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Old 06-03-2015, 07:39 PM   #1
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FULL time Trailer or FULL time Motel?

Hotel: A public house offering lodging, food, etc. for travelers or long term guests.

Motel: Lodging place with accessible parking.

Airstream Trailer: Lodging place with variable accessible parking.

We have two Blue Heelers... dogs, which Hotels do not want. Motels charge extra to have them in your room sniffing the carpets. From my experiences of staying at a Motel... dogs take better care of the premises than the human clients.

Considering the limited number of days, weeks or months I use my Airstream, I could be bedding down upon, what I suppose, are clean sheets and pillow cases, watching HDTV, satellite service for LESS MONEY.

The first discussion between a man and wife is about the initial cost of a trailer that can induce... shock. The number of Cruises the money could buy. The Hotel with the view of the ocean. The... you get the picture. You already DID THIS ONCE and do not want to admit walking the gauntlet, without head protection.

The sticker price of a new Airstream could be the serial number of a popular vehicle, with a little room for negotiation. The price of a 15 year old Airstream is easier to comprehend owning, but there is much to learn about what was original equipment, if any of it works and does the trailer come with a warranty of any kind? Reading about a thirty year old Airstream with $75,000 worth of parts and labor invested back to... new, gets back into the initial... shock.

Once you begin to work the "raw" numbers... they do not ADD UP. You justify the numbers not ADDING UP by possible, creative financial advantages of owning an Airstream, or for that matter, a RV or any other brand of a... "MOTEL on WHEELS". YOU ARE BUYING a motel, friends. We are all owners of a branded motel. It is a mutual business arrangement between a man and woman considering lost alternatives, depreciation and future resale possibilities of your mobile motel. Your Airstream.

Even if that discussion does not work, there is a "residual value" of your new, one year old or twenty year old trailer... "selling it to another couple that have already been through the shock cycle of considering being an Airstream proprietor, of sorts". It is not a cost, but an... opportunity to be a business owner, but in a depreciative lost value without risk of losing everything. You will always be the sole or joint proprietors of a motel.

This Thread falls perfectly into the Full Timing, Winter and whatever uses that may include other plausible explanations of your reasons to purchase a motel that can be relocated for a minimal cost.

I admit it. Owning an Airstream Motel is expensive and contradicts mine and my wife's frugal existences. Counterintuitive investment at best. An aluminum enveloped riveted container, tight living conditions, limited power options and low head clearances at a premium cost per square foot of interior living space.

How we eventually sat down, negotiated a palatable price and left with a clear conscience that this Airstream purchase was in our best interests, a reasonable financial investment was forgotten within the first week admiring our nice... Pet Motel.

... our two Blue Heelers broke the tie by voting along with me to purchase this arrangement and logic of a Pet Motel as an investment opportunity of deferred kennel expenses with the savings diverted into a comfortable Aluminum Pet Porter with short term guests. Us.

My wife eventually came around to liking our first Airstream, so much, that eventually we moved into a larger Airstream Pet Motel, are currently the proprietors and brought in the two Blue Heelers as business partners and financial advisors.

... what is your logical or illogical thought process for that Airstream?
Human Bean
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:48 PM   #2
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You are very funny!

Buying homes can be argued as a poor investment, as well. Once one gets by the thought that a travel trailer is an investment (which to me means something that appreciates in value), or is "like camping in a tent", or "fill in the blank" one can get on with enjoying the adventures that happen while traveling! Somehow staying in a motel does not sound like the type of adventure I enjoy whereas traveling with an Airstream to beautiful places that don't have accommodations does!
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Old 06-03-2015, 07:52 PM   #3
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Please direct your attention to the following document, that I discovered as part of my "due diligence" when I first considered buying an RV:
Based on this report, a typical hotel/motel vacation, driving your own car, is about 50% more expensive than the typical travel trailer vacation for the same amount of time— even figuring in amortized RV ownership costs.
I thought getting old would take longer!
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Old 06-03-2015, 10:16 PM   #4
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You left out one extremely important factor in making the decision. There are no hotels/motels anywhere near where I want to be. And if there were, I would not want to be there!
A 3 to 5 hour drive each way to the nearest lodging from my chosen location..............???
Nuff said. And my accomodations always allow wet dogs and dead fish.

