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Old 10-23-2013, 07:17 AM   #1
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Hello to all! My wife and I are in the very early stages of looking for an Airstream for when we retire which is still a few years away and I was wondering how you all went about deciding on buying one? I mean how did you really know you wanted one and how you went about picking just the right one for you and your family?
We were thinking about maybe renting one for a week to make sure it was the right decision for us, but trying to find an Airstream to rent here in the Midwest (IA) seems difficult to do. The closest dealership is 1 ½ hours away to go see one in person, but that seems to be our best “first step” in going about making our decision.
Any insider’s information or just anyone’s experiences on how they went about making their decision would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks from the “new” guy…
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:30 AM   #2
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The internet is your friend. Look at different brands, look at forums unique to those brands, gain knowledge about towing, RVing, strengths and weaknesses.
Go to dealers of brands on your short list and look around. If you have not camped you need to rent something and see if you like it. If renting an AS is not an option, see if you can find a gathering nearby and talk to owners.
It is hard to tell you how to make a decision since we all do it differently.
I suspect there is some similarity to buying an expensive car. They all get the job done, but how they get you there and how you feel about the emblem on the grill are for you to decide.
Larry
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Old 10-23-2013, 07:40 AM   #3
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Deciding to buy an Airstream or some other SOB is dependent on what kind of life style you wish to lead. A big 5th wheeler is great for snowbirds that want to go to Florida and sit in one spot for the season. They are cheaper and have more room than an Airstream. Airstreams are travel/touring trailers and are best suited to the nomads who wander. If you like to wander in groups WBCCI is your best bet. Some people do live in their Airstreams full time. Some have travel blogs. Most people do not rent out their Airstream but SOB's are available as a substitute for trials.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:26 AM   #4
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If you have never camped in a trailer, you might want to try that first. Rent an SOB and give it a try.

Our decision took some time but was an easy one for us. We camped in a pop up for 17 years as our daughters grew. As we neared retirement we purchased a hybrid to extend the seasons a bit. After doing a trip in that we knew we needed to get into a regular hard sided trailer. Setting up and tearing down the hybrid day after day was going to get old.

We looked at many different trailers but were totally smitten by the Airstreams. The general quality of build, the aerodynamics and of course the mystique sold us. From there we started looking at used trailers and finally found one on Craigs List that fit our plans. All in all, it took us a couple of years of searching but we had our hybrid during the interim.

You have received some good advice already. If you want lots of space and are planning on living in your trailer you might want to look at some other options. When we park our 25FB at some RV parks, we look absolutely teeny compared to the behemoths sitting next to us.

Best wishes. Try to enjoy the "hunt".
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:32 AM   #5
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I know at one time some KOA's had Airstreams at their sites for use (no travel). You might want to check and see what KOA's have them.

Jack
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:38 AM   #6
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I've been camping for over 40 years and have benefited with a learning curve that started with a VW bus (not a camper model), a large tent, 2 pop ups and 2 travel trailers before I purchased my first Airstream 2001. I can state that every step in the process gave me a little more guidance and experience that allowed me to really appreciate my first Airstream. I learned a lot with my 2001 that led me to trade in for my current unit.

Jack
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:43 AM   #7
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We just bought the first one we looked at. A well used 25'. Thought it was just to use while we shopped for a fifth wheel. Still have the Airstream 40,000 or so miles and 8 years later. No plans to change.
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:47 AM   #8
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Thumbs up Welcome Aboard....

Stay here... study and learn the language.

Noobie's don't realize, Airstream's can talk, you will be Sweet Stream talked into it when the right one comes along.

Check the Airforum Calendar for up-coming Rallies once in awhile, you just missed one in Iowa. Helpful folks there.

Bob
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Old 10-23-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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Airstream's can talk... too many snappy comebacks possible!~

Mostly mine says 'you should've been making payments on a new one"...
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Old 10-23-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zman1369 View Post
Hello to all! My wife and I are in the very early stages of looking for an Airstream for when we retire which is still a few years away and I was wondering how you all went about deciding on buying one? I mean how did you really know you wanted one and how you went about picking just the right one for you and your family?
We were thinking about maybe renting one for a week to make sure it was the right decision for us, but trying to find an Airstream to rent here in the Midwest (IA) seems difficult to do. The closest dealership is 1 ½ hours away to go see one in person, but that seems to be our best “first step” in going about making our decision.
Any insider’s information or just anyone’s experiences on how they went about making their decision would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks from the “new” guy…
Hi from the Des Moines area,

We faced your situation almost exactly a couple of years ago and first went to the dealer you seem to be referencing, which I think is the one in Joliet. We did not have a good feeling about that dealership and ended up buying from Colonial Airstream in New Jersey, which worked well as we had family & friends out that way, so we just made it into a mini-vacation.

