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Old 02-15-2016, 09:52 AM   #15
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My guess is that if Airstreams did not cost more you would not be hesitating. But whether or not they do "cost" more depends on how you look at cost.

Clearly they are higher priced, but if you see the cost as being what you pay for it minus what you sell it for, then maybe they cost less.

Buying a lightly used Airstream evades the major depreciation.
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Old 02-15-2016, 01:29 PM   #16
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Yogi - there are lots of "got yous" in the RV deal. Batteries that don't last, because the charger boils them up. Frames that won't take a spare tire on the bumper because they are only strong enough for the trailer as designed. Plastic hardware fails. Flooring may require the furniture to be removed for new to go down. Leaks ...... Tires ...... Dealers .....The good news is that most problems can be fixed with elbow grease or $$$s.

You have to research to understand what you can accept or must correct.

Critical issues:

Budget..will cost more than initial purchase price (DIY less expensive than $125/hr dealer). Commercial parks are $20-80 a day (investigate before, discounts avail)

Towing...If you have never towed a travel or box trailer before, it is a different experience than driving a car or truck. It is not for everyone. Another reason to try it before you purchase.

Hitches....Research Weight distribution and sway control hitch designs. Force projecting hitches are expensive, but some folks would not tow without one. Others find less expensive hitches acceptable for their driving style. The faster you drive the more challenging this decision may become.

Tow vehicle...Research...easy answer is a 3/4 ton...drive before you buy. There are other answers that work, but experience and tech knowledge is required.

Research....watch the complete Long Long Honeymoon video series on YouTube. Visit a WBCCI rally in your area. Visit several other brand dealers. Compare construction, cost and features. The slides give more space, but can leak and jam. It's all a compromise.

Animals....Lots of ASers have dogs and enjoy their ability to travel with their furry friends. There are associated challenges and rewards depending on your perspective.

Bottom line...$$$=miles and smiles, but only if it's right for you. We believe the shinny AS gives more smiles than the SOBs. Your millage may vary.

Good luck with your investigation. Pat
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Old 02-15-2016, 03:02 PM   #17
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Hi Yogi!

I was at the Seattle RV Show too. I wanted to check in with what the trends are in modern (especially small) RVs. And OMG my impression is - what a lot of tacky crap is out there. The only line that was interesting and looked well designed and built were the T@Bs.

The "decor" in the SOBs is uniformly 1980's, with garish graphics on the outside that look like a disco van from the same era. Yeah they're cheap, with good cause.

Even the giant motorhomes look like a poor facsimily of Trump Towers, with fake fireplaces and wet bars. Flat screen TVs on the outside - wait what?

Then I saw the three Airstreams there, a 16' Sport, a 19' Flying Cloud, and a 25'. What an incredible difference. Yeah they're at least twice as expensive as the average, but there's no question they are in a league of their own.

I know a lot of people wouldn't consider buying a used Airstream, but browse through the classifieds here for 1-3 year old units and you'll see that Airstreams are definitely not immune to depreciation. I can't imagine buying a new one, but a lightly used late model might be anywhere from 40% to 60% of its original price. A side note: take note of how many were barely used at all. It's a pretty expensive experiment to buy a new Airstream only to find out it's not for you after all.
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Old 02-15-2016, 06:08 PM   #18
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Researching RV trailers

Hey, did either of you folks at the Seattle RV show see the Homegrown Trailers folks there? Would love your thoughts on that as well as the Airstreams you saw there.

http://homegrowntrailers.com/index.html

BTW, having bought a brand new 2014 AIrstream in November of 2013, we offer a hearty vote for finding and adopting a lightly used model vs. buying new. As others have noted, that should save you some $$$$ up front and help you dodge some of the depreciation. If the previous owners were conscientious wrt in-warranty repairs, it may also help you dodge a few of the many trips we took back to the dealer to fix all the warranty issues.

