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Old 02-17-2010, 05:53 AM   #1
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North Woods , Illinois
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Airstream vs Motorhome?

Don't shoot me for asking the question

We are torn between a 2010 25'FB International and a 2008 Dynaquest motorhome. I understand that we're not exactly comparing apples to apples, but they are both doable and we want to make sure we make the right decision.

Please let us know in your thoughts on the pros and cons of camping/traveling with a trailer vs. motorhome. Even if you never owned a motorhome, I'm thinking you still have considered one or the other at some point.


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Old 02-17-2010, 08:44 AM   #2
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Why a motorhome?
- You have access to the coach while under way, which may be important if you have pets or if being able to pull over and take a nap at the next exit is a big deal to you.
- Some people never get the hang of backing up a trailer. (But if you're good at it, a trailer is easier to back than a larger MH)
- Some people don't like the idea of hitching and unhitching or never get good at it (But you can leave a trailer hitched all the time and never unhook it if this is your thing, and hitching a trailer is easier than hitching a toad)
- If you note a deteriorating safety situation outside the coach, you can depart without having to exit the coach.
- The MH will probably have a chassis-mounted generator available that is plumbed into the fuel tank or propane tank, while the 'stream will not.
- You will always have hot water when you arrive at your destination.
- You can deduct interest on the MH if you're getting a loan, with a TT you can only deduct the TT interest, not the TV interest
- In most cases you can mount more batteries and expect them to charge from the primary engine with less fiddling than is required to do this on a TT
- You can pull a trailer if you want (e.g. a boat)
- Depending on the state you're in and your situation the total taxes and insurance may be a little lower.

On the other hand, with the Airstream...
- Lower overall height, will fit in places the MH won't (like maybe your garage)
- Floor closer to the ground, fewer steps in/out
- The alternative of disconnecting the TV for side trips is available
- The cost of a TT+TV is generally less than the cost of a MH+toad
- You can have repairs made to the TV anywhere while many shops won't work on MHs
- You can live in the TT while the TV is being repaired if you have a mechanical failure on the road
- The Airstream will outlast several tow vehicles, while with a MH you're stuck with prolonging the life of the chassis through repairs and rebuilding or scrapping the whole thing
- There is, depending on your situation, the possibility of using the TV for other useful stuff without the TT
- If you get a flat tire on either the TT or TV it can be replaced with a spare with tools you would typically carry with you. With a MH you're going to be waiting for the service truck to show up because there's no spare and the tires are too large for most people to handle
- Even with rotating captains chairs and other adaptations to make the best of it having the cab at the front of the living space is not as nice as the vista view windows
- Depending on your choice of TV you probably have a pickup bed for carrying items like motorcycles, gasoline, trash, and chainsaws which you really don't want inside the coach
- No galley noise to listen to while under way

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Old 02-17-2010, 08:47 AM   #3
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Pros for a Trailer... In my opion because we kind of went through this too and still do.

A trailer is easier to move around
When you get there you disconnect and can drive around and see stuff
It can be a lot cheaper to buy a trailer.
You don't have to worry about it breaking down..

Pros for the Motor-home

When traveling (w/kids) they can take naps and eat on the road. No bathroom stops.
It is fully self contained

As you can see the pros for us was the basic idea of a self contain unit. and we wouldn't have to stop as much when going somewhere. But then we realize we would miss out on stuff if we didn't have to make those stops...

May you have at least one sunny day, and a soft chair to sit in..

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Old 02-17-2010, 09:01 AM   #4
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If a MH is not used on a regular basis. If it just sets for 11 month's out of the year. The engine and all of it's components as well as the braking system will deteriorate rapidly. If you pull a car behind your MH, that's even more maintenance.
TT"s have no engine unless it has a generator, it also has electric brakes that won't deteriorate as fast as hydraulic brakes. No engine coolant, windshield wipers, spark plug wires, hoses and belts to deal with. If you use your TV on a regular basis, it will stay in relatively good running order.

Both have significant depreciation rates, but I think in the end the TT will be more valuable and if taken care of will be more attractive to a future owner, especially if it is an AS.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:01 AM   #5
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We have been MH'ers for 40 yrs, this year we moved up in size and found out the convinience of not towing will have to come to an end, we have decided a toad is needed. When we were less than 20 ft we used it like a car at 30 ft no longer like a car.
I can still envision a number of trips where a toad could be left home, but having one will allow gas savings and easy of side trips.

You need to make a list of pluses and minuses for each maybe this thread could do it.
My biggest plus is self contained.
My biggest minus is lack of destination transport.
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:04 AM   #6
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It's kind of a tough one. We'd kind of prefer a motorhome (Airstream, of course) for longer trips, but will stick with the trailer for all else.

Essentially, the problem involves what to drive once you reach your destination. If planning for just a couple of days or a couple of weeks, it's no big deal just to drive the truck around once there. But if it's going to be for six months, then we'd prefer to drive our little Honda once there. (I wish I could say drive the MG once there, but that ain't gonna happen.)

