“I’m 77 and I often wonder if an Airstream is the right RV for seniors of my age,” asks Outside Interests subscriber Bob. “So much to consider, it is mind boggling.”
Bob, that’s a great question. When it comes to Airstreaming, is age just a number? We reached out to some senior ‘streamers and asked their opinion on the subject.
“This is tough to answer,” stated an elder Airstream owner. “I’m 77 too; thanks for the reminder.” His response may seem discouraging, but it’s also wise advice.
“Unless you have some previous RV experience and are a seasoned camper and DIY’er with basic towing, hitching, dumping and mechanical skills, pursue another hobby,” he suggested. “We bought our 34-foot in 1998 from a couple in their late 70s. He could no longer manage the essential physical aspects of trailering: towing, electric and water hook-ups, awnings, reverse parking, or propane exchange.”
“With zero experience, we learned everything from scratch then, which is easy when you’re sixty and healthy,” he said. “For nearly twenty years, we criss-crossed the country several times, and used the trailer as a winter home and summer guest house. All were great memories. Two years ago, at age 75, I was relieved to pass the Airstream on to the next generation, with no regrets.”
“Could I take it up again?” he concluded. “Sure, with no trepidation. Would I want to? An emphatic no.”
Another Airstreamer countered with a different opinion. “I pulled an Airstream trailer until I was over 84,” he said. “I traded it for an Interstate Touring Coach with the intent to continue Airstreaming for another few years at least. I had a late friend, who towed a 34-foot Airstream until he was past 90.”
“I lean toward shorter trips now,” he said, “but I think as long as one is healthy and of sound mind, age is not that important.”
The decision to adopt or continue the Airstream lifestyle is as personal and unique as every individual, no matter what age. “People need to decide for themselves what they are capable of doing,” stated Rich Luhr, expert Airstreamer and publisher of Airstream Life magazine. “Certainly a trailer is more physical work than a motorhome, and that’s why a lot of older people migrate to a moho. Hitching a trailer entails lifting weight transfer bars, and fiddling with the coupler. Traveling by trailer means possibly carrying fewer convenience items, possibly lugging a generator (as opposed to having one built-in, like a motorohome) and a little more work for camp setup and tear down.”
Bob, is an Airstream right for “seniors like you”? That’s not a no. Keep asking around (and reading Outside Interests). If a trailer seems like too much trouble, jump into our community in one of the great small Airstream touring coaches available now—or even a bigger one, if you want to search for pre-2006 used motorhome models.
Seniors on the road enjoy some special perks! Look for 55+ or senior-oriented campgrounds that offer amenities and activities of interest to retirement-age campers. And don’t forget your National Park pass: if you’re 62 or older, you qualify for the $10 lifetime “Senior Pass”. It offers all the same perks as the “America The Beautiful” pass, and big discounts on camping fees. (For more on saving money in the National Parks, check out this article. )
Take care out there, though. If you or your travel partner are prone to mobility issues or fatigue, you’ll need to find a park that accommodates your health needs. Select a site where the hiking trails are flatter or closer to the fishin’ hole; you can call ahead to the park ranger or camp host and ask for the most accessible slots. Remember to let a friend or family member know where you’re headed, and when you expect to roll back into your driveway at home.
Senior Airstreamers, have a trailering tip or comment to share? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.