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Old 06-29-2015, 09:25 PM   #1
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Hello All!
So long story short I would love to own an airstream but am totally torn whether of not to purchase nearly new or go for a well kept vintage model (if I can find one). Purpose - I'm having this ovèrwhelming desire to rent out my current house and live in my airstream for a number of reasons 1) have fallen in love with the idea and have convinced myself I could live with my 2 toddlers and other half long term in it 2) save money 3) have the flexabilty to travel at the weekends, better quality of life. Cons - 1) what do I buy that would survive the majority of the weather conditions in Ohio. I know I'd probably have an issue in the winter months? 2) am I crazy to even contemplate such a thing? 3) definately don't want to buy brand new. But can't figure out weather we'd be happier in a modern version with solar etc etc insulated walls, great working systems....don't really have time or the know how to fix stuff that's failing. So as I've never owned an airstream before my question is does anybody new to ownership or a veteran rver have any advice what so ever....I would really appreciate it!!! Thanks in advance!!
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Old 06-29-2015, 09:50 PM   #2
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Hi and welcome. You'll get lots of opinions -- all worth everything you're paying for it 😃

Including this...

Not knowing you at all - it sounds like you've got the germ of an idea there and you may want to take a breath and process through what it will REALLY a take to make it a satisfying reality.

For example - you have a sense that Ohio might present a challenge in colder months. You're spot on! They're really not meant for 4 season living, so absent doing a lot of things like parking it for the winter, skirting it and spending 5x on propane to heat it daily - and this doesn't address the lack of water/shower/toilet during those months - you might start resenting that decision real quick. Of course, if you're really mobile and can chase 72 degree weather 4 seasons a year, that's a different opportunity - with different challenges.

You also say you don't know much about how to repair and maintain something like this. That would suggest you might want new or at best very slightly or gently used - preferably with some time left on the warranty. Or have a good budget for other folks to do the work you'd have to do on something less expensive to purchase.

So - no, you're not crazy 😃 you just have Aluminitus. Check out these forums - there's really tons of great information here and jokes aside - the value is TREMENDOUS! You can learn a ton here before you spend a dime and that's worth the effort in my opinion.

Good luck!
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Old 06-29-2015, 10:12 PM   #3
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In between new and well kept vintage ate the recent used ones. Less than new, maybe even less than the better vintage ones, maybe more. Look for those and, make sure there is a local manager for rental of the house. Someone who can ensure rent is paid, maintenance of the yard is done, and maintenance of your home is done. You don't want to spend your time on the phone trying to get a plumber at 3 am from 3000 miles away.... Yes, you pay for a good manager service, but the peace of mind is worth it.


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Old 06-29-2015, 10:28 PM   #4
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Airstream is a three-season travel trailer, not at all designed for Ohio winters. Condensation on windows and walls (inside and in-between outside and in) is a huge problem, poorly insulated walls, single pane windows, freezing of liquid tanks and connections are some of the issues.

An old Airstream can be quite a project unless it has been rebuilt already, I agree better to find a decent late model but even these can have issues. If you find one that looks good, get an experienced Airstream mechanic to look at it before buying to see what all it needs. It's not inexpensive housing if you want it travel ready, need a capable tow vehicle, and have to pay RV park rental fees.
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Old 06-30-2015, 12:58 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by dkottum View Post
It's not inexpensive housing if you want it travel ready, need a capable tow vehicle, and have to pay RV park rental fees.
Read and heed this very wise advice, then read it again.
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:50 AM   #6
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It sounds like you have fallen in love with love, not with the reality of it all. Think about buying an older well kept trailer and keep it at your house for a year or two. See what it would be like trying to live in it during the winter. You would learn first hand the challenges before you jump head long into what you would like to do. You would also have the trailer to enjoy the rest of the year.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:34 AM   #7
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So far you have been given spot on advice

Now hard ball, Sorry to burst your bubble. This is a dad talking.

Between the cost of an Airstream, and getting it in shape, a tow vehicle, and the cost of living on the road. I firmly believe you will NOT save ANY money. The fact that you are thinking about money, leads me to believe that whatever income you could get from renting your house, would not be enough. ( Not unlike, " if you have to ask…you can't afford it ) If you were independently wealthy?? Maybe

Though...Renting, not selling your house is about the only thing that makes sense.

What about work? Daycare? School? Playmates?

Raising two toddlers in a confined space, on the road?

I love your spirit….But I think a long road trip is more realistic. It could be a great learning experience when the kids are old enough, cherished memories, awesome adventure, and a dream come true.
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:22 AM   #8
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As a dad to three in their 20's now, I am siding with my good friend mandolindave.
Toddlers on the road in an 8'6" wide and 25-30' in length "home", is going to be one helluva challenge in itself. That can be tough on the kids too. There are folks on here that are full timers with toddlers. PM BoldAdventure and ask him for his thoughts. He just started that life you seek. He's a pretty smart cookie, and I'm sure he will give you a good idea of what you're facing.
As much as I butt heads with Doug (dkottum) and his views, he speaks the truth about it not being an inexpensive adventure. If you're not handy, costs associated with an older AS could mount quickly. It can certainly be done, but it's not that cheap. You can go the frugal route, and find many places to stay for free here in the US, but what about your children?
For me, that is the only reason I am in this world today: for them.

Good luck in your decision. It is certainly not an easy choice given your situation.
Sea ya down the road,
Gavin
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Old 06-30-2015, 09:34 AM   #9
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If you really want to go ahead with this idea, I'd suggest reading the malimish.com blog. A family of five, the youngest kid is three, travelling from the days before they even were a family. Miraculously, to me, they all live in a 25' Airstream.

