We bought our Airstream!

Published March 7, 2016   Posted in Having some fun

Our plan suddenly got very, very real last weekend as we signed on the dotted line. We bought a 2005 Airstream Classic from a dealership up in Mesa, AZ as our next home and will take delivery of it March 31st. Then, the fun truly begins.

We just bought an Airstream to retire inWe got up bright and early that morning even though the dealership didn’t open untilΒ 9am. About 45 minutes away from where we were staying that night (at my in-law’s), we hit the road at 8, filling the car with talk about customizing the Airstream to make it truly ours. We already knew the Airstream that we wanted to see. We also had cash-in-hand.

About a year ago we sat in the very same unit. At the time we were too unsure about what we wanted, so we took this unit as a bullet point and moved on. But as the month’s passed, our target got more defined. Based on our budget and price range, this was looking more and more like the one for us. It was used, but clean. Move-in-ready, yet prime for upgrades.

We sat in the trailer for a while. We opened cabinets and chipped back and forth about where our things could go. Pots here, cups there. We looked at all storage spaces and drawers. We sat on the couch, trying our best to objectively envision ourselves living in the space.

In the end, we made an offer on the trailer. After a couple back and forths with the dealership, we settled on a price and signed on the dotted line. We are paying 100% cash.

Here is a quick picture of the nook area taken from the “family room”. Note my wife’s purple water bottle on the right; it adds a splash of color to the decor! πŸ™‚

Family room looking towards the nook

Family room looking towards the nook

The trailer was fairly clean, especially for a nearly 12-year old model. The dealership will give it a top-to-bottom detail before handing it over to us, but we plan on doing quite a bit of detailing and renovating of our own after we live in it for a while and get a feel for what we like.

Our renovation plans

We have a few items that we plan to take care of soon.

First, we need to either clean or switch out the mattress before our first night, if possible. Mattresses are not cheap, so we are looking into whether a deep clean would be possible for us to do without having to purchase another one. Placing a separate pillow top on the mattress is another idea that we are exploring to increase mattress comfort.

Second, we’d like to reupholster the couch, pictured below. The couch itself is actually very comfortable, but it is also very well used. A little love will make the couch new again.

Couch in the "family room"

Couch in the “family room”

Note the two wooden features on either side of the couch – those are flip-up tables, which provides a place to work while on the couch. I’m sure my laptop will find a nice, comfy home on one of those flip-up tables at night!

In the longer term,Β we would like to rip the carpeting out entirely and put in hardwood floors, or at the very least, “wood” vinyl. This won’t be an immediate upgrade, however. We need to carefully manage our budget, especially before we sell our homes.

We also would like to remove the nook and replace it with a longer desk, which will provide a more functional work area for us and our computer equipment as well as offer a little extra room to walk around inside the Airstream. This will probably happen at the same time that we switch out the floors.

Other than that, we anticipate smaller fixes like taking down some wallpaper here and there, switching out light fixtures, painting the cabinets, etc. These will come in time as budget allows.

The remaining schedule

The schedule is ambitious (read: insanely quick) but doable. Β Here is what we are thinking.

  • Tour campgrounds around the local area throughout March; we need to be ready to move into a camp site the first week of April.
  • Find a 3/4-ton diesel truck to tow the Airstream in the next couple of weeks (Done – 2008 Dodge Ram 2500HD 4×4 Diesel).
  • March 31st through April 3rd: Everything happens! Take possession of the Airstream March 31st and park it temporarily right outside of our home. Use that weekend to move into the Airstream as well as get used to towing it, backing up with it, etc. Basically, practice owning the unit and going through the motions of working with it, filling/emptying the water tanks, filling the propane, etc.
  • Officially move OUT of our current home and INTO the Airstream, in a local campground, April 3rd. The preparation work we did by looking at campgrounds throughout March will hopefully come in handy as we select our first spot.
  • Put our current home on the market the first week of April after we officially move out.

If all goes to plan, we will be out of our current home in less than a month. Wow – talk about quick. Shit is getting real.

Once we are living full-time in the Airstream, our current home will be 100% ready at all times for showings once it gets put on the market. We have a realtor already and is awaiting our phone call to push this process forward.

I will probably make weekly trips up to the house to clean the pool, dust the wood, and maybe do a couple loads of laundry. Basically, make sure everything remains “show-ready”. We want this house, which has a fantastic view out the back as well as an in-ground pool, to sell for top dollar.

