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How to Try Out an Airstream Before Committing

Don’t rush into the Airstream lifestyle. There is plenty to consider before making a purchasing decision. Buying an Airstream involves a significant investment of time, effort, and money. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to rent one for a test run.

If you have an interest in luxury road tripping or glamorous camping (“glamping”), then it’s likely you’ve heard of the Airstream. Since their invention in 1936, Airstream trailers and RVs – featuring an iconic aluminum chassis and retro-futuristic good looks – have symbolized the luxury road trip.

Airstreams have both vintage and functional appeal for many RVers. They represent a bygone era in which leisure travel was an activity enjoyed by the privileged few, a time when basic commercial air travel was marketed and presented as a luxury experience. Simply put: the Pan Am era. From a functional perspective, Airstream cabins tend to be plush, well-designed, built with quality materials, and outfitted with luxury amenities.

Basically, an Airstream is worth consideration if you’re looking to “step up” your road trip game and live the life of a comfortable wanderer.

But don’t rush into the Airstream lifestyle. There is plenty to consider before making a purchasing decision.

Buying an Airstream involves a significant investment of time, effort, and money (initial costs can run upwards of $110,000 for new models), and if you don’t have experience RVing, you might be unfamiliar with the difficulties of living and traveling in a more confined space. Before you buy, it’s a good idea to rent one for a test run.

If you’re looking for a cheap Airstream rental, look no further than peer-to-peer RV rental platforms. RVshare.com, for example, has thousands of Airstreams available for rent. On these platforms, prospective renters engage directly with owners. As listings can be easily compared on the marketplace, owners are incentivized to be more competitive with their rates and offerings.

Advantages of Renting Before You Buy

There are numerous reasons to “try before you buy” when it comes to such a large investment.

1. Experience might change your perspective

Traveling or living in a rented Airstream might significantly affect your perspective on ownership. Before you purchase an Airstream, it is important you familiarize yourself with the actual experience: the lifestyle, technical aspects, organizational difficulties, and more. The authentic experience might teach you about your traveling “pain points” in a way simply reading about Airstreams can’t.

What you initially expect to be easy could end up leading to difficulties on the road. For example, you might have initially assumed finding a campground for your Airstream would be a basic, unobtrusive task. After renting an Airstream and having to plan around parking in qualified campgrounds, you might find that the process is more involved than you initially anticipated or desired. Ownership is generally only cost-effective when you are using or renting out your Airstream for a significant portion of the year. If you ultimately decide you prefer more short-term or occasional use of an Airstream, then it might not be worthwhile to pursue ownership.

2. Familiarization will help guide your purchase

Until you have experienced an Airstream, your preferences are, at-best, educated guesses. By renting an Airstream, you raise your familiarity with real world traveling and living conditions, granting you additional insight into your true preferences with regard to luxury amenities, design, materials, and size.

Suppose you rent an Airstream that offers a larger living space. After being on the road for a week or two, you realize the space is much larger than necessary for you and your partner. If you later decide to purchase an Airstream, you’ll be comfortable stepping down in size.

3. What if you really love your Airstream rental?

By renting through a peer-to-peer RV sharing platform, you develop a direct relationship with the owner. Depending on the circumstances, the owner might even be amenable to a sale!

4. The Airstream is likely to be in good condition

Owners on peer-to-peer rental platforms – in particular, those with high ratings and who rent out regularly – typically invest substantial amounts of time, energy, and money on properly maintaining their Airstreams. As such, your rental is more likely to be in clean, orderly condition with zero or minimal technical issues.

You can better assess whether the Airstream experience is worth further investment.

5. A long-term rental will teach you maintenance skills

If you opt for a longer-term Airstream rental, there’s a good chance you’ll run into some type of technical issues during your journey. Encountering technical issues is a blessing in disguise for the renter interested in a potential purchase. If you intend to buy an Airstream, these issues are inevitable in the long run. How you respond to technical and maintenance issues will not only be a great learning experience, it also might indicate whether it’s truly worthwhile or feasible for you to purchase an Airstream.

Ultimately, the benefit of renting an Airstream before you buy one is familiarity. By familiarizing yourself with the experience of traveling with and living in an Airstream, you will be better equipped to make a wiser purchasing decision.

Renting an Airstream Near Austin

If you’re renting an Airstream in the Austin area, here are a few of our favorite RV parks worth visiting.

  • Big Chief RV Resort

    1420 FM 690, Burnet

    bigchiefrvresort.com

  • Hofbrau RV Park

    102 Alpine Drive, Round Mountain

    hofbrau-rvpark.com

  • Rio Vista Resort

    234 Rio Vista Drive, Kingsland

    rio-vista-resort.com

  • Sunset Point on Lake LBJ

    2322 N. Wirtz Dam Road, Marble Falls

    sunsetpointlbj.com

Rent Before You Buy

Purchasing an Airstream is no small decision. Depending on your budget and your intended use, it can be life-altering. Simply reading about ownership isn’t enough to develop an informed opinion as the Airstream experience is unique and unpredictable. It might not be ideal for everyone. Before you buy, make an effort to familiarize yourself with the lifestyle and responsibilities of Airstream ownership – and the best way of doing so is to rent one through a peer-to-peer RV sharing platform like RVshare.

Megan Buemi is a writer for RVshare.com

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