5 Ideas For A Budget-Friendly Airstream Trailer Renovation

For many avid travelers, owning a renovated Airstream trailer is on the top of their wish list. Beloved by many, this shiny mobile home is the obvious RV choice. However, for some, the desire to own one of these trailers may seem like a far-away dream. This is because of the time, money, and work it takes to both purchase and renovate an Airstream trailer. According to RVing Know How, a used Airstream in decent quality can be purchased for around $25,000 (this price will vary depending on the size and model). Then, on top of this, you'll need to think about how much the renovations will cost.

While owning an Airstream trailer is worth all the costs involved, that doesn't mean you have to spend a fortune on your renovation. If you're on a budget, there are a number of ways to cut costs. Here are five ways you could save money while updating your Airstream.

Do most of the work yourself

The best way to save money when renovating an Airstream trailer is to do most of the work yourself. However, as Mavis The Airstream points out, to completely renovate an RV, you'll need knowledge about everything from plumbing to carpentry to electrical wiring and much, much more. While you could spend half your lifetime learning all of these skills, sometimes certain things are better left to the professionals. When researching professionals to help you in the renovations, make sure you find RV experts. Some may claim they have all the knowledge required but later look like a deer in the headlights. 

Choosing to DIY your renovations will provide you with a lot more knowledge about your Airstream. This will be helpful when it breaks down in the future (and it will) because you may be able to do the repairs yourself. Even if you contract outside help, you should still be involved in the renovations as much as possible.

Create a basic plan

When renovating an Airstream trailer, it's important to have a plan of action. This means understanding what you want your space to look like, how you're going to achieve what you desire, and how much money you have to spend. Tiny Shiny Home says that, before creating a plan, first assess the state of your used trailer. Check for leaks, floor damage, electrical or plumbing issues, etc. This is important because fixing a problem could be costly, which could reduce your renovation budget.

Then, you'll want to create a basic floor plan for your trailer. According to Long Drives With Kids, you'll want to think about where the bedroom, bathroom, dinette, and kitchen will be placed, and different layouts have different pros and cons. For instance, a bedroom in the back of the RV will provide privacy, but it won't be as efficient as a front bedroom. While a front bedroom may be inconvenient, it could also be transformed into extra seating. 

Buy a good base

Another way to potentially save money is by buying an Airstream that doesn't need to be fully gutted. This is what Dueling Journeys did to save money on their renovation. They only updated small things to add personality and functionality to an already well-maintained trailer. One of the changes they made was replacing the hardware on their kitchen cabinets.

However, the downside is that you won't have full control over the design. According to Do It Yourself RV, a fully renovated Airstream is like a unique piece of artwork. It will be completely customized to you, and no one else will own an RV that looks exactly like yours. While you could make your Airstream unique with cosmetic updates, completely gutting and redoing your RV will give you the most customized look. Also, if you don't gut your Airstream, you may have to settle for a floor plan that isn't ideal for your specific needs. But not having to completely gut your RV will save you both time and money, so make sure to weigh the pros and cons. 

Purchase used appliances

Airstream appliances are not like the ones in a typical home. Of course, the biggest difference is that the models used in RVs are smaller and weigh less. Many times, these can also run on both electricity and gas, per Adventure Possible. If not, you'll need to make sure you purchase appliances that can run on your Airstream's specific power source. They can also cost more than normal appliances. For instance, the cheapest RV refrigerator on High Sky RV Parts is still over $1,300, while a basic model regular-sized fridge at Best Buy costs about $500. 

To save money, you could purchase used appliances. Another option is to buy an Airstream that already has well-maintained appliances so that you don't have to purchase them at all. Finding used RV appliances that are in good shape will take some time and thorough research, but it could also save you lots of money. 

Don't update everything all at once

During the renovation process, you may desire to get all the best features for your Airstream and to update everything all at once. Maybe you feel like you need to have everything completed before you leave on your next trip. However, if you're working within a budget, updating your trailer slowly can save you money (and time).

For instance, Air Streaming says that they waited until after their planned trip to add things like solar panels, new fans, and an awning. While you may want to add some of these expensive items right away, if they aren't necessary now, you may need to wait until you have more money to spend. Other things you may not need to update right away include cosmetic changes and furniture updates. When it comes to renovating an RV on a budget, focusing on what really needs to be updated is best.