Free 7 Day Trial RV GPS App RV Trip Planner Campground Reviews RV Maintenance Free 7 Day Trial ×

Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 04-25-2016, 10:44 AM   #1
Rivet Master
Foiled Again's Avatar
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,409
Financial Justification for an Airstream

(If your first response was bull****, you hit the nail on the head.)

Anyone with a basic grasp of financial reality can absolutely prove that there is no way to financially justify owning an Airstream. Even if you full-time in one (as I do) it's still a depreciating asset - and no matter how much money you pour into maintaining it, you'll only reduce the depreciation fractionally, and you'll never see any increase in value.

A Boat is a hole in the water, surrounded by wood or fiberglass...
...into which you pour money!

An RV is a hole in the atmosphere...
and this one ends exactly the same way!

So how CAN we really justify WASTING our money on these expensive toys?

The justification is to be part of a genuine FAMILY and sometimes a genuine TRIBE. How many "families" do you know which are no more than a group of people who occupy the same dwelling and yet seem to have nothing in common? And school - which for me was a refuge from a screwed up family? Now students at schools think they are practicing "freedom of speech" by bullying other students sometimes even to death?

The RV community as a whole has a lot of genuinely nice people - and quite a few wannabe's who hopefully can be welcomed and be convinced to drink the cool-aid....

Being an Airstreamer to me simply means taking TIME and FOCUSING on things like companionship, the joy of being helpful now and then, the tall tales told around campfires, the touching sight of a three year old kids "helping" daddy put down the stabilizers and helping mommy put up the screen room... and their parents patiently concealed laughter. It also means claiming victory after changing my own tire, and cramming that wretched 16 inch spare into the 15 inch carrier, and even if I do smell like a goat and look like a fright - Politely thanking a neighbor for offering his torque wrench, and then pulling out my Snap-On tool... so he can put away his Harbor Freight model.

And after I get over that moment of snobbery - telling the truth. I have an Airstream and a few top of the line tools, and YOU have three grandchildren having the time of their lives. Envy? I envy you (NOW!) 15 years ago when you were raising bratty teenagers... whew You paid your dues, and I dodged the bullets.

For me, being an Airstreamer means enjoying the finer things, but really relishing the finer people who participate in the family or tribe or cult. It also means never looking down on anyone with a SOB - if they've got the heart, the Airstream will find them in the fullness of time.

I'm Retiring next month and I can't stop being Pollyanna. Feel like I've been sipping on some really good white wine.

I'm going to stop procrastinating ... tomorrow or the day after.

Carpe Diem! Or seize the Carp for all I care.

This morning I had coffee sitting on the step of Eddie Haskill and I watched the wind blow the last of the blossoms off of the wisteria vines that grow wild here in Virginia. It's a good day to be alive.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Foiled Again is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 10:51 AM   #2
Rivet Master
Lily&Me's Avatar

2007 Interstate
Normal , Illinois
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 16,595
Good for you, Paula.

Carpe diem, indeed.

Find a need and fill it.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚
Lily&Me is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 11:05 AM   #3
Full Time Adventurer
BoldAdventure's Avatar
2007 27' International CCD FB
Nomadic , USA
Join Date: Jul 2013
Posts: 2,748
Not to brag but my Airstream purchase cost 11% of my yearly income and was from savings. Cost of ownership is even less. So I think I can justify it since I'm not someone who makes 40K and buys a 38K car.
Family of 5 exploring the USA with a Ram Power Wagon & Airstream in tow.
BoldAdventure is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 11:29 AM   #4
Rivet Master
dkottum's Avatar
2012 25' Flying Cloud
Battle Lake , Minnesota
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 7,714
Our justification is we travel in it six months a year, have been all over this country and are eyeballing a couple of others nearby. It tows beautifully with our half-ton truck, looks great and never will go out of style, zero problems beyond normal wear. We like it a lot, just got back from Jackson Center for a checkup, replace a water tank I broke, and a few equipment upgrades. Normal maintenance that any home needs.

