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Old 05-22-2014, 02:21 PM   #1
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Am I being realistic about life on the road?

I've been lurking here for a while and still have a question. My hubby and I are a year away from retirement. We have done some basic camping in the past but have become very spoiled! We are excited about the possibilities of cross country trips and think the 25ft will suit our needs.

In our minds we see camping in beautiful parks with views (ocean, lake, river, mountain, wine country) right from our trailer. We don't really like crowds but will be able to travel outside of summer peak season. We also don't like the idea of being in an RV park where the trailers are loaded up row by row just like a parking lot. I told you we are spoiled! We're willing to pay for premium spots and we're willing to go to out of the way places (as long as they aren't hard to tow a trailer there!). We're looking for beauty, serenity, the outdoors, and some camaraderie from fellow campers without being on top of each other. Having said all that, we know we have to be flexible and it won't always be that way, but it would definitely be our goal.

Is this a realistic view? Also, while I'm at it, given the type of sites we're looking for, do you have to book far in advance? We will do most of our camping in the western states, but also want to explore the rest of the US and Canada. Thank you in advance for any input!!

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Old 05-22-2014, 02:38 PM   #2
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San Antonio , Texas
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Some RV Parks are just a safe place to rest for the night on your way to a amazing camp site. Even thought they may feel like a parking lot there is a major difference with the peace of mind you will have.

Google Earth is going to be your best friend when you are looking for places you want to camp. The possibilities are almost unlimited.

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Old 05-22-2014, 02:44 PM   #3
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Green Cove Springs , Florida
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Yes, you are being realistic. I hope we will be out of house in less than a year, but are looking at a 31. We are going to load up on solar panels and have extra water storage so that we can stay out longer. Also planning on a composting toilet so we don't have to worry about a full black tank cutting down on our boondocking time.

If you haven't already, you might want to start following blogs of folks who full-time or are out in the wilds alot and know how to travel quite happily in Airstreams.

Mali Mish - An Airstream Travel Blog
Aluminarium - Traveling Full-time in our Airstream
WatsonsWander - Exploring and working fulltime from our Airstream |
Just 5 More Minutes
Home | The Democratic Travelers

These are just a few I have found to be quite inspirational.

Keep to the dream!

May your days be filled with love and laughter.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:44 PM   #4
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You can go from zero on BLM lands to $100.00 plus per night in Key West. Both are beautiful. You can go from drive in a 5 pm to having to reserve 11 months in advance and might not get a spot.

Clearly in season reservation would be advised at almost all of the more popular parks. Off season not so necessary.

If you do not now have a trailer the strongest suggestion I can make would be to either rent one or buy a used one. No one has ever bought a new trailer and found all of what they need or want on the first shot. That is why there are so many slightly used trailers on the market.
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Old 05-22-2014, 02:49 PM   #5
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Not all parks are created equal, read reviews of any park you plan to stay at for more than a quick in and out. Booking in advance for some activities in a must. Lookup the CanOpener it is booked 11 months in advance which is the first day that you are allowed to book, the main loop is filled with in 24 hrs. We were just a Navarre Beach Fl. Campground we booked 2 months out to get the site we wanted, which in our opinion is the best in the campground. Reviews are your friend, services and amenities can be over and underrepresented. Different areas and times of the year also make a big difference. Snowbirds fill up the southern areas during the winter, so read and learn. You will have a great time, planning is essential.
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Old 05-22-2014, 03:38 PM   #6
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We travel in a 25'. It suits our needs perfectly. Small enough to fit most ares that are suitable for a trailer and short enough to turn around when I make a bad mistake on routes. We stay in it up to 4 months.
Many campsites are just places to park. some are special with the view, etc. You have to be flexible so that you can linger at the good ones and hustle out of the bad ones Pretty soon you will have developed a list of places to stay that meet your requirements. We pretty much do not do the very pricey "resorts". One reason is our trailer is old enough so that they won't have us. So I do not know too much about that aspect of it.
For us, just sitting in the park watching the view from the trailer is not how we do it. Every once in a while on a down day when we need to do laundry, maybe.
We are going on a WBCCI caravan this summer. During the 60 days of the caravan we will have reservations. For the 4th of July week we have a reservation. On the way to the caravan and on the way home we will travel along without reservations. We did get caught in Wash state one weekend when I forgot it was labor day weekend and ended up paying KOA to let us park in a overflow area for a night.
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:34 PM   #7
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Pagey's recommendation is spot on. and they're all very responsive if you write them directly with questions.
Mike & Laurel
Ft. Myers, FL
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Old 05-22-2014, 04:40 PM   #8
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Sometimes it is nice to be around other campers. One of the things we like most about camping. Not everyone wants to be isolated. Try a little of everything when you have a chance. Good luck and enjoy. Jim
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Old 05-22-2014, 05:12 PM   #9
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Welcome to the forum.

