Last updated on November 30th, 2022 at 11:27 am
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Given that they are some of the most sought-after and prized RVs on the market today, you may be wondering: why are Airstreams so expensive? Is it simply their reputation and popularity that drives up the price, or is it far more than that? If you have always wanted to learn more about how much Airstream trailers cost and why, you’re in the right place.
So, why are Airstreams so expensive? Airstreams are so expensive because of the materials used to manufacture these trailers, as well as their reputation, the amount of time they last, their resale value, and the luxury touches that you’ll find sprinkled across every size of Airstream trailer.
But what are Airstreams like to make them so expensive, and what details do you need to know about all of the above listed reasons? There are so many different reasons why Airstreams are expensive and popular. Let’s address all of them here!
What is an Airstream Trailer Like? Luxury Aluminum Rigs
If you’ve never seen or been inside of an Airstream travel trailer, you definitely should. There’s a lot to love about these aluminum rigs, including all of their special touches, both inside and out.
Airstream travel trailers are unlike any others in that they are made of high-quality, aircraft-grade aluminum materials. This gives them both their signature look as well as a long-lasting shell in which to craft the interior of the RV in.
The Airstream we know today was created all the way back in the 1930s, under a single owner who was inspired by his time living along the Oregon Trail in a covered wagon. Wally Byam wanted to create a completely enclosed and portable home, and so he set off to create the Silver Bullet style of Airstream we know and love today.
Obviously, they have come very far from the 1930s. They still maintain a lightweight, aluminum body, but the luxurious features and finishing touches found in just about any Airstream is enough to surprise the average person.
In addition, the modern-day Airstream comes in a variety of lengths and weights to suit just about any lifestyle. There are Airstream motorhomes as well as travel trailers, all of them built using aircraft grade aluminum and other high-quality materials.
Given just how long Airstream has been in business, they truly understand what RVers are looking for in terms of RV storage, technology, and more. Not only are Airstreams popular for boondocking or off-grid camping, they are also durable enough to last generation after generation.
What Makes Airstream Trailers So Expensive?
Now that you have a bit of background as to what an Airstream travel trailer is like, that doesn’t exactly answer the question as to what makes these travel trailers so expensive. Let’s talk more about this in detail now!
We’ve already mentioned it once or twice, but one of the primary reasons that Airstream travel trailers are so expensive is because of the materials used in the building process. Not only do they use high quality aluminum for the main shell of these RVs, they also use a variety of other quality building materials.
Airstream is consistently improving its construction and design to better suit RVers everywhere, which is why they have an emphasis on recycled or consciously procured materials. They also make a point to find quality materials such as composite wood, leather upholstery, and quality construction materials that prove to stand the test of time.
However, finding consciously sourced and quality materials doesn’t come cheap. This is especially true when you consider the fact that the Airstream aluminum used in the production of the outer shell is so costly and intricate. It takes a long time to work with high-quality materials, which is another contributing factor that we will touch on a bit later.
It’s no wonder that Airstream travel trailers are so expensive, given the reputation behind the name. Any RV manufacturer that has been around since the 1930s is one to remember, given the fact that the grand majority of them went out of business at the start of World War II.
Not only is the Airstream name an old one, it also brings with it an air of quality and good investment practices. Many RVers will tell you that making a wise initial investment in your new rig is a good idea, but there are very few brand names that are synonymous with the phrase “wise investment”.
Airstream has earned this title after Decades of customer satisfaction, quality materials, and more. While this doesn’t necessarily equate to a higher purchase price, the name and reputation of this particular brand certainly garners a few more customers willing to pay top dollar for a quality rig.
Plus, the other side of reputation is simply the visual components that your Airstream has to offer. There’s nothing better than driving an Airstream down the highway and having it get noticed by other travelers. Many customers pay top dollar to have this image, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Airstreams are beautiful and stunning, though they do come at a price for that reason as well.