My only complaints are it is a little too small when camping in rainy weather, and a little too big when maneuvering into some fuel stations, campsites, and parking places. But we have learned to manage both quite well.

As good money as we have spent for retirement. We have looked at condos, park models, small dwellings for a seasonal home. The problem is they are all stuck in one spot on the planet, our Airstream is not.
Doug and Cheryl
2012 FC RB, Michelin 16, ProPride 1400
2016 Ram 1500 Laramie Crew Cab 4X4 Ecodiesel 3.92 axles

The Truth is More Important Than the Facts
dkottum is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 11:32 AM   #5
Rivet Master
Hittenstiehl's Avatar
1962 28' Ambassador
1961 19' Globetrotter
1962 26' Overlander
Mesa , Arizona
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 4,806
Images: 9
We have two and don't need to justify either at this time nor when I find the third one.

Friends and family all have their own hobby's or vices.

Interestingly enough some people mistakenly associate them with some level of wealth.

We work hard, enjoy life, save, donate, live within our means, treat the kids and grandkids occasionally.

Hittenstiehl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 11:34 AM   #6
4 Rivet Member
NWGetaways's Avatar
2012 22' FB Sport
2003 19' Bambi
Port Townsend , Washington
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 277
Airstreams make people smile.
NWGetaways is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 12:55 PM   #7
Rivet Master
mpsgolf's Avatar
2015 28' International
Ofallon , Missouri
Join Date: Sep 2013
Posts: 552
My grandmother, who it turns out was very wise, used to say "money is only good for what it will buy."

When I was little I used to think "duh grandma." Clearly I didn't understand. As I grew older I understood just how simple yet wise these words were.

You can't build a financial business case for time spent with your family enjoying nature and our great country. But the "investment" pays priceless dividends in my humble (yet first hand experienced) opinion.

Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Olympic, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Badlands, Rushmore - and others and more to come - I doubt we would have experienced all these without our AS and if we had it would have been from a hotel as a passer by.

Have fun and travel often and SAFE.
mpsgolf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 12:55 PM   #8
4 Rivet Member
1972 25' Tradewind
Calgary , Alberta
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 290
Buying old and used and renovating to a modern nice standard 'does' increase value.
If you do the labor yourself, IMO you can get what money you put in out again upon resale. (not including your labor costs)
Buying new yes declining value until its old and needs work, but it sure is nice!

I have yet to proof this so my opinion could be a hole in the buttsphere.
Monza is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 01:04 PM   #9
Rivet Master
PA BAMBI II's Avatar
1964 17' Bambi II
1961 24' Tradewind
Strasburg , Pennsylvania
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 686
Well, memories are priceless. And if the real issue is money...

I bought my 1964 Bambi II for $1000...and after five years of pleasurable work, I can confidently bet it is worth 10-15 times what I paid for it.

Small, vintage Airstreams will likely not depreciate.

On the flip side, Dad did lose $$ when he sold his 1985 32' Airstream.
"The difference between vintage and retro is that vintage is honestly old and cool. Retro tries to be but isn't."
PA BAMBI II is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 01:12 PM   #10
Airstreamer in Training
ZBoater's Avatar
2014 30' Flying Cloud
Tampa , Florida
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 92
An Airstream costs three times what other TT cost which are bigger. In choosing to buy an Airstream, we felt that we didn't want/could not afford to be trading. We wanted to buy one and keep it for 20 years. Airstreams seemed like a good choice for that. Haven't bought one yet but are heavily favoring taking the plunge.
2014 Airstream Flying Cloud 30' Recliner: Base weight 6422, GVWR 8800
2013 Cadillac Escalade Tow Vehicle: 6.2L, 403hp, 417 ft-lb., 4x2, 3.42 axle ratio, Max Payload 1573, Max Towing 8300.
ZBoater is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 02:49 PM   #11
moosetags's Avatar

2015 25' FB Flying Cloud
2012 23' FB Flying Cloud
2005 25' Safari
Santa Rosa Beach , Florida
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 12,293
Images: 5
I don't have to or want to "justify" anything to anyone. I can afford a new Airstream, period. We have enjoyed our dear Lucy immensely. Everyone we meet out there on the road is a fellow RVer. We never look down our nose at someone in an SOB, nor do we look up our nose at a brand new Prevost. We are all campers trying to get the most out of life the way that we see it.

