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Old 02-27-2013, 08:14 AM   #43
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2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
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And, you know, being debt free is very attractive. Certainly a goal you want to have. Were you older, this would be more important, in my opinion.

I think the important thing, for you guys, is that you be thoughtful and planful about this. Only you know what your income/debt balance is and if one income is sufficient to support you while on the road. The are lots of ways to easily cut costs, but you don't want to be juggling necessary clothing, shoes, etc. for your little one with fuel, repairs, etc.

I suspect that part of the intensity you feel for doing this is because it is possible, within reach. That is not the case for every family in their early 30's. You never know what is around the corner, and whether living a dream may still be possible 5 or 10 years from now.

Lots to think about.


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Old 02-27-2013, 08:18 AM   #44
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Columbus , Ohio
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Forgot to mention - think this thru. Where will you camp? In a crowded noisy campground? If it rains everyone will be cramped up in a very small place. A full hook-up site in the sun will cost $400 - $600 per month.

Drive through a few RV Parks, go to an RV show or several dealers. Look and price different styles of trailers.

Life will not all of a sudden turn into a bowl of cherries. Living in a cramped trailer in a crappy campground would not be pleasent.

I strongly recommend you drive thru a few RV parks. Stop at the office and just say you want to check out their sites. They will let you drive around after giving you a park site map. You will see what I mean.

State Parks typically give you more room and much nicer sites but lack full hook-up and no wifi. Plus you can only stay 14 days and booking State Parks is painful.

Picture this - there is a cold rain and you have a leak in the trailer. The dogs are wet and smelling because they had to go out and there is dog hair on everything. They are always under foot because they have no place else to go. You are living in 180 sq. ft. or about the size of a 1 room in a house. You have much much less floor space...ugh, you gotta think thru this.

Good luck

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Old 02-27-2013, 12:51 PM   #45
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South of the river , Minnesota
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Originally Posted by TeamC View Post
We are a family of three with a 2-year-old and two dogs. We're currently renting our home and the lease will be up at the end of this year. We are entertaining the idea of selling most of our possessions and live out of an Airstream for two years and travel the country after our lease is up before our son starts Kindergarten in Fall 2016.
Be aware that, in general, it isn't possible to leave dogs in an RV for more than a few minutes. Most campgrounds officially don't allow it at all, although exceptions are sometimes made if the dogs are quiet and are clearly being cared for. It can also be dangerous for the dogs in hot weather.

The dogs may be more of a problem than the 2-year-old insofar as you can take the child with you to restaurants or the pool.

Financially, we can't afford it right now, but with some hard budgeting and re-arranging of finances and planning, we could possibly make it work. A lot depends on how soon we can sell our townhome back home (obviously not the same home we're renting.) We have 10 months of planning, researching and saving. We have a few months of flexibility for execution.
OK, just realize that RVing is not a low-cost lifestyle. Check campground rates at a few places where you intend to stay, and figure out your fuel costs. Realize that it's hard to find RV campsites near large metro areas.

We love the outdoors and we would love to travel the country to determine where we want to settle down and make our roots. We feel like nomads that haven't found a "home" yet. Yes, we could take long weekend trips somewhere, but we really want to live in a community to get the true feel of it.
A fact to consider is that campgrounds are inherently itinerant and rarely reflect the underlying social fabric of the surrounding area.

This is where the reality check comes into play, both financially and would you even recommend this for a young family with zero experience?
Don't make a commitment to the lifestyle until you've been on shorter trips in an RV. There are places that rent them. Some people can't deal with the small space, the minor mechanical problems that come up, or driving and backing something big.

I telecommute and my company has offices all over the country, so we'd be living off my salary. I'd work from the Airstream and go into the office as needed. My husband would quit his job as a nurse and take care of our son and dogs.
I telecommute. I have kids. I have an Airstream. I don't believe it's possible to telecommute from an Airstream while young kids are sharing the space and being young kids. There isn't an area that you can use as an office where you can close the door and get a reasonable amount of isolation.

Our basic plan is a 27'-30' Airstream and a Chevy Silverado 2500 HD Diesel crew cab. I'm trying to find used prices on those is what I'm working on now as those would be the bulk of our payments. Is this basic plan too much or too little?
The advice of others to also consider the 34' trailers is sound. Most couples who live full-time in RVs use larger ones than Airstream makes. Adding a kid means you'll wish for more space.

There are endless discussions of the pros and cons of diesel trucks, but one fact to consider is that, if your finances are uncertain, you do run a greater risk of expensive repairs with a diesel truck than a gasser. Over time the improved fuel economy offsets this, on the average, but that's small solace if you're two months into your trip and need to have the turbo or the injection pump replaced.

I know this is crazy, but people have done it. I'm just not sure how *well* they were able to do it. We won't have a lot of money for a back up plan if something goes wrong. We have a $10k limit on our CC and whatever else we can save up. Worst comes to worst, we go home and live with our parents.
Typical campground daily rates are now around $40. That and fuel will be your largest expenses.
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Old 02-27-2013, 02:44 PM   #46
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Look to a forum that is made up with full timers for information. I think escapees is one. Look at work camping as a host for your husband to cut the camping cost some or completely.

Defiantly do not buy a new Airstream. For that cost you could buy a truck and trailer of another brand and have money left over. A factor you should consider is that an Airstream has almost No outside storage. You will need a place for your Stuff.