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Old 06-03-2015, 10:38 PM   #5
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Wet dogs, dead fish, and a dry martini.

The perfect ending for a beautiful day.
2012 27' Flying Cloud FB (Bella)
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:30 AM   #6
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After the careful and fortunate lives many here have lived and are living, can't we just have fun?... After the chores, perhaps?

For some Reason I do not miss my motorcycle days, sleeping on roadside picnic tables when clear and rainy and cold. Nor the "road food we endured having quite a festive recipe list for cooking using the heat of my V-Twin covering a couple hundred miles... Not always good, but when you are hungry......

Now, pet charges of $200 for one night in a $150 room, sealed the deal.... We had to change our method, or give up traveling, especially with pets.
Peace and Blessings..
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Old 06-04-2015, 04:55 AM   #7
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Ray, I haven't always agreed with you.

But most times, I have enjoyed, and or admired your writings, and your talents. Thank you for sharing your gift.

However, I find myself cursing you for making me have to rush to try to make it to work on time. Ha Ha. My fault for opening the forum in the mornings you have posted.

This topic doesn't apply to me. It was never an " Airstream or Motel " issue with me. Airstreams are not my hobby. I purchased my trailer to have a warm shower and warm place to sleep at Bluegrass festivals.

It's an added bonus that I have a very cool road trip rig.

Right now I am using it as a shower while mine is down.

Darn it…I am going to be late for work
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:25 AM   #8
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After 45+ years of corporate travel every week the decision was an easy one for me and my wife knowing the benefits of AS life was 100% on board. Some take lots of time and try to financially justify buying an RV. We did not, we talked, we decided that we could afford whatever we wanted and bought it. Like CWF I don't miss my biker days, every weekend riding and camping, waking up wet from dew etc. I think even if we could not outright buy it, we would have figured a way to make it happen. Our dog(s) are part of our life and MUST go with us. Financially it probably does not make a lot of sense to many people, but so be it - we have it and love it.

See you on the road.
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Old 06-04-2015, 05:32 AM   #9
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There are many factors for us when we consider owning an Airstream and traveling in our home on wheels - some factors are very logical and some very illogical. One that comes to mind...

I don't feel like I have to put on slippers (to remain "clean") when I get out of bed to walk to the bathroom at night.
Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic / 2010 Interstate
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
2018 GMC Sierra K1500 SLT, 6.2L, Max Trailering
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:05 AM   #10
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Although we have rvd for years, the main reason we quit moteling was not only the fee for dogs but the fact that we were always put into a smoking room. Pay extra for dogs and suffer from smoke smell. Many times the rooms were filthy, we checked non smoking rooms to prove this. I assume some pet owners are irresponsible, but if the room is cleaned each time the additional fee would be easier to handle. From our experience the pet rooms and smoking rooms seem to be not cleaned as well as others or maybe they are. Now that's scary. Appearances can be decieving. Jim
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Old 06-04-2015, 06:10 AM   #11
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We are on our second AS. There was no decision process other than "which one" when we bought it. When we got the first one it was because my wife's family all decided to invite themselves to visit our house at the same time. We have some property but a small house. First my wife wanted to rent an RV for a week and keep it in the driveway for people to stay in. Once she found there were none available she wanted to purchase one. I said that if we were going to do that I wanted the cool silver ones I remember seeing on the highway when I was a kid. We also figured we could go on vacations and take our dogs with us. A couple weeks later we found our first AS advertised on Ebay. I realized it was a local listing and drove over to take a look. The rest is history, we love traveling with the dogs and being able to have our own bedding, bath, etc. when we travel.

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Old 06-04-2015, 09:33 AM   #12
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Airstreams are Five Star Motels...

It is of interest to many other potential and current owners of an Airstream to understand how varied we are in time of use and where we find ourselves when we are on the road. Please keep your reasons coming. It will help someone, somewhere make a decision if a trailer is to be part of their immediate future.

