6 Best Airstream Alternatives to Save Money

Of all the RV brands in the world, few are as iconic as Airstream. Their distinct trailers, with their aerodynamic shape and metal exterior, turn heads wherever they go. But Airstream trailers don’t come cheap. 

The good news is that there are plenty of Airstream alternatives available on the market. Mike and Susan, who own this website along with the RVBlogger YouTube channel, have toured through thousands of RVs to offer their perspective on the best Airstream alternatives to save you some big money!

They aren’t all shiny aluminum, and they don’t all meet the exacting quality standards of an Airstream trailer. But if you’re looking to save some money, they’re all great options. If the unmistakable exterior lines of an Airstream is what you’re looking for then your options will be limited.

However, if you are just looking for something a little different than the rows of look-alike travel trailers on the dealer lots and in the campgrounds, well you’re in luck because there are some nice Airstream alternatives.

Let’s go in-depth on Airstream and 6 great Airstream alternatives you’re sure to love. 

What Makes Airstream So Special?

what makes airstream so special

Few RVs are as iconic as the classic Airstream. If you ask a random passerby on the street to imagine an RV, there’s a very high chance that what pops into their head is the sleek metal Airstream trailer. 

Airstream first introduced its classic trailers in 1936, and the brand was an instant success. In fact, out of 400 some travel trailer manufacturers operating in 1936, Airstream was the sole company to survive the Great Depression. 

The reasons for Airstream’s success are numerous. For one, its sleek metal “sausage-shaped” design is an immediate eye-catcher. But that design is for more than just aesthetics; it also helps make Airstream trailers more aerodynamic, improving fuel efficiency for tow vehicles. 

It’s not just the outside that impresses, either. Airstream interiors are comfortable, surprisingly spacious, and meticulously outfitted with all the necessities (and then some!).

Even better, to this day, Airstream interiors are carefully handcrafted by skilled craftspeople at their Jackson Center, Ohio headquarters. The quality and design of the Airstream trailer have ensured they have a passionate following.

The Airstream community is large and full of passionate RVers who plan meetups, have travel groups, and share all the best tips for getting the most out of your Airstream. 

5 Best Airstream Alternatives to Save Money

Airstream trailers are great, but they’re also pricey and in high demand. Thankfully, there are a variety of Airstream alternatives on the market that are more affordable. 

You can stand out from the other RVers while not going overboard on your budget. Although it’s tough to replace an Airstream, these unique travel trailers will certainly stand out.

1. Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19MBS

Airstream Alternatives gulf stream vintage cruiser 19mbs exterior
Airstream Alternatives gulf stream vintage cruiser 19mbs interior
Airstream Alternatives gulf stream vintage cruiser 19mbs floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Classic 50s design touches inside and out

❌ Exterior design doesn’t pop as much as other Airstream alternatives

  • Length: 23’1”
  • UVW: 3,192 lbs
  • GVWR: 1,964 lbs
  • CCC: 1,228 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 420 lbs
  • Sleeps: 4

Do you think design peaked in the 50s? Do you want a sleek, 50s-inspired Airstream alternative that provides plenty of modern conveniences? Then you’ll love the Gulf Stream Vintage Cruiser 19MBS. 

The 19MBS features a sleek two-tone paint job inside and out, plus furnishings and interior designs that feel straight out of a 50s diner. But it’s not just about looks; the 19MBS also packs in tons of great features.

These include a spacious full dry bath, a fully equipped kitchen, and sleeping space for up to 4 people. Mike and Susan have toured many Vintage Cruisers at the Maryland, Hershey and Tampa RV Shows and feel this is a great alternative to an Airstream.

2. Happier Camper Traveler

Airstream Alternatives happier camper traveler exterior
Airstream Alternatives happier camper traveler interior
Airstream Alternatives happier camper floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Unique modular floorplan

❌ Will need to rearrange furniture to suit your needs

  • Length: 17’
  • UVW: 1800 lbs
  • GVWR: 3500 lbs
  • CCC: 1700 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 220 lbs
  • Sleeps: 4

With its delightfully retro design and unique Adaptive floor plan, the Happier Camper Traveler is a truly one-of-a-kind Airstream alternative. 

