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Old 06-25-2018, 02:11 PM   #1
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Hi all!
I am in the process of purchasing an airstream trailer to live in full time for the next...?!
I am torn between the cloud and sport (I think 22ft is the right size for me)...am leaning towards sport because it is more economical and weighs less but I also have to feel comfortable being in it full time...
I am open to all advice and suggestions!
I have been watching lots of youtube videos and reading blogs about RV living but again am open to any wisdom you all have to offer...especially if anyone knows about how to earn $ while on the road...blogging, etc...
Thank you and happy to be here!
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Old 06-25-2018, 02:29 PM   #2
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Hi

Only you can decide how small a space is "ok" to live in. There is no one size fits all answer. If full time is indeed 4 seasons, keep in mind that an AS is not winter compatible in areas with really cold weather. You will need a plan that keeps you fairly far south in January and February.

Paid blogging is not what is once was. Back a decade ago, one could get established as a unique presence and attract a pretty good following quickly. These days, it's a crowed field in any topic area. Advertisers have become *much* more stingy with their payments. That double whammy creates a big squeeze on new entrants to the market. Best advice is to have a pretty good sized "buffer" of cash in the bank and also to have a "plan B".

Bob
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Old 06-26-2018, 07:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by uncle_bob View Post
Hi

Only you can decide how small a space is "ok" to live in. There is no one size fits all answer. If full time is indeed 4 seasons, keep in mind that an AS is not winter compatible in areas with really cold weather. You will need a plan that keeps you fairly far south in January and February.

Paid blogging is not what is once was. Back a decade ago, one could get established as a unique presence and attract a pretty good following quickly. These days, it's a crowed field in any topic area. Advertisers have become *much* more stingy with their payments. That double whammy creates a big squeeze on new entrants to the market. Best advice is to have a pretty good sized "buffer" of cash in the bank and also to have a "plan B".

Bob
thank you, Bob!
I am pretty sure that the 22ft will work...and thank you for the advice-decided to get the airstream precisely so I never have to be in winter again! So I plan to head south (or west, or...?)
I do have a buffer...and hoping to find some small source of income..open to suggestions if anyone has.
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Old 06-26-2018, 08:57 PM   #4
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As you can see from my signature we started with a 22 and after 1 year moved to a 26. Just the 2 of us and no pets. Loved the 22, weight, tow ability, full bath, cost and features. After our first long trip decided just too small. Rainy days, limited outside storage impacted our ability to fully enjoy our camping trips.

The 22 may work if you are alone for full timing and you do not have a lot of "stuff", but add that second person and the dynamics change.

If possible look at the FC 23,25 and 26, they open up a lot of opportunities and add so many more comforts.

Happy hunting and good luck with whatever you decide. You will not regret buying an Air Stream.
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Old 06-27-2018, 05:52 AM   #5
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thanks!

I will be alone...(I admire you all who can full time it with someone else...I'm not sure I could but if it comes to that would definitely go bigger)...I was considering bigger but wondered if was worth more hauling and so much more $? I do like the idea of having more water and a filter system-that is very appealing. An airstream friend just warned me about leak problems in newer airstreams! Has anyone experienced that? She advised me to have a leak test done before buying anything, including new. I did find a Flying Cloud 2016 23ft not far from me that I was going to rule out and go smaller but will reconsider...thank you for the advice!
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Old 06-27-2018, 06:14 AM   #6
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just found conversation here about flying cloud vs. sport...will take all of this into consideration!
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Old 06-27-2018, 08:20 AM   #7
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Hi

If you are looking at a Basecamp then be very careful. Since you are into the next step up, there are not quite so many things to dig into. Indeed, the same thing can be said about going from the sport to the FC models to a lesser extent. The longer the design has been out, the fewer weird things seem to pop up.

=====

If you want to be care free in the winter, you need to be someplace where it does not drop below 32F in the winter. That limits you a bit. Close to an ocean is good. South is much better than north.

As you travel around to different climates, all the clothing for those climates needs to be with you. It's nice to imagine living forever in shorts and flip flops. The reality is that you still need winter clothing and all the rest. Same issue with sports gear if you get into various activities.

