We just became members and we are looking for a new or late model classic 30 or 34. We decided on this model after visiting a dealer in Arkansas. We have never used a trailer or motor home. I am retired and my wife is retiring in Dec. Our black lab will be traveling with us. We thought that an Airstream would be a good way for us to travel. We already own a Ford F-350 truck to pull the trailer. We need advice on the following:
1. What is the best way to buy? Do you negotiate price with a dealer as you would buying a new car?
2. What options are must haves and which should we do with out?
3. Can and should we try to rent a trailer and try it out before buying?
4. Is there a used market? I have not been able to find any late model used trailers except a few through dealers.
5. Can you travel and use the trailers in the winter in below freezing conditions?
6. We live in Memphis. Is there anyone out there that is in our area that would be willing to spend some time with us to educate us on the use and care of the trailer?
7. What questions have I not asked that I should be asking?
Thanks in advance for any input.
Larry in Memphis
Check our classifieds - there are often late model trailers for sale. Also check craigs list and the classifieds on the airstream corp website. The Wbcci has a for section in their monthy publication as well as a website.
And ebay - be careful on ebay! But there are some good deals.
I have not bought any new trailers so can't advise you how to negotiate on them.
There are a lot of used ones on the market. A lot of web sites have them, those mentioned above, plus rvtrader.com, Iowa boys, others. Do a search on Google for "used Airstream for sale".
If you decided to go with a used trailer, do a search here for some of the remodel projects done by others. I'm not suggesting you'll have to remodel, just that this will help you identify problem areas to be aware of in looking for used trailers.
I personally paid a bit more for my '72, already refurbished and ready to go. You can soak a lot of money into doing a re-furb.
Good luck in your search!
Hello Larry -- Welcome to the Forums!
I just spent time posting some similar information at this thread.
You didn't say how long you've been reading here. It might take a month or more to develop some idea of the larger framework of issues. Then using the search function will help you explore further.
You would do well to avoid eBay like the plague. This post says it all: https://www.airforums.com/forums/279197-post3.html
Some browsing at the Classifieds here should give you some idea of what is available. More middle-aged units show up on Craigslist if you are patient. Also check out the VAC: https://www.airstream.net/classifieds/ I'd say late models through dealers will be high priced -- nothing like reinserting some depreciation! Units that would be more ready to use could be up to 10-15 years old. They all will need recurring maintenance just like a car and you'll never know if a major system needs to be looked into just around the corner. They're almost as complex as a house, except they have to hold up while bouncing down the road.
Winter & freezing -- many, many threads here -- especially with the advance of Fall. In general you don't want to be out in snow and ice. There is some protection for the plumbing down to the mid-teens if you always have LP and run the forced air furnace. I did this while underway on dry roads a couple weeks ago. It's the only thing that'll get you "down the road" sometimes. Quite a number of us try to avoid driving in the road salt months!
There is no Airstream rental to speak of -- that is an occasional question. Having some travel trailering under the belt would tell you if this is the recreation for you -- I'd think SOBs would be more rentable. (SOB = Square Ol' Box or Some Other Brand)
3. Should you try to rent a trailer? By all means yes if you have never camped in one or are not accustomed to the RV lifestyle. You probably will not be able to rent an Airstream but you will be able to find other RV units. Take it out for a trip and see how you like it.
4. There is a strong used market, many of those people bought their trailers before realizing they did not really like camping, see above answer.
5. Airstreams can be used in the winter time, we use ours in Wisconsin all year.
6. First you have this forum to read, read, read. Experience as many of the threads as possible and get a feel for what other owners are doing. Then there is the WBCCI, (Wally Byam Caravan Club International.) Believe it or not that is actually an Airstream only group. You have a unit in Tennessee and they might have winter luncheons you could attend and meet other Airstream owners. Then there are the rallies you could attend when the weather turns nice. The forum also has rallies, there will be one in Northern GA. this spring. Look at the forum rally calendar.
7. Any question you ask is a good one. There is a search feature on this forum which will allow you to put in a topic and get many threads on that given topic.
I hope I have shed some light on your questions. Good luck with your search.
We found our girl at RVTrader online. Just one more classified source.
Welcome, Larry. You have come to the rught place for Airstream info.
We are fairly new, but will share our experience with you.
1. We shopped used and found that late model units in great shape went for close to new. We bought a new 2005 in June, 2006. We were able to negociate 22 percent off of sticker because it was new old stock. We also found that there is a big difference between dealers on price. Call around. The '07's are out anf there are still a lot of '06's and a few new '05's on the lots. Check dealer inventory on www.airstream.com.
2. The options that I would look for is the built-in black tank flush system and the electric heat pump. We also have the audio/video system which is nice, but you can get more bang for your buck aftermarket. If you find the right unit at the right price, don't walk away because it has this option. Their system works well and we are very pleased with it. We have spent 67 nights in our Lucy, and like their system.
3. It is nearly impossible to rent an Airstream. You can rent a travel trailer to try out the RV scene. We looked into it and decided against it after hearing the cost; it is pretty pricey for what you get.
4. There is a used Airstream market. Try the classified here. Also go www.airstream.com, select the Airstreamer tab and look for classifieds in the lower right hand section of the screen. Also, check out ebay.
5. We have have already done some camping last month in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where it was dropping below freezing at night. We found the Airstream very comfortable and all the systems worked well. If you're talking about serious cold weather stuff like in North Dakota, I don't know.
6. We are not anywhere near Memphis, but if you are planning any travel to or through the Florida Panhandle, we would be glad to share our meager experience with you and show you the systems on Lucy.
7. You have an ample tow vehicle for any size Airstream. You might want to start researching the various hitch systems on the market. Towing a large and heavy trailer requires a load distributing/sway arresting hitch system. You don't want to pinch pennies here. This is a VERY IMPORTANT component of the Airstream experience. A poorly performinf hitch system is the primary cause of Airstreams becoming very expensive yard art.
Shopping new ...
I'm in Florida so I can't offer an opinion on any weather below about 75, but I can say something about shopping new ...
We bought a new 06 Safari SE in March. We took a long time to decide on the purchase, couldn't find any used units less than 5 years old that we were interested in and had no RV experience at all - never rented or owned before. We talked to our closest dealer off and on for two or three months, looked at a lot of units, looked at inventories of other dealers everywhere on-line before picking finding the one we bought. It's a slow process if you do your homework and try to do it right. We eventually negotiated about 15% or 18% off the sticker price - I don't remember exactly but there's a string here somewhere dated about April where a number of us discussed the negotiation/discount/pricing thing. I can't find it now but if you use "search" you might find several strings just about that. I was happy with the deal we got. After our first trip, after all that thinking and worrying and stressing, we thought "WHY DID WE WAIT SO LONG??" We've found that owning an AS is a special thing.
follow up ...
I meant to mention that the SE (Special Edition) package gets you the wrap around front window which is really nice and the black tank flush system. I like a lot of windows that will open up - some models have fewer than others. Also, we're happy with the tv/dvd/6 disc cd changer package in ours. Wish we'd gotten the convection/microwave instead of gas oven - there are other recent strings just on that one choice.
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