What to Know Before Trading in Your House for an Airstream

With shows like HGTV’s Tiny House, the idea of living small in order to pursue big dreams has spread like wildfire. While many pursue tiny living in a traditionally constructed but scaled down home, many want to take their tiny home with them as they explore the country. These individuals put their tiny houses on wheels, either constructing an actual house on a flatbed trailer, or moving their lives into the confines of an RV or towable, like an Airstream. For many of us, the modest square footage of an Airstream trailer is all we need to live, but there are some things you should be aware of before completely abandoning a traditional house to live full time in an Airstream:

Finding the Perfect Trailer Can Take Patience

We recently spoke with one of the biggest Texas dealers, who indicated that it can take several months to deliver a custom order for a new trailer because of the recent resurgence in Airstream popularity. Additionally, used trailers sold by their owners may come with a whole slew of titling issues, as this couple discovered. As you start your search, try to locate a reputable dealer with plenty of new and used inventory. You’ll be able to find your ideal trailer faster and dealers can help you through the financing and titling process even with used models.

When shopping for an Airstream, try to find a dealer with a wide variety of inventory, like Airstream DFW.

When shopping for an Airstream, try to find a dealer with a wide variety of inventory, like Airstream DFW.

Be Okay with Less

This seems to go without saying, but many romanticize the tiny home life without practically thinking through the sacrifices it requires. The average American home is now almost 2600 square feet, while even the roomiest Airstream models offer less than a tenth of this square footage. If you can’t do without things like 3 extra, unused bedrooms or a full-sized 10-foot Christmas tree, Airstream living probably isn’t for you. If a life free of clutter and freedom to roam sound more enticing than closets full of stuff, you’re well on your way to a happy Airstream life.

Prepare to Be Organized and Clean

Though you have less square footage than a normal, there are still some essentials that you’ll need to live. Living in such a small space without losing your sanity requires a commitment to staying clean and organized. We love these organization tips from Airstream, that include ideas like utilizing clear plastic tubs and mounting kitchen utensils on the walls to maximize your storage space. You may want to invest

People are Going to Judge

While plenty of people will applaud your idea of downsizing to an Airstream, there will undoubtedly be plenty who judge or discourage you from pursuing the Airstream dream. Be ready for the criticism with a smile, remembering that some people are just too attached to possessions to live an unfettered life.

Though Airstreams are durable and well-made, you can expect to encounter maintenance issues at some point in your Airstream journey. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do-it-yourself.

Though Airstreams are durable and well-made, you can expect to encounter maintenance issues at some point in your Airstream journey. Be prepared to roll up your sleeves and do-it-yourself.

You’ll Probably Have to Roll Up Those Sleeves

When you’re on the road in your Airstream and a maintenance issue crops up, you can’t call just anyone to help. Service centers are few and far between, so you’ll likely learn lots about DIY Airstream maintenance. Be prepared to stream lots of YouTube videos and always have a toolset and this book on board for when you need to get handy.

The Airstream life may not be a glamorous one, nor one filled with all of the creature comforts you may have grown accustomed to in a “normal” home. But living tiny in an Airstream affords a lifestyle of freedom and flexibility that so few get to experience. In our opinion, the sacrifices are well worth the payoff.

6 Weird Facts About Airstream You Probably Didn’t Know

You have seen the iconic silver trailer on TV, in movies and passing by you on the highways, but the Airstream has a pretty unique history.  Way back in the 1920s Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream built the iconic travel trailer in his backyard because his wife refused to go camping without bringing her kitchen along with her.  Traveling around the country with the newly built trailer generated so much interest that Byam began building them for others in his backyard.  He later sold copies of the plans for the trailer in the back of Popular Mechanics magazine until in 1932, the Airstream Trailer Company was born.

Here are 6 weird facts about Airstream you probably didn’t know.

1. Vincent Price Narrates a Miniseries About Airstream

Back in the 50s, Wally Byam used to organize caravan to exotic destination all over the world, and the tradition continued on after his death.  After he passed, the trips were organized by the Wally Byam Caravan Club International. In 1963, the group decided to follow the route mapped out by Marco Polo.  They started in Singapore and finished a little over a year later in Portugal.  The National Geographic Society filmed the trip and it appeared in 1966 as a TV miniseries narrated by none other than spooky actor Vincent Price.

