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Old 06-25-2017, 01:29 PM   #1
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Hello everyone!

My wife and I have been considering a travel trailer now that our daughters are 6 and 3yrs old. They are great in the car for longer trips and I would like to get out as a family and travel more. I am in the military so I have a decent amount of time off every year for some trips.

We have been considering an Airstream because they seem to be much more well put together and offer cleaner design than ANY other travel trailer I have seen...IMO.

My wife has a 2016 Highlander (5,000lb) capacity and it tows our boat (around 4,000 - 4,500lbs) with ease.

We HAD been looking at the Sport 16 and Cloud 19 but we recently found out that we are expecting our third (and final) child, which has prompted me to consider a 22 Sport. Not so much for the extra sleeping space but just a little more room to move around as well as a dedicated restroom (3 women and possibly a fourth soon on the way...gender unknown).

Im in Houston and there is really very little in regards to viewing Airstreams so I figured I would come introduce myself and ask for opinions.

We are pretty comfortable towing our 19' boat all around so feel as if we stick with a similar size trailer and keep the towing to what my wife's SUV will tow, we won't be too much out of our comfort zone in this new experience.

We are taking a trip to Dallas in a couple of weeks with my wife's parents (Class A RVers) and we are bringing the boat to meet them half way. I figured it would be a good opportunity to see the Dallas AS dealer while we are there.

Though we would love to move up to a larger trailer at some point, I don't want to be a statistic that buys too big/expensive and ends up not using as much or limiting our travel convenience. Not to mention, it takes a pretty large upgrade to get more than the 4 person sleeping. We feel our two daughters can sleep on the dinette and the baby can be with us for a while on trips...testing the waters for a potential upgrade as our family grows several years down the line.

Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the welcome and any tips/advice in advance.

jason
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:51 PM   #2
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First and foremost, thank you for your service and for the sacrifices your family makes every day as you support our nation. Welcome to the forums and we wish you success as you pick out your Airstream. We think you're heading in the right direction to stop by the dealer in Dallas. If you can sit in the models you feel might work for you for a bit of time each and consider your daily activities with 2 going on three children (congrats, by the way). Think about moving about and passing each other as you work in the kitchen or head to the bathroom, etc. You'll start to get a feel for model, layout, and size that fits your plans.

You may want to consider starting with a gently used model to start, letting some of the initial depreciation to be covered by the previous owner.

Good luck, and we hope to cross paths someday in the future.

Roy and Marie
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:55 PM   #3
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Well - everything Roy and Marie said!

And I'd add - look for a local unit of the Club near you and see if you can meet them at a local rally. If they're anything like our local unit in New England - folks love talking about and showing off our trailers and answering any questions we can.

Good luck!
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Old 06-25-2017, 01:58 PM   #4
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Hi

First off, there *are* used Airstreams out there. If you can pay cash (as opposed to bank financing, which stops at 7 years old) a "gently used" 10 year old AS will save some real money. That's not to say it's the only way to go, just to point it out as an option early in the process.

5,000 lb towing rules out most of the bigger trailers. Upgrading the tow vehicle is something you may want to think about. Five people (three growing bigger every year ...) in a 22' will be a bit tight at some point.

Once you get over paying the "Airstream Tax" (base price of the 22' Sport), going up in size is not as crazy as that first speed bump. This is true new or used. I would carefully look at the Sport and some of the 23' and 25' models. Bed space for five will work a little better in a trailer that is slightly over your weight target. You can work it out in the Sport now. It's not real clear how well that will go in 3 to 6 years ....

Payload (in addition to towing capacity) is the other gotcha with a travel trailer. You have all the passengers, much of the gear, and the weight of the trailer tongue on the TV. I prefer a setup that stays under the manufacturer limits on stuff. Others violently disagree with the idea of there being any limits other than "what works for me". There is a sticker on the Highlander (probably on the door post) that should give you the payload number for your vehicle. The real rating is the number on the post plus the rated number of passengers times their idea of how much a passenger weighs.

Plan to spend as much of a day as you can looking at models. With kids, there will be limits to the process. You want to get a feel for how you fit into each floor plan. Much of your use will involve doing stuff outdoors. There are always days when it rains. Some do a tent + trailer to fit things all in. If that's an option, think about who goes where and how that would work.

Lots to think on ....