The sleek rounded edges of the exterior scream 50s retro futurism. You’re sure to turn heads with the Traveler in tow. But the inside is where this Airstream alternative really impresses. 

The Happier Camper Traveler features Happier Camper’s unique Adaptive floor technology. The trailer features a floor grid on which you can arrange easy-to-move modular pieces to suit your needs. 

The Traveler features two separate sections of Adaptive floor in addition to a kitchen and wet bath. You can switch them between office space, a dining area, a bedroom, or a lounge area in just a few short minutes. Talk about flexibility!

3. Oliver Travel Trailers

Oliver travel trailers exterior
Oliver travel trailers INTERIOR
5 Best Airstream Alternatives to Save Money oliver travel trailers floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Similar aesthetic to the classic Airstream

❌ Only available direct from the manufacturer

  • Length: 23’ 6”
  • UVW: 4900 lbs
  • GVWR: 7000 lbs
  • CCC: 2100 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 490 lbs
  •  Sleeps: 3

For an Airstream alternative with a similar aesthetic, Oliver Travel Trailers’ Legacy Elite II is an amazing option.  You won’t find these campers on dealer lots or at the RV Shows, so Mike and Susan have attended fiberglass RV rallies to tour through these awesome fiberglass campers.

The Legacy Elite II has a similar form factor to an Airstream, with a rounded “sausage-shaped” exterior. But, it swaps the classic metallic exterior for a sleek, shiny white paint job that’s every bit as gorgeous as a classic Airstream. 

The Legacy Elite II doesn’t just look great, either. This top-notch travel trailer also packs in tons of luxury, from the full custom molded interior and exterior insulated shells used to build it, to comfortable and chic interior furnishings, and beyond. 

4. Living Vehicle T27 

Living vehicle t27 exterior
Living vehicle t27 interior
Living Vehicle T27 interior

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Luxurious design and classic metal exterior, just like an Airstream

❌ No longer in production, so only available used

  • Length: 27’ 4”
  • UVW: 8,750 lbs
  • GVWR: 13,200 lbs
  • CCC: 4,450 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 990 lbs
  • Sleeps: 4

Bad news up front: this particular Airstream alternative is no longer in production, so you’ll have to buy used. But if you want a trailer with that same sleek metal look as an Airstream, the Living Vehicle T27 is hard to beat. As a side note, we recommend buying a used Airstream to save a ton of money, too!

This trailer features tons of luxury, with a gorgeous chic interior and tons of delightful touches done with full-time living in mind. It features a luxurious full bath with skylight, a spacious and fully outfitted kitchen (you even get a dishwasher!), and comfortable sleeping space for up to six. 

The T27 has other great little touches that set it apart from the rest. A spacious deck deploys from the side to enjoy some time outside. When it’s time to do laundry, you even get a washer/dryer inside your RV (say goodbye to campground laundry facilities!). 

5. Northern Lite Boreal

Northern lite boreal exterior
Northern lite boreal interior
Northern lite boreal floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Incredibly unique and futuristic design

❌ Interior is cozy but may be a bit dark for some

  • Length: 23’
  • UVW: 6,500 lbs
  • GVWR: 8,520 lbs
  • CCC: 2,020 lbs
  • Tongue Weight: 600 lbs
  • Sleeps: 4

Want an Airstream alternative that looks straight out of a sci-fi movie? You’ll love the Northern Lite Boreal.

Even on a list of unique travel trailers, the Boreal stands out. Its unique, sleek, and futuristic exterior would be right at home on an episode of Star Trek. But the Northern Lite Boreal has way more going for it than just looks. 

The spacious and comfortable Boreal features a full bathroom, modern interior design, full queen bed, well-equipped kitchen with CNC cut European laminate cabinetry, and also plenty of storage. Thanks to the convertible dinette, the Boreal can sleep up to 4, so it’s a perfect choice for families. 

The Most Expensive Airstream Alternative 

So we’ve looked at more affordable Airstream alternatives. But what if affordability isn’t a concern? We’ve got an option for you too: the Bowlus Terra Firma. 