2. Airstream and NASA

When Neil Armstrong and crewed landed back on earth, the first station they came to was an altered Airstream trailer.  Dubbed “the Astrovan” the astronauts were taken to the launch pad in the trailer and upon landing they rested in the trailer until the fear of contamination was cleared.

6 Weird Facts About Airstream

3. Airstream trailer and the bicycle

Back in the 1940s the company wanted to show the world just how light the trailers were, so they staged a photo shoot showing a cyclist towing a trailer behind him with a bicycle.  The stunt worked wonders for publicity and sales of the trailers took off in the US.

4. Wally Byam was a brilliant marketer

Not only an engineering wunderkind for developing the trailers in the first place, Wally was pretty clever at thinking up slogans and taglines used in the advertising campaigns.  Here’s an example of just one his slogans… Adventure is where you find it, any place, every place, except at home in the rocking chair.”   You can find more of his genius here.

5. There was a square Airstream

Known for its iconic bullet-like silver design, Airstream decided to try something new in 1986 by adding a new shape to its lineup, launching the square Airstream.  These new Airstreams looked more like traditional travel trailers, but Airstream fans were not happy…really not happy.  Back then the square models were even banned from the Wally Byam Caravan Club and the whole thing was compared to the “New Coke” failure around the same time.

6. There are 8 Airstreams buried nose first just outside Tampa, Florida

“Airstream Ranch”  just outside of Tampa is considered art by some and an eye sore to others, was almost destroyed in 2012.  Local businesses complained of the eyesore, but thousands of people signed a petition to save and a judge (probably an Airstream fan) declared it not junk, not a sign nor an illegal storage, so to this day it remains.  Whether it’s art…who knows.

6 Weird Facts About Airstream




Airstream: Vintage versus New

So you want to get an Airstream and aren’t sure if you want to spend the money for a brand new one or want the potential problems of a used one.  You really don’t have to worry; there are plenty of “Silver Bullets” out there that have barely seen the road that you can get a great deal on.  You have plenty of options whether you decide to go new or used.  Buying a used Airstream has some perks, it has been tried and tested and hopefully someone had kept it maintained and updated for you.  Wasn’t it nice of them to save you a bunch of money off the sticker price for a new one.

Always do research

Before buying an Airstream or any other travel trailer for that matter you should do a little research into background and reputation, make sure you’re getting what you really want and need.  Airstream has been around nearly 100 years, starting in the 30s when Wally Byam was building them in his backyard.  They have a sturdy, aerodynamic look and the iconic looks have evolved for decades.  When you actually start shopping around take the owners into consideration as well, you want someone who treated their Airstream like it was their baby.

Finding an owner who treated their Airstream like it was their precious baby works for you in so many ways.  If it is an older model then the likelihood that they have replaced the typical items that wear out with time is pretty good.  If you do find a model you like that was well taken care don’t worry too much about having to replace parts in the future, Airstreams are hugely popular and replacement parts are easy to get.  If you do run into problems there are plenty of sources for support that you can consult.  There is Airstream customer support who are extremely helpful and the Airstream community even has their own online forum you can tap into for  support.

However, buying a used Airstream may not be all sunshine and open roads, there are downsides.  The most obvious is that it is used and like everything else that has been used it may come with scratches, dents, tears, spill, pet dander and what not.  That’s not all bad though, you may be more comfortable not worrying about every blemish you get on a brand new RV.  Here’s a video outlining the pros and cons:

You have the choice of going to a dealer or buying from a private owner.  Dealerships offer more variety and you can tell them exactly what features you want, the dealer does all the shopping for you.  If you opt to go to a private owner, there are a bunch of websites that post listing but bear in mind you may have to travel to pick up your new Airstream.

Whichever way you decide to purchase your new or new to you Airstream, rest assured you are buying a quality product that has stood the test of time.  Enjoy the open roads!

CAAST New Website

CAAST is proud to announce that we will be releasing the newest version of our site in May. This has been a lot of work and there are a number of people that have devoted their time and energy over the previous 2 months to bringing this together. We will update the site sometime in May. Please check back again for updates!

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