Once you pack in tools, spare parts, hoses, electrical cables, chocks, and leveling gear ... there's less room that you might think in an AS. Toss in food / cooking stuff and the space shrinks even further. "Where does it all go" is part of figuring out a small vs not quite so small trailer decision.

Unless you are very well financed, staying at $60 a night campgrounds all the time is a problem. That would burn $21,900 in after tax money each year. Staying out on BLM land for free is way cheaper. That means no power / water / sewer. Now you need a generator, and fuel and somewhere to store them ....

You *can* dump stuff into your tow vehicle. A big van or big truck can haul a lot of stuff. It also probably costs as much as (or more than) the trailer you are looking at. If it's big and packed, unhitching to head into a major city will be "interesting".

Lots of loops in this decision process.

Bob
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Old 06-27-2018, 03:43 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Bob. After much deliberation I decided on the FC 23...mostly because I DO want to be off grid as much as possible and it has so much more capacity for that. I was disappointed about the lack of kitchen counter space but I see that some clever folks on this forum have been creative about that.(I wish I were more handy!) I will definitely not be parking in cold climates and good point about space with all of the stuff that needs to come along...
There sure is a lot to think about!
cari
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:25 AM   #9
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Hi

Spend significant time in each candidate trailer. Even if you have to drive down to New Jersey, it's worth the day to get them all studied up front and personal. We started with a *very* different idea of what we wanted .....

I do believe you will be a bit happier with the 23' FC, but that's just a guess. This is a very personal decision and what is reasonable to one many not be reasonable to another. People *do* full time in some pretty small RV's. Others seem to feel that much larger rigs are "what you must have".

Bob
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Old 06-28-2018, 08:41 PM   #10
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Lots of information on these Forums about full time living in an Airstream. Search for it and read it. It is my view Airstreams are built as travel trailers, not full time mobile homes. There are construction differences between these two aspects of the market. Airstreams are generally fair weather campers. The walls are about 1 1/2" thick. A house has 6" thick walls.

Living full time in an Airstream is likely not cheaper than living full time in a small town apartment. We did a budget for living full time in an Airstream some years ago. Generally, we figured about $3500 a month in expenses. Our friendly government does require you maintain a "domicile" so they know where to send the income tax forms or other documents. Your insurance premiums don't go away in an Airstream; like health, Airstream, tow vehicle and maybe life insurances. Same with debt payments (Airstreams are expensive, same with tow vehicles), cell phone bills, car repairs, fuels, food, licenses, etc, etc. You are wise to figure out your full time budget.

Forest Service and BLM boondocking spots are great. They generally are unsecure, away from cell signals, and far away from a grocery store or gas station. City, county and state parks are better, but cost more. RV parks are handy and generally more secure but cost more yet. Living in a trailer park is just that, living in a trailer park with lots of neighbors close by. But at least you can find a doctor if needed.

I see more folks living full time in a fifth wheel rig than anything else. I see them in the RV "extended stay" parks we sometimes visit. Fifth wheels are built for full time living in many cases. These folks generate income through construction and farm jobs. I do see some "work camping" jobs as campground hosts and the like, especially in state parks.

David
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Old 06-29-2018, 07:28 AM   #11
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Thank you so much, Bob and David. Thanks for the reality check, Bob! As I really don't know anything about this kind of life other than what I have been reading/watching online. And I DID believe it would be more cost effective so this is interesting to consider. I had finally decided to go with FC 23 because of the capacity to be off grid which is what I was looking for but not having cell service is a good point(I couldn't care less about t.v. but do want to be able to be in contact with loved ones.) My biggest motivation for this lifestyle is to always be warm. I can't afford homes in 2 climates so I thought this would be a good solution. (I also want to live simply!) You have given me a lot to think about. I really did think expenses would be lower living like this. As far as medical attention goes, I would only need a doctor in an emergency and I can keep an address with friends for mail and stuff...
Definitely don't want to live in trailer park or in any setting close to lots of neighbors...am looking for peace and quiet (and a few friendly faces
Thanks for all of this helpful information...welcoming lots of feedback-thanks everyone
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:15 AM   #12
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Hi

Costs can vary a lot depending on your lifestyle. There's a range from "mobile grunt worker" ( = construction, agriculture) to "mobile professional" ( health care, software) to "wandering around doing a dozen jobs" ( belly dancing instructor, waiter, campground host ...). Each has an associated income stream as well as costs / constraints.

