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