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Old 01-30-2020, 07:37 PM   #1
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Motorhome Airstream vs Trailer Airstream

Hi all,
Newbie here. Thanks so much for all the great input on this site.

Do any of you have any very strong opinions, or otherwise, as to which is a better used purchase investment, between airstream trailers Eg. Sovereign or a motorhome version Eg. 345?

Any thoughts to help me narrow my search would be very useful. Input regarding to (but not limited to) renovation costs, resale value, or from people who have experience with both scenarios would be much welcome!

Kind regards,

Francis
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Old 01-31-2020, 05:40 AM   #2
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For the true Airstream experience you need to have both an Airstream trailer and at least one Airstream motor home, Regards, Bob......you can’t take it with you....
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Old 01-31-2020, 08:55 AM   #3
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Sorry, I stopped reading at the words purchase investment.....they are money pits and should be enjoyed for what you get out of them (emotionally) because you will not benefit financially.
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:23 AM   #4
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Sorry, I stopped reading at the words purchase investment.....they are money pits and should be enjoyed for what you get out of them (emotionally) because you will not benefit financially.
I would have to agree.

-Dennis
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Old 01-31-2020, 09:42 AM   #5
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The difference between trailer owners and motorhome owners is this: airstream trailer owners like shiny things, have an eye for interior design and functionality, spend a lot of time in their trailer fixing or improving things, and on rare occasions even take them along to go camping. Motorhome owners are exactly the same, only more so. All airstream owners tend to be above average on the income scale, or at least they were when they first purchased their RV.

But generally speaking, they are great company on the road and to go camping with.

But yes, in all seriousness, any RV but especially airstreams, are not investments but rather purchases. It is possible to buy an old used airstream, fix it up and Flip it for more money than you paid for it, but not enough to make up for all of the time and labor you put into it.

In this regard, they are like owning a boat or an airplane. Imagine your same question only replace the word airstream with boat.

How much it cost to renovate a used airstream depends on how much money you have. From what I have seen ( and you can search the Internet on this ) there is no upper limit on the amount you can spend to trick out your trailer, whether you do it yourself or hire a company that specializes in airstream renovations. Or, you can buy a used one in camping condition and toss in a little bit of money as needed over a long period of time and have a perfectly workable camper.
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Old 01-31-2020, 10:18 AM   #6
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A trailer.
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Old 02-01-2020, 07:57 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by skyguyscott View Post
The difference between trailer owners and motorhome owners is this: airstream trailer owners like shiny things, have an eye for interior design and functionality, spend a lot of time in their trailer fixing or improving things, and on rare occasions even take them along to go camping. Motorhome owners are exactly the same, only more so. All airstream owners tend to be above average on the income scale, or at least they were when they first purchased their RV.

But generally speaking, they are great company on the road and to go camping with.

But yes, in all seriousness, any RV but especially airstreams, are not investments but rather purchases. It is possible to buy an old used airstream, fix it up and Flip it for more money than you paid for it, but not enough to make up for all of the time and labor you put into it.

In this regard, they are like owning a boat or an airplane. Imagine your same question only replace the word airstream with boat.

How much it cost to renovate a used airstream depends on how much money you have. From what I have seen ( and you can search the Internet on this ) there is no upper limit on the amount you can spend to trick out your trailer, whether you do it yourself or hire a company that specializes in airstream renovations. Or, you can buy a used one in camping condition and toss in a little bit of money as needed over a long period of time and have a perfectly workable camper.
This is very useful. Really appreciate it.
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Old 02-01-2020, 08:07 AM   #8
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Sorry, I stopped reading at the words purchase investment.....they are money pits and should be enjoyed for what you get out of them (emotionally) because you will not benefit financially.
This is actually useful. Thanks.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:02 AM   #9
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For the true Airstream experience you need to have both an Airstream trailer and at least one Airstream motor home, Regards, Bob......you can’t take it with you....
Thank you, Bob.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:12 AM   #10
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The problem

Nope, not an investment. Airstreams keep their value more than SOBs, but that's not why you buy them.


The problem is that if you want to go touring around, you either get a trailer that you have to tow, or you get a motor home that you have to totally disconnect, put everything away, etc., before you go touring around. Either way you are maintaining a motor, tires, etc. Of course a motor home can tow a small car, but then you are maintaining two motors and sets of tires, etc.

