Why Are More And More People Renting Airstream For Their Vacations
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I first discovered GlampingHub (it’s like AirBnB but for glamping) last year. And the first place we stayed in was in a vintage Airstream trailer. It was only a few miles away and on a local ranch. In this article, we will review why we and other campers enjoy staying in a vintage Airstream.
We live in a high tech modern world. Yet we also love nostalgia. There are iconic structures that invoke memories of simpler times. A time before the hectic pace of life. When life was simpler. And that these iconic designs stand for quality. And have stood the test of time. One of these is the Airstream travel trailer. Even with thousands of hotel rooms and fancy Class-As which are like luxury hotels on wheels, there is always something about the Airstream travel trailer. It is an iconic design that always ) evokes a sense of fun.
According to the RV Industry Association they shipped 274,000 travel trailers in 2019. While this is down from 327,000 in 2018. Yet, they remain popular for people. For many reasons. While you might be one of those people who think that RV isn’t “real camping”, the fact is, not everyone can tent camp. As you get older, sleeping on the ground isn’t just uncomfortable, sometimes it’s impossible. And more, at some point, pooping in a hole in the ground loses its charm. As my friend (and partner on this site) Teena says, she demands a porcelain toilet. And she spends every weekend out on her horse. She’s outside more often than any tent-camper I know. Thus a nice bed, a shower, and a porcelain toilet are nice to have while camping. And an Aistream is a great choice as a travel trailer.
If you have seen a vintage Aistream, then you should understand why people love these. Airstreams are gorgeous. The first Airstream came on the market in the 1930s. The heyday of the brand was from 1969 through 1980. Though they have been going through a resurgence recently. As my friend Teena says, there are Airstream groups. While driving to a campsite, you will see a convoy of them. And you cannot miss an Airstream. With their silver aluminum skins and aerodynamic looking bodies that mesmerize us. They look like airplanes traveling down the road. Even when you see a modern Airstream, you still think of the vintage models. The vintage Airstreams are time machines. They take us back to a simpler time. Before we were constantly beeped at. And updated every three minutes because the President is bored on Twitter. Or our feeling to constantly be checking in on the news. Airstreams are a constant reminder that we can have a simpler life.
Vintage Airstreams transport us to a time when we had to economize our space. You were not needing to take a decluttering class on how to throw things away, because you didn’t have the space to store it. There’s not sliding walls in a vintage Airstream. Heck, there may not even be a kitchenette. When we stayed in ours, there was a room for a bed, a couch, a small TV and the bathroom. The bathroom didn’t even have a shower. It was a bathtub. Though they did have a shower attachment. But I hard time using it because I am over six feet tall. And I don’t think I was able to even stand up in the bathroom. I had to stoop over.
People rent vintage Airstreams for more reasons than nostalgia. These trailers are rugged and durable which has allowed them to become classics. Because of their rigid construction and aluminum body, they are not a problem to tow for most people. This means you can take your Airstream into the backcountry such as BLM land which we cover in this article where it will be hard to take your larger modern campers. Plus the petite smaller models are able to fit into more places. And because they have a lower center of gravity, they are very stable.
People also enjoy the retro interior of a vintage Airstream. If you have watched home restoration shows like “Fixer Upper” you realize that you can combine the aesthetics of an older home with modern fixtures and amenities. For example, Chris Simms, a sports broadcaster, lives in a house in Connecticut that goes back to revolutionary America. British soldiers even commandeered the house during the Revolutionary War. Yet, the house has been remodeled. I know it at least has WiFi because he broadcasts from the house occasionally. And I’m sure his wife made sure it had a modern kitchen with the latest in stoves, refrigerators, etc. The same is true for your vintage Airstream. You can restore it. Or have it restored. So that it maintains the classic look of the Airstream. But inside, you have a modern bed. An electric or compost toilet. And, yes it’s ok to have a nice TV inside. While I hope you don’t spend all of your time inside the trailer, at night after a day of hiking, you may want to relax watching a movie.
Join An Airstream Club
One of the unique benefits of owning an Airstream is the community. There are several Airstream clubs. If you go to Google and type in Airstream club many will come back. And you can find them virtually as well on places like Facebook groups.
An Airstream club will be able to help you find an Airstream to purchase. Provide tips on how to evaluate whether you’re getting a good deal or not. And of course how to obtain parts and instructions if you need to repair or restore your Airstream.
The Airstream club also provides friends to go camping with. While finding solitude is one of the benefits of camping, it’s also more fun to do things with friends. In particular, if you have kids. If they make more friends, then you won’t have to spend as much time trying to find them things to do.
How To Buy A Vintage Airstream
There are several ways to buy a vintage Airstream.
You can start by looking online at places like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Airstream forums. In particular, look for end of fall after camping season is wrapping up. This is when many people realize they don’t have a place to store their Airstream. And you can make a deal to purchase one.
Another option is to look for auctions. Since you are looking for a vintage Airstream, look for estate auctions. Somebody’s parents might have been touring the country in their old trailer and now that they’ve passed on, their children don’t want to keep it.
Finally, you can look for government or bank auctions. If people cannot pay on a loan, eventually the bank or the government (in the case of taxes) will repossess the property such as their RV. And then they will sell them to recoup some of the money they lost by failure to repay the loan. And you can get a great deal on the trailers here.
If you buy the Airstream, then you may have to restore it.
For some people, this will be the best part of the adventure. They have dreams of taking someone’s junk and transforming it into a thing of beauty.
You will need a variety of skills to restore the Airstream. Including the ability to fix any of the outside skin. The interior floors and appliances. Plus you need to either be an electrician or hire one to fix any wiring issues. After, owning an RV is like owning a combination of a car and a house.
You can also hire someone to restore it for you. Make sure to check their references. And get everything in writing. And as with any type of construction work, never pay for everything upfront.
Look For A Vintage Airstream Resort
Because Airstream trailers are so popular and thanks to sites like GlampingHub and AirBnB many people with some extra land are buying up vintage Airstreams. And then renting them out to vacationers.
As I said at the top of the article, my wife and I did this ourselves. The trailer was on a working ranch. Behind us was a cow. And you could see longhorn off in the distance.
They had parked the trailer next to their garden shed. It was close enough to their main house that I can see that it was easy to attach it to the electrical and sewer. The didn’t want to deal with dumping black water tanks. And I don’t blame them.
Because of the size of the ranch, they had places to hike around. Plus a fishing pond. They also had set up a fire pit with a teepee lay so that we could have a small campfire. And a gas grill.
And I have heard of other ranchers and farmers doing similar things. It’s easy for them to add in additional revenue. And for you to enjoy staying in an Airstream without having to worry about restoring it. Or maintaining it.