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Post Info TOPIC: Membership Camping


RV-Dreams Community Member

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Membership Camping


I'd like to know how many full timers use Thousand Trails on a regular basis.  This summer we bought an Outdoor World membership that we plan to use in this area next summer when we come East but for now have made reservations at a campground in Rockport, TX for Jan thru March.  We got a really good rate but somehow I feel like paying monthly rates to campgrounds is like paying rent.  With a campground membership we only have yearly dues once paid for but I don't seem to run into a lot of full timers who go this way.  We did meet one this week here in Williamsburg that does that and has for 3 or 4 years but just thought I'd ask others.


We are probably going to go to a Thousand Trails presentation next month to see what is involved in all the different programs - that is a problem they have so many and we want to look at the actual contracts.  I think I will probably wait until next year though as we are set for this winter and next summer actually.


B King


 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Out west you will find many full-timers using membership campgrounds and most of us bought resales.  We have Thousand Trails and use it a lot, especially in the west.  We have Western Horizons and use it a reasonable amount, we are staying at one right now.  Resales are much cheaper than buying from the marketting folks, check ads in magazines and ebay.   Most memberships only let you stay two or three weeks and you have to move on so they do not work for snowbirds.


You have to know you are going to use the parks or it is not worth the money.  Some memberships are in the $6000 to $12000 range retail, it takes a long time to pay those off.   If you signed paperwork with Thousand Trails they have sometimes tracked people back after they bought a resale within one year of a presentation and made them pay extra to not have their resale membership voided due to breach of contract.



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RV-Dreams Community Member

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Yes we are looking at resales.  However, I am not sure what you mean about your signing paperwork with Thousand Trails - do you sign something to look at their presentation.  My resellers said something about buying within a year they could come after you but he didn't know of anyone that had happened to.


We don't need to buy for a year anyway so that's not an issue.


 


Thanks for the info.


 


B



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jt


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Thousand trails only has two programs now. I have elite and that one give us everything they have.

Everything on the East coast, West coast, Texas and everything North. I have been with TT now for 15 years.

I also have coast to coast, rpi. With all 3, is good for Full Timing.

JT

 

 



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We have Thousand Trails (from a resaler), K&M, RPI Preferred, Enjoy America, Escapees, and Good Sam. We mostly use TT, K&M, and RPI. And yes, they are olny worth it if you use them.

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We are thinking of buying TT but they have 2 zones for $499.  Is this not a good deal?



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jt


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It is a good deal, but it is only good for one year. I became a member 15 years ago.The membership i have is good for the East coast, west coast, texas and everything north.

jt



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You can upgrade a Zone membership to Elite for something like $5000 to get you 3 weeks in nationwide (actually there is one in Canada) with park-to-park. Your dues will remain the same, $499 + tax, and you can freeze them at 62 years old. (Members with other memberships but Zone can upgrade for $4000).

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How does this compare with Coast to Coast?

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Coast to Coast (C2C) you buy into a membership park, somewhere between $300 (maybe lower) and $12000 (I wish I was exaggerating but this is what some paid for multi-park memberships), but normally under $2000. Then you add C2C, RPI, AOR, or ROD if available, with C2C the largest. These are all reciprocal programs, each membership allocates some spots for the reciprocal members, often 10% or less. C2C is normally about $100 and $100 a year, but Deluxe is higher. Under most C2C campgrounds you can reserve from 3 to 60 days ahead and stay one week, twice a year, with a fee to C2C of $10 a day (using points) and often $2 to $7 a day to the resort for electricity, but some charge zero. If your membership is C2C Deluxe, you can stay at another Deluxe park for two weeks, with one week out, repeat, for the same nightly fee, but if not a Deluxe place you still can only stay one week twice a year. RPI and AOR are similar, ROD often charges zero per day, but has less campgrounds to choose from. (ROD makes its money from higher yearly dues, most end up not using it enough nights.) Sometimes you get the same sites as direct members of the campground, sometimes you don't. We have stayed in tight, unlevel 30 Amp water and electric sites while large, 50 Amp full hookup sites were vacant because we were C2C. Other times we got some of the best sites. At one campground we got a great site once and the next time junk since the management changed the rules.
In other words you pay more per night with C2C, might have higher dues (though we don't), and can't stay as long or as often than Thousand Trails. We have both, it gives us flexibility and our amortized cost (buy-in cost, total dues, total nightly fees including extras) is still under $25 a night.
With C2C you also get access to some other parks at higher fees. Good Neighbor parks are often the same ones as Passport America and somehow end up with the same nightly fee between Good Neighbor and Passport America the couple times we have tried it. Best Parks in America gives you a 25% off at some really nice places for one week, at Cherry Hill by Washington DC we snagged one of the two C2C Best Parks of America sites for one week one year.
We often think of dropping our C2C, even at $49 a year for our park dues and $170 for two years to C2C, since we don't use it much. But then it comes in handy. Our last stay was The Lakes in Chowcilla CA, for $17 a night, but it was really a nice campground we would stop at again and might in April. We did get a good deal on our membership park, most paid more and pay more for yearly dues.

