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Old 04-18-2018, 05:31 AM   #1
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Intro/Advice needed

Hi,

My wife and I have always talked about getting an airstream once we were close to retirement as a good way to get out and see the country while also trying to figure out where we might like to retire to. We are probably still a good 12-15 years away from that scenario.

We don't have any kids. She works from home and my job has recently gone to 4/10s staggered to have 2 day weekends followed by 4 day weekends. Which has opened up the possibility of multiple long weekend trips without burning up tons of vacation.

All that said, most of our friends do have kids and they all have campers now which has us thinking we should maybe push up our purchase date so we can all camp together.

So we went and looked this weekend for the first time. Out of that I took away a few things.
1. We only like Airstreams. We have no interest in owning something else.
2. I was surprised how much my wife likes the AS. I always thought she humoring me when discussing how fun one would be but, now she has been talking about more than me.
3. I grew up going to various race tracks with family and friends having RVs, I backpack, car camp, etc... I pretty much know what I'm in for. My wife pretty much considers hotels with wall mounted HVAC units to be the equivalent of tent camping. I have a fear that once the shiny new wears off she is going to be over the whole experience. This could just be my naturally high level of cynicism though.
4. We'll have to make some changes to our vehicle line up. Does anyone tow with a later model Land Cruiser? The towing rating appears to be 8000lbs. Is that going to be sufficient or do I really need to be considering a truck?
5. We have both decided the ideal situation would be to rent an AS and see how we like it. AS2GO has recently shifted their business model to a more corporate based philosophy so, that's a no go. I did find a place in San Francisco area that rents them and we thought about going to Big Sur, Muir Woods, Yosemite, etc... Does anyone know of any other options for renting one? Any insights or words of wisdom?

Thanks,
Kyle
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Old 04-18-2018, 06:57 AM   #2
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Renting anything for such long trips as you want to take is going to be very, very, very expensive...whether that is an Airstream or SOB.

You say you are 12-15 years from retirement...might consider buying a used, good condition something to do some long weekends with friends and family for the years til you are closer to actual retirement.

There are also campgrounds that rent rigs in place.

If you have never had a trailer before, it will take you some time to figure out what you like, and don’t, and what are your must-have’s.

An interim plan would give you all time to feel out the life, which will help you in fine tuning purchase wants and needs for retirement.

Good luck!

Maggie
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Old 04-18-2018, 07:25 AM   #3
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If you can't rent an Airstream, just rent some kind of travel trailer for a weekend trip. You can sample the RV lifestyle and make mental adjustments for how much an Airstream might improve the experience.

If you can get a site at a state or COE park it's much better than the commercial parks where you're right up against your neighbor. You need to show your wife the best of camping, not just the "motel substitute" parks. Commercial parks have their uses, but the real fun is out where you have Nature at your doorstep, not just more people.
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Old 04-18-2018, 08:47 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lily&Me View Post
Renting anything for such long trips as you want to take is going to be very, very, very expensive...whether that is an Airstream or SOB.

You say you are 12-15 years from retirement...might consider buying a used, good condition something to do some long weekends with friends and family for the years til you are closer to actual retirement.

There are also campgrounds that rent rigs in place.

If you have never had a trailer before, it will take you some time to figure out what you like, and donít, and what are your must-haveís.

An interim plan would give you all time to feel out the life, which will help you in fine tuning purchase wants and needs for retirement.

Good luck!

Maggie
I should have been more clear.
*Looking to rent for a long weekend to test the waters, prior to purchasing.
*Am considering purchasing used to let someone else take the initial hit of depreciation.
* I found only handful that had airstreams for rent. Most have cabins or yurts. I'm trying to give this the best chance of success for my wife so, I would prefer to rent something close to what we are actually considering purchasing. Any recommendations of campgrounds that have newer airstreams fro rent would be awesome.
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:18 AM   #5
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Welcome from Another Airstreamer from NC

Quote:
Originally Posted by hotrod2448 View Post
I should have been more clear.
*Looking to rent for a long weekend to test the waters, prior to purchasing.
*Am considering purchasing used to let someone else take the initial hit of depreciation.
* I found only handful that had airstreams for rent. Most have cabins or yurts. I'm trying to give this the best chance of success for my wife so, I would prefer to rent something close to what we are actually considering purchasing. Any recommendations of campgrounds that have newer airstreams fro rent would be awesome.
Welcome Kyle,

In 2010 we were exactly where you are today. We discovered KOA rented Airstreams in a few of their locations -- Bar Harbor, ME, Las Vegas, Santa Cruz, CA, and Key West, FL. We flew to Maine and spent a couple of nights in a 25' Airstream. After the experience, we earnestly began our search for an Airstream and in 2011 we purchased a three year old trailer and the rest is history. I was the skeptical one and the ability to rent one was extremely helpful. Please let me know if I can provide any additional information.

