When it comes to campers, it’s hard to imagine a more iconic option than an Airstream. After all, the streamlined polished aluminum travel trailers produced by America’s oldest travel trailer maker have been criss-crossing the continent for nearly a century.
But did you know that Wally Byam, the founder of Airstream, also founded the glamping industry? Wally and his wife, Marion, were outdoor enthusiasts who loved camping. But while she enjoyed hiking and cooking over a campfire, Ms Byam disliked sleeping on the ground in a tent. Knowing that a happy woman leads to a happy life, Wally put on his thinking hat.
After scrapping a tent rig built on a Model T frame, Mr. Byam designed a teardrop-shaped towable shelter. Then he added a stove and cooler for good measure. Not only did he delight the lady, but I consider him the Henry Ford of the RV industry.
Fun fact: When the Apollo 11 astronauts returned to Earth after their historic trip to the Moon, they were quarantined in an Airstream aboard the USS Hornet.
Note: Many thanks to Treetopia Airstream Hotel to Catskill, NY for arranging my stay at their amazing RV resort. All opinions are mine.
What is glamping?
Glamping combines all the comforts of home – like indoor plumbing, hot water, electricity, air conditioning, and even cable TV – with the peace and quiet of camping. Instead of using an outhouse, boiling drinking water, pitching a tent and trying to get a good night’s sleep on the hard ground, glampers travel like sophisticated snails, pulling or driving their motorhome where the wind blows them, taking advantage of the indoor plumbing and sleeping soundly. in a real bed while being surrounded by the sights and sounds of nature.
If you’re like me (and Marion Byam) and love the great outdoors but don’t like sleeping on the floor of a tent, then glamping might be perfect for you. And here’s why glamping at an Airstream hotel is the perfect first-timer experience.
1. Try before you buy
With a record production of over 600,000 new RV units in 2021 and over 65 million Americans planning an RV vacation this year, RV travel experiences are certainly popular. But while many people seek the opportunity to disconnect from their daily lives and connect with nature (without giving up creature comforts like Wi-Fi, TVs, and flushing toilets), RV travel is not for everyone.
One of the benefits of glamping at an Airstream hotel is that it can help prevent buyer’s remorse. Before dropping $50,000 to $165,000 on a rig and another $30,000 to $50,000 on a vehicle large enough to carry it, stay at an Airstream resort. This essay will help you determine if glamping in an RV is right for you.
Pro Tip: Here are five reasons why you should rent an RV before buying one.
2. There is little preparation needed
The typical glamping experience requires you to fill water and gas tanks, cool the fridge, and make the bed with fresh linens. But when you stay overnight at an Airstream resort, it’s not much different from staying at a hotel. You simply check in as you would at any traditional hotel, collect your key and head to your ‘room’. No additional preparation is necessary, but you spend the night in a super cool hotel in the middle of nature!
3. No towing required
Whether you own or rent an Airstream, you usually have to transport it to your destination. That means your Airstream adventure requires owning or renting a vehicle large enough to pull your home away from home behind you. Most glampers choose a full-size SUV, crossover SUV, or pickup truck.
If you’ve spent most of your adult life driving a sedan, minivan, or SUV, pulling a 30-foot-long trailer might take some practice. You will have to master highway lane changes like a pro semi truck driver and perform city turns without cutting the pavement. You’ll also need to navigate your rig in and out of gas stations without exiting a pump. And you’ll need to perfect the beast save at a campsite close enough to the utility boxes and sewer drain for your cables and hoses to reach the hookups.
But when you rent a “room” at an Airstream resort, everything is in place and ready to go!
4. Save on gas
With traditional Airstream glamping, you will also need to consider the cost of gas. At $4/gallon, it costs about $100 to fill the tank of a Ford F-150 pickup. And at around 10 miles per gallon when towing an Airstream, each tank will only get you around 250 miles to your glamping destination.
When you’re glamping at an Airstream resort, the only gas you’re responsible for is your personal vehicle. (And if you already drive a Ford F-150 pickup truck, you’ll get much better gas mileage without towing a trailer!)
5. You don’t have to configure anything
If you’re glamping with your own Airstream, you need to set up camp. After you have properly positioned your Airstream in a campsite, making sure it is level, you need to connect it to electrical, water and sewer hookups.
But when you glamp at an Airstream resort, you’re good to go. Electricity, drinking water and toilets are already installed and ready for you. Just park your usual vehicle next to your “room” at the Airstream hotel and start enjoying the comfortable “glamp” in the middle of nature.
Pro Tip: Be sure to ask about bedding, blankets, pillows and towels when booking your accommodation at an Airstream resort. Some will provide you with all of these items while others will expect you to bring some or all of them with you.
6. …or destroy it all
And when it’s time to leave your cozy ‘tent’ and head home, there’s nothing to pack, empty or tear down. Leave the outdoor kitchen and seating area as you found them. Don’t worry about emptying the black and gray tanks, storing everything safely, or hooking the rig up to your vehicle before heading to your next destination. With this glamping experience, simply pack your belongings and leave with amazing memories.
7. Airstream Hotels Often Offer Incredible Extras
When you buy an Airstream, you walk away with an amazing miracle solution of a portable home away from home. But when you stay at an Airstream hotel, your rental often comes with additional modern amenities.
The beautiful Airstream Bambi I stayed at the Treetopia Airstream Hotel in upstate NY, it was more than a lovely camper. It was connected to a bridge divided into three sections. In the back was an outdoor grill station with a propane grill that was ready to go. In the middle was a long rectangular high table with bar stools. And forward of the Airstream, near the tow hitch, was a cozy outdoor seating area and fire pit.
8. There are many options from coast to coast
My first Airstream Resort experience was at Treetopia Campground in Catskill, New York. Located on the left bank of the Hudson River, about 15 minutes from Olana State Historic Site and about 25 minutes from the scenic Kaaterskill Wild Forest hiking trails, Treetopia is one of the best glamping spots of upstate New York.
The standard Airstream hotel experience is 200 square feet of space with a full bathroom and kitchen. And the unit is anchored to a wooden deck that includes an outdoor grill, tall picnic table, seating area, and fire pit.
Want a bigger rig? You can supersize your experience at Treetopia by booking the jumbo Airstream accommodation which includes a separate master bedroom with a comfortable queen-size bed at the front of the platform.
You can also find other Airstream trailer hotels across the United States, including resorts with vintage Airstream rigs, from the sunny Atlantic beaches of Cape Cod to the iconic landscapes of the National Park. of Yosemite.
If you dream of the kind of adventure offered only by RV travel, glamping at an Airstream resort is the perfect first experience for beginners.
Editor’s note: Learn more about Airstream’s legacy, referenced in the first paragraph of this article, here.