Bob
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:05 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by 64airstream View Post
First and foremost, thank you for your service and for the sacrifices your family makes every day as you support our nation. Welcome to the forums and we wish you success as you pick out your Airstream. We think you're heading in the right direction to stop by the dealer in Dallas. If you can sit in the models you feel might work for you for a bit of time each and consider your daily activities with 2 going on three children (congrats, by the way). Think about moving about and passing each other as you work in the kitchen or head to the bathroom, etc. You'll start to get a feel for model, layout, and size that fits your plans.

You may want to consider starting with a gently used model to start, letting some of the initial depreciation to be covered by the previous owner.

Good luck, and we hope to cross paths someday in the future.

Roy and Marie

Thanks so much for the quick feedback and insight!

We did go by the Houston dealer yesterday. They didn't have any 22' or under but are getting some soon. They had an international that I believe was around 25-28' and we really liked it. We understand that the International has a lot of upgraded fixtures.

Overall, I am a huge fan of the windows and the amount of light many floorpans let in.

We are very much ok with finding a used one. Seems to not be out of the ordinary to see a newer 22' for about 10-15k off. There are not a lot of used ones for sale here in Texas but we definitely have our eyes open.

I am not against replacing my car with a more towing capable truck (in the market to replace my car anyways) but It would be nice to be able to stick with a smaller vehicle for the near future to test out the RVing scene. Lol
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by SteveSueMac View Post
Well - everything Roy and Marie said!

And I'd add - look for a local unit of the Club near you and see if you can meet them at a local rally. If they're anything like our local unit in New England - folks love talking about and showing off our trailers and answering any questions we can.

Good luck!
I would love to find an event. I know they are probably more common on the east and west coast than down here in Texas, but I have been watching a ton of Youtube on all things travel trailer and AS and those events look perfect for window shopping.
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Mindiraser View Post
I would love to find an event. I know they are probably more common on the east and west coast than down here in Texas, but I have been watching a ton of Youtube on all things travel trailer and AS and those events look perfect for window shopping.
You Tube and Airforums were our "friends" that ultimately lead us to the AS we purchased. It was used and found it here on the forum in the Classified section. We also looked at new models at a dealership which was very helpful.

With your growing family perhaps a FC 23 with a bunk bed might make sense but it is getting real close to the tow capacity of your wife's SUV. So many choices!

Looking is a lot of fun and we wish you success in your selection and search!

Just curious, which branch of the service are you in? And thank you!
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Old 06-25-2017, 02:42 PM   #8
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Welcome Jason. IMO, I'd go with the largest unit you can afford and search the classifieds here, rv trader, Craigslist, etc for a gently used AS. I'm traveling between duty stations with the Coast Guard right now with 2 kids and wouldn't want anything smaller than a 25. Just my 2 cents. This forum is great for learning all things AS!

Stuart


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mindiraser View Post
Hello everyone!

My wife and I have been considering a travel trailer now that our daughters are 6 and 3yrs old. They are great in the car for longer trips and I would like to get out as a family and travel more. I am in the military so I have a decent amount of time off every year for some trips.

We have been considering an Airstream because they seem to be much more well put together and offer cleaner design than ANY other travel trailer I have seen...IMO.

My wife has a 2016 Highlander (5,000lb) capacity and it tows our boat (around 4,000 - 4,500lbs) with ease.

We HAD been looking at the Sport 16 and Cloud 19 but we recently found out that we are expecting our third (and final) child, which has prompted me to consider a 22 Sport. Not so much for the extra sleeping space but just a little more room to move around as well as a dedicated restroom (3 women and possibly a fourth soon on the way...gender unknown).

Im in Houston and there is really very little in regards to viewing Airstreams so I figured I would come introduce myself and ask for opinions.

We are pretty comfortable towing our 19' boat all around so feel as if we stick with a similar size trailer and keep the towing to what my wife's SUV will tow, we won't be too much out of our comfort zone in this new experience.

We are taking a trip to Dallas in a couple of weeks with my wife's parents (Class A RVers) and we are bringing the boat to meet them half way. I figured it would be a good opportunity to see the Dallas AS dealer while we are there.

Though we would love to move up to a larger trailer at some point, I don't want to be a statistic that buys too big/expensive and ends up not using as much or limiting our travel convenience. Not to mention, it takes a pretty large upgrade to get more than the 4 person sleeping. We feel our two daughters can sleep on the dinette and the baby can be with us for a while on trips...testing the waters for a potential upgrade as our family grows several years down the line.

Sorry for the long post, but thanks for the welcome and any tips/advice in advance.

jason
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Old 06-25-2017, 03:10 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Hans627 View Post
You Tube and Airforums were our "friends" that ultimately lead us to the AS we purchased. It was used and found it here on the forum in the Classified section. We also looked at new models at a dealership which was very helpful.