One thing that you have to dig pretty deep on is how many of these bloggers / YouTubers *really* support themselves. Is it a couple and they both work? Is she a "drop in" nurse in an in demand field? ( and thus makes $150,000 a year part time ). Is he an on-site software install / training guy for a big database outfit? ( and makes a similar amount working part time).

No, those numbers are not salary. They are total compensation including cost of living and travel. They do force a certain pattern of travel and a certain mode of living ( you can't be in grubby clothing all the time). If you look carefully, there are inevitable references to "my job" ( not blogging , job) in all of the stuff I watch and read.

The flip side to income is debt. You *never* see them get into that part of it. They may indeed be debt free ( = cash for everything). If you can swing a new AS and new diesel F-250 that way, more power to you. Rolling down the road with $40,000 in payments a year is a pretty big nut to crack with a mobile lifestyle. Did Great Aunt Ethyl give them a *really* big wedding present?

You will see people talk about living on $10 per day. Read the fine print and it's $10 per person with an average of four in the vehicle. Dig a bit further and it's outside the US in countries with much lower cost of living / cost of fuel. Is it just daily expenses or does it include monthly / yearly costs? (new tires, insurance, taxes, cell phones ...). Is the right number $40 or $100? There is no way for my number to fit your lifestyle.

You will need license plates and a drivers license. There's pretty much no way to do this without them. That does mean a fixed address of some sort. One advantage is that you may have multiple choices for that address. Pick the one that minimizes the costs involved.

====

While this all may seem a bit harsh, it's nothing at all compared to what you will see as a blogger or YouTuber. The stream of negatives is unrelenting and very pointed. No matter how good you are that stream will be there. All of these people are impacted by it. Many simply can't put up with it and drop out. It's very much a dark side to modern life.

So, don't let all the negatives pile up ( no matter what you decide to do ). Take the (possibly small ) amount of wisdom and simply ignore / laugh at the rest.

Bob
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Old 06-29-2018, 10:00 AM   #13
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Thank you, Bob! I was hoping to be able to make a small income by writing (and I do have a few unique things about my situation that I thought might attract some audience) but I also realize that takes time to establish. I have friends in different parts of the country who would welcome me to park for periods at a time so I thought that would reduce costs too(though I don't know how realistic that is re filling/dumping etc...I suppose I would have to go to a campground at least every few weeks...)?
I am used to simple living(lived in a commune for 7 years) so I know that I can keep costs on the low side (and I will not have any debt even after the AS purchase)...but as you say there are basic necessary expenses and I would need to cover them (I have a buffer though). I very much appreciate you presenting all of these factors to consider! I have a lot to think about!
Welcoming any more thoughts that emerge
cari
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Old 06-29-2018, 09:22 PM   #14
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can someone tell me the proper protocol...if I should I have started a new thread for my next question (and if so, to where?)


I am wondering about the air flow in the bedroom of a 2017 FC 23D...do both windows open sufficiently?(one is an "emergency" window). I plan to be mostly off grid and so won't be using much AC. Just checking that it will be well ventilated back there in that corner as I will be in warmer climates. I read posts about how the older models had some window problems. Would also love to hear how folks feel about this model and other considerations about it. Thanks again for all of the great input! I have been taking it all in and it is much appreciated.
cari
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Old 06-30-2018, 07:25 AM   #15
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Hi

Threads here zig and zag all the time ....

=======

The modern windows all open up nice and wide. The only thing I would question are the floor plans with a bath across the entire end of the trailer. Will you have the window in and door to the bath open all the time?

Also consider that in a strong wind, you *can* have the fan blow right off the top of the trailer. Damage can also happen to wide swung windows. There *is* a bit of management involved in doing all this. In some areas you get to deal with a *lot* of dust ....

====

There are legal issues involved in "off grid all the time". There is a good deal of land in the west where that is permitted. There is not a lot of it once you get east of the Mississippi. If you have a lot of friends "out in the sticks", you might be able to drop in on them. Even some pretty remote areas now have rules about doing that. Rules does not mean forbidden, they may simply impose time limits.

