Perks of Living in an Airstream

When Tyler Wright finished his studies at Columbia, he like many other graduates, decided to stay in Manhattan to pursue his career in finance. After 5 years of grinding away at one of the largest hedge funds on Wall Street, Wright grew tired of the exorbitant NYC rent, long hours at the office, and the oppressive feeling that he was always struggling to keep up with the rat race. So at 28, he hired New York City movers to put all of his possessions in storage, bought an Airstream, and took his life on the road. Now 6 months into a year-long journey, he shares with us the perks of living full-time in an Airstream.

Now, Tyler has plenty of time for hiking, something he never had the time to do on Wall Street.

Now, Tyler has plenty of time for hiking, something he never had the time to do on Wall Street.

1. Life at a Slower Pace

Wright was used to a fast-paced life in the big city, but found he was often tired and stressed between his demanding job and busy social calendar. Now, after touring the U.S. for the last 6 months, he feels like, for the first time in his life, he’s had time to think and relax. While most people might think the typical Airstream dweller is a retired Baby Boomer, increasingly, Millennials like Wright are discovering the perks of Airstream life. There are numerous stories like Wright’s of Millennials who grew weary of the corporate life and traded it in for a silver bullet on wheels. For this new generation of RV buyers, a year or two spent traveling on the highways and backroads of the American landscape gives them the space and freedom to think about what they want out of life, unlike generations past who were tethered to the same jobs for the majority of their career. Wright says he likely won’t go back to the cut-throat world of finance. Over the past few months, he’s been tinkering with ideas for a new start-up, a dream he hopes to pursue full-time when he decides he finished with his travels.

2. The Airstream Community

Wrights says one of the most unexpected, but welcome findings of his new life, is the large community of fellow travelers with whom he has made friends. When he started this trip, he thought he might be lonely coming from the overpopulated island of Manhattan. However, before he even left, he found Air Forums, a place where Airstream enthusiasts come together to share advice on everything from how to properly level a trailer to where to find a free place to park for the night. This online community was integral to Wright gaining confidence and comfort with the logistics of hauling an Airstream and setting up camp. Additionally, he says he’s met a whole slew of people so far on his journey, both young and old. “Fellow campers are incredibly friendly; at most of the campsites where I’ve stayed, there’s usually at least one person who will invite me over for drinks around the campfire, and sometimes we’ll even share a meal and swap stories about the road.” During his third month of traveling, Wright came across some travelers his age who were likewise spending a year on the road. He plans on meeting the group in California to hike Mount Whitney later this fall.

3. It’s Pretty Economical (especially compared with NYC)

Wright purchased a 16-foot Airstream Sport trailer, the luxury brand’s smallest and most affordable model, which is easily towed by his Chevy Tahoe. Ever the financier, he saved a two-year runway before quitting his Wall Street job, but he’s finding that living in an Airstream is even cheaper than he imagined. Wright’s studio apartment in TriBeCa cost him upwards of $3,000 a month, in addition to an expensive lifestyle of eating out and frequenting trendy bars. Now his monthly expenses are less than a third of what they previously were. Thanks to one of the Airstream forums, Wright found out about the common practice of boondocking, or camping for free on public land. He does this about 70% of the time, which means he avoids having to pay for a campsite most nights. Other than that, he just has to pay for food and gasoline. He keeps meals simple, doing most of his cooking over the campfire or grill. Gas prices have been low this year, thanks to the drop in the oil market, so he hasn’t spent nearly what he originally budgeted for fuel. In the end, Wright thinks he could stretch his savings for a total of three or four years. Additionally, Airstreams retain their value well, so if he decides to resell it at the end of his journey, he won’t lose much on the original purchase.

Airstreams are not only cheap to live in, but they hold their value well.

Airstreams are not only cheap to live in, but they hold their value well.

4. Ease of Travel

Finally, what Wright enjoys most about his new life is his ability to pick up and go wherever he wants, whenever he wants to. He loves the unparalleled freedom and flexibility of his new lifestyle. With all of his things on wheels, he never has to worry about breaking an apartment lease or trying to find an affordable moving service. If he gets tired of one location, he just hitches up the trailer and moves on to the next spot. His favorite stops so far? “I headed West when I left New York in February, and made it to the coast by April. I spent a week backpacking around Yosemite National Park, which was just as breathtaking as I had imagined. Then some buddies flew out and met me for a long weekend of camping up in the Redwoods. That was pretty memorable.” Even with 6 months under his belt, Wright says there’s still a lot of the U.S. that he wants to see.