I mentioned earlier that we will circle back to this point, as it is another reason why Airstreams are so expensive. Part of the reason why aluminum travel trailers cost so much is because of the time it takes to manufacture something of this quality and out of these quality materials.
According to Airstream, each one of their travel trailers or motorhomes go through a complicated building and testing process. This leads to a bespoke travel trailer that has been thoroughly investigated and looked over so that you can have the peace of mind you need while on the road.
However, time means money, and Airstream would rather give you a quality product than rush their travel trailers out the door. This does indeed mean that every single RV goes through a number of inspections, and that the initial build time is much longer than other RV manufacturers.
Airstream doesn’t simply have RVs waiting to be sold, they make every single one to order. This obviously drives up the initial purchase price and overall cost of this RV quite a bit, especially when you take labor and potential delays into account.
The Resale Value
When you consider the fact that an Airstream travel trailer last generation after generation with little to no maintenance required, there is something to be said for resale value of these travel trailers. RVs are notorious for never maintaining their value, though many would argue that the Airstream brand does not suffer the same trials as other RV brands.
This isn’t to say that Airstream travel trailers require zero maintenance at all times. Despite all of their fantastic and quality materials, you will still need to make sure that your windows are sealed and that your axles are in good repair.
However, even Airstreams from generations past are being sold and utilized on camping trips. In fact, the newer the Airstream you purchase, the more likely it will be to last. This is due to the fact that Airstream is constantly renovating their rigs and finding newer and better materials to stand the test of time.
So, just like any major purchase such as a car or home, people who choose to purchase an Airstream purchase these travel trailers with resale value in mind. The resale value of an Airstream is always high, which is how they are able to ask for more upfront in the first place.
The Style and Luxury Features
There’s a lot to be said about the style and luxury touches found in an Airstream travel trailer. No matter the make, model, or year, Airstream has always taken the time to build something beautiful and timeless. Whether that’s a compact class B or their classic travel trailer, they deliver.
Not only does Airstream offer multiple interior design material swatches for your upholstery and countertops, you can also find makes and models with further luxurious features. In fact, Airstream frequently collaborates with brand names and home decor manufacturers to create an even more exclusive and beautiful travel trailer interior.
This isn’t to say that Airstream only has elegance and impractical features to offer. Far from it! They offer many practical RV necessities in a more stylish package, including convenient layouts and floor plans, boondocking capabilities, and rugged features that help your Airstream last even longer.
Airstream consistently utilizes quality materials to create a sense of home and cozy luxury, no matter how far away you are from your residential house. However, these luxury features come at a cost, which is just another reason why Airstream trailers are so expensive.
How Much Do Airstream Trailers Cost?
Now that we have explained so many of the reasons why an Airstream travel trailer might cost a bit more than others, let’s take a look at the initial purchase prices of all of the Airstream trailer options available on the market today.
Keep in mind that the initial purchase price of any RV is never quite what you end up paying at the end of the day. Just like any other RV manufacturer, Airstream offers a number of optional or add-on features that you can choose to have installed before you drive your new RV off the lot. For the sake of simplicity, we will only be addressing the initial purchase prices of all of these travel trailers, rather than what they may end up costing you after you figure out all of the features you want.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at all of the different makes and models offered by Airstream. They are especially interesting when you consider the fact that Airstream has themed them very specifically in terms of their interior design!
Available in four floor plans and ranging in length from 30-33 feet, the Classic Airstream is exactly what it sounds like. This model is one of the initial ones built by Airstream, and its interior design is nothing to scoff at.
You can sleep up to 6 people in this rig, depending on the floor plan, and it is full of features any RVer wants, including boondocking abilities and marble countertops. The Airstream Classic starts at $188k, making it one of the more expensive options offered.
The Airstream Bambi is a fairly recent addition to the Airstream lineup, in an effort to build a compact travel trailer for smaller tow vehicles. This isn’t to say that the Bambi doesn’t have a lot to offer in terms of its floor plans and space-saving tricks. In fact, this is one of Airstream’s most popular makes and models given its compact size and ease of towing.