Susan
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Old 04-18-2018, 09:22 AM   #6
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do it. you ll know quickly if you like it or not. then you can spend time figuring out -used or new, and what amenities you want or need,.
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Old 04-18-2018, 10:35 AM   #7
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Greetings from the Florida Panhandle

First off, welcome to the Forums. We're glad to have you with us.

You sound very much like we were thirteen years ago. We thought that we would enjoy RV camping while seeing the USA up close and personal. As we looked into the RV options available at that time, we came to the realization that we were most interested in Airstreaming, even though we weren't quite sure what exactly that was at the time.

No one was renting Airstreams at that time. We looked into the rental of another travel trailer and were shocked at how expensive it was for a two week rental, we decided to take another route.

We started researching both new and used Airstreams. We found that the late model used Airstreams went for a very large percentage of the cost of a new Airstream. We were fortunate as we already had a 2005 Suburban 2500 to use as a tow vehicle. We decided that we would take the plunge and buy a new Airstream so that we could give the RVing thing a real try.

We did some research on the various models and floor plans available at that time. We decided on a Safari 25FB which was then in its first year of production. We got a good deal on a brand new 2005 Airstream Safari 25FB and began our new life style. We had both recently retired from Federal Government Service, and our four sons were already out on their own. For the first time in our lives, we were free to come and go as we pleased.

We started traveling in our Airstream that we named Lucy. We were almost shocked at how much we enjoyed rambling around the country in our dear Lucy. At first, our sons thought that this "Airstreaming Thing" was a flash in the pan that wouldn't last. We have proven them very wrong.

We became avid Airstreamers staying gone in the Airstream for as long as 90 days at a time. In 2014, we replaced Old Lucy with New Lucy, a 2015 Flying Cloud 25FB. That's right, we bought the very same model after ten years of experience. We have now amassed almost 1,900 nights of Airstream camping all over the United States and Canada. We have towed our Airstreams almost 180,000 miles in the process. We have spent over 40% of our retirement time out in the Airstrteam. This has been the greatest time of our lives.

Best wishes in your endeavor. Below is a photo of New Lucy with her towing partner, Lillian.

Brian
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:51 AM   #8
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Thanks for the input everyone! I'll look into the KOA rentals. I've also seen there are at least 2 rallies not far from us that we may check out. One in Marion and one at Stone Mountain. I'm pretty familiar with Stone Mountain, I fly fish up there at least a couple of times a year.
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:57 AM   #9
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For rentals, check AirBnB. There are quite a few listed there.

In 2014 we bought our first Airstream, a 2001 Safari 25. I had to replace the water pump and decided to replace the converter with a better model, but had no other problems. The original owner had replaced the sofa with recliners. We enjoyed it, but had to eat off of TV trays and had no guest seating. We decided we wanted something more. In 2016 we bought a 2002 Classic 30 with a slideout. The only thing about it that isn't perfect for us is it is harder to find a campsite other than RV parks out west. It can be done, but we have to look. I have spent more on it, but again, mostly upgrades. It sat a lot for the first 14 years of its life. As a result the axles were usable but overly stiff. I replaced them and upgraded to disc brakes. I also upgraded the skylights although the ones that were on there when I bought it were serviceable. Maintenance items included replacing the dump valves, re-aligning the slideout, replacing the umbilical cable.

Don't be afraid of older trailers. Find the inspection worksheet on here. Enlist the help of a local volunteer inspector (also can be found on here, under Community/Search members). When you find a trailer of interest, go to the forum page for that model and read about it. You will find good things and bad things about each one.

I started with an F-150 because I already had it. We had some trouble climbing a 6-mile 8% grade in NC with our first trailer (6300#) so I went for overkill and bought a Ram 2500 diesel. Never regretted that decision, particularly when we up-sized to a 30' Classic. If you already have the Land Cruiser, use it if it is suitable. If you don't already have it, you should probably be really sure about trailer sizes and weights before buying one. With smaller tow vehicles, the problem is often payload, not towing capacity. My F-150 was rated to tow a maximum of 8600# (which had to be reduced by the payload in the truck). Its payload rating was only 1240#. Subtracting the loaded tongue weight (Airstream's published tongue weight is unloaded and optimistic) only left me with a little over 400# for passengers and cargo in the truck and using all the payload reduced the towing capacity to 7400#.

Welcome to the community and good luck with your search. I would encourage you to do it sooner rather than later. We waited until we retired and would like to have started earlier. That said in four years we have nearly 22,500 miles and 170 nights of camping behind us and are looking forward to more.