We bought because we wanted to travel with our little dogs. A trailer can be connected to power so that the AC can keep them safe and comfortable while we tour around. You can't do that with a motor home since most museum parking lots and the like don't have electrical connections.
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Old 02-01-2020, 09:26 AM   #11
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If you can afford it and have the storage capacity, buy a usable trailer trailer to enjoy your camping trips, while you dive into restoring a Classic MH. Sovereigns are the budget models of the Airstream trailer line, better to look for an early 90's Excella. Just my opinion, but I am on my 4th Classic MH and have a trailer thats ready to roll anytime. Be aware that restoring a Classic MH home will cost you 20-30k plus countless hours, so try to get one cheap, since they all need tons of work.

If you are a plumber, electrician, carpenter, metal worker, mechanic and like a real challenge, the Classic MH is a good match for you.



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Old 02-01-2020, 10:39 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FDF View Post
Do any of you have any very strong opinions, or otherwise, as to which is a better used purchase investment, between airstream trailers Eg. Sovereign or a motorhome version Eg. 345?

Any thoughts to help me narrow my search would be very useful. Input regarding to (but not limited to) renovation costs, resale value, or from people who have experience with both scenarios would be much welcome!
As the proud owner of an Airstream Interstate "mini" motorhome AND a toad, I emphatically reject the "two motors to maintain" argument. Because for non-full-timers, if you have a motorhome of any size, that motorhome is not going to be your only vehicle whether you have a toad or not, and for most trailer owners, their towing vehicle isn't going to be their only family vehicle, either. So if even trailer owners have more than one engine to maintain, then in my opinion the whole "multiple engines" argument really only applies to full-timers.

To me, the real issue in purchasing a full-sized used Airstream motorhome is that Airstream quit making them around 2004 or thereabouts. So any motorhome you buy will have an engine and drivetrain that are at least 16 years old, and likely older. Before making the purchase of such a near-vintage motorhome (or vintage if it's more than 25 years old), make sure that you have access to a good source for engine parts and spares for whatever elderly engine it contains. The older the motorhome you're looking at, the better a same-year trailer looks in the benefit/cost analysis.
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:15 AM   #13
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I like Protagonist's explanation with his choice of an Interstate and Bobmiller1's reasoning for digging half a hole in the budget.

I should sell our Airstream and go back to a Tent. A win/win.

I have 'strong positive feelings' when selling my used Airstream trailer.

I have 'stronger positive feelings' when buying a new Airstream trailer.

I need some therapy and an Airstream is the cheapest route to go. It works.

Start new with smaller and eventually end up with a vintage 34 foot triple axle for the ultimate 'buzz'. If you are over 45 and under 90... you already decided what you are getting and just needed to convince the wife you know what you are doing. Works for most who have previously posted.
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Old 02-01-2020, 11:42 AM   #14
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I don't feel there is a best solution between a motor home and an Airstream trailer. We are blessed to have both a motor home and an Airstream. It depends on the type of travel/camping you do.
If your intended purpose is primarily travel, i.e. to and from Alaska, or around the U.S. or that of only one or two nights at any given location, then the motor home would be preferred (not towing a vehicle).

If you like to go glamping (camping) to any given spot for a few days or longer, then the Airstream is preferred. We live in So. Calif. and we do more camping at State beaches than anything else, so we take the Airstream more and then have the towing vehicle to run around with.
We've taken a couple of trips to Canada/Alaska, and last year around the USA (lower 48), and a motor home definitely wins there for us. Especially in the Yukon or Alaska, because you pull into some place, and are then all set up. If there are mosquitoes outside you can see that you are level enough from the inside, and voila you are good to go (assuming most nights you don't have full hookups). Also, in bear country it is nice to not be running back and forth from a towing vehicle to the trailer.
Again, if you are spending multiple nights at each location, then the trailer wins, as far as we are concerned.