Photo courtesy housebeautiful.com

Tips for Moving into an Airstream

Moving into an Airstream from a traditional house or apartment may seem unmanageable given the amount of stuff in your current place. However, all across the country, thousands of people are embracing the tiny home movement, and discovering that life with fewer square feet of living space is no only doable, but freeing. By taking a few simple steps and changing the way you think about new purchases, you can easily make the transition into life in an Airstream. Here we’ll discuss what to discard, what to keep, and how to organize to make your dream a reality.

Wall space makes for great extra storage, especially in a kitchen wear a few simple hooks can racks can be used to store lots of kitchen gadgets. Photo courtesy mobilehomeliving.org

Wall space makes for great extra storage, especially in a kitchen wear a few simple hooks can racks can be used to store lots of kitchen gadgets. Photo courtesy mobilehomeliving.org

What to Ditch

  • Duplicates: Begin your quest to downsize by eliminating any duplicate objects. While 4 different sets of dishes may be nice, they take up valuable real estate in a smaller home. For each item ask if you have something else that can perform the same function. For example, on an Airstream, you probably only need 1 cutting board, you can ditch the specialty cheese board and the butcher block; Airstream life is all about simplifying.
  • Unused/Rarely Used Items: Companies spend big money each year to convince you that you need the things they make. Before you make a purchase, ask yourself if this item is truly necessary. Will it make a large difference? As you go through your current home, evaluate each item carefully. Would you buy it again today? When was the last time you used it? With most moves, professional movers say it’s wise to get rid of anything you don’t really use, because you’ll end up paying to move it or store it. Moving into an Airstream is no exception; there simply isn’t room for extra clutter.
  • Excessive Clothing: Pare down clothing options for each member of the household. The typical American household dedicates large spaces to walk-in closets that are filled and overflowing with excessive amounts of clothing, handbags, and shoes. However, you will probably find items you haven’t worn in years! Keep in mind that Airstream closets are tiny, plus Airstream living is a different way of life. Chances are, you won’t need 10 business suits or all those worn-once bridesmaid dresses you’ve hung on to for the last 15 years.

What to Keep

  • Staple Clothing: When going through your closet, keep items that can be mixed together. Neutral colored pieces that can be layered for different looks and different seasons are an excellent choice. The Clarke family, who pen the popular Airstream blog takethatexit.com, indicate that you’ll likely find yourself wearing the same clothes frequently, and often, multiple days in a row. Doing laundry on the road is far more of a chore since you won’t have the convenience of an in-home washer/dryer unit. With this in mind, choose clothes that you really enjoy wearing!
  • Favorite Possessions: Be selective, but keep your treasured possessions. It may take some creativity to use the items with sentimental value. However, you will be happier with your new space if you are surrounded by a few choice pieces that mean something to you personally. Keep in mind that if you aren’t envisioning a permanent life on the road, you could always put some of your favorite things into storage for a future home. Many moving companies, like Killen moving services, also have their own secure and climate-controlled storage facilities. These warehouse-type storage units are typically a cheaper option than self-storage and are a great option if you won’t need constant access to your things.
  • Pretty Necessities: Since many everyday items will be prominently displayed, make sure they add to your space. Everything thing, even appliances, can now be coordinated with your color scheme. Take advantage of this opportunity, and brighten you home with pops of color in unexpected areas. Check out blogger Sarah Schneider’s absolutely enchanting Airstream for some major design inspiration.Throw rugs take minimal space on the floor while adding color, texture, and comfort. If properly placed, they also serve to break up the space into separate areas.
Add throw pillows and area rugs to at once make your space more colorful and comfortable. Photo courtesy inhabitant.com

Add throw pillows and area rugs to at once make your space more colorful and comfortable. Photo courtesy inhabitant.com

How to Organize

  • Wall/Vertical Space: Use shelves and hooks to take full advantage of the vertical space in your Airstream. You can hang a variety of things including pots and utensils. Shelves can hold spices, dishes, towels, and other objects. By using all of the available vertical space, you free up valuable floor and counter space.
  • Multipurpose Functionality: Almost every piece of furniture in your Airstream should serve more than one purpose. Your kitchen table also serves as a desk, homework station, and food prep area. Benches or other seating should be able to hold blankets, towels, or clothes under the cushions.

Moving into an Airstream requires a change in your lifestyle. You must become accustomed to downsizing the materials you need to be comfortable, not just your square footage. During this process, you will discover what you really need and the things you want.

Featured image housebeautiful.com.



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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