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Old 04-09-2008, 02:20 PM   #1
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2009 30' Classic
1983 34' Excella
Naples , Florida
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Posts: 31
Mom, Dad & four little girls in a ?

Hello airstreamers,

My husband & I have caught airstream fever! We originally thought that this would be our retirement dream, but after 4 rather expensive days at Disney, we decided that the airstream would be the most 'bang for our buck' - so to speak. With four children [Gabriella(almost 6), Madeline (almost 5), Chloe (almost 3) & Lily (age 1) & perhaps one more one day, we think that we need the biggest beast out there. That being said, I have started investigating and think that perhaps something like a large excella may be a good choice. I understand that we will probably have to place a couple of bunks to accommodate so many little ones & would like to do this all on a budget. Any suggestions on a lot of little girls and airstreaming?

Thank you,
Helen & Brian
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Old 04-09-2008, 02:33 PM   #2
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2003 22' International CCD
Kiln , Mississippi
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Hello and welcome. I'll let other post what they think you could use and what size trailer - but I have seen several with large families have a moderate sized camper and tents for the kids. I works for some.

The big issue is a big trailer = BIG TOW VEHICLE. So, a 25 foot may be a good compromise for you - besides - sleeping and rainy days are the only times all of you will be inside. With fuel prices going up and up - just having a large truck as a TV can be expensive.

BTW - Fort Wilderness at Disney is a great campground and has lots of perks for families with kids (or like us - without).

Enjoy your search.

Michael & Tina with Layla and Preston BZ
The family has grown.
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:05 PM   #3
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1963 26' Overlander
Austin , Texas
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There is a pretty active forum member called "PizzaChop" who has a very large family, and I believe he started off with an Overlander (27') when his family was still about your family's size. He has since moved up to a Sovereign (31'), but I'd think that the Overlander or even a TradeWind (24'/25') would work nicely for you.

In his Overlander, he added bunks above the twin beds that were amidships, and he also converted the front sofa-bed (gaucho) lounge area into a large dinette, which can convert into a pretty large bed as well.

If you'd like to see pictures of his work, his photo gallery can be found right here:

Good luck!
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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2004 22' International CCD
Spotsylvania , Virginia
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You might be able to get a BIG used one since gas prices are going up and people are thinking smaller trailers and tow vehicles. I've seen some 34 footers advertised here, in the Blue Beret and EBAY for very reasonable prices.

If you can afford the gas prices, a 3/4 ton diesel or even a 1 ton would get you around with a 34'. We'll be doing more "getting there and camping" instead of travelling these days.
2004 22' CCD
1997 F-150
AIR# 4749
ex WBCCI# 1430
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Old 04-09-2008, 03:11 PM   #5
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New Orleans , Louisiana
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I'd second the Pizzachop recommendation...especially since, in addition to being one of the best renovators out there, and a generous mentor to many of us 'chops', he is a true VINTAGE DUDE-it-yourself-er...

-keep in mind the big vintage rigs are much lighter than the new ones which greatly increases the range of tow vehicles you can consider...assuming you're handy with the power tools...

- I also recently had a rather pricey Disney week and know for sure the next time I'm there it'll be at Fort Wilderness in my silver toaster...
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:04 PM   #6
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If you want a newer unit, the Safari 25 six sleeper is available. IIRC, it has a double bed for you and hubby, a dinette for two kids, and either another double or two bunks (I can't remember which).
There is also the Safari 30' bunkhouse that may be able to accomodate your family.
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:50 PM   #7
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4 under age of 9 was tight in our 30' Classic... almost 2 years later, 5 in our 30' slide is comfortable... its amazing how much a little more lounge room makes... agree with above posts- tow vehicle becomes issue with heavy trailer and 6+ seating

before signing on the slide, we made a nuisance of ourselves at the a/s dealer... just hung around inside a 25 CCD... all 7 of us... after 15 minutes, our minds were made up...
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Old 04-09-2008, 06:13 PM   #8
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Hi and welcome, There are some many people here with vast experience, so I will limit my comments. 25 to 31 ft would be good.Someone here has double bunk beds,Ive seen pics of that and also I have seen some really nice screen rooms that attach to the trailer also and that would give U more room with cots maybe .
Go luck to U and the family Happy Camping
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:06 PM   #9
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Boerne, TX / , Evergreen, CO
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Go for 30' Bunk House. While larger may be a little more ideal for storage, the sleeping arrangement in a 30' Bunkhouse would good for what you are describing.
Chris and Christina- Boerne, TX / Evergreen, CO - TAC TX-7
2008 27'FB Int'l Signature CCD
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:09 PM   #10
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The 30ft Safari Bunkhouse is a good fit for a large family. They may be hard to find. My 31 Classic with Dinette (important) will sleep 2 adults and 4 moderately sized children.
Michelle TAC MT-0
Sarah, Snowball

Looking for a 1962 Flying Cloud

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Old 04-09-2008, 07:16 PM   #11
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There is one for sale in the forum classifieds. I almost bought this one myself but decided the 30' too large for our current needs.
Chris and Christina- Boerne, TX / Evergreen, CO - TAC TX-7
2008 27'FB Int'l Signature CCD
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Old 04-09-2008, 07:24 PM   #12
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Little Big Trailer

