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Old 03-05-2015, 11:35 PM   #1
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Hi, I'm Wendy W. and I need advice!

Last September I realized the rest of my life was calling, and it would not be stationary. The decision to buy an RV was easy when seeing the wild parts of the country became far more important than clinging to my stuff, which had become an anchor, and having a home base. I can't afford to pay rent AND travel, so full timing it will be. My lease is up in August so I still have several months to find my chariot.

At first I wanted a used (always used) travel trailer, 16-20' feet, but my 4-cyl. Kia Sportage is a wimp. The more I thought about having an unfamiliar TV towing an unfamiliar TT, I began considering Argosys or anything else under 26 feet. I thought a Moho would be easier and cheaper than a two-vehicle combo. Now I don't know what to do. Cash is limited, but I'm trying for an Airstream to be safe.

I'm retired, single, fearless and excited beyond belief. I would love help sorting out which mode of travel would be better, and I would particularly like to hear from solo women who can relate.
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Old 03-06-2015, 12:11 AM   #2
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Hi Wendy

You will find lots of info here about technical aspects of fulltimg. But for logistical stuff and to get an idea of the lifestyle, I would suggest Youtube. Bare in mine that you might get a somewhat more rosy picture of what it's like, than what it's like in reality. Make sure you have a realistic budget. Fifteen years ago, a very skillful fulltiming expert was spending about $20K annually. You could maybe do it cheaper if you didn't move around a lot.

But what you asked about

Motorhomes limit your ability to explore, unless you tow a small car
Used motorhomes may cost more to fix up and maintain than a used trailer.
If you get a used Airstream trailer at a low price, it could cost up to $20 K to fix it up.

Price out a few brands of trailers and motorhomes, new and used. Airstreams may not fit your budget.
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:32 AM   #3
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Thanks, Mandolindave. I do have enough money saved to either fix up an older or buy a newer RV, and while the vast majority of Airstreams are too long or too expensive, I actually can afford the purchase. After that I'll be on a fixed income that I could work to supplement. Am I wrong in thinking that AS holds its value better than most?
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:02 AM   #4
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Look for a gently used 90ish trailer. And trade the Kia.

Reach out to Foiled Again. She is a veteran solo full timer.
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Old 03-06-2015, 03:03 AM   #5
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Aluminum vs fiberglass

While it's true that Airstreams hold their value more than some trailers, there are tons of discussions around build quality and improvement or lack of improvement over time.

Owning a 2005 Bambi 19', I would probably buy an Oliver(1st choice) or a Casita if I were doing it over again. The Oliver build quality is amazing and the ground clearance is so much better if you need to go anywhere that might be less than smooth.
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Old 03-06-2015, 05:13 AM   #6
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Joelbert makes a good point. Check out FiberglassRV.com and ask questions there as well. Good luck. You can do it.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:00 AM   #7
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Am I wrong in thinking that AS holds its value better than most?
You will pay more now to get one but will get more when you sell.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:12 AM   #8
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Hi, I'm Wendy W. and I need advice!

I would buy an OLIVER or an ESCAPE before I would by an A$. Then put the difference I paid in the bank.
Most talk about resale value. It sounds like you are planning the finite years of your life. To be blunt. Why would you care what the resale value is when your gone?
Besides that, it's a lot quicker to go the the bank and get the money you saved on the purchase than it is to sell the coach. You don't have to dicker with the bank to get your money.
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.

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Old 03-06-2015, 08:28 AM   #9
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Wendy, if you are solo and a first time RV I wouldn't buy an older trailer that may need repairs and renovations. Since you are solo I would second the suggestion for an Oliver or Escape but also consider a new Casita. The Oliver is a $45k to $50k trailer, the Escape (made in Canada) is a $18 to $25k and the Casita (made in Texas) is about $20k. The Casita is the smallest. Another solution is another Canadian trailer, Bigfoot. They offer sizes up to 25' but they are in the same price range as the Oliver. The advantage of the Oliver and Bigfoot are they are full season trailers with insulation and double pane windows. They will require a different tow vehicle. The Casita being only 17' and 3500lbs requires a less capable tow vehicle.

Any of these trailers have good resale value and sell quickly when the time comes to hang up the keys.