New blog coming soon

My wife will be starting a new blog all about our adventures in the Airstream. As many of you know, we already have a photo-heavy companion blog, Full Time Explorers, that is focused entirely on the photo/travel side of our lifestyle. My wife’s new Airstream blog will focus entirely on mobile living, like how we organize our things, cook our food, upgrades we do to the trailer and anything else related to living on the road.

That blog is coming soon. Watch for it!


In our excitement, I neglected to take pictures of the outside. Here are a few pictures I quickly snapped on the inside of the unit. Once we get the Airstream, more pictures will be made – believe me!

Looking back towards the bedroom

Looking back towards the bedroom

From the couch!

From the couch!

A low shot of the TV entertainment center and nook area

A low shot of the TV entertainment center and nook area

The current mattress in the bedroom

The current mattress in the bedroom

The bathroom sink

The bathroom sink

Nook area looking towards the couch

Nook area looking towards the couch

Digital monitoring system

Digital monitoring system for batteries and water tanks

Three-burner stove

Three-burner stove

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82 responses to “We bought our Airstream!”

  1. Holy shit dude! Everything is starting to get into motion! Congrats on finally buying the thing. I can’t believe that you guys are moving into it in less than a month. I can only imaging the excitement (and anxiety I’m sure) that this is bringing. Congrats again! Big step!

    • Steve says:

      Hah, thanks Thias! Yup, things are definitely moving now, and I appreciate the congratulations. That was a huge first step for us – not only the spending money part but also going through with picking our next full-time home. And the next step after that one (moving in) will be here before we know it. This outta be fun. πŸ™‚

  2. Mr. FrugalInAr says:

    I’ve often wondered if a memory / latex foam mattress could be cut to fit an RV. They’re solid foam, usually 2-3 layers bonded together and come in various thicknesses. There are YouTube videos about cutting them… Maybe something like this?


    • Steve says:

      Good find, thanks for the link Mr. FrugalInAr. I am going to keep that link for future reference if need be. We are investigating the possibility of steam cleaning the mattress over the weekend that we take delivery of the unit, but getting another one might be what we end up doing. You never know. But you’re right, it would need to be cut to provide more walking space on either side of the bed – especially the foot of it.

  3. Congrats on finding the perfect RV for your wife & you. It looks great. And that’s exciting that your wife will be starting a new blog!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Kalie! We will definitely document our process every step of the way. There are more people out there than we thought who have a dream of downsizing to an RV and traveling the country, so hopefully our mistakes will be useful to some out there! πŸ™‚

  4. Looks very nice! It must have been only lightly used since it was bought new in 2005. It is very exciting that you are now less than 30 days to put your plan in motion. I’ll check out the new blog and read along your adventure!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mr. FireStation. For a 2005, the unit was pretty clean on the inside, though you can definitely tell that it was used in the past. It’ll get a detail from the dealership before they turn it over to us, so it’ll look nice when we start living in it. Then, the learning and renovations truly begin!

  5. Awesome guys! Congrats! All happening so soon. I wouldn’t stress too much about a campground since you can always move really easily if you don’t like the one you picked. Not going to tell us how much you dropped on that puppy?? πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Fervent. You bring up a good point – one of the advantages to this new lifestyle is the ability to up-and-move whenever we feel like it. We’ve found our spot, so we’ll book for a month to see how we like it, then re-book again if we like it enough to stay, or we will look for other options around town.

      Also, we paid $47,680 for the Airstream. πŸ™‚

  6. I love it when a plan comes together.

    It seems like just yesterday that you guys mentioned this plan and it’s here…that is absolutely amazing.

    Congrats to you both.



    • Steve says:

      You and me both, Dominic. Yeah, time sure has flown by since we first embarked on this adventure, and this is really still only the beginning. Thanks for the congrats, and hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

  7. Kyle says:

    I’ll be interested in reading how you adapt, about 6+ months ago I immersed myself in tiny house living and thought about buying a trailer and building a tiny house and often wondered about just buying something higher end – pre-built, like an Airstream.

    I bought a 12″ memory foam mattress from amazon about 3 years ago that was higher density(longer life). I believe it was around $300 and I’ve been very happy with it.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Kyle – we will surely document how well we adapt here on the blog as well as my wife’s companion blog (that has yet to be released). I will say that there’s a reason why Airstreams have been around for so long. It’s true that they aren’t your cheapest option, but they also last almost forever.

      Appreciate the insight regarding the mattress. We may end up doing something like that in the end.