6. Bowlus Terra Firma

The Most Expensive Airstream Alternative Bowlus Terra Firma exterior
The Most Expensive Airstream Alternative Bowlus Terra Firma interior
The Most Expensive Airstream Alternative Bowlus Terra Firma floorplan

Our Pros and Cons

✅ Luxurious touches inside and out, with an appearance that’s also extremely similar to a classic Airstream

❌ The most expensive Airstream alternative on the market

  • Length: 27’1”
  • UVW: 3,200 lbs
  • GVWR: 4,000 lbs
  • CCC: 800
  • Tongue Weight: 300 lbs
  • Sleeps: 4

The story of Bowlus and Airstream have been intertwined since the start. When Wally Byam, founder of Airstream, put out his first trailer, it was based on Bowlus trailers he’d previously sold. 

The Bowlus brand stopped producing trailers in the 30s (remember, only Airstream survived the depression). But in 2014, the brand was revived, and they started producing trailers once again.

The modern Bowlus Terra Firma is an incredible Airstream alternative, with all of the great design features you love. The sleek metal exterior and aerodynamic shape are partnered with the highest standards of luxury and performance. 

Inside you’ll also find a king-size bed (convertible into two twins), a bathroom and separate spacious shower, and ample seating, as well as a rear galley. And if you’ll be traveling with a furry friend, the Terra Firma has great pet-friendly features like slide-out bowls hidden in the seating. 

This amazing trailer is rounded out by an industry-best power management system, plenty of storage, and great touches like huge skylights. 

Why Are Airstream Trailers So Expensive?

Mike and Susan from RVBlogger (they also own TravelTraiulerPro.com) met with long time Airstream Sales representative to find out why Airstreams are so expensive. Check out their video interview above.

Airstreams are great RVs, but they don’t come cheap. The Classic model starts at over $180,000, just to name one example. So why are they so pricey?

There are a few factors at play here. For one, Airstreams are made by hand by skilled craftsmen who use a time-consuming process to build the trailer body. This creates a super durable and sturdy body, but also takes about 350 hours of work, vs. 50 hours for a typical trailer. 

Airstream also uses the highest quality of materials from the ground up. From real hardwood cabinetry to high-quality insulation, to the 3,000 rivets used to build every trailer, Airstream doesn’t compromise on a single material. 

Due to the impressive durability of Airstream trailers, they can easily last for 50+ years. This combined with the high demand for them means that Airstream trailers retain their value extremely well. That means that even used, Airstreams aren’t cheap!

Are There Airstream Alternatives That Are Cheaper?

Are there airstream alternatives that are cheaper

If you can’t afford a classic Airstream, the good news is there are plenty of cheaper Airstream alternatives on the market, including many here on our list.

While they might not quite reach the quality and aesthetics of the classic Airstream, they’re all very high-quality trailers with great aesthetics that are sure to turn heads. 

What Is The Best Airstream Alternative?

Which Airstream alternative is best for you depends a bit on the situation. 

If money is no option, then the Bowlus Terra Firma is going to make a statement. With a similar look and the same exacting quality, it’s an amazing Airstream alternative. 

But, for a more affordable Airstream alternative, any of the others on this list can fit the bill nicely. If you are looking for something to catch some eyes and spark a conversation at the campground, take your pick.

There is also the option of customizing an “ordinary” travel trailer. Exteriors are tough to customize. However, making an RV interior something different can be done with some creativity and basic skills.

Final Thoughts About Airstream Alternatives

Few trailers are as well-built and as iconic as the classic Airstream trailer. Thanks to their exacting standards and craftsmanship, an Airstream trailer does not come cheap. But while that quality is great, not all of us can afford an Airstream trailer.

Thankfully, there are plenty of Airstream alternatives available. They offer unique aesthetics that are sure to turn heads, just like a classic Airstream. Plus, they’re all high-quality trailers available at great prices.

Related Reading:

Do Airstreams Have Slide-Outs?

Is It Worth Restoring A Vintage Camper Trailer?

Are Fiberglass Campers Better Than Aluminum?

8 Travel Trailers With The Best Resale Value

About the Author:

Ryan Milejczak (mill-LAY-check) is a full-time freelancer writer and Florida native with a passion for RVs.

Currently, he’s saving up to do his own camper van conversion, which he plans to take across the US and Mexico.

When he’s not writing, Ryan loves cooking, hiking, practicing his Spanish, and taking care of his plants (currently at 23 plants and counting!)