TESTDRIVIN­G THE LIFE

Try the camper/trailer life­style be­fore you in­vest. Here are our top five places to start:

Do It Yourself - - MAKE IT -

SO­CIAL ME­DIA All of our DIYers spent hours on In­sta­gram, Pin­ter­est, and Face­book re­search­ing camper ren­o­va­tions for com­mon prob­lems, ideas, and in­spi­ra­tion. Feel free to post ques­tions and com­ments, and share the love of their sites. Search un­der terms and vari­a­tions of vin­tage trailer, camper, travel trailer, retro camper, RV, and Airstream makeovers.

RV SHOWS Even if your heart is set on a vin­tage trailer, shows will give you floor plan in­spi­ra­tion, stor­age ideas, op­tions for mod­ern up­dates, and sources for spe­cialty parts. You can also find fel­low en­thu­si­asts who can help you tap into the many RV-liv­ing and travel-trailer net­works. MEET-UPS Face­book and other so­cial me­dia camper groups (such as tin­can­tourists.com) reg­u­larly meet across the coun­try. These are a great way to learn lessons from pas­sion­ate and ex­pe­ri­enced own­ers and ren­o­va­tors. One caveat: Some en­thu­si­asts want vin­tage campers to stay true to their orig­i­nal aes­thetic, so know the group’s goal—and your own—going in.

RENT­ING The best way to ex­pe­ri­ence driv­ing and liv­ing in a small space on wheels is to rent one. Go on a va­ca­tion and see if ev­ery­one in your fam­ily really likes liv­ing to­gether in small quar­ters. Check out RV rentals in your area through com­pa­nies like Cruise Amer­ica, or try peer-to-peer rentals like Out­doorsy and RVshare. Airbnb and VRBO in­clude sta­tion­ary camper listings.

CAMPER SITES AND RV PARKS Get fa­mil­iar with the camp­sites and RV park fea­tures you’ll want to use and what fa­cil­i­ties and hookups you’ll need. Al­ways con­firm ahead of time if the site will accept a vin­tage camper— not all do. Some parks of­fer se­cluded nature set­tings, while oth­ers are all about host­ing com­mu­nity ac­tiv­i­ties with ameni­ties like pools and play­grounds. Pri­vate camp­ing grounds and RV parks, na­tional parks, and state parks pro­vide de­tailed info about their camper and RV site reser­va­tions and reg­u­la­tions.

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