Last week we spent most of the week in beautiful Quartzsite, AZ, camping out on the desert. When we take a motor home (24' Mercedes chassis) we don't tow a vehicle, so Quartzsite was definitely Airstream camping, and it was great. Our travel companions had a large motor home and they towed a vehicle, so for them the motor home worked out fine for Quartzsite, whereas the Airstream worked out best for us.
Another factor, driving a motor home is less "work" than towing a trailer, in my opinion.
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Old 02-01-2020, 01:42 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FDF View Post
Hi all,
Newbie here. Thanks so much for all the great input on this site.

Do any of you have any very strong opinions, or otherwise, as to which is a better used purchase investment, between airstream trailers Eg. Sovereign or a motorhome version Eg. 345?

Any thoughts to help me narrow my search would be very useful. Input regarding to (but not limited to) renovation costs, resale value, or from people who have experience with both scenarios would be much welcome!

Kind regards,

Francis
There may be some people that make money on an Airstream purchase and sale, whether it's a trailer or motorhome, but as some others have said, buy what you want, use it and sell it when the time comes.

The trailer and motorhome you referred to are both large. One you tow and one you drive obviously, the trailer is probably more likely to be readily re-sold when the time comes. The motorhome may have it's advantages. Consider how you plan to travel and that will help you decide.

We have a 29' trailer and an Interstate motorhome but not the loooong 345 Classic motorhome. The Interstate is on a Mercedes Sprinter chassis is serves an entirely different form of travel for us. Much more spur of the moment, go-go-go travel in the Sprinter. A slower pace, stop and smell the roses kind of travel for us in the trailer. YMMV.
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Old 02-01-2020, 02:42 PM   #16
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I cannot say anything about an Airstream motorhome because I have never had one. However, I currently have an Airstream travel trailer and a Damon motorhome. Why both?? Because of how I use them differently. If I am going on a trip to stay somewhere in one place for a few weeks I take the travel trailer. If I am just going to be traveling from spot to spot and not staying but a night or two at each stop I go in the motorhome. So, decide how you are going to use your RV and then make the decision.
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Old 02-01-2020, 05:06 PM   #17
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We also live in Southern California, and love our Airstream 25Ft International serenity. As others have commented on staying at the beach often. Big Sur , Monterey, Carmel, Oceanside, San Diego, Harris beach , Honeyman Oregon Coast lines are amazing. A room with a view. It doesn’t get any better . As others have suggested it really depends on your ability to have both. If you can do it. Both choices are awesome! I do believe that Airstream is very cost effective. Many of the sites where we’ve stayed would have been it cost hundreds of $$$$ for one night with these Views. Yellowstone, grand Tetons and Bryce Canyon rooms are very $$$$$ expensive. Airstream is a bargain anyway you look at it. Safe travels all . Looking forward to seeing you all at the Loveland Colorado international rally June 19-27 2020 .
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Old 02-01-2020, 05:38 PM   #18
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AS trailer is cheaper than the motorhome as I can see. The trailer even last longer than the motorhome. Cheaper in the long run.
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Old 02-02-2020, 07:01 AM   #19
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When I look at older motor homes, I see 10,000 things that could go wrong ...
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Old 02-02-2020, 05:42 PM   #20
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Hey,
Motorhome advantage, you got everything right behind your seat. You can tow a car, so you still got mobility. If you got a partner, they can nap, or do whatever, without having to pull over. Dependability, depends on maintanence.
So far as stuff to go wrong? Trail or or RV both have the same stuff.
Motorhomes got an engine/ trans/rear end gears. Trailers don t.
Trailers are lower to ground, maybe a little easier to maneuver, and don't have motor /trans/rear end to contend with.
But. You still got the pulling unit . That has to be able to pull your trailor.
And unless AS makes a toy hauler , you can't bring your motorcycle, if you got one.
A trailor is easier to manuvuer down the road, if your uncomfortable with the size of a motorhome. . My choice is motorhome, . But I can fix almost anything, so the chassis/ coach combination of systems doesn't t bother me.
You may get a little better mileage pulling a trailor though.
From a handling point of view, I think a motorhome is a better bet. Unless your pretty good towing stuff, 25-28 feet behind you, can be a little scary.
I think it comes down to what you feel comfortable driving, confused even more now?... Motorhomes are 8.5 wide. Travel trailers are 8 ft with the mirrors, and they bend in the middle. DJ
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