Why Are Airstreams So Expensive?

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A woman's eyes are wide and mouth is ajar in shock at the price of an Airstream

So, you’ve just started shopping for a new RV when you see it across the lot–a sleek, gleaming silver trailer with rounded edges and a retro style. Yes, it’s an Airstream. But for many, the love affair stops when they take a peek at the price tag, leaving them with one lingering question: Why are Airstreams so expensive? 

Let’s delve into this common question and see whether they’re worth the extra money.

About Airstream 

If you’re not familiar with this significant RV industry player, Airstream is an American trailer company known for its distinctive silver aluminum travel trailers. Its roots trace back to the 1930s when founder Wally Byam began constructing trailers for friends and neighbors. 

The company has retained its style since, which has remained popular among retro camper fans. As a result, Airstream has grown a community of dedicated enthusiasts who keep their RVs for many years.

View from above of the Airstream Globetrotter with the striped awning extended and a group enjoying dinner outside.

How Much Does an Airstream Cost?

The very smallest Airstream travel trailer, known as the Basecamp, starts at just over $43,000. However, those who want the classic Airstream design will find that the smallest model (the Bambi) sells for around $56,000. 

As the size increases, so does the price, all the way up to the mammoth Classic model, which costs $179,000 and includes extra storage and luxurious finishes in the kitchen, bathroom, and living spaces. 

Why Are Airstreams So Expensive?

If your eyes bulged at that price tag, know you’re not alone. But there are several key reasons that explain why Airstreams are so expensive. 

High Quality Construction

Airstreams are world-renowned for their extremely high-quality manufacturing processes. It’s one of the reasons so many vintage Airstreams are still around! But as with most things, exceptional quality doesn’t come cheap. Still, you’ll know you’re getting what you pay for with such a well-respected brand. 

You’re Paying for the Name

The downside of that well-respected brand is that you’ll have to pay a premium for it. Aside from the knowledge that you’re enjoying a quality trailer, Airstreams can be something of a status symbol in the RV and trailer community. You’ll even find some Airstream-only RV parks! 

While you’ll surely impress even those outside of the RV world with your instantly recognizable trailer, you’ll need to fork over some extra cash in exchange. 

Aluminum Doesn’t Come Cheap

One of the reasons Airstreams are so recognizable and iconic is their sleek aluminum construction. This provides many benefits that we’ll discuss shortly. But aluminum is fairly expensive as far as RV building materials go. 

Other motorhomes and trailers made of fiberglass can have cheaper construction costs. However, Airstream pays more for the aluminum, and a higher sticker price reflects that. 

Pro Tip: Airstream just released a new RV with office space built in →

What Makes Airstreams Worth the High Price Tag?

You likely won’t find an Airstream for cheap. But it’s clear that, if you can afford it, the price is worth it. Here are some of the most important reasons why airstreams are so expensive. 

Made to Last

Airstreams don’t just look retro–they are! Many of the ones you’ll see on the road are decades old. Their aluminum exteriors stand the test of time much better than other types of RVs and trailers, preventing leaks and keeping your interior space safe. 

Many other campers just don’t last as long. While other campers may be cheaper, owners may find themselves buying two or three over the years while a single, well-cared-for Airstream remains usable. 

American Made

Airstreams are made right here in the United States at their factory in Jackson Center, Ohio. You’ll know you’re supporting American jobs and companies with your Airstream purchase, enabling skilled craftsmen to support themselves and their families. What’s not to like about that?

Interior of the Airstream Atlas Touring Coach with brown leather finishings and a reclining couch

Doesn’t Skimp on Style

It goes without saying that Airstreams are among the most distinctive RVs out there, thanks to their shiny, silver aluminum exteriors. But the attractive design doesn’t end there–Airstreams also have incredible interior style, too. 

The living spaces of your trailer are thoughtfully put together with high-end finishes and products–no cheap ugly plastics here, like in some travel trailers! Various models include stainless steel appliances, Corian countertops, solid oak tables, and more. 

Aerodynamic 

Aerodynamics may not be top of mind for many RV buyers. But with gas prices seemingly always on the rise, every little bit helps. A sleeker trailer with reduced drag will require less force to tow down the highway. This means better gas mileage and lower costs for you. The Airstream’s aerodynamic design also means more stability in high wind or bad weather situations.

Keep In Mind: Here are the top 5 regrets of owning an Airstream →

Do Airstreams Hold Their Value?

Like all RVs and other vehicles, your brand-new Airstream will certainly take a depreciation hit as soon as you drive it off the lot. But beyond this normal, initial loss, Airstreams tend to hold their value better than just about any other trailer brand. 

This is primarily the result of two factors. First, as we’ve discussed, they’re known to last for decades if properly cared for. But you’ll also retain additional value due to the generally high demand for these popular, iconic RVs. 

A woman and her dog on the cushioned seats of an Airstream Globetrotter enjoying breakfast at the dining table

Are Airstreams Worth the Money?

Whether or not something is “worth it” largely depends on your values. It may not be the wisest choice for infrequent campers or those unsure about whether they’re interested in owning an RV for the long term. But it’s undeniable that Airstream offers a high-quality product that’s among the top options for many towable RV buyers. 

When cared for properly, they can provide decades of comfort and the sleek style can’t be beat. Of course, you’ll need the financial resources to buy one first, but many owners find the costs well worth it over time. 

Let’s recap: Why are Airstreams so expensive? The answer should now be clear–high-quality construction, a brand name you can depend on, classy style, and long-term durability. Investing in one of these high-end rigs may not be for everyone, but those who choose them are rarely disappointed. 

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