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bjoyce, you referenced C2C's Deluxe, but what about the Premier campgrounds. We're getting a membership at a C2C Premier campground for only the cost of the transfer fee and the first years maint fees at the time of closing. The seller wants nothing in return for the membership. I'm sure we'll find out (hopefully) all the ins and outs of the membership. We already have R.O.D, A.O.R. and ACN thru another resort.

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Bill Joyce, sounds like you're the expert to answer this one but our 8-year full timing friends with TT membership say its extremely difficult to get into the preferred parks and she sets her timer to be able to reserve the minute it's supposed to be available?

Your thoughts?

Sherry

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She be trying to get into TT Palm Springs in winter and maybe a couple others. There are two problems getting into some popular TT campgrounds during their busy times: 1) they do sell seasonal leases at many so the site inventory is down; 2) some older memberships give you 120 or 150 days to make a reservation, while most are 90, so those with the longer reservation period can reserve at the busy places earlier. Some members can also have more than 3 reservations on the books, plus most can only have one holiday reserved at a time.

Popular parks I have experience with - TT Palm Springs in winter, TT Orlando in winter (but we have managed to get in most times we wanted), TT Verde Valley in spring and fall, TT Las Vegas in spring, fall and during CES in January, LTR Seaside (Oregon) in summer, LTR Thunderbird in summer (Seattle area, but we normally get in), plus some have limited full hookups and those go first, like TT Pio Pico (San Diego). I am sure there are more with problems, these are not campgrounds with thousands of sites so they will fill up.

I don't expect to live in the system, but many do. When we want a reservation we hit the online reservation system and check availability. Sometimes we can't get the whole time we want, so we adjust. When we don't get what we want we check over and over again, since people cancel. This is not just a TT problem, it happens even more with C2C, RPI, AOR and ROD, since only a portion of the campsites are reserved for these programs. I remember someone thinking I must have special favors at Yuma Lakes since we got in on C2C in winter, but there was a cancellation and we were lucky. There are no-show fines, so people do cancel.

Edit: A friend talked to someone recently who bought a used Alliance or Platinum TT membership for about $2000 to $2500 and upgraded it to Elite for another $4000 to get the longer reservations and more reservations on the books.  This was instead of buying a Zone membership for $500 and upgrading to Elite for $5000, since it is more expensive to upgrade from Zone.  They ended up with higher yearly dues but also got 150 day reservations and something like 5 reservations, two of which could be holidays.



-- Edited by bjoyce on Sunday 24th of March 2013 08:37:50 PM

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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44' puts you out of most membership campgrounds. The majority can handle 40', but some have a 35' maximum. You would be better served with the Big Rigs Best Bets Campground Directory - http://www.big-rigs-rv.com/OrderPage.html.

I tell people looking at membership campgrounds to expect narrow, short campsites with weak 30 amp power, water and no sewer. Also don't expect to have satellite TV, wifi or good cell phone reception. There are many campgrounds that are better than that in membership systems, but not all.  This applies to Passport America, where we have seen some small 30 amp water and electric campgrounds with trees and weak cell phone reception.

I also missed someone asking about Coast to Coast Premier, which I know nothing about and all I can find is a 9 minute youtube commercial that I did not watch.  I suspect it adds no camping choices to C2C Deluxe, just condo rentals or something similar.   Whenever they talk about condo rentals, I tune them out, since that is not interesting to me.  



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Junkman,

Sounds to me that the description of the kind of park that you prefer fits state parks in many states, especially AZ and ID and OR where we have more experience. We did not enjoy the one Kentucky state park we stopped at.

I think what you'll find is the selection of parks takes quite a bit of time and if you follow Howard & Linda's journal and some other bloggers who rate and describe parks they stay in, you'll pick up good places.

We like to mix it up. Sometimes way out there or in gorgeous state parks and currently in a private 5 pool "resort" with decent sites, not our kind of place but perfect for the grandkids to visit.

Sherry

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monthly rates are always alot cheaper no matter where you go.....

Ive tried alot of clubs over the years and finally just buy Passport america and I have a National park passport. that pretty much takes care of everything needed for me

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RV-Dreams Family Member

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The Junkman wrote:
WestWardHo wrote:

Junkman,

Sounds to me that the description of the kind of park that you prefer fits state parks in many states, especially AZ and ID and OR where we have more experience. We did not enjoy the one Kentucky state park we stopped at.

I think what you'll find is the selection of parks takes quite a bit of time and if you follow Howard & Linda's journal and some other bloggers who rate and describe parks they stay in, you'll pick up good places.

We like to mix it up. Sometimes way out there or in gorgeous state parks and currently in a private 5 pool "resort" with decent sites, not our kind of place but perfect for the grandkids to visit.

Sherry


 Sounds right.. But I thought most state parks have a 37' max?


 Junkman, no they don't all have maxes many, especially out west, allow bigger. Partly why I said it takes time to research the parks. 



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RV-Dreams Family Member

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Part of the issue here is the definition of "park."  There can be differences between state and national parks.  Besides those, there are National Forest campgrounds, but don't expect hook-ups in those places.  Most don't have the amenities, and may be very limited on size of the rig.

My understanding with BLM land is that you can stay in one place for only up to 2 weeks before having to move elsewhere.

Terry



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