I would suggest you look at a one or two year old fifth wheel trailer and pickup. Let someone else take the hit of newness. You shouldn't ware that combination out in a year.
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1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

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Old 02-27-2013, 03:08 PM   #47
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Well TeamC you now have every opinion from A to Z, so it will be up to you to make that very important decision.
Yep, weigh it out.
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Old 02-27-2013, 05:15 PM   #48
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More Wisdom...

Let me throw another pearl at you.... in addition to getting a 34 foot trailer from the early 90's at a reasonable price (I have read of people on this very forum with brand new trailers who have had more trouble with them than I have had with my '87 model...), you NEED to be a good mechanic.

Get Livingston's book and learn it. I'm not sure why it's so expensive...must be out of print. I got if for like $20. There are newer versions of it, but this is the version I have:

Trailer Life's RV Repair and Maintenance Manual: Bob Livingston: 9780934798129: Books

One KEY to making this work is that you MUST be able to do your own repairs.

Trailers are butt-simple (excuse the slang....) They really are. They are not hard to work on. But, if you have to have every little repair done by a professional repair shop, you'll be paying $400 to fix something that you could probably do yourself for $40. No slam against RV's the same with auto mechanics. But you really need to be able to troubleshoot and fix stuff yourself.

One poster above mentioned a roof leak during a cold rain. How do you fix it? Easy, you clean off the roof seams and hit them with aluminum Kool Seal. You should go over the roof BEFORE you go on your trip.

But at any rate, buy this book or one just like it right now. Read up on it. Learn the systems of an RV. They are like mini versions of the one in your house; but simplified. RV plumbing is easy. RV electrics are easy. RV mechanicals are pretty easy (especially on a trailer...motorhomes are trickier as they have a real drivetrain).

I still recommend you get yourself a late 80's to early 90's 34 foot triple axle. Do some weekend trips in it. Fix what's wrong with it. Learn to work on it before you go on the grand trip. Again, it's not hard. But, if you have to pay a Pro to do repairs for you, you're probably looking at 5-10 times what it'd cost you to do it yourself.

On these silver trailers, if you get one with a decent frame (get an '86 or newer), there's not much that goes wrong with the structure. The appliances will wear out, but you can replace them.

On my own Avion, the structure was perfect (and don't be afraid to look at an Avion 34 footer....especially pre '88....they don't use rubber axles so you don't have to replace the axles....) but the appliances were wearing out. I bought it for $7200 (I did score a deal, but you can too) and put about $5K into it. I replaced the old 13,500 btu a/c with a 15,000 unit, new toilet, new Atwood water heater, new Dometic fridge, new kitchen sink (Moen home unit), six new tires, six new shocks. I've got about $12-13K in it, and probably $25K of "Sweat Equity", but now I've got a rig that I can pull anywhere, anytime, and have no worries about it at all. I know how to fix just about everything on it. I knew nothing before I got into's not hard. You just need to read. These forums will teach you a bunch. Combine that with the book and you can learn all you need to know.

I've had less trouble with my '87 than I see some poor folks on here having with brand new ones. Personally, I wouldn't consider a new one just because of the depreciation hit....though they sure look pretty.

But anyway, if you can fix whatever breaks, you are Light Years ahead on the finances.

Read up on here about "Torsion Axles". At about 20 years old, most Airstreams are going to need new axles. That isn't cheap. But you need to look at the individual trailer.

The advice of a big 5er isn't bad either. But if you have the Silver Addiction, you could also look at Avion, Silver Streak, and Streamline.

Anyway, I think you have a cool idea. I wish you the best!
- Jim
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Old 02-27-2013, 06:21 PM   #49
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1956 22' Flying Cloud
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while reading the first post i was going to suggest the OP contact kyle. Kyle, we saw you pulling out of the campground in bahia honda in December;
Actually.... I think that was the other Kyle that fulltimes.. Kyle from
no, i ment mali mish.. i thought ya'll been on the road for a while now?
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Old 05-10-2013, 06:17 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by morgandc View Post
I would live out of the Airstream while waiting for the townhouse to sell with 2 incomes. This will let you see if you like the concept before losing the 2nd income. Don't buy more trailer than you can afford on the single income, the financial stress will ruin the experience.
Well thought out, morgandc. I second that reply. What one can do to test run before "chucking" an income can make the ultimate decision a confident and more enjoyable adventure, should you decide to persue it on a more long term basis. However, in the current economy, there is a great deal to be said for saving childcare expenses; once compared with net income realized after all expenses necessary to maintain that income are taken into account. Though many times the man's income is more substantial and secure, this may not be the case for you. Sit down(if you haven't already) and do a detailed itemization of all income and expense that you realize by experience and that you think you may incur. Once the numbers have been "crunched" you may find it to be quite "doable". Since this post is a few months previous to my reply, I hope you find it helpful.
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Old 05-10-2013, 09:03 PM   #51
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Jeddo , Michigan
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My wife and I traveled extensively when we were younger and spent money that would have been nice to have now that we are both retired. My children are 35 and 37 yrs. old now and they would not trade the memories for anything? Sometimes we both had to work extra side jobs to take our camping vacations but it was worth it to us as well. I keep telling them not to look for much inheritance, they already got it! Just a side note which I think supports the experience of first hand learning, my son is an engineer with a gas distribution company and my daughter is a Phd in education and a university professor. Their quest for knowledge and new experiences seems insatiable. Not a bad gift to give your children... We just bought our "new" Argosy 30 about a month ago and hope to camp weekends with our kids again but they both have there own campers now! I say go for it if it seems doable financially.

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