Why do they charge so much more for Airstreams? Because they can, my friend, because they can.
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Old 02-15-2016, 07:04 PM   #19
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Part of the reason Airstreams are more expensive is its labor intensive to rivet the shell together and aluminum sheeting is more expensive than the typical laminated fiberglass wall of conventional trailers. Conventional trailers the interior furniture and cabinets can be installed before the walls go up. Airstream, the bits and pieces have to be brought through the door. This all adds up.

Kelvin
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Old 02-16-2016, 12:38 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rocinante View Post
Hey, did either of you folks at the Seattle RV show see the Homegrown Trailers folks there? Would love your thoughts on that as well as the Airstreams you saw there.

http://homegrowntrailers.com/index.html
...
I did. Interesting concept. Lightweight, low profile, no propane, no electrical hookup, no black water tank. Composting toilet, solar, electric induction range - the person I talked to was short on technical details but it looks interesting.

Didn't care for the wood siding.
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Old 02-16-2016, 01:10 PM   #21
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Great info, thanks for the intelligence report!
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:37 PM   #22
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I too urge you to buy used. There are plenty of modern Airstreams from the mid 2000's time period that can be purchased in the $30k - $40k range. Go back to the gently used mid 1990's and you can get them in the $10k - $20k range. The 1990s models might be a little dated when it comes to fashion/décor but look at the $ savings.

After you decide if you really like RVing then you can determine if a new Airstream fits your situation.

There are less expensive brands of trailers but you won't get the true Airstream experience in a white box. You'll learn about RVing if you own another brand but that's not the same as Airstreaming. I don't think it's snob appeal to own an Airstream - I think of it more as owning a classic! Some things never go out of style.
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Old 02-16-2016, 03:06 PM   #23
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http://www.livinlite.com/camplite-overview.php

These look very interesting to me. NO WOOD in the entire trailer. Aluminum and composite. My brother is buying one of their slide ins for his pickup. No foo foo for sure, very utilitarian but I sure like the materials used. Interesting if nothing else.
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:07 PM   #24
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I have been inside these and they are built like a tank but are short on creature comforts. You will only stand up and bang you head on the corner of one of those cabinets once. 🤕

Has a very utilitarian feel. Like the inside of a commercial vehicle (maybe an ambulance). I was pretty impressed by them but DW wasn't having any.

Steve
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Old 02-16-2016, 04:32 PM   #25
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Yard Art - Emotional Purchase

Rule ONE in "How to be an effective salesman school"
People buy emotionally, and justify it after the fact with logic.
I'm fairly hard-headed about rejecting stuff I simply can't afford - and I know the difference between "want" and "need"... but with enough work you can engineer want into need. I went full time because I owned "This Old House" - that cost a fortune to maintain and seemed to be eating every minute of free time I had. My "emotional" purchase did work out very well. Evaluate your emotions... you could be on to something. Research is good, THEN do the intuitive leap!

I got LUCKY because I am not claustrophobic, I'm reasonably comfortable being alone, I can strike up a conversation with strangers without feeling great discomfort, and the first time I cleaned my whole home in 20 minutes I did the freaking dance of joy! Freeing myself from too much stuff was liberating... but I still do periodic potlaches. Suddenly I can't close a drawer and lo, there are 18 pair of socks in it, plus 5 mismatched ones I haven't seen the mates for in a year. (I have never yet made a sock monkey, so why would I keep the mismatches?) I do the big purge, reminding myself to throw T-shirts away before the sleeves fall off, etc. And How did I get 5 pairs of flipflops?

BUT absolutely before you buy - drive through any suburban area where the community isn't a planned one and the board tells you that you can't plant sunflowers in your yard, and you'll find 2 to 5 RV's under covers that have tattered over the years, or simply covered in dirt and moss or algae. Find a way to "try for cheap" before you buy for keeps! You might be able to find a Forum rally in your area - and visit as a tent or cabin camper. It's a good preview, and someone will know someone else who has an Airstream for sale.