We had tent camped for over 35 years before buying our AS and just looked at different sizes/floorplans before making up our mind. That would be my recommendation - just try looking at different ones until you find the size and floor plan that makes sense for you.

When we started looking I thought we'd actually buy the following year but, due to contracting "aluminitis", we ended up buying in 2 weeks! Never looked back.

Welcome to the forum!!

Good luck,

John S.
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Old 10-27-2013, 09:53 AM   #11
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Hi - also from Des Moines (Waukee). Now nomadic.

We took a weekend road trip to Springfield, Missouri to see some models in person at Reliable RV (http://www.reliablerv.com). Very helpful. That trip convinced us we didn't want at 23FB and pushed us into a 27FB or 28' decision.

Also did about 3 years of internet research before jumping in and buying the 28'. We never rented or stayed in one before buying. We did a completely remote and smooth transaction with Colonial Airstream on the trailer, bought it sight unseen (but brand new) and drove to NJ to pick up the trailer and drive it back to Iowa.

In the end for us it came down to . . . we're not getting any younger, if it's a terrible mistake well so be it but it's not the end of the world, and the upside is living our dream.

We have been on the road now for 37 days and, surprisingly, I think we picked our truck/trailer combo pretty much exactly right. And we're having as much fun as we imagined.

KOA south of Adel does not have anything to rent FYI. We're there now.
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Old 10-27-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
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My wife and I worked our way from backpack camping weekends now and then , to car camping, then a small 13' vintage SOB. The 24' AS we are full-timing in now is the largest/most luxurious means of camping we have ever had.

Two things come to mind at the outset:

1. What is your experience camping? If you have camped for decades and have tried tent camping for any length of time, virtually any Airstream will be much more comfortable, though probably less spacious than a slab-sided SOB of similar length. If you haven't camped before, I would HIGHLY recommend making a trip or two in a rented RV to see what your likes and dislikes are.

2. Assuming you move past #1, deciding on an Airstream specifically involves a lot of emotional considerations. Are you willing to pay extra for the panache or design of an Airstream? Or are you a tinkerer/handyman willing to invest MANY hours renovating/repairing/maintaining a vintage rig and want something with copious information available?

My wife and I started looking for an affordable Airstream after years of traveling with the 13' SOB and decided that if we were to move to something larger we wanted a.) to do so without a payment and b.) to get a larger camper that would at least maintain its value. Since we had restored the 13' from the floor up, a vintage rig was a no-brainer. And a 24' Airstream seemed HUGE by comparison. Now that we are full-timing, we are feeling the storage space limitations, but love the size otherwise.

I hope these comments are helpful.
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:17 PM   #13
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Hello; You might visit the WBCCI lunch rally in Cedar Rapids on Nov 9. There will be a number of owners there and we are all ready to "show" our units. This time of the year, most units have been winterized for the Iowa winters, but might be available for showing. I live in Davenport and would be available. There are several units in the Dubuque area. These units are NOT for sale, but you could get an idea of different models and sizes.
You could also check area dealers by going on line and see the Airstream list of dealers and check their inventory. This is a bad time as dealers usually get their stock after the first of the year. Any questions, PM me.
mike
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Old 10-27-2013, 01:32 PM   #14
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Concur With Aftermath

Quote:
Originally Posted by aftermath View Post
If you have never camped in a trailer, you might want to try that first. Rent an SOB and give it a try.
Rent any SOB (Some Other Brand) travel trailer to see if you really enjoy camping together. (Some couples in long lasting marriages find they really don't enjoy being confined in a travel trailer together.)

Then follow Airtandem's advice and attend an Airstream rally or two, and visit with some owners and check out their Airstreams and tow vehicles. You will discover a huge difference between Airstreams in the showroom and Airstreams crammed with people's stuff, and their pets.

Certain rallies will even allow you to bring that SOB you rented.

A word about SOBs: They are roomier, they have more storage, and they cost less $$. You may discover that you don't really suffer from the Airstream affliction after all. Wouldn't it be nice to know that before you spent all that $$?
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