  8. Mrs SSC says:

    Wow! That looks surprisingly roomy and comfortable inside! Congrats on taking the plunge!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mrs. SSC, it ain’t bad! And once we remove the nook and replace it with a desk, it will be a little more roomy inside. But either way, once we live in it for a few weeks to get used to the space, I’m confident that it’ll be just enough for us. πŸ™‚

  9. Congratulations you guys! Now that looks like fun! When I see small living quarters like that, I’m sure it can be a challenge to get used to at first but the places and freedom you’ll experience I’m sure will be so worth it. πŸ™‚

    I look forward to the fun posts coming soon! Hopefully someday in the future we’ll do the same.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Seeking Saturdays. We trust it’ll be just as much fun as it looks – it’ll certainly be an interesting experience at the very, very least. πŸ™‚

  10. What an exciting transition, you guys! I look forward to your adventures!

  11. Chuck says:

    Very exciting. I can’t wait to hear about the transition and stories of life in the Airstream. I can remember trips in the RV from when I was a kid, but I don’t think we ever did more than a couple of weeks at a time. It makes me want to consider it as an option for when I break free. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Steve says:

      You’re very welcome, thanks for your comment. I remember camping when I was younger too, but like you, we never stayed THAT long in an RV. It was a change, for sure, but definitely something that we made work just fine. It was a lot more fun than it was confining.

  12. Congrats, you guys! So exciting!!! I can’t wait to see what changes you make to the Airstream, but you got the perfect floor plan. I love that you have a full-time dinette and separate couch, so you don’t have to be constantly converting your furniture. (Having a full-time bed separate from a dinette is our number 1 criterion in a trailer that we ultimately buy, but we’re looking at much smaller ones than what you guys got since we don’t plan to live in ours full-time!) I can’t believe how fast it’s all happening for you, and that you’ll be out of your house in a month — WOW. I assume your new campsite will have good wifi so you can keep working from there?

    • Steve says:

      Thanks ONL! It’s true, constantly converting our couch over into our bed would get old after a while – but people do that, though, especially if they live in camper vans. Those things are pretty intense!

      There is WiFi at the campground that we are looking at, but truthfully, WiFi at campgrounds is notoriously unreliable. We have an unlimited data plan through Verizon that we will use the majority of the time. Staying connected will make travel so much easier. πŸ™‚

  13. What a whirlwind! Congrats. So exciting. Looking forward to more photos…and to following your wife’s blog!

  14. ARBM says:

    This is so awesome and exciting!! I am excited to see how you fix up the airstream, and to read about your adventures! Good luck with all the prep for moving and selling the house.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks ARBM, appreciate the comment. Once this house sells, it’ll help pay us back the cash we used to buy the Airstream and truck, and that will enable us to truly begin to fix that place up!

  15. Jack says:

    Awesome! Always scary exciting when your dream starts becoming real!

    Word of advice, if you’re going to be working full time from your trailer, pay attention to ergonomics. Sitting at a poorly fitting desk for a few weeks or even a few months is survivable but can quickly turn into chronic RSI if you’re not careful.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Jack, and I appreciate the word of warning. I definitely hear you regarding the ergonomics of my working area. While I will only be working full time through the end of the year, I will still be using the computer quite a bit, just generally, as we travel. The work area will be a priority, for sure. πŸ™‚

  16. Tawcan says:

    Things are getting real Steve! With a little bit of work that RV will be one sweet home. πŸ™‚

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Tawcan – yup, super real. By month’s end, we will be in a very different place right now…both literally and figuratively!

  17. You did it – congratulations!! Excellent choice on the 2500 diesel truck. It should be a breeze to pull.

    I might have missed it, but how big did you go on the Airstream? I know you were talking about 30 foot or so with no slide outs. The pictures certainly look like it is at least that big.

    Don’t forget about your friends up here in Sedona. We would love to meet up somewhere for a joint camping trip. We can probably head down your way in April or May if you can’t take off for a bit. Of course we will have to hide our trailer as to not embarrass the shining beauty of yours!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Bryan – actually, we may just take you up on your offer to come down here if you’re up for it. I will email ya to see what we can work out. πŸ™‚

  18. FI Fighter says:

    Looks awesome man! I know you’re gonna enjoy this baby to the MAX!