SuEllyn & Brian McCabe
WBCCI #3628 -- AIR #14872 -- TAC #FL-7
2015 FC 25' FB (Lucy) with HAHA
2020 Silverado 2500 (Vivian)
moosetags is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 03:40 PM   #12
Rivet Master
Foiled Again's Avatar
2012 25' FB Eddie Bauer
Vintage Kin Owner
Virginia Beach , Virginia
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,409
Moose - exactly.

And you CAN have a blast in an "aluminum tent" just as well as in a million dollar Prevost or a brand new 30 foot special edition.

As Protagonist notes, your RV can be a great "bug out" way to run from a Hurricane or other nastiness. And if your financial world collapses, you can keep a small home even if you can't afford brick and mortar.

But most of all it's about using your money wisely - to make your life more satisfying, meaningful and just plain fun.

One evening in the middle of a very serious conversation about religion, one normally matter-of-fact and generally dull person in the group suddenly quipped, "What if the Hokey-Pokey IS what it's all about?"

Dead silence, followed by hilarity. Making the journey memorable is what owning an RV should be.
You put your left foot in,
you put your left foot out,
you put your left foot in and you shake it all about....
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
Foiled Again is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 06:20 PM   #13
Rivet Master
1999 30' Excella 1000
small town , Maryland
Join Date: Sep 2010
Posts: 797
Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
Everyone we meet out there on the road is a fellow RVer. We never look down our nose at someone in an SOB, nor do we look up our nose at a brand new Prevost. We are all campers trying to get the most out of life the way that we see it.

Well said moosetags.
streaminwild is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 06:53 PM   #14
Rivet Master
Currently Looking...
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1,078
Our former home turned out to be a depreciating asset, too. We certainly didn't get anywhere near what we had in it, but it provided shelter for us for many years, and our kids learned many things that they may not have learned elsewhere. I've listed our Foretravel for more than we paid for it, but less than what we have in it. We looked at an Airstream that is overpriced. The seller thinks they don't depreciate, yet I had with me ads for several similar coaches that were newer and cheaper, or newer and the same price.

As full-timers we've already learned that we can live more cheaply on the road than we could have back on the farm and we get to see this wonderful country. Once we make the switch to the Airstream I expect that our costs will decrease again.
David Lininger, kb0zke
AIR 54240
Heartland mpg 181 (sold)
1993 Foretravel U300 (for sale)
kb0zke is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 07:57 PM   #15
Rivet Master
J. Morgan's Avatar
1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
Currently Looking...
Benton , Arkansas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 5,868
Images: 11
Financial Justification for an Airstream

I have about 25K hard cash in mine and it has MORE than paid for itself already in money saved on hotel rooms when we are working in New Mexico several months in a given year.

It is one of the better investments I have made, and we are about to head to NM again this week

Beside that, I really enjoyed building it, (my favorite project ever by far) and I enjoy using it.

Superat stultitia.
The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

J. Morgan is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 08:20 PM   #16
Rivet Master
Steamy1's Avatar
2015 23' FB International
2007 19' International CCD
Steamboat Springs , Colorado
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 850
For the analytical types, the attached is an interesting take on vacation cost comparisons.
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Vacation_Cost_Comparison.pdf (133.5 KB, 162 views)
Steamy1 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 08:36 PM   #17
Rivet Master
SteveSueMac's Avatar

