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Old 02-23-2020, 10:37 AM   #1
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Athens , Ohio
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Airstream as a second remote office?

Hello,

I am working about half time in a location 2.5 hours from my home. I've been staying in a hotel, but it is a gamble if people are going to be loud and wake me up etc. I am wondering how it would be to purchase an airstream and live out of it on my business trips, especially if I could set it up as a VRBO and bill it back to my company at a lower rate than the hotel and break even. Of course, I would only VRBO it back to myself as I really don't want others in my space.



Is it even reasonable to think I could do this?

What questions should I ask my CPA?

What are the top 5 pros and cons of doing this in your opinion?


I already have an appropriate tow vehicle.


Thank you so much for your insights!
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Old 02-23-2020, 10:46 AM   #2
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Airstream as a second remote office?

A lot of people do it / have office space in their airstream. I office out of mine from time to time. You can convert the dinette area or other areas in the trailer for a dedicated workspace.

Your biggest challenge is access to cost effective high speed internet and residential shore power if you don’t want to drop mega bucks on a new lithium power system. If you are camped at a campground it’s hit or miss on reliable internet for someone who is working and 100% reliant on solid connectivity. But camping at a campground bites into your expense structure unless you do a long term lease.

Regarding mobile internet there are many ins and outs of getting connected to the right LTE wireless data plan with uncapped and non-throttled speed and uncapped data. I personally go through at least 20G per day minimum when I am working in the road. “Hot spot” from your phone or traditional “uncapped” data plans with throttling after X data usage simply do not cut it.

There is a grey market for the right plans based on carrier and the cost is about $250/month. Personally I’m one of the lucky ones grandfathered into an older plan no longer available.

www.rvmobileinternet.com is your friend.
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Old 02-24-2020, 08:58 AM   #3
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Why would you not?! :-) The clean sheets and knowing *exactly* what has taken place previously in your "room" were reason enough for me to stop using hotels and start dragging my house along. Electricity and data will be your only real obstacles, and those are pretty easy to overcome.
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:42 PM   #4
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I was thinking about buying either a small piece of land or a wooded lot and running utilities to it. This way, I wouldn't have to pay for storage or other fees, and I could run actual internet to it. I do have an office, so I wouldn't really be working out of it too much; rather a place to sleep. Perhaps a few trips a year with the family.



I feel like it would be less of a commitment than a house and potentially easier to sell than a house in case I decide to do something else.



I guess I need to do some more research and figure out all of the financials and time commitment. There is a pretty cool little town about 15 miles from my office. There are some small lots for sale in a residential area of older homes off of the main street, but I'm not sure where I would look as far as regulations on pretty much parking in town full time.


Not to be a snob, but I feel like living out of a campground would attract people, and at the end of the day I really don't want to deal with neighbors, the neighbors kids, or the neighbors dogs.



What are your thoughts on my statements above?



Thanks for all your advice!
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Old 02-24-2020, 05:52 PM   #5
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Depending how secluded the location is, security might be an issue (if people get wind of an easy target sitting empty). Is the work in Athens, or two and a half hours from there?
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Old 02-24-2020, 06:48 PM   #6
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Hello Bourbon.
I did this periodically for about 20 years since I found it to be so much more comfortable than staying in various hotels. It was also easier to take than being abused by the airlines. My range was from Alberta to Nova Scotia so my tow vehicle ended up having lots of miles on it. The Airstream would be used not only as my abode, but also, at times, my office. I stayed in campgrounds in cities where I had an office, or I boon docked near remote job site locations. It made being out of town fun rather than a chore. It was always better to be surrounded by my own stuff. The companies cost of my using the Airstream was neutral or less compared to traditional business travel expense. Time pressure did not allow me to only travel this way, but it sure was my preference. Jim
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Old 03-03-2020, 12:56 PM   #7
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I spend about 3-4 work days per month streaming. It gets easier over time, but is still more time consuming and frequently more exhausting for me since I don't stay in one place for prolonged periods. I think its worth it though, so am keeping it up, assembling routines in different regions making things more efficient. The challenges that come to mind:
-Security: Need safe camping areas, usually with security, because people see you leave in the morning and learn you are gone all day. Family cannot travel with me during the week, and cant leave the dog unsupervised in the TT. This usually rules out many of my favorite spots.
-Internet: Usually more secure campgrounds have better internet, but it is always slow. I have plans with AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile and can usually assemble connectivity between these, but it all costs valuable time in a work day while managing this.
-I usually only take the trailer to areas I cannot easily fly, since driving and towing is so much more time consuming. Typical examples include SLO, and Eureka, here in CA.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:07 PM   #8
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Another possible pro ...

... no flying and no hotel lobbies. Less exposure to the plague. Have to wash or own sheets, though.
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Old 03-03-2020, 01:55 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Belbein View Post
... no flying and no hotel lobbies. Less exposure to the plague. Have to wash or own sheets, though.

Might get "virus" from internet
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Old 03-03-2020, 05:27 PM   #10
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Old 06-03-2020, 09:33 AM   #11
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Thanks for the information everyone! COVID has really put a damper on things. I’m still interested in pursuing this, I just have to figure out how to make it work.
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:02 PM   #12
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wanted to ask a question about sewer. If buy land that does not have a sewer pipes, depending on the local zoning law, you might have to pay for the sewer line, or take AS to nearest dump station every time black/grey tank(s) are almost full.

Another thing.. is it that comfortable to sit on dining table seats? the Foam seat is not that comfortable after an hour of sitting on it. where will the computer be at? printer? if the dining are becomes an office, then where will you eat?

These popped up in my head while I was thinking... curious if you had plans for this?
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Old 06-03-2020, 12:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bourbon View Post
Thanks for the information everyone! COVID has really put a damper on things. I’m still interested in pursuing this, I just have to figure out how to make it work.
COVID has made this project a necessity!

I have recently built several "home offices" for people now living the work-from-home lifestyle. All three were "stationary" (permanently located in their back yards), but I'd love to build a mobile one!

My next personal Airstream will definitely have a "cold room" (a well-vented, probably A/C ducted, closet space with rack mount rails for computer equipment and peripherals as well as the rig's electrical system components).

There are certainly things that make Airstream work spaces more comfortable/usable than a factory set up (layout, seating, desk space, lighting, components, etc.), so going with a completely custom set up puts you miles ahead of just "using an Airstream for an office!"

...
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Old 09-07-2020, 02:36 PM   #14
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Me too

I've been trying to evaluate the same idea and my circumstances are almost the same as yours. Your idea of setting it up as a VRBO sounds like an easy way to show company expenses to the IRS (if they ever ask).

Data seems to be the issue. I'm hoping StarLink will address this in the next month or two.
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