Hi, is this realistic? Well in my opinion NO! A 25'er is a good size, so I think you got that right. Wanting space, and a view from your trailer, is not always the case. The best views are from outside of your trailer. We mostly stop at places and drive our tow vehicle to see the sights. We mostly never make reservations and virtually always get a spot. Read "Bob and Lee's random trip" to see how we travel, what we do, and where we have been. Some camp grounds have a lot of room and some have very little, but this hasn't effected us.

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Old 05-22-2014, 07:47 PM   #10
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We like space and views when we camp too. In my opinion, the views are easier to find then the amount of space I prefer. State and national parks offer the best space in general and even usually the best views IMO. Some states and parks are better than others. We went to one state park in Michigan called something like Wilderness State Park and they had people so crammed in that it was hard to find a space for your vehicle. The view from all sides was a sea of trailers probably 10 - 15 feet apart. Not what I would call wilderness. But then we found some state forest sites in Michigan that were beautiful, peaceful and quiet. We plan to stick to the state forests rather than the state parks in Michigan in the future. You'll learn and adapt like that too.

I'd say that 90% of the time we have a good view; ocean, lake, rivers or woods. But that's because I plan. I go online and look at the campground map, look at the pictures of the site (reserveamerica has these and there's a site called campsite photos - do a web search and you'll find it) sometimes I even check out the campground on Google Earth. I write down the numbers of my favorite spots at most campgrounds we go to. These strategies helps but are not foolproof. They may be harder to do if you're full- timing. You can often find very nice sites too without reservations, but if I'm staying more than a few days I prefer to have a reservation.

Space is another matter. Ideally, I would like to camp and not hear or see my neighbors ( or see them from afar). That is harder to find even in state parks. Depends on who your neighbors are.

Out west there are more opportunities for boondocking so finding private, pretty sites is easier and an adventure.

Again, search out the more natural parks. Keep a list of parks people recommend that sound like they meet your needs. Every time I see a post with a recommendation for a campground that sounds good , I add it to my list. If someone posts a picture of their trailer state a beautiful spot, I note the park.

Plan when possible if you're staying more than a night or two then go with the flow for the rest.

Were going with the flow tonight. We're camped at a country store/ homemade sausage shop in GA tonight. It's a big field with full hook- ups and there are only 2 other trailers here. We can see the highway and we've been watching one police car pull someone over roughly every 10 minutes or so. He finishes with one, goes back to his spot and a few minutes later has someone else. We grilled the homemade sausages for dinner. We're having a blast and you'll have many of these fun impromptu stops too in your travels.

Hope that helps.
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Old 05-22-2014, 08:19 PM   #11
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Good questions. I believe you have hit the sweet spot on the Airstream sizes. I have a few years under my belt and have experimented with camping from a parking lot to woods to parks. Some of the parks are great as you have your own "wooded estate" surrounding you while others have 15' to the other camper's trailer. I would suggest to take them all in and then begin a favorites list of places to go. The reason I say this is because in some cases, like Disney's Fort Wilderness, there is little option but to be buddy buddy in a circle community of campers. So, you live a more urban-like style while you are there. I met some nice people while I was there in that environment in March. Other times, you will be in woodsy places and not a camper in site but still within a campground. Camping resorts are nice if you desire for a few nights a pool, jacuzzi or some other type of amenity. There is just so much variation and quality levels. One woodsy place I stayed in SC was loaded with spiders. They were everywhere and of all types. I do not like spiders at all but the place was beautiful. Campers were about 40' from one another on a lake.
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:08 PM   #12
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Thank you everyone - so much good input here! Sounds like as most things, it's what you make of it. We can find what we want if we do some planning (and for me planning is half the fun so that's good!). Parks won't always be great, but look for the good and find something to enjoy. I liked someone's comment about considering a crowded park more like an urban environment. That can have its own energy and fun I'm sure, especially if you get to meet some interesting people. We definitely like to explore and get out during the day and are hoping that having an Airstream will get us out to places we might not have otherwise gone. It's a big investment, gotta use it right? I liked the blog links and generally, just how helpful all of you are on this forum. Thanks again!
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Old 05-22-2014, 10:30 PM   #13
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Apache Junction , Arizona
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This is my second season and so far so good. I have parked in both packed RV parks and ones not so crowded and I have never been bothered by neighbors. Typically I find a park and if I like it I will stay for a week or so. Also, I usually use my TV for day trips and sight seeing. Last year I landed at the Airstream park in Washington and enjoyed it so much I stayed a month. Not always the best of views from the window of the trailer but still quite acceptable.
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Old 05-23-2014, 05:15 AM   #14
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The important thing is to get put there, see the country and enjoy your trailer.

Some campsites will be extraordinary, some very nice, and others just a place to park for the night. Close your curtains and you're home.

Campgrounds and their campers seem to each have their own energy, too. Some are very friendly, lots of casual chit-chat, others not so much.

As long as you're safe, it's all good.

You have the immense privilege of being able to travel in a beautiful rig.


🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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