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Old 06-05-2017, 01:00 AM   #1
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2017 27' International
Fall City , Washington
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Buying an AS pencils out!

In late 2013, we purchased our 2014 28 FC. It was twice the cost of the SOB trailers we first looked at, and about half the cost of the diesel pusher we considered. Still a lot of money and we wondered if buying an RV would pencil out vs. other options. The goal was to explore and get out more with our two boys while we still could before they got too old to want to camp with dad and mom.

Before we purchased it, we made a spreadsheet that listed the comparative costs of (1) buying the AS, (2) taking trips and paying average hotel/air/gas etc, (3) buying a lake cottage or cabin, (4) renting an RV for 2-3 trips a year, or (5) taking over our folks' timeshare and paying the annual fee plus extra nights. We had tent camped and while we liked it, the hassle factor meant we did maybe 1-2 trips a year. Per our spreadsheet, the only way the AS penciled out vs the other options was if we actually used it about a weekend a month.

In just under 4 years, we've taken about 8 trips a year, averaging 3 nights each trip. The farthest we've traveled is about 1200 miles one way, and most trips are within about 100-300 miles from home. We've visited lots of places in Oregon, a few in CA and Idaho, and one in Canada. But we've also seen a ton of great places in WA, places we would have never traveled to but for buying an RV.

Today we traded the 28 FC in on a 27 International (better layout suited our needs). From our trade in, we figure we took about a $25,000 loss in depreciation from our purchase price. Doing the math, however, that works out to about $6250 per year, or $260 a night to own the AS. Add in an average cost of about $40 a night for the campground fee, and the AS is about as expensive as a nice hotel room in a West coast large city - for two but probably not four travelers. I am also not adding in the cost of food (less in an RV) or travel (much less than flying).

But... we also used it as a room for visiting relatives (and it will see additional duty when we renovate our house). And there is little chance that we would have vacationed 24 days each year staying in a hotel, and almost zero chance we would have visited some of the great spots that we did. Plus, so many places you can't enjoy in the way we did in our AS - camping on the WA coast at the magnificent Klaloch and Cape Disappointment campgrounds, hearing the racing engines howl at Laguna Seca Raceway, waking up in Napa Valley to wine taste at nearby Vineyards, doing a 3 day motorcycle camp event in Capitol Forest, having Christmas across the bridge from Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, meeting interesting folks at almost every place we went, and the best - hanging out with our boys watching classic films at night and campfires and such.

So today, when we were facing that same question about whether to spend additional $$$$$ upgrading to what we hope will be our last AS, the question was not if, but which one. Had we kept the 28 FC, no doubt our future travels would have been much cheaper, but nothing like the trailer you want and having your S/O happy and eager to go to more places.

I am so glad we made this decision 4 years ago - and when the boys are old enough to share their childhood memories, we will know they will never forget the great places we've seen and been.

So much money has rarely been better spent.
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:44 AM   #2
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Great!
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Old 06-05-2017, 04:44 AM   #3
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Have to laugh as we have had numerous RVs including Class A's, trailers and four Airstreams. Always seem to go back to the AS.

We have ended up with a 2017 Classic twin 30'. Best RV we have had. Layout of the twin gives us much more storage inside and outside which is what we were looking for as we travel off an on about six months out of the year.

Good luck

Bud
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:10 AM   #4
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That's a great story, and encouraging to hear! We're really at the beginning of time spent traveling with our kids (currently 10 & 11). Looking forward to making great memories for them and us! Thanks for sharing your perspective!
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:52 AM   #5
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We don't worry about the math.


We go camping.



Regards,



JD
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Old 06-05-2017, 05:56 AM   #6
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Ditto.

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Old 06-05-2017, 11:33 AM   #7
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Hoorah! Life is short and best spent with loved ones...Great investment!!!
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:42 AM   #8
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Seems like the money and memories were well worth it.
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Old 06-05-2017, 11:51 AM   #9
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Anna Maria , Florida
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lara Me View Post
In late 2013, we purchased our 2014 28 FC. It was twice the cost of the SOB trailers we first looked at, and about half the cost of the diesel pusher we considered. Still a lot of money and we wondered if buying an RV would pencil out vs. other options. The goal was to explore and get out more with our two boys while we still could before they got too old to want to camp with dad and mom.