Kelvin
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:44 AM   #10
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I dont think I've ever seen so many Airstreamers try to talk someone out of an Airstream. I say buy one that is new enough that it does'nt need a lot of work, and get a good tow vehichle. Price is always an issue, but my experience having owned other brands, is Airstreams have less major maintanance. If you have to save another year it is worth it. Just my opinion.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:49 AM   #11
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After having just finished up three months of camp hosting, I can say I saw quite a few Casitas and they appeared quite nice. I'm not familiar with the other smaller trailers but I will recommend you try to get a small trailer rather than an RV. One of the best ways to get by is to find jobs at campgrounds - it paid our rent. But being able to detach is a lot better when you have to go grocery shopping or take time to explore. I would see people have to detach their umbilical cords each time they would venture outside of their spot. So I would pay up front and go for the flexibility.
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Old 03-06-2015, 08:57 AM   #12
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Want to full time or need to, by yourself - 25' AS is what I would go with. Get a new TV find a nice used 25' and go for it. It will last, it will retain value and when you are done you can get some money out of it.

Motorhome is not cheaper, not easier and if you want to tour you need another mode of transportation ie towing a car. SOME people do not tow and rent a car when they need one, enterprise delivers and picks up and I've seen them in some campgrounds. But, we have had a MoHo, went back to AS for a number of reasons.
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:02 AM   #13
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Here is a blog of a full time Casita owner. She is a young woman who workkamps.

www.interstellarorchard.com/

Here is a blog of a young working full time Airstream couple.

www.watsonswander.com

Kelvin
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:07 AM   #14
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Casita talk and no one has mentioned RV Sue. Retired single woman in a Casita living cheaply. rvsue and her canine crew | Living on less and enjoying life more
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:34 AM   #15
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how come no one saying casita, owns one?
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Old 03-06-2015, 09:43 AM   #16
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Buy a newer model used 19' or 20' Airstream...plenty of space for one traveler...go find an Airstream dealer and get a feel for the layout of each...then buy a TV that will comfortably handle the load...don't buy a TV that is marginally capable of towing the trailer...we purchased a lightly used 3 year old unit and have had very few issues to resolve...
good luck with your decision and happy trails
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:14 AM   #17
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Wow, so helpful and so much to look into! In random order, I want to respond to a few comments. I forgot to mention that since I'm going to fulltime, I want a dedicated shower. That seems to be a huge hurdle with anything under 20 to 22 feet. How do you who don't have a separate shower manage? Straddle the toilet? Next, I may not be lucky enough to drop dead while contemplating a sunset. I want the best resale value in case I wear out an essential organ and need to buy a tiny house near family or medical. Next -- OLIVER! I've been lusting for one since October. There are few used ones, though, and isn't the rule of thumb that 50% of a new whatever is lost immediately? Plus other excellent reasons to buy used. Next -- the consensus, including RVSue, seems to be that it really is a big deal to have to pack up to make a run into town, etc. I hear that loud and clear, now. The pace I intend to follow is slow, contemplative, peaceful but with an occasional party. So breaking camp to dash off somewhere isn't attractive.

I'm grateful and relieved to have your input! More is always welcome. Your experience is my teacher. Thank you.
Wendy
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Old 03-06-2015, 11:33 AM   #18
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If a wet bath is a deal breaker then Oliver, Escape and Casita are out. The toilets are out of the way and the shower curtains prevent water getting onto the toilet seat. I prefer a dry bath. That leaves Bigfoot for a fiberglass trailer and the AS floor plans except the Bambi 16.

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Old 03-06-2015, 01:04 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WendyW. View Post
Last September I realized the rest of my life was calling, and it would not be stationary. The decision to buy an RV was easy when seeing the wild parts of the country became far more important than clinging to my stuff, which had become an anchor, and having a home base. I can't afford to pay rent AND travel, so full timing it will be. My lease is up in August so I still have several months to find my chariot.

At first I wanted a used (always used) travel trailer, 16-20' feet, but my 4-cyl. Kia Sportage is a wimp. The more I thought about having an unfamiliar TV towing an unfamiliar TT, I began considering Argosys or anything else under 26 feet. I thought a Moho would be easier and cheaper than a two-vehicle combo. Now I don't know what to do. Cash is limited, but I'm trying for an Airstream to be safe.

