Greetings Chris, and welcome to the world of Vintage Airstreaming!
You mention that you are planning extended travel in your Airstream as well as utilizing it for guest accommodations.
My name is Chris, and I am looking to buy a vintage Airstream, 22 feet or less, to use for extended travel and as an extra room when I am not on the road.
While it is possible to enjoy extended travel in a 22 foot coach, there is one issue that can become something of a nuisance in the smaller coaches. I have both a 26' and a 20' and for extended trips the 26' is my first choice because it has beds that can remain made-up at all times with a nice sofa in the living area. With the 20' trailer it is a chore to make and re-make the beds each day. While there are a few 22' coaches with the seperate bedroom area, they don't seem to be terribly common. The 24' is usually the smallest coach with the separate bedroom. Also another thing to consider with the smaller coaches is whether the bathroom accommodations will suit for extended travel. The smaller coaches will likely have a small shower or a "wet" bath.
I have lived in my 26' coach for up to six-months at a time, and it was quite pleasant. While I am looking forward to a 4-week trip in my 20' Minuet, having to spend so much time making up the bed is not going to be much fun. You might say, "why do you keep the 20' trailer?" - - the side benefit to the trailer is the fact that my vintage Cadillac Eldorado Convertible can safely pull it while it would be ill-advised to try pulling my 26' trailer with the Cadillac.
It has been my experience that the following are pluses for my 20' coach: Easy to tow (under 3,500 pounds loaded), seating for up to six in comfort (don't plan on sleeping more than 3 or 4, however), more maneuverable (the Minuet is both short and narrower than the rest of the coaches at 7' as opposed to 7' 8"), less expensive to license (but only by $16.00).
Advantages for the 26' coach include: exceptionally comfortable sleeping accommodations for two (center twin beds) with a passable double-bed via the convertible sofa, nicely proportioned rear bath with 3/4 tub, plentiful closet space with 3-wardrobes and one pantry, built-in space for television, larger refrigerator, larger range 4-burner vs. 3-burner in Minuet.
When looking at Vintage Airstreams, from about 1955
to 1975, the typical layouts for trailers from 24' to 31' were referred to as either center twin or center double depending upon whether twin or double beds were chosen by the original owner. The vast majority of these trailers will have the rear bathroom. The kitchen and living area are typically found in the front of the coach. The difference in size was realized somewhat proportionately with larger bathrooms and living areas. With the smaller trailers, there were a greater number of variations - - in the 60's and 70's two front lounges arranged in an "L" were fairly common as was a dinette with a lounge on the streetside wall. The best way that I know of to determine what size is best is to spend some time looking at coaches offered for sale - - spend some time inside the coach picturing yourself living there during an extended trip of 4 or more weeks.
Good luck in finding a coach that fulfills your dreams!