With your growing family perhaps a FC 23 with a bunk bed might make sense but it is getting real close to the tow capacity of your wife's SUV. So many choices!

Looking is a lot of fun and we wish you success in your selection and search!

Just curious, which branch of the service are you in? And thank you!
I'm in the Air National Guard (Air Force) full time. Been in for 17yrs....a few more to go.
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Old 06-25-2017, 03:12 PM   #10
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Thanks for the feedback. I had been considering buying a new Honda Ridgeline to replace my car. However, I've been considering a Tundra as well for the bigger back seat and additional towing capacity.

May need to strongly consider that.
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Old 06-25-2017, 03:33 PM   #11
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Hi

The trailer and tow vehicle decisions need to go hand in hand. There are a *lot* of options on each side of the decision. You stay in "light truck / big SUV" territory through quite a bit of the lineup. Making sure that everything "fits" may be a matter of getting one option or the other on your tow. Going overboard on a tow is also an option, it's not a cheap option ....

For the middle of the lineup trailers, something in the 7,000 lb tow range is not a bad target. You might want a bit more, you might get away with a little bit less. Payload will also be an issue to dig into.

Bob
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Old 06-25-2017, 03:34 PM   #12
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My $0.02. I don't recall ever hearing anybody say "gee, this Airstream is too big". I have, however, seen plenty of examples of "not big enough".

My wife and I were boaters for 15 years before we got our Airstream last year. We went straight to the 30'. Didn't even consider a smaller one. Because we knew better from our boating days.

That's just the two of us and a dog. If I had kids, I'm not exactly sure what I'd do as they don't make them bigger. But rest assured kids grow up fast and this type of purchase should be made "for the long haul".

If you insist on a smaller trailer, I'd definitely suggest used. Avoid the depreciation hit, and be in a better spot for the (inevitable) upgrade. A Tundra can pull a 30' Airstream, especially a Flying Cloud which weighs less than a Classic.

Good luck on your search!
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Old 06-25-2017, 07:56 PM   #13
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My $0.02. I don't recall ever hearing anybody say "gee, this Airstream is too big". I have, however, seen plenty of examples of "not big enough".

My wife and I were boaters for 15 years before we got our Airstream last year. We went straight to the 30'. Didn't even consider a smaller one. Because we knew better from our boating days.

That's just the two of us and a dog. If I had kids, I'm not exactly sure what I'd do as they don't make them bigger. But rest assured kids grow up fast and this type of purchase should be made "for the long haul".

If you insist on a smaller trailer, I'd definitely suggest used. Avoid the depreciation hit, and be in a better spot for the (inevitable) upgrade. A Tundra can pull a 30' Airstream, especially a Flying Cloud which weighs less than a Classic.

Good luck on your search!
Thanks for the .02. I would love to go big. However, we chose to go small with our boat and it has actually been the best decision we have made. We can store it in our garage and take it out almost every weekend. Costs us $0 in storage as well.

With the trailer, I feel like if we are able to get a great deal on a 25', I would be all about jumping on a larger TV. However, with this being our first Airstream and even trailer, I don't want to spend 25' money just yet.

We do anticipate upgrading in size at some point but with two young girls, we think we can "get away" with a smaller trailer for the time...until we are absolutely certain this will be a constant use purchase.

Im appreciating all the feedback from everyone, thanks for the warm welcome!
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Old 06-25-2017, 08:27 PM   #14
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I have been spending day and night in our small Airstream, a 2015 23D International Serenity, working at our member owned camp ground doing electrical renovation for nearly two months now. I am by myself all the time in the trailer. It can seem small on rainy days despite all the windows.

One feature for this model is that a bunk bed can be added above the rear main bed when it is built at the factory. That coupled with the pull out bed in the sofa and the drop down dinette table makes lots of sleeping area at the expense of walking room.

Our 23D scales 6,063 pounds fully loaded for camping after extensive customization. We are towing with my 2007 Mercedes ML320 CDI 3.0L V6 diesel with 167,000 miles on it. The car would be overloaded with children in the back seat along with our usual gear.

So as the thinking process evolves, a tow vehicle may have to be bigger than you thought as the young ladies grow fast (I had two boys and then a daughter and they do eat!) and there is still little person stuff to carry along with three kid seats..... So perhaps a big van might work. Lots of research will be entertaining.

Welcome to the forums and thanks for your service. I and many others are veterans and can fully appreciate your current lifestyle challenges.

There are Airstream size specific threads that share what folks like and are less happy with.

See you on the road...
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