Available in four floor plans that can sleep up to four people, the Bambi ranges in length from 16 feet to 22 feet. It starts at just under $60k, making it a more affordable option than others on this list. However, the Bambi definitely feels a bit less sophisticated inside, especially when compared to the Classic and other models.
Starting at $109k, the Airstream International is a great blend of space, comfort, and style. Ranging in length from 23 feet all the way to 30 feet, many customers find a certain level of peace upon stepping inside of an International travel trailer.
The decor isn’t flashy or overstated, but it still feels like a place that is easy to spend time in. With attractive herringbone flooring and cool tones throughout, you can sleep 4-6 people inside of the International, making it a fantastic price point for families and couples.
Claiming itself as the most versatile and flexible travel trailer that Airstream manufactures, the Flying Cloud is popular for a number of reasons. Starting at $94k, the Flying Cloud offers 13 floor plans over many feet, including the same specs as the International (23-30 feet).
Claiming itself as the “silver bullet for every occasion”, the Flying Cloud is perfect for families and groups of people looking to camp without too much fuss. The interior design is comfortable, durable, and easy to clean, and you can find a floor plan that works well for you with ease. There’s even a floor plan with a home office, for those of you planning on living in your Airstream full time!
With interior design inspired by Europe and beyond, the Globetrotter starts at $126k. The primary reason for this price increase has to be for its fantastic interior design, including its minimalist elements and clean lines. Available in 8 floor plans, the Globetrotter has a lot to offer, in many ways.
Light, bright, and luxurious, the Globetrotter is perfect for the more sophisticated camper who is seeking European-inspired touches and convenient storage solutions. It can sleep up to 6, depending on the floor plan, and it offers large sectional couches alongside efficient kitchens. If you like the interior design on this rig, then this is the best option for you.
Similar to the Bambi, the Caravel offers Airstream’s quality design in a compact frame. Ranging in length from 16-22 feet, the Caravel has four floor plans inspired by Airstream’s original Caravel model from decades past.
Starting at $74k, there’s a lot to love about the Caravel. It has fantastic storage, details to make you feel like you’re in a luxurious rig, all without getting in the way of the camping and all that adventuring has to offer. It’s a fantastic choice for those of you seeking a compact rig with more residential features than you may expect in a rig this size!
One of the most unique travel trailers on the market today, the Basecamp is striking for many reasons. One of the obvious ones is the shape of this rig- it is one huge window on wheels, in a lot of ways. The other striking piece of information to mention about the Basecamp? It starts at $46k, making it the least expensive option on this list.
While it only sleeps 2-4 people depending on the model you choose, the Basecamp is exactly what the Airstream lineup needed for our modern-day campers. It is perfect for boondocking, traveling on uneven terrain, and makes a great rig for those of you looking for something easy to tow as well as truly outstanding to look at.
Pottery Barn Special Edition
Speaking of truly outstanding to look at, Airstream recently partnered with Pottery Barn to create a special edition travel trailer. Combining the two brands in a number of beautiful and unique ways, the Pottery Barn Special Edition starts at $167k. While it only comes in a 28 foot model, it has a lot to offer in terms of its interior design.
Not only are there custom storage solutions and materials designed by Pottery Barn, this rig truly feels luxurious inside. You also get a number of accessories and furniture pieces from Pottery Barn, as well as bedding. While it may not be what you expected, it’s certainly a beautiful rig to check out!
Airstream travel trailers are expensive, and for a number of reasons. Not only are they built out of quality materials that give you a sense of luxury and comfort, they also take time to create. Plus, you are paying top dollar for an RV with some proper resale value, as well as a decades-old name behind it.
No matter your interest in the brand, Airstream trailers are truly investments, built to stand the test of time. However, there’s no arguing that they are some of the most expensive travel trailers on the market today!