Ask Melanie: Can I live in an Airstream with a baby?

Can I live in an Airstream with a baby? This week’s question came via direct message from someone who follows me on Instagram. Here’s her question:

“Hi Melanie! My husband, me and my 4-month-old boy are planning to buy an Airstream and live in it for at least one year, do you think it will be possible with an infant?”

I’ve alluded to this question before with this answer to the question: Is our family too big to live in an Airstream? But since that question was specifically asking about grown kids and pets, not little humans, I wanted to expand a bit. I also want readers to know that I do not have human babies and I don’t pretend to know the insane challenges or rewards that parenthood provides. That being said, I had a close friend, who recently had a baby, ask me the same question. Here’s the advice I gave her:

Yes, it is possible to live in an Airstream with a baby. Is it going to be hard? Yes. My guess would be that it is going to be harder than living in a traditional home. But you have to be resilient to live this life. You have to be a problem-solver. You have to know that it is going to be hard and do it anyway.

Here’s some potential issues I’ve thought of:

  • Living off-the-grid or travelling would be difficult (but not impossible, of course). I don’t know whether this reader wants to travel or stay-put. Off-the-grid and/or travelling will bring another level of difficulty– think solar power, getting a clean water source for showers, cooking, cleaning, etc.
  • Laundry. Babies get a lot of clothes dirty and need a good amount of clean clothes at all times.
  • It’s gonna get smelly/dirty/gross sometimes. It gets smelly/dirty/gross sometimes in our home too and our dog poops outside. ‘Nuff said.
  • Space for baby stuff. I know babies can be minimalists too :), but they still need some amount of stuff.
  • Everyone in the family will have to keep the same hours. i.e. there’s no going into the other room when the baby wakes up, etc.
  • Baby-proofing. Yes, you’d have to do this with a house too, but Airstreams seem to have very sharp corners and dangerous things all around. We had a toddler in the Airstream when we were remodeling it and the first thing he did was pick up a cup that had been in the toilet and try to put it in his mouth. (Insert nervous emojii here.)
  • And there’s probably a million other things that I haven’t even thought of!

All that being said, many families 100 years ago lived in a one room house. Some families today do too! Mali Mish are one of my favorite families to follow on Instagram and their blog. They traveled in their Airstream with three kids and a cat! They started travelling and living in the Airstream when their kids were just babies. Now that their kids are older, they travel in a camper-truck! There are some definite advantages to living in an Airstream with a baby too.

Here’s some potential advantages I’ve thought of:

  • Lots of time together as a family.
  • Potential money savings. (Here’s how much we’ve saved since living in the Airstream and how much it costs for us to live in the Airstream.) Which means, you might be able to work less, travel more or do whatever you wish with that savings. That being said, you’d have to factor in the cost of buying the Airstream, so just living in it for a year might not yield much savings.
  • Forced minimalism. You can’t have 1,000 baby gadgets. There’s no room!
  • Truly living the values you want to bestow upon your child. (Self-sufficiency, resilience, critical thinking skills, etc.)
  • A (potentially) simpler life.

It’s interesting that the issues are more day-to-day problems and the advantages are more value-oriented. Hmmm. I can’t make the decision for you, dear reader, but I hope this creates some clarity. Ultimately, only you will be able to decide if it is possible to live in an Airstream with your baby. You know what’s best

Good luck!

Do you have questions for me? Feel free to shoot ’em my way.