2012 27' Flying Cloud
W , New England
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 7,397
Can you calculate the health benefits of stress relief? Can you quantify the value of the grin you can't wipe off your face when camping? I've done my share of "CBAs" (cost benefit analysis). When the benefits are incalculably high, the analysis is unnecessary. Cost justified. 😀
SteveSueMac is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 10:22 PM   #18
4 Rivet Member
1973 31' Sovereign
Middletown , California
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 424
As a mechanic and handyman I can assure people that you will in general get more towing miles over more years than you would with a wood frame trailer. There may be exceptions I don't know about. Also you can take an Airstream apart and put it back together more readily than a SOB. There some things that Airstream does I have doubts about but in general they used quality materials. The main thing I wish the factory had done is waterproof the floor especially the C channel area. A well built RV has been the topic of discussion with myself and other Airstreamers and RV'ers over many portable beverage container emptying sessions. It seems that the best built RV's never stayed in production because people went for couch size or carpet color or something other than structural integrity at a given price point. After a lifetime of RVing I'm still not sure I've seen the perfect RV! What I do know is that you should do what you enjoy now because tomorrow is the futures today. Or as somebody said "Be Here Now".
ijustlee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-25-2016, 11:17 PM   #19
Len and Jeanne
Len n Jeanne's Avatar
2005 16' International CCD
2015 19' Flying Cloud
Creston Valley , British Columbia
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 1,749
All the best on your retirement, Paula!

We tend to think in terms of psychic dollars. It's hard to put a price tag on them. We bought Bambi I slightly used for Can$35,000. We had just sold a second home (this was 2007) and were feeling flush. We were getting too old for tent camping. A baby Airstream was exactly what we wanted, and we had lots of good times in it.

Had we put that money into another piece of real estate, it would have depreciated drastically in 2008. As it was, Bambi I ended paying for itself because we had got some really good RV insurance on it that paid for the replacement cost of a new 2005 when ours was written off in a traffic accident. So $35,000 in 2007 got us $50,000 in 2015 (less the cost of the insurance,) which was the price of a new 16' International AS in 2005.

Of course, once we decided to upgrade to a 19' 2015 AS, our $50,000 had to be topped up. We also decided that we wanted a V8 truck to tow it, so upgraded our Tacoma to a Tundra. The new truck was the real expense, but the Tundra is sooo comfortable, and tows up those steep mountain grades like a breeze.

So now we're in the poor house, yet somehow feeling we got good value for our money. We spent 8 weeks this past winter on a snowbird trip to the Mojave desert, and always felt smug and snug in our tasteful AS.

Spending less money on an RV we didn't want seems like poor economy compared to spending more money on an RV that we really do want.
Len n Jeanne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-26-2016, 12:00 AM   #20
Rivet Master
switz's Avatar

2014 31' Classic
2015 23' International
2013 25' FB International
Apache Junction , Arizona
Join Date: Sep 2012
Posts: 5,678
Images: 8
We will finish the last of all the possible modifications that will make the Airstreams the way we want them this May. We have probably spent too much, but as Paula said, they can function as the home of last resort in a financial melt down like in 2008 (all the signs are reappearing for a repeat performance).

If my wife were to pre-decease me, I would cheerfully sell the real estate homes and abide in the 31' Airstream full-time and follow the sun and heat. After all, it has all the comforts of home!
WBCCI Life Member 5123, AIR 70341, 4CU, WD9EMC

TV - 2012 Dodge 2500 4x4 Cummins HO, automatic, Centramatics, Kelderman level ride airbag suspension, bed shell

2014 31' Classic model 30 twin beds, 50 amp service, 900 watt solar system, Centramatics, Tuson TPMS, disc brakes, 16" tires & wheels
switz is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Justification for AS Playtime LawChick Off Topic Forum 7 03-22-2011 05:14 PM
Airstream makes cover of financial planning magazine pattimarty Airstream "In the News" 7 11-02-2010 06:22 PM
Financial questions: Nomad, 2nd Dollars & Cents 13 04-03-2010 10:17 AM
financial condition of airstream company StreamNTyme Our Community 58 05-14-2009 08:42 PM

Featured Campgrounds

Reviews provided by


This website is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Airstream, Inc. or any of its affiliates. Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 04:03 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.