    Congrats and exciting times await! πŸ™‚

  19. Wow, now this is getting exciting! Can’t wait to hear how everything turns out over the next few months. Congrats!

  20. Chad Carson says:

    This is awesome, Steve! Very exciting. I’ve never had RV/airstream living on my radar until a few recent conversations with couples in their 70’s still talking about the good ole days with their kids traveling the country in their RV. I’m going to follow your trip and experiences closely, and maybe our family will do the same when we get back from 1-year in Argentina in 2017.

    Have a fun month or two getting this rolling!!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Chad. I’m sure the travel bug will get you as well, and your trip to Argentina sounds like a blast as well. If you post pictures of your trip somewhere, you can bet I’ll be pouring over them! πŸ™‚

  21. Jason Fieber says:


    Super excited for you guys. I’m sure this is going to be an amazing adventure. How many people can just up and travel around in an RV? Very, very few.

    Things are moving quick. Looking forward to seeing you guys transition into this new lifestyle. πŸ™‚


    • Steve says:

      Thanks Jason! This is really our first step into living super small and truly maximizing our savings. Basically, we’re putting our money where our mouth is now – and it’s probably about that time. πŸ˜‰

      Appreciate your comment and your readership. Stay cool down there!

  22. Wow looks fantastic. Can’t wait to follow your trip.

  23. This looks so clean from these pics! Wow! What an awesome find. Mattresses can be so expensive and toxic. Check out White Lotus Home for mattresses–they have several options that are safe and more affordable than your typical mattress store. πŸ™‚

  24. Jason says:

    Congratulations on the purchase. Look forward to seeing the new blog.

  25. Mr. SSC says:

    Congrats Steve! If you were thinking about replacing the flooring with wood, or possibly wood like vinyl, I would recommend looking into the wood styled tile. We added some in our master bedroom, when we realized it would be really similarly priced to the carpet we had been looking at. Just a thought, because we love the tile. Easy to clean, no worry of scratches, or water damage or that sort of thing like wood.

    Just a thought.

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Mr. SSC – appreciate the advice. Actually, we really love the wood styled tile as well and wouldn’t have a problem going that route. Tile is a little heavier, but it might still be our best option. Like you said, it definitely holds up well!

  26. Cara says:

    Congratulations!i love Airstreams… This may be just my opinion, but investing in a new mattress is well worth it. It is absolutely impossible to really clean a used (by somebody else!) mattress. Way too much Ick factor for me. I also would can the couch… Anything (foam, etc) inside is likely filled with old dried fluids, dust mites, bugs, etc. upholstering it with the old foam would give you a dirty old couch with new cloth… IMO, somethings are just not salvageable!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Cara. Yeah, you just never know about used mattresses. Getting a whole new one might be in our best interest. Some things aren’t salvageable, and some things are also worth spending the money on! πŸ™‚

  27. Steven says:

    I’m catching up with things over here at Think Save RETIRE! Love the plan, execution, and goals so far. I look forward to seeing the rest. Yeah things are moving quickly that’s for sure.

  28. zene.ize.hu says:


    We bought our Airstream! – ThinkSaveRetire.com

  29. This is awesome; congrats on the purchase and soon-to-be retirement plans! My wife and I have tossed around the idea of moving our family into an Airstream in a few years when we decide to hit the road and I begin working as a travel nurse. Since we won’t have the cash-in-hand at the time to make the purchase, we’re not exactly sold on the idea of taking on debt to make that happen…especially since we’re on pace to be debt free in the next 15-ish months. Either way, I’m looking forward to following along with you and your wife’s journey and learning from your successes and (hopefully zero!) failures. πŸ˜€

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Brandon, appreciate the words of encouragement. We will be sure to document all of our trials and tribulations along the way. We’ll be honest about our mistakes…but even MORE HONEST about our successes. Ha! πŸ™‚

  30. […] As of last Friday, we have officially moved out of our large 1600 sqft house and into our Airstream trailer, just a shade larger than a tenth of the size of our previous […]

  31. […] the interest of full disclosure, we do own our Airstream RV, but that is also the nature of the game with full-time travel. And we paid 100% cash to avoid […]

  32. […] couple weeks ago we put our 1600 sqft house on the market and moved into our Airstream. This thing is only 200 sqft, almost like the manufacturer purposely wanted to test the American […]

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    We bought our Airstream! – ThinkSaveRetire.com

  35. Zee says:

    This is amazing! It’s one of those things that occasionally I think about but then get all chicken shit about because I don’t think I could commit to it longer than a few years.

    Wow, I’m truly in awe.

