Complete Airstream Rental Guide
Welcome to The Complete Airstream Rental Guide! Go RV Rentals has been making it easy to quickly find an RV rental since 2014. In this guide, we’ll share valuable insider tips to save money to get the best price on renting an Airstream. Furthermore, we’ll show you how to rent an Airstream trailer. You’ll learn how much it costs to rent an Airstream. Then, we’ll answer the most important question, “where can I rent an Airstream?” by showing you which locations rent Airstreams and who offers them for rent. In the final sections, we’ll discuss the good and the bad about Airstream RVs, the history of the Airstream brand and vintage Airstream rentals.
Airstreams are a quintessential part of American culture. There’s probably not one American who hasn’t seen an Airstream trailer driving down the road. But these iconic “silver bullets” have more behind them than most people realize. In fact, they may be the very reason for today’s classic American camper culture.
Can you rent an Airstream?
Of course you can! You can rent new and vintage Airstream trailers. You may decide to try before you buy. Here are a few of the popular model Airstreams that you may want to consider renting:
Airstream Nest (fun, bright, flexible & lightweight)
Airstream Globetrotter (epitome of modern style, spacious)
Where can I rent an Airstream?
You can rent a well-cared-for Airstream nearby direct from the owner using our affiliate partner’s trusted online platform. To search for Airstream rentals nearby:
>>>Search Airstream Rentals Nearby (All Other Locations)
How to rent an Airstream?
There a several ways you can rent an Airstream. You could rent it from a local RV dealer. The problem with this is that most dealers only sell RVs and they don’t rent them out, especially premium brands like Airstream. Next, you could find one from an owner on Craigslist. This is not the best idea in our opinion for various reasons including safety of the transaction. Finally, this brings us to the main reasons why you’ll want rent an Airstream through Go RV Rentals’ affiliate partner.
You’ll get a wide selection of Airstream trailers to choose from, instant online booking, secure payment processing and valuable ancillary service options such as trip insurance, financing and experiences. Additionally, each rental includes insurance and free 24-hour roadside assistance.
How much does it cost to rent an Airstream?
The average cost to rent an Airstream per day varies by model and location of where you pick it up. But to give you some idea, our latest nationwide price survey for Airstream trailers indicates the cost to rent an Airstream as follows:
Airstream Rental Cost in Atlanta, Georgia
We recorded current rates from $99 up to $350 per night to rent an Airstream in Atlanta.
Airstream Rental Cost in Austin, Texas
We’re seeing rates from $150 up to $750 per night in Austin for Airstream rentals.
Airstream Rental Cost in Dallas – Fort Worth, Texas
We’re seeing rates from $99 up to $300 per night to rent an Airstream trailer in DFW.
Airstream Rental Cost in Denver, Colorado
We’re seeing nightly rates from $98 all the way up to $450 per night for an Airstream RV in Denver.
Airstream Rental Cost in Los Angeles, California
Airstream Rental Cost in San Diego, California
We’re seeing rates from about $150 upwards to $250+ per night to rent an Airstream in LA and San Diego.
Airstream Rental Cost in Minneapolis – St. Paul, Minnesota
Airstream Rental Cost in Orlando, Florida
We’re seeing rates from $90 up to $500 per night to rent an Airstream travel trailer in Orlando.
Airstream Rental Cost in Phoenix, Arizona
We’re seeing rates from $99 all the way up to $500 per night to rent an Airstream in Phoenix.
Airstream Rental Cost in Salt Lake City, Utah
We’re tracking Airstream camper rental rates from $125 up to $295 per night near Salt Lake City, Utah.
Airstream Rental Cost in San Francisco Bay Area California
We’re seeing Airstream rental prices in the Bay Area from about $150 upwards to $350 per night with plenty of inventory available.
Airstream Rental Cost in Seattle, Washington
We’re seeing rates range from below $100 to over $200 per night for Airstreams for rent in Seattle.
Airstream Rental Cost in Tampa – St. Petersburg, Florida
We’re tracking Airstream rental rates from $75 up to $275 per night in Tampa.
Insider’s tip for cheap Airstream rentals: You may save money renting an Airstream by renting it during the off-season (generally when kids are back in school, winter, early spring or late fall) for trip duration of a week or more and/or obtaining a valid coupon code. These savings can run from 5% to 20%.
The Good, the Bad of Airstream RVs
Airstreams are a popular way to camp and travel on the road. They have been around for almost 100 years and have become a veritable touchstone of American culture. But there’s a lot to consider before purchasing or renting your very own Airstream. We’ll go through everything you need to know, good and bad, before renting an Airstream.