Our Rockdocking adventures have expanded from tent to trailer to lengthen the time we could spend at remote locations, without leaving a remote campsite that required some difficulties to set camp. A trailer was not necessary, but for convenience and comfort it was the logical choice of the options we had... tent accessibility or trailer comforts. There is a compromise, but well worth the cost.

We do not need our trailer to attend various Airstream Rallies, although for the majority this is important. I would be just as uncomfortable at a Rally as many of these individuals would be camped on the rim of a canyon off the grid.

Our trailer extended the range of possibilities that a tent and living out of the back of our pickup could no longer provide. It is a rare event to encounter another camper in a tent or trailer where we find ourselves. We are not trailer tourists to visit all of the National Parks and Historical Sites in our mobile motel. Our interests are much more modest and if within range of a National Park of interest, we will take advantage of the opportunity. I am a geologist and many National Parks exhibit a geological or geographical feature that I can find at my choosing and greater access to study them close up on my own.

Alden Miller represents the Airstream spirit. Have a need... solve it. Others might find his and his wife's discovering that their trailer fulfilled a variety of options and opportunities.

My wife and I are outdoor people. Our Airstream provides home comforts located within the most desolate and the most beautiful environments that a road can take us. We avoid the crowded conditions of commercial campsites when possible, although not always avoidable.

I have began to ease up a bit in disclosing favorite campsites and invite others to participate in the travels we find routine, but not routine to others. Just taking those first steps towards becoming independent from group camping is difficult, when not within your range of experiences. Most would rather not and I cannot blame them for choosing what they are best suited.

How did you discover the flexibility of trailer travel? Did you find your first trailer was too small and the next was larger? Were your original purposes for a trailer fulfilled? Who was the first to bring up the idea of a... trailer?

Although I indicated myself and two Blue Heelers were the driving force for our trailer purpose, it was a bit of humor of literary license. My wife and I decided at the first discussion of dropping the tent camping to trailer travel at the same time. You will KNOW immediately when the time is right. Never design your dreams to what others are doing, but create your own. Begin modestly and build upon those ideas over time. Getting older is not a limiting factor to your options. Being older is what has created these options. Maybe we will see you become proactive and share a comfortable breeze under a star studded black sky at a place where the road ends and the adventure begins. Even if it is your driveway.
Human Bean
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Old 06-04-2015, 10:06 AM   #13
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Ray; I'm impressed! You must have had an extra double latte this morning to get this going.

As with others, we were tent camping and one day decided to look at a slightly used pop-up camper being sold by an oil company employee who was being transferred to the Middle East.

It was all set up in his driveway and others were looking at it at the same time. Very clean and a great price.

After looking at it, my wife and I got in the car, and I said that if we are going to go to take the step of pulling something around, I want it to effectively replace a motel room. To me, this meant that it had to have a shower.

And of course, there was the issue of the two dogs.

This led us to purchase a Casita for $10K. We used it for 10 years and sold it for $6,500. Not too bad in my opinion.

We then entered the Airstream lifestyle.

We use it for adventure camping, but also for travel. Having been in the hotel business for 35+ years, I am well familiar with the intimate details. Let's just say that I enjoy having our own space with a bathroom, bed, pillows, etc. that I don't share with strangers.

So it is the intangibles that influence the price/value relationship of owning a trailer.
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Old 06-04-2015, 11:54 AM   #14
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Totally agree with you all!

My husband & I are fairly new to the Airstream lifestyle and have loved our newbie year since purchasing a 16' Bambi AS! We soon realized we wanted more space and upgraded to a 25' FC TwinFB we named Lucy, and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it! Kona, our chocolate lab even has his own space between the twin beds on his dog bed.

I couldn't agree more with our AS being a 5-star hotel...I even went so far as comparing our Lucy to towing our own Stylish Loft in a blog post I wrote here Empty Airstreamesters: From Compact & Cute to Big & Beautiful

Our youngest daughter graduated from high school last year and soon after, I convinced my husband to look at Airstreams. We drove to Bay Area Airstream and we haven't looked back! Even though we're only weekend warriors for now, taking local trips 2-3x/month, our plan is to Airstream more full-time once we retire, hopefully in about 7 years.

