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Old 04-14-2015, 11:00 PM   #15
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2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 6,266
You have gotten great advice already - 30 more posts won't add too much.

My advice - you've already taken a far bigger risk than I ever did... you have 1.5 children (I raised a sister - and I still like her! whew!).

Having committed to children everything else IS the small stuff. Everything you do to make happy memories with and for them will be of far greater value than any amount of money you acquire.

I strongly agree with those who've suggested that you rent a SOB (square old box) for a week or two so if you do NOT enjoy camping you stop right there, and find something else you'll all enjoy.

Next, the odds of getting the perfect Airstream on the first try aren't good, so get a 2 or 3 year old gently used one. Only about 1 in 10 buyers are members here, and quite a few DO buy without having ever RV'ed before - then find out they never have time to use it - or hate vacations where they have to wash their own dishes.

I don't recommend restoring a vintage unit at this point because your children are YOUNG and add two careers - your time is too limited and too valuable.

Most of all - always take 10 minutes a day to treasure the moment you're in.


Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:04 PM   #16
Len and Jeanne
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2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,618
Try shopping around for a used AS-- ideally not a total handyman special, but one that has come down on the price. You may have to travel a long way to get it, however.

It's NOMB (so don't tell,) but consider whether you would purchase the RV outright, or get it financed. Generally the personal finance gurus say to pay off our mortgage, be on-track for retirement savings, and have some liquidity before accruing a new debt or cutting into savings for a luxury item. But then a lot depends on interest rates and whether one's savings are in a form that would be taxable income all at once, once accessed, &c.

Also, consider the weight of the desired trailer in keeping with your tow vehicle's capacity. Our former 16' Bambi towed well with our Tacoma; but once we settled on a new 19' replacement, we decided we needed a new V-8 engine to tow it! (It wasn't the AS but the new Tundra that put us in the poor house.)

Then what kind of camping do you like to do? A small unit gets you into more National Park and Forest Service campsites, but most RV parks are set up for big rigs. Would you want some kind of "toy hauler" capacity?

I guess we all know the saying, "Do what you love, and the money will follow." When we decided to switch from tent camping to RVing in 2006, we honestly didn't see anything on the road that we even liked as well as the AS Bambi. We never liked the look of those massive boxy 5 wheels and motor homes; and while the small footprint of the little fiberglass trailers is ecologically appealing, we have yet to go inside one that hasn't felt cramped. (Moreso, I would think, for two young boys on a rainy day.)

We have done a lot of camping in our AS (most recently out for 6 weeks) and have never regretted it. It has just been a joy.

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Old 04-14-2015, 11:36 PM   #17
1 Rivet Member
San Diego , California
Join Date: Nov 2012
Posts: 5
Originally Posted by texasvette View Post
if you want to spend this kind of quality time with your kids, move fast cause they sure grow fast and then they are gone.
This is exactly the reason why I'm dreaming of an AS. It's mainly for family quality time.
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Old 04-14-2015, 11:47 PM   #18
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San Diego , California
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Originally Posted by 2Fast4U View Post
What's realistically left to spend? I'm guessing not much. Do you have any retirement savings? How about life insurance? College for this kids? What happens if you or your wife (or both) die? Does someone have to sell the trailer to pay for the funeral(s)?

The best advice that I can give you is to hold off. Start saving your money, cut back on your expenses, and enjoy spending time with your kids doing things that don't cost much. If you still have the itch in 10 years, you'll have amassed a nice chunk of change that might fund a well-cared-for, used trailer. Perhaps then you'll be in a better financial position to Airstream with your family.

Good luck!
Thanks for the advice. I have retirement savings (mid 6-figures) and life insurance (1.5 million fully covered, paid by my company) in place. Just started a 529k for the kid. With that said, I still puzzle how much net worth I need to obtain before considered 'well-off' enough to buy an AS easily. That's what I'm trying to find out here. 1 million? 2 million net worth? I just want to get a ball-park #. Creating memories and family quality time is what we long for. We will get there, just need to know what the target is.
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:21 AM   #19
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2005 25' Safari
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My opinions.

Originally Posted by masayako View Post
Hi, I joined this forum since Dec 2012. Didn't post a lot, mostly reading other members comments, but also lurking.

To make a long story short, my family and I have been daydreaming about owning an Airstream trailer one day. I'm 39, wife is 35, 2 boys (4yrs old and a newborn on his way).

Based on our current financial situation, I'm trying to get some advice from experience airstreamers if we are at the phase where we are financially comfortable spending this much money in a leisure item. We have $200k saved, but not sure whether buying an Airstream at this phase of our life is a financially wise decision. Our combined Annual Gross income is also around $200k. No debt, just mortgage $1.8k per month.

Thanks for any advice available.

Best regards.