    • Steve says:

      Hehe, thanks Zee! Actually, I am amazed at how, well, not-a-big-deal it turned out to be for us. Yes, we are living in a much, much smaller space, but quite honestly, it’s been no sweat. Just a different routine, and we love being able to just pick up and move the house where ever we want it to go.

  36. […] ***** Thanks Vita! Love the enthusiasm/creativity! Now who wants to sell all their homes and move into trailers with me??? πŸ™‚ We can sneak attack Steve’s Airstream! […]

  37. Michelle says:

    It looks so nice! Hopefully we run into each other on the road one day πŸ™‚

  38. Vita Valka says:

    Hey Steve, awesome move! Congrats.

    We did a similar thing a few years ago (moved in a trailer for a few months a year) and we still love it. Would you mind giving me a little advice on how you searched for the perfect Airstream and a car. My idea is in the future to buy an Airstream and a Truck in US and bring it to Europe.

    As of now, we have a smaller “european” setup like this:

    And we travel back to Czech from Portugal via Spain and France.

    • Steve says:

      Hey Vita! Thanks for the comment. For us, we spent a lot of time online looking around at various RV sites like rvtrader.com or airstreamclassifieds.com. Ultimately, though, we found a unit at a dealership about 2 hours north of where we live. In the end, we preferred to buy a used Airstream from a deal instead of a private party because this is the first time that we’ve ever bought one and we wanted a place to bring it back to if there were any problems or issues. This was purely OUR preference, though. You don’t necessarily NEED to buy through a dealer. In fact, I’m sure you could find cheaper options through private parties, and if your plan is to bring it back to Europe anyway, then you probably wouldn’t use the convenience of a dealer anyway.

      As for the truck, again, purely online searching. We knew that we wanted a Dodge RAM 2500, so I spent a couple of weeks searching around online until I found one that looked good. I test drove it and offered a few thousand less for it in cash. The offer was accepted. Good deal.

      What I would do is decide on a location within the U.S. that you want to buy in, then focus your searches there. Tampa, FL might be a good choice as there are a ton of RVs in the area. The truck can be purchased from anywhere near Tampa and driven to the location of the RV on the day of pick up. That is going to be one exciting process!

      Oh, and I love the photo that you uploaded within that Twitter status post (and you may have a new follower…just sayin’).

      Thanks for the comment!

  39. Enjoy your adventures! My mom did this for 12 years starting when I was in college– prevented boomerang kids!

    • Steve says:

      Ha! True that, and thanks for your message. It’s going to be a wild ride and we’re looking forward to getting the travel part of our new lifestyle started. πŸ™‚

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    We bought our Airstream! – ThinkSaveRetire.com

  41. […] – the Airstream! Ah, of course. I’m an idiot. That spending includes the new house (our Airstream, named Charlie) and truck (named […]

  42. PHILLIP says:

    I’D LOVE TO TRAVEL BUT ON ABOUT 1800$ a month i have to savev

  43. Congratulations Steve! Your RV look so nice. Me and my wife are also planning for retirement over the next 15 years, when my kids going to college. We want to travel around the country, especially the place we visited when we were young to see how it changes. We are considering between tiny house on trailer and RV. Hope we can choose a perfect one before the time come. Thanks for sharing your inspiring story Steve and good luck on your adventure!

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Edward! Sounds like you guys have a good plan in place – there’s just SO MUCH to see and do out there that most of us never get to experience. I appreciate the kind words and you taking the time to comment. πŸ™‚

  44. Dale Klein says:

    Hi Guys,
    Congrats on the plan, and making it happen. A new home and the move out! We got back about a month ago from a year around the US RV trip, it was a good time. Back at normal work now for while, with kids back in a high school (us teaching them is sketchy!).
    Hope to see you on the road, or please stop by to visit when you go through Michigan, we’d love to meet you. You’ll want solar panels at some point, I could help you put them on!

    Boondockers Welcome – Stay at Our House

    • Steve says:

      Thanks Dale, we’re excited to get this new adventure on the road. Actually, we have a date setup in November for a solar package to be installed, so we should have a pretty good system setup in short order. Appreciate the offer, of course – we’ll get to Michigan one of these days!

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  46. […] from ThinkSaveRetire and his wife live in an Airstream RV and plan to retire the end of 2016Β from full-time work at the ages of 35 and 31 and travel the […]

  47. […] the Thanksgiving break, my wife and I drove Charlie nearly 3,000 miles up to Oregon and back from our home base in Tucson, AZ. It was our first major […]

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