We know that we put a lot of cash out for our lovely Lucy, but we look at her as our vacation home...our stylish loft where our view can change whenever we want it to!
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Old 06-04-2015, 12:54 PM   #15
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Mr. Ray
I think peoples' reasons for an AS purchase are almost as varied as our looks. But once the decision is made to buy a travel trailer...the budget comes in. I would bet that EVERYONE would opt for an AS if they could. We on this forum are all just blessed/fortunate that we managed somehow.
As an aside, I took "Daisy" to the Madison River to fish for several days this weekend, and would raise my hand in greeting when seeing other RVs go by...on my 600M roundtrip maybe 2-3 people waved back. Shame.
OK...keep your musings coming. Safe travels. jon
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:30 PM   #16
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A number of friends and relatives have suggested that it is NOT economical to travel with any RV. I casually ask when and where was their last vacation of 7 MONTHS?
Of course none have.
Second, when on those 7-8 month vacations we sleep in our own bed every night.

That pretty much ends the discussion.

Charles C Culotta, Jr.
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:45 PM   #17
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Boomerang. Had you held up a rubber 20 inch trout... they may have noticed you.

I find so many used, well maintained Airstreams listed on Craigslist you would think everyone would own one. We tried to find a later model 25 footer in our area and none existed. Most were larger than 25 feet which is much too large for us.

When we are in the back country, I do not care if someone has a tent, pop up, SOB than an Airstream, Class A Bus... as long as they are good company. Knowing how to operate a Chainsaw is a plus.

Steamy1 mentioned Casitas. They are selling a lot of those! There is another, barely large enough to sleep in that has a back trunk with cooking and kitchen appliances that seem to show up.

Since this is an Airstream Forum, the majority have an interest in them. My neighbors have a popup trailer they travel with and were talking about getting a Montana. If it is that huge two story model... what a difference. A Casita would be a big jump for size and comfort.

We will have our "A Motel" parked at a special spot near Quemado, New Mexico July 13th. Anyone who can hike, drive or drop in from the sky is welcome to come. It is the spirit of those who get out onto a road, have a reliable road map and are open to where they end up. If it is a Walmart parking lot, a Casino RV Park or an open spot under some 150 year old pine... it is part of the freedom we have to travel this large country.

You sure cannot do that in the Netherlands or Belgium where my relatives live. Well... they probably do not have a Walmart. You cannot get free refills of Coke either...
Human Bean
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Old 06-04-2015, 01:51 PM   #18
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We haven't had the opportunity yet to get on the road. Retirement is looming. The Hubster and I have weighed the differences of going on trips like cruises and island hopping, to rv travel.
We chose the later, because quite frankly, we don't want to leave our country. Too many variables to think of with the way of the world now.
We have a great country we haven't had the chance to see yet, we can go when and where we want.....Freedom ��
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:06 PM   #19
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Our dogs are a great part of WHY we travel in an Airstream They are always at home.I recall one of the last hotels we stayed in before purchasing Arlene. The tub was so nasty I didn't even want to bathe my dog! I love being able to pull off at a rest stop and use MY toilet! Sometimes,it's just not about what we spend,but about what we get.
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Old 06-04-2015, 02:55 PM   #20
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Our participation in living history events (French & Indian War, Revolutionary War, and 18th Century Market Fairs) and a Maine Coon cat guided us to an Airstream Basecamp. Because we had to haul period tents/poles, my husband's reproduction 18th C. furniture/furnishings, etc. to take to these historical reenactments, we needed a cargo trailer. Because we didn't want to get a pet sitter or board our "dog-like" Maine Coon cat, we needed something we could stay in at night and that "Casco" could stay in all the time (meaning air-conditioned and with sleeping arrangements). The Basecamp fit the bill on both counts. We do stay in campgrounds, so that we have electricity to run the air conditioner or heater (whatever the case may be). We also use campground showers, but are very picky about the this is not a problem. (The Basecamp does not have a shower/bathroom.) Our medium-size SUV (Land Rover LR4) gets moderately good gas mileage (unlike a large SUV) and pulls the lightweight Basecamp easily. It just works perfectly for what we do. As the Basecamp was only made for 2 years (2007-2009), I have read that it has actually gone up in value. We have never seen another one on the road, since 2007, when we purchased ours.
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