Airstreams are known for their insane durability. In fact, the company states that 70% of Airstreams ever sold are still on the road. Many people are able to take abandoned or vintage Airstreams and make them road ready with some simple refurbishment. This also keeps the price of used Airstreams fairly high, since the trailers can last for up to or longer than 40 years. That means Airstreams typically fare a lot better than standard RVs, which typically last from 15-20 years.
Besides the quality exterior, Airstream manufactures luxury interiors as well. The amenities vary from model to model, but most trailers have all leather cushions, and home-quality appliances, including faucets and stovetops. Some Airstreams also have inlay walls with bamboo, wood or other material to give it a more modern or minimalist feeling. In addition, Airstreams have climate control, fans, and some even have a trailer-wide stereo system. Some models also have additional windows, meaning you can have plenty of natural light feeding into the trailer. With all of the different models available, you’ll definitely be able to find a model with an interior that suits your needs.
A lot of people are drawn to Airstream trailers due to their unique “silver bullet” style. They stand out amongst regular RVs, and you’re sure to get questions from other campers when you pull up to the campground. The sleek design went through multiple iterations to get to what we see today, but the shiny aluminum shell has become a staple of the Airstream style. Plus, Airstream has numerous models, from the dreamy Flying Cloud to the compact Basecamp, with a variety of looks and styles.
The aluminum exterior also lends itself to redecoration. Many Airstreamers have painted the exterior bright colors or with mesmerizing murals. If you’re an artsy type, an Airstream is great canvas to express your inner self as you’re heading down the road.
Good: Environmentally Friendly
Airstreams were built as a way to better connect with nature and the world around us. It makes sense that they would strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible. All Airstreams are “Certified Green” by TRA, based on resource, energy and water efficiency, and indoor air quality. That means when you’re on the road, you can feel more secure about keeping our planet healthy. In addition to their eco-friendly record, Airstreams also have impeccable aerodynamics, meaning you’ll need less power to tow and less gas to get to your destination.
That being said, due to the rounded roof and aluminum, it can be difficult to mount things like solar panels. Other flat-roofed RVs are more suitable for this.
This is the main reason people shy away from buying or renting an Airstream. Prices for the larger models can run as high as the price of a small house. Even a smaller 16-foot model goes for $45,000 new. Even Airstream rental prices can be high compared to other campers. You can find used Airstreams with no issue, but since the resale value stays consistently high, you won’t find much of a discount (this is a good thing for owners). However, you can find some refurbished pre-1970s Airstreams for around $15,000 or less depending on model and condition. If you’re looking to refurbish your own Airstream, starting prices can be less than $5,000, again depending on condition. Keep in mind, however, that refurbishing an Airstream can carry its own hefty price tag.
A common complaint with Airstreams is their lack of connectivity. While the modern trailers come complete with electricity and power outlets, there can be a lack of USB ports and Bluetooth systems. Most other RVs now have these amenities, and it’s important to think about this is you’re considering purchasing or renting an Airstream.
More importantly, however, is the issue of wireless signals. Since the Airstream is made of aluminum, it blocks many wireless signals from reaching the interior of the trailer. The aerodynamic design also lets down the Airstream in this respect. The rounded and sleek roof makes it difficult to attach any sort of antennas or signal boosters. It is possible, although you’ll probably have to hire someone to do it safely and without damaging the aluminum exterior. This issue is one of the most common complains about Airstreams, and is something to consider if being connected is a high priority for you when you’re on the road.
Bad: Difficult Repair
Airstreams are notable for their high quality interiors and luxury feel, but could come at a price even after you’ve made your purchase. Because of Airstream’s unique designs, most parts, including drawers, cabinets and other interior features, are custom. If any of these should break, replacements can be pricey and hard to come by. In case of emergencies or maintenance issues, keep a record of nearby repair shops in your hometown or wherever you are traveling.
The outside of the Airstream is even more difficult to repair, and not just because of scarce parts. Again, the Airstream is made of aluminum, and repairing any interior plumbing, electrical or wall issues requires removing or otherwise getting through the aluminum exterior. The aluminum can also be very delicate in the wrong conditions. Driving in the winter can corrode the exterior, and the aluminum scratches easy. Replacing other issues like rivets or closing leaks is another issue entirely. The truth of the matter is, owning an Airstream can require just as much (if not more) maintenance as owning a house. Maintenance issues often require costly professional repair, as DIY maintenance can be too complicated for an amateur.
Most people love their Airstream, and say any hassle is more than worth it. But there’s a lot to owning or renting an Airstream, and you should make sure that it’s the right fit for you. Think about all of the pros and cons, and decide which features, good or bad, are most important to you.