Before we purchased it, we made a spreadsheet that listed the comparative costs of (1) buying the AS, (2) taking trips and paying average hotel/air/gas etc, (3) buying a lake cottage or cabin, (4) renting an RV for 2-3 trips a year, or (5) taking over our folks' timeshare and paying the annual fee plus extra nights. We had tent camped and while we liked it, the hassle factor meant we did maybe 1-2 trips a year. Per our spreadsheet, the only way the AS penciled out vs the other options was if we actually used it about a weekend a month.

In just under 4 years, we've taken about 8 trips a year, averaging 3 nights each trip. The farthest we've traveled is about 1200 miles one way, and most trips are within about 100-300 miles from home. We've visited lots of places in Oregon, a few in CA and Idaho, and one in Canada. But we've also seen a ton of great places in WA, places we would have never traveled to but for buying an RV.

Today we traded the 28 FC in on a 27 International (better layout suited our needs). From our trade in, we figure we took about a $25,000 loss in depreciation from our purchase price. Doing the math, however, that works out to about $6250 per year, or $260 a night to own the AS. Add in an average cost of about $40 a night for the campground fee, and the AS is about as expensive as a nice hotel room in a West coast large city - for two but probably not four travelers. I am also not adding in the cost of food (less in an RV) or travel (much less than flying).

But... we also used it as a room for visiting relatives (and it will see additional duty when we renovate our house). And there is little chance that we would have vacationed 24 days each year staying in a hotel, and almost zero chance we would have visited some of the great spots that we did. Plus, so many places you can't enjoy in the way we did in our AS - camping on the WA coast at the magnificent Klaloch and Cape Disappointment campgrounds, hearing the racing engines howl at Laguna Seca Raceway, waking up in Napa Valley to wine taste at nearby Vineyards, doing a 3 day motorcycle camp event in Capitol Forest, having Christmas across the bridge from Stanley Park in Vancouver BC, meeting interesting folks at almost every place we went, and the best - hanging out with our boys watching classic films at night and campfires and such.

So today, when we were facing that same question about whether to spend additional $$$$$ upgrading to what we hope will be our last AS, the question was not if, but which one. Had we kept the 28 FC, no doubt our future travels would have been much cheaper, but nothing like the trailer you want and having your S/O happy and eager to go to more places.

I am so glad we made this decision 4 years ago - and when the boys are old enough to share their childhood memories, we will know they will never forget the great places we've seen and been.

So much money has rarely been better spent.

There is a very pointed German saying that has been influencing my decision making as I grow older: The last shirt has no pockets.
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdalrymple View Post
We don't worry about the math.


We go camping.



Regards,



JD
Ditto! Kids are grown and we're on our third & smallest Airstream. No regrets.

Thank you, Lara Me ⛺️
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:05 PM   #11
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Little Rock , Arkansas
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Loved your story. We tend to analyze as you do. We are empty nesters and absolutely love our AS. Decided to go all in and have never regretted it. Best of luck to you and your future memories!
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Old 06-05-2017, 12:18 PM   #12
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Irvine , California
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Thank you for sharing. We have just started our AS journey with our 11 & 10 year old kid. As you know, it's a big financial leap but hoping the experience is amazing and wonderful memories are made!

Chris
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Old 06-05-2017, 01:01 PM   #13
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1979 25' Tradewind
Newcastle , Oklahoma
Join Date: Feb 2017
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Great Story.

We were not financially able to buy an Airstream when my kids were young, so we did our travels with a camper shell and tents. My children still reminisce and laugh at all the fun (and sometimes not so fun) times we had in the Rockies and other parts of the USA. They are now creating the same memories with my grandchildren.

I say that only to say this: Airstreams don’t create memories, Love Does! Those memories that your children have are because you love them enough to spend time with them.

Keep It Up and Enjoy Life!
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Old 06-05-2017, 02:19 PM   #14
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Hoover , Alabama
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Cool!

We bought out AS in late 2013 as well - a 2014 bunkhouse - kids now are ages 4.5 and 6.5.

We never RV'ed before but after a couple years of spending some serious cash per year at condos and such - we did the math too....probably not quite as much math as you did but the same idea.

We have now I am happy to say zero regrets and we have no plans to change trailer models.

I believe overall so far we probably spend about the same per year give or take.

I turn 34 years this Wednesday and my wife is 34 - it is surreal.

We plan on using this trailer for years to come and potentially even into our retirement years (whenever that would be)....

We did not get to do a family AS trip till this week and boy were we overdue!

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