But, and here's the big but, they travel. Dad is a web developer who can work from anywhere, so they go to wherever the weather is warm. Right now they are on their way to Alaska, but they typically spend their winters in the south.
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Old 06-30-2015, 07:45 PM   #10
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Smile Awesome advice even though the reality is a tough pill to swallow. Thankyou!!!

Hello again to you all and as I said the advice you all gave is crucial to my decision making as I don't know anybody that owns an airstream in my area so I'm thankful for this resource! I definitely have aluminitus! And have fallen in love with a fairytale notion. I did really need that reality check though, but still not quite ready to give up on the idea....got a lot of researching still to do. Couple of other questions though in response to the tow vehicle, I have a 4wd 4 door manual transition jeep wrangler, could I tow say a 25' airstream short distances with that vehicle? The travel would be more weekends for us and local as I do have a full time job that I wouldn't be giving up. So I guess what I'm interested in finding out is how much would propane be weekly, rv parking roughly with hookups monthly, general upkeep yearly....I'm probably completely missing loads of other expenses......? I know that winter we would have to find a solve....as it sounds like negative 17 and airstreams don't get along...at all. Can't wait to check out the blog below, I admire anybody who has the guts to take an alternative route in his life.... Thanks again everyone!!! Pls feel free to give feedback good or just the reality of it all.
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Old 06-30-2015, 08:45 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ladygibbania View Post
Hello again to you all and as I said the advice you all gave is crucial to my decision making as I don't know anybody that owns an airstream in my area so I'm thankful for this resource! I definitely have aluminitus! And have fallen in love with a fairytale notion. I did really need that reality check though, but still not quite ready to give up on the idea....got a lot of researching still to do. Couple of other questions though in response to the tow vehicle, I have a 4wd 4 door manual transition jeep wrangler, could I tow say a 25' airstream short distances with that vehicle? The travel would be more weekends for us and local as I do have a full time job that I wouldn't be giving up. So I guess what I'm interested in finding out is how much would propane be weekly, rv parking roughly with hookups monthly, general upkeep yearly....I'm probably completely missing loads of other expenses......? I know that winter we would have to find a solve....as it sounds like negative 17 and airstreams don't get along...at all. Can't wait to check out the blog below, I admire anybody who has the guts to take an alternative route in his life.... Thanks again everyone!!! Pls feel free to give feedback good or just the reality of it all.

Hi again. 😃

No - you can't tow a 6000# trailer with a vehicle that at max (depending on what engine/transmission combo you have) can tow 3500#.

I quickly looked at 3 campsites in the Columbus, OH area and they all range around $500-600/mo for rates. "Seasonal" which could be 4-6 months can shave some off that. They all charge electric by metered usage.

Propane depends on usage. Fridge doesn't take much but stove and heating does. In colder seasons you could plan on a tank or two a month ($30-60).

Upkeep - plan $150-200/mo for starters depending on how well conditioned your trailer is at time of purchase. You'll always have something to fix, upgrade, etc.

And you'll need a more capable tow vehicle (which will have its own set of expenses, maintenance issues, etc).

Your dream is possible. Just keep researching, keep asking questions, study up on this for a while before diving in otherwise your romantic dream will become an endless nightmare you will resent and regret. No one would want to see that happen.

Know your goals, your tolerances, your realistic financial possibilities and why you're trying to do any of this and you'll eventually be able to align the perfect puzzle pieces to fit your dream in an achievable manner.

Take all this with a grain of salt. You could dive in tomorrow and be happier than a clam - who can say?

Good luck.
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Old 06-30-2015, 10:08 PM   #12
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Rivet master, your advice is much appreciated thanks so much for taking the time to message me and look into stuff for me. I know the decision is ultimately mine but again I can't stress enough that any advice but especially from people that have experience.....is very valuable to me, wise words rivet master.....your totally right! Okay the search must go on.....I will own an airstream one day.....hopefully I'm not too old to enjoy it :0)! Peace!
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Old 06-30-2015, 11:01 PM   #13
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Hey Lady ( more dad type stuff )

First of all. Thumbs up for tracking down the thread and responding back to us.

Quitting a full time job?? In these times??

It's hard to determine how risky your plan is without knowing all of your personal finances, like, Potential Rental income from your house, your savings, your combined employment incomes. property tax, house insurance. So you will have to do the math. You'll still have house repairs and maintenance. Will you need a storage space ? You should make a budget, knowing how much you have, how much will be coming in, and what your costs will be. I realize being a stay at home/trailer mom would be a major plus for you and the kids.

Here are some ball park cost numbers for you to put into your equation. Too many variables to be exact.

#1 Tow vehicle $ 15K- 30K
#2 Road Ready Trailer $ 15K- 30K
#3 Annual Living on the road $ 15K- 30K

My numbers may seem high to you, but you may not be taking things into account. After you buy a tow vehicle, you need to buy hitch, brake controller, transmission cooler and wiring, then have them installed. After you buy a trailer, you usually need new tires, brakes, bearings, and batteries.

You will have to go south for about 5 months out of the year. Read some threads on wintering in an Airstream from someone who has. Monthly campground rates are high in Florida. And I think Steve under estimated how much gas for heat you will use in the cold months.
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Old 07-01-2015, 06:04 AM   #14
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Hi Dave,
All great info above so thankyou! I'm so glad I reached for this info here as I wasn't aware of a lot of the above. Wasn't planning on quitting my job by the way, that would be a giant mistake. But my dream looks more costly than I had first imagined. I feel better informed though. I'm determined to figure this out but have had a reality check so definately not going to rush into this. Awesome advice, thankyou!!!
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