Airstream vs. other “RV” brands and and styles
When we first decided we wanted to travel around the country in an “RV” we had no idea what type of house with wheels we should choose. We started researching online – everything from fifth wheels, to motorhomes, to trailers. There were pros and cons to all these options.
For a couple weeks we were CERTAIN we wanted a huge fifth wheel – maximum space, supposedly easier to tow than a trailer, and the most like a traditional home for the road.
We did lots of research online and then went to the Tacoma RV show to see them in person. We walked through the ginormous, elaborate fifth wheels. Kitchen islands, bunk rooms for the kids, slide outs on every side, gas fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, pantries bigger than the one we had at home – lots of features and extras – a very livable space on wheels.
But we didn’t LOVE any of them.
And we just couldn’t get over the size – towering heights and up to 43 feet long. Sure there was MORE space – but the interior design was intended for a whole other generation (ahem, grandma?), the construction felt less than sturdy and the idea of hauling such a big HOME down the freeway was intimidating.
Then I saw my first Airstream online.
It was love at first sight. Sleek, clean interiors. Classic, shiny exterior. Well built. American-made in Jackson, Ohio. Our living space would be substantially smaller than a fifth wheel – but I loved every inch of it. I just knew we had to have one.
We kicked the fifth wheel idea to the curb and jumped into the Airstream online world for research. Forums, Facebook groups, websites – we found a huge, supportive community of Airstream lovers. We felt right at home.
We visited the Seattle Airstream dealer – Airstream Adventures NW – and we LOVED the Airstream trailers even more after seeing them in person.
So we started the search for the right Airstream for us – there are a lot to choose from! You can save a LOT of money by purchasing an old, vintage Airstream and remodeling it to fit your needs. I loved this concept – but knew that it wouldn’t work for us. We aren’t handy or patient people – and our timeline was tight – we wanted to get on the road within 6 months.
The next obvious option was a newer USED Airstream that didn’t require much updating. We discovered USED (newer) Airstream trailers were only about $10-15K less than brand new trailers. Vintage Airstream trailers, if fixed up, were also still going for shiny penny. Airstreams are great at retaining their value, unlike other brands.
floor plan graphic courtesy of Airstream.com
We knew we wanted separate, permanent sleeping solutions – I didn’t want to turn my dining room table into a bed every night. I knew if I was going to make 200 square feet work – I would need my own permanent space and so would my kids. In terms of Airstreams – the perfect fit would be the Airstream 30-ft Flying Cloud bunk model – kids have their own sleeping space and we would, too.
We quickly found that the Flying Cloud bunk model isn’t that prevalent – most people who buy Airstreams are of an older demographic and aren’t toting around two adorable kids. In the two months we watched the market – we found ONE used Airstream bunk model – and it was priced only $10K less than a brand new one – with upgrades and a full two-year warranty. So we bit the (silver) bullet and purchased a new Airstream 30-ft Flying Cloud bunk model.
We purchased our Flying Cloud bunk through Airstream Adventures NW – our sales guy, Michael – was amazing. The entire team was phenomenal. I think, honestly, it’s some of the best customer service we’ve ever had in the retail world.
Although more expensive than traditional RV brands – we found the aesthetics, durability, value retention, community and customer service were worth it us. If I’m only going to have 200 square feet to call home – I want to love every inch. And I do love every inch of our shiny, tiny Airstream!