I have been happily living full-time in a 17 ft Casita for the last few years. I'm in no hurry to change, but have recently started looking at a used Airstream as a possible upgrade.
My early research has narrowed down the possibilities. Anything smaller than 20 ft doesn't seem to offer a fundamental advantage over what I've already got. Yes, I'll (reluctantly) concede that a Bambi is bit
nicer than a Casita, but the floor plans don't offer any huge improvement over my 17SD (Spirit 16' & 17' | Casita Travel Trailers - America's Favorite Lightweight Travel Trailers!
On the upper end, anything longer than 26 ft seems to be overkill for just myself and my furry copilot (a Rough Collie). Even though I'd be living in it full-time, I don't want to limit parking possibilities and would prefer to tow with a half-ton pickup truck. So 21~26 ft seems to be the sweet spot for me.
The main upgrades I'd enjoy would be a front couch (with enough floor space to walk around
the dog) and some usable kitchen counter and pantry space. I don't
want twin beds, and the smallest trailer that fits those requirements would be preferable to a larger one.
Used or Vintage? While having a 50s model would be neat, I'm really after functional, "ready to live in" housing (I don't have a regular home to live in while working on a project trailer). I'd definitely want something new enough to have holding tanks, etc. Generally, it seems like 10~15 years old might get the price down to my budget.
Price? There's the problem (ain't it always?). I actually moved into my little fiberglass egg for financial reasons. I've been working for a Christian Bookstore for the last 17 years, and bookstores in general are not
flourishing (mostly the economy, but Internet shopping and Kindles have not helped our sales). I wanted to live closer to where I work, didn't
want another mortgage and wanted to be able to move easily if our store didn't make it. We are, thankfully, holding on so far. But this is not
the time for me to be spending large amounts of money I don't have, or taking on extra monthly payments.
The ideal situation would be to do a close to even trade. I'd like to find an AS owner who is downsizing an older model, but would like to have a smaller and lighter trailer (Casita's can be towed by minivans and will fit in regular automotive parking spaces). Or perhaps someone trading up to a larger AS, but who would like a second, smaller trailer for weekend trips. But, while money is not on my side, time is. My Collie has gotten very good at scooting out of the way (well, actually, she's gotten very good at claiming ownership of my bed the moment I get up). So I'm in no hurry.
I think I need to start by doing some more research, so I'll know which models are suitable, and can figure out a realistic price range. Question: Can anyone point me to a guide showing which floor plans were available in different models over the years?
I'd be moving from a 3 year old trailer with no problems into a used trailer a lot older, so it seems like I would be smart to save up some cash reserves for repairs. No matter how honest the seller, or careful the Pre-buy inspection, I'd still be getting an unknown. Question: How much would you set aside for problems in a, say, 15 year old AS?
btw - One of the big reasons I selected a Casita is the support and knowledge of the wonderfully helpful folks at the "Casita Club" forum, which made the jump into living full-time in a tiny little trailer a lot easier. Discovering this
forum is one of the major reasons for considering an AS as an upgrade. So let me say Thanks in advance for answering what I'm sure will be endless questions.