Because a new Airstream IS so expensive, someone who decides that buying was a mistake has big money pressure to sell it quickly. The 30 year old ones WILL sit in the yards and rot. I know of 4 within a 20 mile radius of my present location. If you see a nice newer one that hasn't moved for a year - ring the bell or leave a note and ask if it's for sale.

So - the sweet spot is definitely the nine month to 4 year old Airstream. And IF YOU ARE thinking of full timing before you retire... well I'm on year 9 of that, and finally packing it in this year. Full timing isn't THAT much cheaper than renting a decent apartment or owning a modest home - unless you work at it and have some measure of luck. If you work in a job where there is need for overnight coverage (EMT, guard duty, etc.) - a nice parking space behind the business might be arranged. In that case you might not even have to pay for electricity. Of course you will be more "on call" but...

I found a "condo-campground" where I own a membership. Cuts my cost to camp by more than half compared to living in a KOA or other decent campground. Residential campgrounds are sometimes a bit downscale, as in "keep paddling I hear banjos". Mine does NOT have that "meth lab" vibe at all, but the rules don't allow members to stay for more than 28 days straight. And it often rains on moving day too

At 63 put 90-95% of you 401K investments into "preservation" mode. It isn't glamorous and you feel like you'll lose in an upward moving market... but hey if the market gets that hot, throw $500 in and turn it into $200,000. (Not sarcastic - just saying the tooth fairy stops coming after your 10th birthday.)
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Old 02-17-2016, 03:09 AM   #26
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I have read all your replies and thank you all for your input.

My thinking has been altered.

I have no issue with being on the road long term as in the past I drove a semi from the midwest to the east coast and back on a weekly basis. Talking about living in a tiny space.

I am now more inclined towards a used AS to keep the depreciation to a minimum. I won't go used for a TV though as I would want a full vehicle warranty on something that needs to tow a heavy trailer. For a TV I would probably go with the Ford 3.5L Ecoboost.

There are still a great deal of ongoing costs in this beyond the TV and trailer purchase as some of you have mentioned. Camp site fees, insurance, vehicle registration, fuel, maintenance etc.

So I have decided that I will be winning the lottery twice a week for the next few years in order to realize my goals. Off to 7-11 to start my investment program.

Thanks everyone once again.
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Old 02-17-2016, 07:54 AM   #27
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Researching RV trailers

I'm in a similar boat, but I'm 48. I'm in the market in the next few years and have been looking at all manner of RV, trailer, etc.

The first decision was trailer vs coach. My wife and I decided trailer as we don't want to buy/maintain another engine, and want to be able to drive around when we get to where we are going. No interest nor can I afford to buy another car to tow along. So travel trailer for us.

We then checked out all manner of brands. You are right. There are trailers that "look" just as nice, more spacious and cost less than half of an Airstream. I asked myself the same question. Why?

In my case, close inspection of the cheaper trailers found, well, cheap materials in its constructions. We looked at the inside of the storage areas and we pressed with our hand in the walls, and felt the flex. Cheap plywood. It wouldn't take much for these things to rot.

The slide outs are nice, but add an element of complexity to the operation. Can I use the restroom and the fridge while on the road? When I close the slide outs, did leaves or other debris get caught up on the rails? One more thing to break. But the extra living space is nice.

I've owned boats for 15 years, so I'm used to the cramped living quarters. I don't spend that much time inside. And when I do, I'm either eating, reading or sleeping. So after much thought my wife and I decided an Airstream was "big enough". And the build quality gave us some comfort that it would last 20+ years. We are not planning on upgrading every couple of years. Can't afford it.

I am still looking at other brands.
But I need something I can tow with a 1/2 ton, so something under 8000 lbs. And something that will stand up to the harsh Florida summer weather. We are still looking, but a slightly used AS looks like the ticket.
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Old 02-17-2016, 08:54 AM   #28
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We then checked out all manner of brands. You are right. There are trailers that "look" just as nice, more spacious and cost less than half of an Airstream. I asked myself the same question. Why?
Can you list some of the other trailers that "look" just as nice?

I might want to have a look.

Thanks

Kelvin
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