The History of Airstream
The Airstream was born in 1929 out of the mind of Wally Byam. It seems as though Byam was born to create trailers, as he grew up living in a wagon off the Oregon Trail. This wagon had nearly all the same amenities as a home: a kitchen, water, beds and food. It was this childhood on the farm that would give Byam the seeds of his trailer invention. The Airstream itself actually came about because of Byam’s wife, Marion. While camping was one of the couple’s pastimes, Marion hated sleeping in tents. That led Byam to conjure up a couple different iterations of mobile camping sites, before finally landing on a plywood trailer: the first Airstream.
It wasn’t long before Byam’s torpedo-shaped contraption attracted attention. Not only was it light and easily towable, it even contained a stove and ice chest. So many people asked him about how he made it that he published a guide in Popular Mechanics. Soon enough, many of his neighbors asked him to build them their very own campers. Demand became so high that by 1931, he opened the first Airstream factory in Culver City, California. Within a year, he had sold over 1,000 models of the first Airstream, the Torpedo Car Cruiser.
In 1936, Byam took inspiration from Bowlus Teller’s innovative aluminum camper. Byam improved the design with his own version, by making it lighter and more accessible. This model, the Airstream Clipper, is the predecessor to the Airstreams we see on the road today. Airstream’s popularity and success created a boom for the trailer industry, one that unfortunately, would fall with the advent of the Great Depression and World War II. Airstream is the only modern company that survived this period.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, the government banned the creation of recreational campers due to resource shortages, and Byam put the company on hiatus. Most of his workers went instead into airplane manufacturing. The knowledge they came back with proved extremely useful for Airstream’s future models. After a short time making a similar Clipper model for Curtis Wright Industries, Byam resurrected Airstream in 1947 with the Airstream Liner.
1948 was truly a watershed year for Airstream. Byam took his Airstream Liner to post-war Europe with Cornelius Vanderbilt, Jr. and traveled the continent. He used this time to perfect any inconsistencies in the Airstream’s model, ensuring that the Airstream would become one of the world’s favorite ways to travel. Byam’s “World’s Most Traveled Trailer” was a predecessor to the Airstream caravans that would appear in the coming decades. The first such caravan took place in 1951, when Byam sent out an open invitation in the Los Angeles Times for campers to travel with him from Texas to Nicaragua. The trip was nearly disastrous. He started with 63 trailers, ending with only 14, as unsuitable roads and weather caused many to turn back. Luckily, Byam was able to improve the model and future caravans from this experience.
In 1952, Airstream moved opened a factory in its present-day location of Jackson Center, Ohio, and the company evolved continuously throughout the following decade. These included improvements like a hot water system, and a fully self-sufficient trailer system. This meant that Airstreams could travel longer distances and became accessible to even more travelers. Even after Byam’s death in 1962, the company continued to grow and improve upon its model, releasing newer and more diverse models, including the single-axel Bambi.
1969 brought Airstream’s first major redesign since the early days. The trailer became longer and slightly wider, with more rounded edges to enhance aerodynamics. This trend of innovation continued, as Airstream branched out into other forms of transportation, namely motorhomes. Airstream released the Argosy motorhome in 1974. The model was short-lived, but it planted the seed for similar releases in the future.
By this time, Airstream was becoming more than a quirky business, and it was quickly becoming a touchstone of American pop culture. Airstreams witnessed major world events: one was used as a quarantine vessel for the Apollo 11 astronauts after their historic first trip to the moon in 1969; Airstreams were also used as mobile offices on nuclear testing sites. The Wally Byam Caravan Club International, which had been founded in the 1950s, grew in popularity as caravans were held in more far-reaching and remote parts of the world. After Richard Nixon repaired Chinese-American relations in 1972, it only took 13 years before even China was visited by these Airstreamer caravans.
In 1980, Airstream merged with Thor Industries, after the 1970s brought difficulties due to the Middle East gas crisis. The association still exists today, as Airstream operates from its headquarters in Jackson Square, Ohio. The Airstream culture continued to grow, as interest in vintage models grew in the late 1980’s. Many Airstreamers renovated and repaired older models that are still in use on the road. You can still join the Vintage Airstream Club; it’s open to Airstreamers with a trailer at least 25 years old.
In recent years, Airstream has continued to expand its reach to travelers both young and old. The re-introduction of the cheaper Safari model brought a new generation of travelers into the fold, while the new line Mercedes-Benz touring coaches brought motorhomes back on Airstream’s radar in 2004. Airstream has continued to improve the design, interior and available amenities throughout the years, bringing us to the classic and comfortable models we see today. Today, Airstream has eight trailer and five touring coach models, ranging in size from 16 feet all the way to 33 feet. Airstream’s rich history has insured its long-lasting impact on America’s camping culture. And in the true Airstream spirit, 70% of all Airstreams ever manufactured are still on the road today.