In any region, water is an issue. You need to dump your waste correctly ( = at a dump station for both black and gray water ) and fill your fresh water tank. Generally that is a once a week sort of thing. It's not a big deal to hitch up. The dump station might be a pretty long way from your neat campsite though. Indeed this is a very compelling reason to get a trailer with large(r) tanks.

If you will be making money from your trailer, connectivity likely is a consideration. The same remote areas that are ok with free camping, may have zero cell coverage. Now you are right back to driving into town to connect.

Yes, the camping is free. The gas to drive your not so great gas mileage tow vehicle to and from town all the time ... not so free.

======

One way to supplement a blogging income is ghost writing. A lot of bloggers get tired after a while. They will pay others to write content that they post under as their own. It doesn't pay well ( think minimum wage or less ). At least it *does* pay. Just how you hook into that market in the best ( = most likely to get paid) way ... no idea.

Another supplement is video editing. That takes a lot of bandwidth for files and power for computer(s). Both make it less than ideal for an off grid centric lifestyle. The money is a bit better, but still not great. There *should* be a market for sound editing ..... (spend 10 seconds on YouTube to notice why) ... apparently you can do pretty well and ignore that part.

Bob
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Old 07-01-2018, 06:38 AM   #16
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ahhh...so the dump station is a separate facility than campground? I just assumed that would be in the same place...
I figure with the FC23 I would have enough water storage to go a few weeks since it is just me?

I didn't know parking with friends would have any restrictions...interesting consideration. My friends in MA don't have neighbors so I can't imagine that anyone would know but I would only be there in warm months.
Again, you have given me lots to think about
I really appreciate this conversation, Bob!
Hope everyone is enjoying the weekend
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Old 07-01-2018, 08:01 PM   #17
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You would win the water conservation blue ribbon if you could go a few weeks on a full fresh water tank. I suppose some folks do it. We're lucky to make it a week.

Most campgrounds have a dump station on site. We usually take a "full hookups" site so we can empty tanks before taking off.

David
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Old 07-02-2018, 07:57 AM   #18
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Hi

Subtle point: Most *paid* campgrounds have dump and water on site. Free camping areas pretty much never do. If you are spending $40 to $60 a night on campground fees, that adds up pretty fast.

The water issue that normally maxes out first is the gray water. Wash your hands and the gray water tank gets a little fuller. Wash the dishes and it goes up some more. Take a shower and it goes up a lot. Just like in a home, that all needs to go into a proper sewage system. Yes there are cheats for each of those ( don't take a shower ever ...). Even with a full set of novel ideas, anything over 10 days is amazing.

Camping in a friend's driveway hits the same set of issues. If you are actually living in the trailer ( and not in their house) you fill up tanks. They need to get emptied. That can be done into a residential system in some cases. You likely will need pumps and hoses to get it done. If you are actually living in their house (and thus no water use)... why bring the trailer?

Trailer power for a small trailer is a 30A / 120V circuit. The 120V is easy, it's what a normal wall socket puts out. The 30A is 2X what the wall socket will deliver. Plugging in at a friend's house ( or at your home ) is problematic. You can run some stuff on an extension cord. Air conditioning is not likely to do well that way. It got down to somewhere in the 80's last night ....

Again, none of this is a show stopper. People deal with all this on a regular basis. It's not some massive set of impossible to solve issues. It *does* impact your choice of trailer a bit. Bigger tanks are better tanks That's what makes it worth yakking about.

Bob
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Old 07-02-2018, 10:48 AM   #19
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Thank you Bob and David!
I guess I was under a false assumption...being that it is just me and I'm pretty conservative with water I thought I would be able to go quite a while...
well this puts things in perspective!
When I am parked at friends' I'll probably be having meals and such with them which will cut down on water but really want my own space hence the airstream
Good to know about the electric too...I will have solar (160 from factory) but I don't even know what that runs...I'm guessing not much.
Just curious Bob...what is your idea of a "bigger" tank?
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Old 07-02-2018, 08:51 PM   #20
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An Airstream lights and appliances except the AC run on 12vDC from the battery pack. A 160 watt solar system would be effective in charging those batteries on sunny days. It would also run a computer or phone charger. An air conditioner takes about 2500 watts of AC power. It takes an expensive solar system to run an AC.

That's why a lot of "full timers" end up in trailer parks where there is water, electricity and sewer hook ups. Much easier.

Hope this helps a bit.

David
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