Hi, for us, we bought our brand new Airstream about two years before we retired; Not enough time off to use it while we were still working. This could be a huge loss of money/value if it sits until you are old enough, or well off enough, to quit working. We had no payments for anything. [house paid off] And we still have no payments for anything. Buy a cheap white box, a used tow vehicle, and see if camping works for your family and if it does, buy an Airstream for your retirement. Most Airstream trailers are really made for two people, not for families. Sometimes they are referred to as old people trailers.

You are still quite young; How long will you be healthy and be able to make good money? No-one knows, so don't blow your savings so fast.

2005 Safari 25-B
"Le Petit Chateau Argent"
[ Small Silver Castle ]
2000 Navigator / 2014 F-150 Eco-Boost / Equal-i-zer / P-3
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Old 04-15-2015, 01:47 AM   #20
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2015 30' International
2009 27' FB International
2007 25' Safari
Currently Looking...
Greensboro , North Carolina
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Purchasing an Airstream.....I would do as suggested re: renting one to see how you like the experience. Unless you have a strong need to buy everything new, you will find, as previously suggested, a two - three year old unit gives you the 40, possibly 50% off the retail.

I will share an observation....what I used to do professionally, I am quite confused as to why the OP posted such financial information....just my thoughts

Ms Tommie Lauer
Greensboro, NC
2015 Serenity 30 RB / 2008 Dodge Cummins 4 X 4
WBCCI #4165 AIR #31871
Happy trails and Good Luck
Ms Tommie Fantine Lauer, Greensboro, NC
AIR #31871 K4MTL
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Old 04-15-2015, 05:36 AM   #21
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Kansas City , Missouri
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My opinion is to not evaluate based on the financial part of the decision. Take that part off the table.

Now really be honest about your AS dream vs AS potential reality.

Young children and demanding work can often lead to an Escape Fantasy, that one doesn't really have time or energy to realize.

1. Will your children be participating in group events that are on the weekends? Here in the midwest, kids start team soccer in kindergarten, and keep at it through middle school or high school. Your free weekends may soon be over once your kids begin school. And at least here, participation in sports, scouting, and other school and church based group activities is the backbone of the social and friendship (both kids and adults) network. Yes you can skip once in a while, but the point/lesson of being on a team is learning your responsibility to the team and that you need to be there when your team needs you.

2. Do you have the cosmic energy while working and parenting to plan trips, pack, prep, make reservations, unpack, clean up, make up housework and paperwork missed while being gone, along with driving to and from destinations? We all have a different amount of energy. Be honest about yours. And this area is also the one where if any already existing division of labor issues in your marriage or family are in play, will be magnified, and probably not in a good way.

I guess the question I am posing is not do you have the money, but do you have the time and energy required? In reality?

Piggy Bank
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Old 04-15-2015, 06:09 AM   #22
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Huh, never quit seen so much personal financial information on a post before. That said, my opinion is life is a series of mistakes and it's how one handles the mistake is how one comes out at the end. Much like golf, there is no perfect round of golf and there is no perfect nor no right life for anyone.

If you question whether you want to camp or want an Airstream like Protaganist says then don't. Hold off. My wife and I wanted a Motorhome for over 30 years, we had a great 30' AS and a great F250. Sold them both and bought the "beast" and a Jeep to two behind it. Took a fabulous 7,000 mile round the country trip and missed the AS the entire way, sold both the MoHo and Jeep bought another 30' AS and F350 truck. See, another of lifes mistakes, handled. Planning on a similar trip only further this summer and fall in the AS.

So, my 2 cents. If you want it, do it. If you are not sure, Invest the savings in something that is very safe as an emergency account which you can use if you find a cottage some place or an RV if you decide to go that route. With a baby on the way and "not sure" it may not be the best of times to start an RV adventure for the first time.

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Old 04-15-2015, 06:26 AM   #23
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It all depends on how you want to shape your kids. Go to a park and find a game with kids competing. Now watch the parents, as the game progresses some parents will get irritated or frustrated. Now it starts to get ugly, they start yelling and screaming at their kids and coach and lets not forget the poor referee....Now go to a campground and watch. Teaching a kid how to fish is one thing, releasing the fish shows him how precious life is, and shows compassion for all creatures. I don't go to zoos anymore...too depressing. Let nature shape your family.
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Old 04-15-2015, 09:09 AM   #24
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Vancouver , Washington
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Another aspect to consider is storage of the trailer when it's not in use. Unfortunately, many of us don't have the time to use our Airstreams as much as we would like, or the space to store them at home when they're not in use. That means paying to store them in a secure facility. That's an added monthly expense. Then, there are also annual license and insurance expenses. You have to consider the whole package of AS ownership and weigh the total costs and benefits. As others have already said, you may want to take a trial run with a rental trailer or motorhome to see if it's something your entire family enjoys before making the big financial plunge.

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