About Vintage Airstreams
When Airstreams came to popularity, they really changed the face of camping forever. And with a history of almost 100 years, it’s no wonder vintage Airstreams are surging in style. Luckily, 60-70% of Airstreams ever sold are still on the road, so anyone can have an opportunity to own their very own vintage Airstreams. Let this be your guide to owning or renting a vintage RV.
There are several options for owning or renting a vintage airstream. First, you can purchase an already refurbished trailer, or refurbish it yourself. There are many things to consider when deciding. Besides the dozen-or-so models that are currently on the market, there are even more previous trailers and motorhomes that have since been retired. The most popular vintage models tend to date back to the 1970’s, as these have more room and larger windows than previous years, but still have the classic look. If you have your heart set on models from before then, it may be better to look for an already refurbished model, as there may be fewer factors to work around when rebuilding. Also keep in mind that Airstream tended to modify models mid-season, so the model you look up online may not be the one you end up getting. Check in person to make sure you’re getting the desired window size, width and design.
Besides the style, however, it’s more important to think about the effort involved in refurbishing an Airstream. Doing such an intensive project is certainly not for the faint of heart, but bringing a piece of history back to its former glory is more than rewarding. First, cost is certainly a factor. If you’re looking to save money by refurbishing, you’re in the wrong place. Refurbishing a vintage Airstream can cost just as much if not more than purchasing a brand new model. Currently, new Airstreams run anywhere from $47,900 to $164,400. Purchasing a trailer shell runs for at least $10,000, while restoration can cost up to $100,000. Other factors to consider are hiring professionals for the more complicated issues, insurance and parts, as well as future repairs.
When looking for models to refurbish, there are some things to watch out for. First off, check for water leaks or soft floors. This can indicate that the subfloor needs repairing, which is one of the most costly jobs when refurbishing. Replacing windows is another tricky job, so it’s probably best to find a shell with its windows intact if possible. That being said, many older models also have chipping from the UV coating and will need to be replaced eventually. Lastly, Airstream frames can corrode over time depending on its storage environment, so look out for any damage. You can also test the frame’s integrity by standing on the back bumper. You shouldn’t see any movement if it’s intact.
Other possible road blocks include belly pan damage, electrical or plumbing problems, and replacements. The belly pan is meant to protect the trailer from the elements underneath it, and if it’s damaged, that probably means some sort of critter has made its way in. That means not only will you have to get rid of some unwelcome guests, but you may also have to deal with the corrosion and damage the belly pan is meant to protect against. Electrical and plumbing issues are relatively easy to fix if they’re not too extensive, especially if you’re redoing the interior anyway. You may need to tighten up a few leaks, but be sure to check everything out before starting work. You’ll almost certainly need to get a few replacement parts for things like brakes and axles. Most can be found at online stores like Vintage Trailer Supply or Silver Trailer Supply.
Now that you’ve planned everything out, you may be wondering how you can even find a vintage Airstream to purchase. Fear not, as there are plenty of places to find listings. The most obvious one is Airstream Classifieds, which lists both newer and vintage models, as well as parts and other related items. You can also check out the classic eBay and Craigslist for options as well. These offers often go by extremely quickly, so speed is paramount to getting your trailer. You can set up alerts through sites like Search Tempest to make sure you’re notified immediately for a potential offer. You can also use WeGoLook to check out trailers that are too far away. The service will send someone to check out the trailer and make sure it checks all of your boxes before you purchase.
It’s easy to get lost in all of the logistics of owning or renting a vintage trailer, but you should never lose sight of your end goal. Refurbishing your own vintage Airstream is a chance to take a part of history and make it completely your own. That metal shell is truly a canvas for whatever you want to take down the road with you. It’s fairly simple to make your own special modifications to the design, interior or exterior. Some Airstreamers like to redo everything exactly as it was for that real vintage atmosphere, while some owners redo the entire interior with a modern design. There’s plenty of inspiration out there, so just do some research on what others have done.
More importantly, you’ll be able to join a fantastic community of fellow Airstreamers. Anyone who owns an Airstream can join the Wally Byam Caravan Club International, for caravans, rallies, and many other community events. Within the club is another chapter specifically for vintage Airstream-owners, and you’ll be able to connect to people who’ve gone through the same process of refurbishing an Airstream. Traveling with a rented Airstream is really a conversation starter of its own, and once you’re on the road, you’ll be able to share your pride and joy with all the other curious travelers you meet.