The first thing I decided to plan when we decided to get an Airstream was the decor 🙂
I started out looking for inspiration, and found lots of different style ideas that I saved on my ‘Airstream Flying Cloud’ Pinterest board. I was really drawn to colors that are calming and peaceful, which (to me) accentuate the light and airy interior of the Flying Cloud models. My first bit of inspiration were these palettes of blues, greens, and corals.
I found a lot of home decor and accents are being made in these colors right now. Including this duvet and cute prints on Etsy:
So I decided to delve into the Navy, Aqua, Coral, and Grey color scheme.
I wanted to see examples of people using these colors in an RV, because I am not a Johanna Gaines type HGTV diva. Most of the examples where from the International Signature & Serenity lines, which have darker cabinets than the Flying Cloud.
These two are photos from Monica Bennett over at just5moreminutes.com ( I love her blog on Airstream RVing! ). Her scheme has red accents.
So… funny thing happened on the way to Washington State.
For a year we were CERTAIN that the R-Pod 180 was all we needed – minimum space, easier to tow with a small SUV, and the most like a cozy, vintage home for the road.
But there we were, discussing what we would do differently if we had to buy an RV for snowbirding in the PNW all over again. We talked about the things we loved and the things we didn’t love in our RV, about our road trip style, about our steps to the end goal of part-timing. When the husband asked what my dream travel trailer would be if we didn’t have the R-Pod I answered without pause, “An Airstream”. He asked if we had ever been in one together, perhaps at an RV show. I thought about it and told him, no, we had seen a Class B Airstream at one show but that I’d never taken him into an Airstream travel trailer. Come to think of it, I hadn’t been in a new one. I went into a refurbished vintage one in Oregon in the early 2000s and fell in love with the style.
Living simply means different things to different people. For us, living simply in a 19′ space for 6 months with our 90-lb Cane Corso was becoming a concern. So we brainstormed a little more on what a more ideal #RVlife for us would look like and decided that when we got to Portland, OR we would stop in an see what the newer Airstreams look like. I didn’t know if I could really see myself paying the price that Airstreams cost.
Then I saw my first new Airstream in person. Classic, shiny exterior. Sleek, clean interior spaces. Made in Jackson, Ohio. I loved them. I also loved the brand aesthetics, durability, and value retention.
We spent that night delving into the Airstream online world. We found a lot of information on Facebook groups, blogs, forums, and dealer websites. We looked at prices, value retention, accessories, floor plans, and made a list of pros and cons. By the time we drove away from Portland towards Olympia, WA we had the information we needed. Enough information to make an executive decision:
We are buying an AIRSTREAM.
We next visited the dealership in Seattle, Airstream Adventures NW and fawned over the different models before deciding on choosing a model larger than our current 19′ but smaller than 27′ so we could visit all the National Parks and National Forests without worrying about site space.
Then we narrowed down to the right Airstream line for us. Remodeling an older one was out of the question. We travel 8,000 miles a year and need something to take across the continental divide with the least chance of problems. So new or 1-2 years old was what we wanted. We toyed with the idea of a used one, but since we wanted to buy one within the week, before heading north to the San Juan Islands, we didn’t have time to search/ vet/ wait. Of all the current lines we felt the Flying Cloud was the best bang for our buck. Even within a line there are a lot to choose from! We decided these were the must-haves:
New 2018 or 2017 (if any were still on the lot from last year)
Maximum floor space
Separate couch and dinette
Solar ready (we have a Zamp 200-watt system)
Backup camera (husband is a back-up expert, but this would made life easier)
We ended up choosing the Airstream Flying Cloud 25FB model. We like the longer lounge, separate dinette, walk-around bed, and separate freezer/fridge combo. We found one with the optional window awnings, backup camera, and convection microwave oven.
We purchased our Flying Cloud throughAirstream Adventures NW from Jocelyn, an advisor who I highly recommend. Their willingness to negotiate (unlike the Portland store), communication-style, transparency, and stock (the largest in the US) made our experience seamless. It’s some of the best customer service you’ll experience.
For those thinking about buying an Airstream I wanted to share some links that I found helpful when I began my search. I read these articles and joined these groups before going to my first dealership so I could arm myself with as much information as possible.
I have successfully negotiated prices on vehicles before, my mother sold cars for many years and I understand how that process works. I’ve never negotatied for an RV. I usually just pay sticker price (horrible, I know) because I have no idea of the markup percentage or the prices paid by actual buyers. Thankfully, the internet came to my rescue!
First, this article explains the markup and negotiation strategies for new and used Airstreams. “Buying an Airstream: Getting the best deal” is a great source of information on buying from a dealer or a private seller. Here is a preview of a bit of their advice:
Buying an Airstream can be a big purchase. They are one of the most expensive travel trailers you can buy and they hold their value better than all other brands. Making sure you get the best price possible could save you quite a bit of money. Typically you are going to buy from a dealer or an individual seller. Each has rather different strategies…
Head over to the Airstream website to find out what the MSRP is for the models you looked at. Keep in mind options can change prices a fair bit. Google for other’s selling the same trailer and see what they list it for. If you are dealer shopping, stick to dealer offers for comparison. Make note of the best prices you find and where they are offered. The rule of thumb is you are looking to get from 20%-30% off the MSRP. Pretty much no dealer is listing their bottom price on the trailer sticker or online.
Next, join the online Airstream communities on Facebook and the web. Search for and join the Facebook groups Airstream Addicts and Airstream Hunter to see discussions and ask questions – they are an invaluable interactive resource. Search for the website Airstream Classifieds to see what prices vintage, used, and new units are going for. Finally, I recommend joining the forum at www.airforums.com for user information on vintage/remodeled, used, and new products.