites, etc...??.

If the 30 foot unit would have about the same operating costs as the 28 foot unit, my goal would be to get the 30 unit.

We are looking to travel to all the National Parks, and other important places of interest such as Washington DC over the next 5 to 10 years.

We would greatly appreciate hearing from experienced folks on this matter so that we might benefit from your experiences.

Thank you.

Dave E.

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Old 04-22-2012, 05:05 PM   #2
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1992 29' Excella
Van By The River , Georgia
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Posts: 1,305
Hello dearly. Welcome to Air Forums.

Well... you've asked the age-old question - does size matter?

In my opinion, it depends. We currently have a 29' and that's all we've ever owned. Never had another RV. The 29' was intimidating but we mangaged and now couldn't imagine traveling with much less.

The 27' Serenity would be the minimum we're interested in. We like the 30' too and I'd say go for it if you think the extra storage/space/amenities are in your favor.

I agree the Classic is heavier but it comes with a significantly larger fresh water tank and this can be important when traveling. I don't know why Airstream doesn't put the larger fresh tank in the Serenity - from what I see on the floor plans the fresh tank should fit. I'm sure there's some reason - maybe just cost. So for us... we will consider the Classic to get the larger fresh tank.

Back to length. If you're not shying away from the 30 it seems like it makes sense to go with the larger (longer) size.


Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:16 PM   #3
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I have had three different 30' Airstreams, but never had a 28'. So I cannot give you a comparison. Though, I really liked the extra space in the 30'.
I can tell you that you should be considering the tow vehicle along with the trailer. My opinion is that you will need at least a 3/4 ton with a tow package if you are going in the mountains with either a 28' or 30'.
2014 Silverado 1500 5.3L maximum trailering package (yes, I'm towing the 34')
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:47 PM   #4
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when I talked to people that have owned many Airstreams they have always said 25' is ideal. Also the National Parks are very tight.
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Old 04-22-2012, 05:57 PM   #5
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Hello dearly, and welcome. My vote is for the 30' floorplan. After living full-time in a 28' for a year or so, we traded it for this 30' a few months ago, and we're still spontaneously commenting to each other about how well they utilized those additional 3 feet. Here's a few of those differences:

1) Assuming you order the L-lounge (a more versatile choice than the recliners), the shorter section is 10" longer, which is much more comfortable, by comparison.

2) The area beneath that section is available for both interior AND exterior storage, (not available in the 28' floorplan due to the location of the converter, which moved to beneath the fridge in the 30').

3) More precious countertop space to begin with, and its location next to the entry door allows the use of a fold-down countertop extension, not able to be used in the 28'.

4) The "hall" closet is almost twice as big, by comparison.

5) The lav is also bigger; allowing more clearance in the toilet area. (At 6'4" tall, I could not close the lavatory door completely while sitting on the toilet in the 28').

6) The fresh water tank holds 15 gallons more than the tank in the 28'.

7) 28' models have a plastic floor register in the entry area just forward of the dinette; I broke it twice by accidently stepping on it...sorry, but it looks like something you'd find in a park model (or a "double-wide").
You mess with me, you mess with the whole trailer park.
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:09 PM   #6
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We originally thought we wanted a 28'er, but the 30'er "found us" and we definitely do not regret having the 30'er.

"If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy." - Red Green
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Old 04-22-2012, 06:55 PM   #7
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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You could easily be happy with either - but you said plural "grandchildren" - so to me that makes the 30 a no brainer.

The forestry parks are getting more big RV spaces every year. East of the Mississippi - virtually zero problem. In the west, esp in the mountains you might have a few problems, but most times you'll find a space. Truth is that "25 feet" generally means 25 feet Plus the tongue. You might have to unhitch to fit in a few places.

Oh - and if you get tired of it within the next two - three years - PM ME!!!!!!

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Old 04-22-2012, 07:18 PM   #8
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When traveling I want a smaller Airstream.

When parked I want a larger Airstream.

The greatest difference may be in type of tow vehicle required.

doug k
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:29 PM   #9
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Sounds like money is no object if you think $10,000 is insignificant. So the answer is simple. Go with the one whose floorplan you like better. But it seems like you are talking yourself into the 30 footer. Go for it.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:40 PM   #10
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Birmingham , Alabama
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I've only had a 28' and our family of four LOVES it. We've made so many memories, I don't see us ever letting the one we have go. Having said that, if I could go back and start all over again ... I might choose a 25'. We'd have adequate amenities in a 25' yet we'd tow a little lighter and fit (and store) in many more spots.

... and, as Doug K said, it does always seem to cross my mind when I'm rolling down the road that my trailer does not need to be so big.
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Old 04-22-2012, 07:43 PM   #11
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The 30' Serenity wasn't available when we bought our 28' and I think we might have been tempted had they been. We're happy with the 28' Serenity but I think if you have the budget then the 30' might be the one to go for.
Steve; also known as Mr UK Toad

"You can't tow that with that!"
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:02 PM   #12
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We love out 30 footer! Had a 25 CCD before, and it just didn't have the storage or the space we wanted. If your looking for comfort, and storage, I'd recommend the 30. Have you seen the bathroom??? True that there are a few (very few) campgrounds we can't fit it, but it's really worth it to us. The best advise I can give is just don't buy anything you're gonna regret. Happy shopping!
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Old 04-22-2012, 08:19 PM   #13
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Penokee , Kansas
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Welcome,, and you are with a bunch of great folks for advice about Airstreams.

My wife and I have a older 27 foot Overlander and for the 2 of us,, it works just great... But we can also tell you the moment you toss in 2 grand-kids the game changes real fast.. They seem to need more personal items each than my wife and I need together.. So look at the larger trailer for sure just too have the extra storage.. Reason below..

We found out by luck that if they each have a drawer,, or shelf for just there items,, it makes them feel better as being part of the team,, and not just tag alongs for the trip.. Then if they tend to battle,, having each a spot for the stuff keeps problems of who's what and where. And who got into my things battles..

2012 Ram 1500 Tradesman Hemi, 4x4, 6 speed

20mpg empty, 14 mpg with 27' Overlander.

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Old 04-22-2012, 08:21 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by nvestysly View Post
I agree the Classic is heavier but it comes with a significantly larger fresh water tank and this can be important when traveling. I don't know why Airstream doesn't put the larger fresh tank in the Serenity - from what I see on the floor plans the fresh tank should fit. I'm sure there's some reason - maybe just cost. So for us... we will consider the Classic to get the larger fresh tank.
The 30' Serenity has a 54 gal fresh water tank - just like the Classics. The 28' Internationals have only a 39 gal fresh water holding tank.


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