But that adds up. You have to have a motorhome that is capable of and outfitted for towing. Same for the car.

As for backing, I disagree with Jammer. In my experience here at the park, where we've helped to park many hundreds of rigs, I'd give a rating like this (1 to 10 scale, 10 being easiest to back):

Motorhome: 8-9 (depending on experience of backer)
Travel trailer: 7-9 (depending on experience of backer)
Fifth wheel: 2-5 (depending on experience of backer)

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Old 02-17-2010, 09:35 AM   #7
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Trailer all the way for us. I wouldn,t want the hassle of packing up the site and getting the motorhome ready to roll every morning, to go site seeing. Then coming back and setting up again every evening. To me the stops for what ever reason on a trip make it real interesting and I think on a long trip the driver needs to strech their legs frequently anyway. On the other hand if a person is maybe travelling say for their job like a travelling vender, then a motorhome would be better. Good Luck, hope your choice works well for you. Susan
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:48 AM   #8
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In the past 3 1/2 years, we have spent almost 600 nights in our 25FB, and have pulled her over 50,000 miles.

We have greatly enjoyed all of our Airstream travels, but recently seriously considered going to a Class A or C motorhome.

After doing a lot of research, shopping, and soul searching, we decided that the Airstream travel trailer was to right fit for us.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
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Old 02-17-2010, 09:57 AM   #9
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Jammer sums it up perfectly.
For us, not having another engine powered creature to maintain is the main plus in having a TT. We pull the TT with the truck I use everyday in my work so it does double duty. The maintenance on the TT is minimal in comparison to a MH and can stand sitting for months at a time between uses. Also, the ability to be able to drive somewhere once at our destination greatly outweighs the conveniences of traveling (with kids) in a MH.
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Old 02-17-2010, 10:33 AM   #10
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Ok, I have both. Planning to put the TT on the market soon, but just haven't taken the time. There are pros and cons to both. I want to keep my TT and am excited about the moho too. I need a bigger driveway, then I could keep both!
Kathy, Tommy, & Crew, Chattanooga, TN
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:12 AM   #11
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Jammer has it laid out pretty darn good.

I have had both now have the MH (gas) and this is a tough question.

I don't like the maintenance required on the MH. You have all the things on a TT to keep up plus main engine, transmission and generator, yet I love being fully self contained. MH is far easer to set up. Gas mileage is less with the MH but large tanks allow you to go at least 400 to 600 miles with out fill up. Some units hold 100 gal of gas and go 800/ 900 miles without fill up.
We pull a Jeep Cherokee (toad) behind the MH and it is no more trouble to hook up than a TT cost for a good set up for towing the toad runs $2000 plus.

When traveling the MH is so much more convenient the longer the trip the more the convenience.

Downside to MH total cost of ownership is much higher not counting the insurance and tags. You really need a toad with the MH but the toad could also serve as a daily driver.

It really depends on how much you plan to use it and if you already have a TV large enough to pull a TT.

If the cost difference between the MH & TT is not an issue I would definitely go with a MH no doubt the best experience.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:24 AM   #12
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A well-maintained Airstream can last you the rest of your life. Much less likely with a motor home.
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Old 02-17-2010, 11:43 AM   #13
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Get the Best of both worlds: An Airstream Motorhome
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Old 02-17-2010, 12:47 PM   #14
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To each her own...

One of my best friends has a Prevost (pronounce pray-voh). He loves it, and even I can admire it because he got it for $170K after the crash (almost $400K list).

However he generally tells ME that the benefits of an Airstream include:
  • tires - four for the TV, four for the trayla - and they are standard size tires, a big moho can have 8 or even 10 - if it has duallys on the drive and tag axles. They're big honkers too. Add tires for a toad - and possibly a tow dolly - whew!
  • maintenance - obviously if you have a toad and a moho - you've got two engines, transmissions, and drive trains to maintain
  • parking the big honker - pia - breakdown and just try to find a diesel mechanic shop that can take it in.
  • Country roads - city driving - now I wouldn't want to tow the Airstream down a brick road in an older neighborhood in Akron Ohio - but I'm totally comfortable going down a 2 lane main street in a small village. My sister lives in Akron near "Dr. Bob's" house - founder of AA. She witnessed a 30 foot moho try to go through the neighborhood - impossible turns plus low hanging branches on ancient oak trees... not a good combo.
One thing he also says is a moho is SO self contained that most people never come out of them - I've got to agree with that.

Snob Factor with a Prevost - I've always (perhaps wrongly) thought that Prevost owners wouldn't want to socialize with me... Jake says his biggest negative is that non-Prevost owners automatically assume he's a snob. He's really a very outgoing and down to earth guy... but he says that many of his pre-retirement friends have to be convinced he's still the same old guy he always was.

OK do I like the Prevost? Well If I had unlimited funds ... I might have one of EACH. Actually it's very elegant (has a tub!) but I prefer something more understated and really... crown moulding in a moho? Wonder what it will look like with 10 years wear and tear.


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