Al
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Old 04-18-2018, 11:59 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by hotrod2448 View Post
Thanks for the input everyone! I'll look into the KOA rentals. I've also seen there are at least 2 rallies not far from us that we may check out. One in Marion and one at Stone Mountain. I'm pretty familiar with Stone Mountain, I fly fish up there at least a couple of times a year.
We will be at Marion (Alumalina) and Stone Mountain ("AlumaSlider"). Hope to meet you.

Al
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Old 04-19-2018, 09:45 AM   #11
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Hello from Colorado: Traveling by Airstream is much fun. You are wise to explore all aspects of trailering before making a purchase. You like the outdoors, and maybe the better half not so much. Same situation in me and the wife. She can tolerate nights in the Airstream but has no interest in cold, rain, wind, or hot. All of which make up our weather of course.

So find a stationare Airstream you can rent for a night or two. We see them occasionally in our travels. Learn how the heater makes it too hot, or too cold. Learn how load the AC is when running. Learn how small the bathroom is, and the kitchen for that matter. Then you can agree and decide.

David
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Old 05-12-2018, 01:01 PM   #12
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Ok so, after thinking this over for a pretty good while I think we have a general plan. We've given up on the rental idea and would rather put that money toward a down payment.

We've weighed out a few different models ranging from the Nest to pre-owned late model Land Yachts and everything in between so, a pretty wide spectrum to say the least. Initially we thought our sweet spot was going to be a 23FB Int Sig but, after thinking it over we felt like the dinette was a bit tight, we didn't like how it faced away from the windows and we didn't like how the full bath in the back blocked a lot of windows.

At that point we thought an option might be to go smaller and give up a dedicated bed (Nest) or just a little bit bigger to a 25FB. We actually liked the Nest more than we thought we would but, the pricing on it is fairly insane in my opinion especially for a refrigerator that can basically only hold 2 steaks and a six pack and for it to not come with a TV.

Which brings us to the 25FB International Signature. I do like the layout with the longer bench, 2 big windows and vista views in the lounge. We're Ok with the smaller bathroom and losing the oven + microwave versus the 25RB. It is getting up near the top end of our budget but, not close enough to be a problem.

The problem with the 25' may or may not be the tow vehicle but, I'm working on sorting that out. The opinions seem to vary wide and far on here as to what is a functional TV for a given size AS.

So at this point we are leaning toward the 25fb, any input or reasons to avoid this layout?
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Old 05-12-2018, 06:53 PM   #13
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I feel the 25' trailers are the most popular size. Not too big, not too small, but just right. I think that size is easier to resale when the time comes. I think front bed, or rear bed is a personal preference. Most of the time when we're in an RV park, the front view is rather lousy. The rear view can be a bit better at times. Our beagle likes to sit at the window and watch people walk by which might be harder in a front bed layout. You don't need giant windows in the bedroom in my view.

Others will have specific experiences with a front bed layout. I've never owned one.

David
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Old 01-22-2019, 12:12 PM   #14
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Bringing this back from the dead because I don’t really know where else to post it...

Things are moving toward us getting an airstream. I sold my M3 and got a Cayenne diesel so the TV is sorted. On to the fun part...

We went to the Charlotte RVDA show this past weekend. Unfortunately, Airstream had no representation there but, we got to see a lot of different campers in one spot, so it saved a lot of driving around. It also drove him the point that the vast majority of travel trailers are garbage. At this point I think we have two different plans.

1. We go all in and buy a 25' international signature or globetrotter. The benefit to this plan is we should get exactly what we want with little to no compromise. The down side is this is pretty much the top of our budget and is a really big commitment.

2. We go with the nest or something similar and possibly trade up later or learn we didn't need all the space we thought we did.

Option 1 is self-explanatory so let's talk about option 2.

The Nest pricing has finally coming down to a level that isn't fully insane. I see colonial has them listed for just under $40K which is still high for what it is but, closer to a point where I wouldn't feel I was outright being ripped off.

The positives:
• It's small enough towing is not an issue for either of us
• We like the styling
• Significantly less money than the 25’ options
• The money saved will allow us to still take vacations outside of a camper

The negatives:
• It seems like it could become too small very quickly
• Not crazy about the wet room
• Not sure how I feel about converting the bed/lounge all the time (the fixed bed is not an option)
• Feels like it’s lacking some basic things for its still premium price point. You know like a TV and a sink in the bathroom.

The unknowns:
• Resale value. I know I’m not telling anyone anything here but, it seems like most AS hold their value better than typical campers. I wonder if this will also apply to the nest or is it too different from the traditional AS for that to apply.

I’ve looked around the nest sub-forum and checked youtube for owner videos and found little to nothing going on with them. This all makes me a little wary of getting one. I feel like they missed the mark with this camper a little bit. IMO a 19’ with a real bathroom and decent fridge would draw a lot more people while still being small enough to tow easily.

Any input is much appreciated.
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