Road Trips

Taking a Trip in an Airstream

The Airstream has become the epitome of the modern adventuring spirit. The first Airstream was released in 1936, as a blend between the two great American loves, their homes and vehicles. The inventor, Wally Byam, stated that the purpose of the Airstream is, “to place the great wide world at your doorstep for you who yearn to travel with all the comforts of the home.” This purpose has been accomplished and upheld over the decades. Every year, thousands upon thousands of people embark on trips in their Airstreams. The great outdoors becomes their front yards, pristine lakes become their swimming pools, and open roads become their commute.

Taking a Trip in an Airstream

You are ready to join the ranks of Airstream adventurers. Perhaps you just purchased an Airstream, but you’ve been seriously considering it for a long time. It’s time to answer the call. Here is your go-to guide about taking a trip in your Airstream.

Prep Work

Before you embark on your voyage, there is a considerable amount of preparation. Properly preparing ensures that you have an easy, safe, and trouble free journey. As the Airstream is towed, you must ensure that the tow vehicle is in pristine running condition. Your owner’s manual will provide a servicing schedule; follow the “severe” schedule since you will be traveling with this vehicle.  It will be well worth the money to have it checked out by a mechanic before you embark. Having a breakdown on the open road can be both costly and frustrating.

Once your tow vehicle is in tiptop shape, it’s time to equip your Airstream! Here is a timeless list of essentials to bring on your trip, these can be considered required:

  • Two-gallon wastewater bucket
  • Hazard safety triangles
  • Water jug
  • Small shovel
  • Water pressure regulator (may be built in with newer Airstream models)
  • Sewer hose
  • Leveling block
  • Tow cable
  • Fuses for batteries and pump
  • Flashlights, LED preferred
  • Small air compressor with tire pressure gauge
  • Duct tape
  • Full set of tools
  • Battery jumper
  • Cooling fans for the interior
  • Plenty of food and beverages

These are optional items to enhance your trip:

  • GPS
  • Laptop
  • Cell phone
  • Mountain bikes
  • Paper towels
  • Sun glasses
  • CB radio
  • Solar panels
  • Wind-up radio
  • Any other recreational gear

Feel free to add anything to this list based on your own needs and desires. Consider what you would like to do during your journey and bring the necessary equipment to do so.

Your Airstream trailer is prepared and your tow car is ready to go. Now, you are just about ready to hit the road. It’s time to consider what type of trip you’d like to take. There are two types of trips:

Location-based trip:  You may be visiting a relative, attending a sporting event, vacationing in Arizona for the winter or any other number of geographic locations.  Traveling this way is considered a location-based road trip. You will generally want to make the best time possible so you can have more time to enjoy your location.

Touring trip: Flying by the seat of your pants, going where the road takes you and fully enjoying every location. You have no set location; you simply embark on an adventure and take your time.

Both of these types of trips are perfect ways to travel in your Airstream. You will travel differently based on which type of trip you are taking.

Location-based trips are easily planned. For example, if you are going from Michigan to Arizona for the winter, head to your preferred maps site (MapQuest, Google Maps) and plot your course. Consider how many miles you would like to drive per day, and find stops at those intervals. You can plan every aspect of your trip before you leave.

Touring requires far less planning, however you will have to become the master of improvisation. You will decide which direction to travel based on your own desires and inclinations. The first rule of touring is to slow down and enjoy the journey. Travel 60 MPH or the speed limit, whichever is less. This will conserve gas and keep a relaxed pace. Take backroads as often as you can. Backroads are generally far more scenic and in better condition since they don’t receive heavy traffic. Stop along the way and enjoy anything that looks interesting.

Make absolutely no reservations for your trip, as this will lock you into a set plan. Instead, simply find camping places that are readily available all over the country. It’s advised to get off the road before 4 p.m. to ensure that you are able to find a camping spot. Remember, you do not have to hit the road every day. If you find an area you enjoy, stay for as long as you wish! The goal of touring is to enjoy the journey and experience the freedom of the road.

With a pristine tow car, a stocked Airstream and your type of travel in mind, you can take a trip in your Airstream that will give you freedom and adventure. Enjoy your journey; I’ll see you on the road!

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