Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Streamin' on the Cheap

As we enter the year 2010, it seems that the economy doesn’t have much sunshine in its future. In my opinion, this is a great time to be an Airstreamer, because we have what others need in desperate times – an Airstream! Many may think that I have now lost my mind, but I want to tell you why I think that owning and using an Airstream, is truly a cost-effective way to travel and enjoy family time.

As a family of six, I need to mention the savings along the road. There are so many rewards to taking your own bed, kitchen, and bathroom with you. For families, an Airstream can free up funds to do things you never dreamed you could provide during tight times. Really, the road is the limit as to what you can discover in this great nation that we live in! I want to point out some of the savings that can be found down the road.

Our family is often too big for one hotel room, so the cost of a vacation is double, just in rooms! The cost of sleeping is usually around $25 a night for us in a campground, giving us a savings of $150+ per night! If you add that up to our usually 10-day vacation, we could get an Airstream with our $1500 savings! One year of staying near home enabled us to save up money to buy a “new” Airstream last year. I was reminded at Christmas of the work it takes to load and unload and load and unload a hotel room with kids! We only add our clothes and food to the Airstream and go – so simple!

We have so often taken a trip and haven’t quite gotten on the road at the right time, so the kids (and Dad) are hungry an hour or two down the road. We can pull over at any wayside, park or parking lot and cook dinner. Most times its just sandwiches, but hey, we could make a five-course meal if we wanted! Our fondest memories of trips have been on those stops, because it never fails that someone can’t resist us and knock on the door to tell us their Airstream stories. Our savings for dinner – at least $60! Multiply that by three times a day and a ten-day vacation we have saved a whopping $1800! Now, all together, our savings for one, ten-day trip would be $3300!

Of course, you may be thinking, “well, you still have gas expenses.” Gas prices will depend on how far you go. Maybe some years you don’t go as far, and others you do. Several years ago, we took a ten-day trip to Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks with three kids and a dog. The total cost was $1200 including all entertainment, eating out, gas (which was over $3/gallon) and souvenirs. I planned and packed all food and clothes for the entire trip (I just was not going to do laundry on my vacation!). The experiences we had as a family were priceless!

I never count the food we bring and make ourselves, or even the occasional grocery run, to be an expense of a trip, because we would eat at home and have the same expense at home. It takes more planning, but we find our trips to be more enjoyable, because we don’t have to think about what’s for dinner tonight! I always pack extra treats, like plenty of S’mores too, which makes it more fun along the road.

Overall, I want you to remember as you see your own families and friends cut out their leisure time and vacations because of the economy, be sure to remind them that there are other options besides staying in a hotel or condo for a week. Disney is not the only destination, either (although you can do that in an Airstream, too!). We have a whole United States to explore and meet new friends. Be sure to share your passion!

See you down the road…

1 comment:

  1. You faked me out with keeping the picture at the top of the page. I've been checking your blog regularly, but didn't scroll down until today. We were two entries behind! We hope you'll have a great trip and we know you're looking forward to it. The little one has already been to Washington, so it's time to take the new one!
    We actually got pulled over for both obstructing traffic and speeding in Seattle! The cop said trailers weren't allowed to travel in the left lane (we were looking for a left turn) and that the speed limit for trailers was lower than posted for cars alone. He admitted that the speed sign was posted at a point before we got on the highway and let Dad off with a warning. We never got back there, but that wasn't the reason. Dad's Aunt Olga lived there, but she died long ago. We do still have close cousins in Mukilteo though.
    Love you all!
    Uncle Bill and Aunt Mary