I had a 31 foot Soverign I used for several seasons with my 3 grandchildren and 2 dogs. I now have a 25' Tradewind. Don't really feel anymore cramped and still have plenty of storage. In my opinion the Tradewind has a better layout. Something to consider is not just the area but how it is designed. I don't think I would want to be in anything smaller. I have one removable bunk and am putting in a second. The 25' is Airstream's biggest little trailer and also the littlest big trailer. Tandem axles are a plus. The gas savings between the 2 coaches is measurable but not great. 1-2 mpg, every little bit helps.
Sail on silver girl. Sail on by. Your time has come to shine.
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Old 04-09-2008, 08:57 PM   #13
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2005 30' Safari
Houston Texas , Texas
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Another vote for the Bunkhouse..

We have 4 girls from 12 to 4, and have a bunkhouse (uhh only 4 months of warranty left). We sleep and travel VERY comfortably in it. We have room for a guest or two in a pinch.

The unit is light, and tows like a dream. We use a 2001 K2500 Suburban to pull it and have been from the Rockies to the Smokies to Florida.

If you find one they are usually resonable as they were not a very popular model. I bought ours new, but it had been on the lot like a year.
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Old 04-09-2008, 09:32 PM   #14
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GO Camping

I never had kids, and that's always been fine for me. But I will advise you to not agonize too much over the A/S, but just choose one and go camping! I'm always totally charmed at how close families can become when they camp together, especially when the parents enlist the kids as helpers. I recently watched two children work together to put down the stabilizer jacks for daddy, then gather pinecones as kindling for a fire.

Others have correctly said that there are many 34's and 31's for sale at bargain prices. One of those should work just fine. Remember kids are very adaptable and creative. Sleeping on a dinette can be an adventure. Drape a sheet from the overhead cabinet, and it's their private tent. And yes, they can and will go a week without TV or a computer if you just bring a few board games, and maybe a book on birds or bugs for them to identifyt he critters they see.

Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:07 PM   #15
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2009 30' Classic
1983 34' Excella
Naples , Florida
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Posts: 31
Thank you for all of theses ideas- It was exactly the imput that I needed. While the 30' bunkhouse is lovely -& I would have to work a bit too much to afford that. . .), I am certain we will be concentrating on the vintage variety of airstream. I just looked at an '83 excella today (Family RV in Ft. Myers, FL-very nice people) that seemed to be in good shape, yet it is the rear bathroom & I think the rear twins would be easier to outfit with 2 bunks. I will be towing with an escalade (all of our money goes there)w/ a towing capacity of 7,800 lbs & I think it will max out with a smaller airstream. Thank you for all of your assistance. This will be great fun! -Helen
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Old 04-11-2008, 07:32 PM   #16
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Rear bedroom has the added advantage of the kids not traipsing thgouh the bedroom to go potty.
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Old 04-11-2008, 11:21 PM   #17
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1962 22' Safari
Yreka , California
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Several suggestions here...

You might take a look at this thread, it has some good food for thought!

You should look at the rally calendar ~ as we are starting to arrive at rally time, see if there is an Airstream rally near you and go! Folks will be glad to meet you and most are happy to show you their Airstreams. It may give you a good idea of what others are doing and how they "cope"!

When looking at an Airstream to purchase, take everyone along. Sit in it for awhile and see how it feels. Imagine where you would have everyone sleep, play, etc.

You also need to consider where you will be camping. Are you mostly interested in RV parks, or out in the wilds and National Parks and such? Larger rigs have some trouble in some state and National Parks as some have length requirements.

Airstreaming with your family will be awesome. Remember, if the one you find eventually doesn't fit your changing needs ~ trade it in for another! Besides, many of us wind up with aluminum fever and find ourselves owning more than one. Yikes!

Mrs. NorCal Bambi traveling in S Tardis ~ from the Great State of Jefferson
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Old 04-12-2008, 09:26 AM   #18
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2005 30' Safari
2022 27' Globetrotter
River Forest , Illinois
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We started AS'ing when our children were very young like yours. At that age they can sleep almost anywhere that there is a pillow and a blanket. We started off with a used 1999 25 foot Safari with the front couch and the rear twins. The three children slept on the front couch, and the parents on the rear twins. The relatively low cost of entry with a used AS and the Suburban we had at the time allowed us to see if AS'ing was for us. The 25 footer also was a good training ground for towing and backing up. Not too big, not too small.

As the children grew, and we were sure that AS'ing was for us, we spent the money to get a larger TV and eventually the 30 Bunk House. It is the perfect setup with the bunks and dinette for children to sleep on, and the front bedroom with a queen for us.

One other comment. There are a lot of white boxes out there that will also get you into a trailer for a relatively low cost. However, they do depreciate a substantial amount over a short time. A used AS, say in the $20k range, will still be worth about $20k several years out if it is maintained.

2005 30 Bunkhouse
2012 Chevrolet Suburban 2500
Honda 2000
Air #99
WBCCI #8895 (Grandpa's number from the 1960's)
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