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Old 08-06-2012, 09:09 PM   #1
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To Buy or Not To Buy - That is The Question

My wife and I are looking at buying our first travel trailer. I grew up with my Grandparents owning Airstreams, so of course I am only considering one brand.

To try and be fair, I thought I would ask you, current Airstream owners - why did you spend as much as three times what you could have for a different brand of travel trailer, so you could own an Airstream?

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Old 08-06-2012, 09:14 PM   #2
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Because Airstreams are cool ...... way cool.

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Old 08-06-2012, 09:17 PM   #3
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We looked at a variety of travel trailers... inside and out. The minute we stepped inside an Airstream, we knew that it was no contest. The clean lines, and interior design really spoke to us much more than the interiors of the other types of trailers that just seemed to be trapped in single wide mode of decor.

We did pay about 3 times as much for our AS we would have for the same year model of a Some Other Brand trailer, but quite frankly we feel like we three times our money's worth as well.

And more than a year later, we still love our decision.

Dana and Olga
2006 Safari 23
2011 Tundra Double Cab
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Old 08-07-2012, 03:35 AM   #4
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Despite the problems reported by many on this site, most owners still believe Airstreams are built better than other RVs. Our Bambi has had a few minor problems (not counting the OEM tires, which I am attributing to Goodyear); but there is no comparison between our Airstream and the SOB trailer we previously owned. For us, our Bambi was, and still is, worth the premium price we paid.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:05 AM   #5
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We owned a 1997 SOB and got rid of it for a 1972 Airstream because it was in far better condition. That should answer your question.
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:31 AM   #6
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I looked at every brand and lots of price ranges and Airstream was the only one for me. I bought used to save money and had very few issues. I love it and will continue to own only Airstreams in the future.
Get involved and sign up for a Rally!
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Old 08-07-2012, 05:49 AM   #7
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Greetings from Manitoba.
When I was a teenager the WBCCI held a rally at Brandon, MB, and the fairgrounds became a sea of silver. At that time I decided that someday I would own an A/S. Over the years we owned several SOB's. Five years ago an opportunity came up and we bought a 1974 31' International, center bath not too far from home. Soon after towing the A/S home I contacted aluminitus and still have it. I was able to tap into the knowledge base of the A/S Forums and have completed numerous renovations sucessfully. My daughter has suggested that I should consider having a renovation business for A/S' when I retire.
Yes you should purchase an A/S as you have great grounding in them and just think how proud the grandparents would be.
Do lots of research into what your needs would be and then go for it.
Don't be shy in asking lots of questions on this forum as you shop.
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Old 08-07-2012, 06:29 AM   #8
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Mne's not a trailer, but I'll answer anyway…

I'm an engineer, and by nature tend to approach things in a methodical fashion.

I looked at several competing brands before I even considered Airstream. And they were all close competitors at that, all conversion vans based on the Mercedes Benz Sprinter 3500 chassis— same body, same engine, the only visible differences being the interior coachwork and a few exterior details like solar panels and holding tank capacities.

The Airstream Interstate had an MSRP every bit of 20% higher than their next highest-price competitor. However, the quality of the interior fit and finish were so far above the competition that it was easy to see where the money went.

I did what is called a "risk analysis" to compare the various competitors, looking at factors such as quality, price, reliability, customer service, etc.

The way the "risk analysis" works is this, in simplest form: For each evaluation factor you consider, rank the various competitors. If you're comparing three competitors, the worst gets a 1, the best gets a 3. Higher numbers are always better.

Then, apply a "weighting factor" to see how important each evaluation factor is. If you have four criteria (quality, price, reliability, customer service, for example) and low price is most important to you, then Price gets a weighting factor of 4, with the other factors getting lower numbers until you're down to 1 again. In this case, if price is most important (weighting factor 4) and Airstream had the worst price, (rating 1), the weighted rating was still 4. The next competitor had a lower price (rating 2) so with the weighting factor that becomes an 8, and so on.

Add all of the weighted ratings together for each individual competitor, and compare total weighted ratings. The one with the highest weighted rating, totaled for all evaluation factors, wins.

So, comparing everything, the Airstream Interstate slightly edged out all of the other competitors in spite of the higher price because they topped the chart in every other evaluation factor.

So, yeah, I went the long way around to reach the same conclusion as someone who just walks on the lot and says, "I love it! Let's buy one!" But I have a sound engineering reason why I know I made the best choice, and I will never or wonder if I would have been better off buying something else. Numbers don't lie.
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:00 AM   #9
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Process of elimination.

Wife and I owned a very small (19.5') class "B" motorhome. After retirement we hit the road for about 4 months. During the trip we decided we loved the life style and would continue for months at a time ever year.

Once that was decided larger became mandatory. I ruled out class "A" motorhomes because I did not want to tow a vehicle and honestly did not want to deal with a monster with 10 tires that probably got 6-8 MPG. In general I did not want to fit in that mold of a large motorhome owner.

Fifth wheels were out because I just did not want to give up the bed of any truck I was going to buy, also the size of the large fifth wheels put me in the same frame of mind as owning a huge class "A".

Now it came down to trailers - the wife and I just took one look at each other and both said "Airstream". Could be due to our ages (boomers) and having grown up seeing Airstreams but there was no second choice.

Money never entered the decision.
"The bad news: there is no key to the universe.
The good news: it was never locked."
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Old 08-07-2012, 07:47 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by clarkrkent View Post
...why did you spend as much as three times what you could have for a different brand of travel trailer, so you could own an Airstream?
I had a different brand of trailer originally and it burned to the ground for no apparent reason. After that I wasn't messing around with fiberglass junk.

I found a nice, barely used Airstream for considerably less than a new one and I'm confident it will last my lifetime. Consider it an investment.

Airstreams are timeless. They will never look old or out of style. My 2006 looks brand new even after 85,000 miles of travel.

But most of all, you will not find this kind of community with other brands of trailers with the exception of Casita. My biggest surprise, and the greatest attribute of the Airstream, was community that came with it.
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Old 08-10-2012, 01:25 PM   #11
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Ever see a SWB after an accident?

Someone posted a video of a similar accident involving an AS. (Sorry, could not find). It stayed virtually intact.

Trailering: Whatever the brand - we do if for the relaxation.
easily distracted by shiny objects
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:23 PM   #12
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My husband and I did an exhaustive search of travel trailers before deciding on an Airstream. In fact, we didn't know anything about Airstreams when we first started looking at travel trailers. What got us looking at Airstreams are four things:

1)They are considered 4 season trailers and will allow us to camp in fall & winter
2)They hold up far longer than the 15 years their fiber glass competitors do
3)Their aerodynamic design makes them much safer & efficient for towing
4)Their modern interior styling is very compelling and pleasing to the eye

Now, we're just saving our pennies to buy one :-)
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:27 PM   #13
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The cool factor...they tow well...and keep their resale value far better than SOBs.
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Old 08-10-2012, 03:31 PM   #14
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This could be the last TT you every buy! My Airstream is 30 years old and has held up great! Airstreams age gracefully and when ready for renovations or updates give great value for the investment.
I suppose if you look at the cost of ownership over a long span of ownership and also take into consideration great residual/resale value, the cost part of the equation is not as dramatic.

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