I'm retired, single, fearless and excited beyond belief. I would love help sorting out which mode of travel would be better, and I would particularly like to hear from solo women who can relate.
Wendy, I've been fulltiming for 8 or 9 years. And it's not really too difficult for a single woman - many times it is easier since there's always some big stong man wanting to do half of the hard stuff for you. Of course you've got to be able to do it all just in case one isn't around.

You are right about the Kia - it's not going to tow anything but a teardrop. I'm going to advocate an RRC: "ruthless reality check" first. Fulltiming can be fulfilling or a disaster - most of that will be defined by facing the realities squarely. When I started I asked myself if I could afford to spend $50,000 for a vehicle and trailer - and lose most of it IF I decided six month's later that I'd made a huge mistake. The answer for me was "YES" - That kind of money isn't chump change to me, but I could lose it all and not have to live in a garage and eat cat food and die too soon.

You say "money is tight" ... which right off the bat probably means that an Airstream or Argosy is unlikely to be a great idea. Why? New ones are very expensive, used ones can be fixed up, but that can be a process which is neither simple nor inexpensive.... And a first time buyer is likely to make a mistake or outright be swindled. You need to read several threads right here about "the full monte" so you get a real appreciation about the costs and timelines to do a big repair/renovation on a vintage trailer (Argosy or Airstream). You're not going to find a great one for $10K that's ready to roll, unless it comes down to you through your family - and you've got a very nice family. Doing the repair work yourself - a lot of women DO, and there is nothing you can't learn, but if you don't already have the tools and the skills there's a real cost of LEARNING those skills - not excluding the doing it two or three times to get it half way right.

A lot of SOB's (some other brands/square old boxes) are pure crap too and even 5 years old are rolling wrecks. There are only a few RV's that are four season homes - and my Eddie Bauer Airstream (2012) is marginal in a Virginia coastal winter. Of course you could be a "snowbird" and head for Arizona, New Mexico or Texas during the winter.

So... what would I do in your circumstances? Google "Scamp RV Factory" - it's in Minnesota. (Casita is another "egg" trailer - probably more popular - but they're located in Texas and in Minnesnowda you can go take tour of the factory!) The most important thing about Casitas and Scamps is that they depreciate about $500 per year - almost nothing. And when one goes up for sale it does not hang around long. I saw a very old raggedy one go in 36 hours recently. The Oliver is a much better trailer - for over double the price... do you have an Motel 8 budget or a Hilton budget?

Why buy new? Why spend $1000 less for a 2-3 year old one - and why not get the layout you want. And why hunt for months and months and months to try to find a used one? New is simple with a Casita or a Scamp. There's a green one made in Canada too, but the name escapes me.

OK - I've read some of the comments that have been posted. You want a dedicated shower? You've got enough hot water for a 5 minute shower max - In a tiny trailer 4 to 6 square feet of space doesn't get wasted on a room you use for 5 minutes daily. The idea may seem icky - because you simply haven't seen a wet bath yet. It's not a big deal, and they're super easy to keep sparkling clean. Squeegee and a fake Chamois pushed around the floor with your foot - voila. Even males with "targeting deficiencies" who hit the outside as often as the inside? OH thank goodness for a shower sprayer and a floor drain! Your hands need never come within 3 feet of the offending mess!

You can pull an "egg trailer" with a used half ton truck of your choice, or a mini-van, which you could get used, and which gives you some additional storage for you off season clothing and some tools.

Google "Scrambled Egg RVs" - they may actually beat Airstreamers as a cult or niche, or whatever. (Airstreamers can echo Bender and say "Kiss my shiney metal hiney" but really?) My sister wants to get a Casita and cover it in aluminum foil so she can sneak into a few Airstream rallies. Forum ralliers would find it funny, WBCCI... well many of them would immediately require a "stick-ectomy".

Paula
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Old 03-06-2015, 01:04 PM   #20
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Our 20' AS has a dedicated shower...and a shower door/curtain...the shower door is a bi-fold (very heavy plastic) door...I believe the 19' also has a dedicated shower...the difference in the 19' and 20' baths is with the 19' model the bath sink is outside the bath...the 16'/17' AS do have "wet baths"...the 22' A/S Sport is 6" narrower than the 19' or 20' but the bath extends across the entire rear section. For us the full bath and extra kitchen space (rear kitchen) was what sealed the deal.
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