Nov 032012

A campground membership can be a good investment if you get it at the right price and use it. But if all you are doing is paying your annual dues and stopping a few times a year at campgrounds in your membership, it can be a waste of money. Only you can decide if a membership is right for you and your RV lifestyle.

We have been Thousand Trails members for several years, taking over a membership from a lady whose husband had passed away and who did not use it any longer. Our original membership gave us access all Thousand Trails and NACO campgrounds nationwide, and we could stay two weeks and then move directly to another campground in the system for two weeks without any days out. Our $550 annual dues gets us 50 free nights of camping every year, and any nights over 50 are charged at $5/night. That is a good deal and every year we spend well over our 50 nights in the system.

A few months ago we upgraded to an Elite membership, which gave us access to the Leisure Time, Outdoor World, and Mid-Atlantic Resorts, and the ability to stay three weeks at a resort instead of two. So far, it has been a good investment. We stayed three weeks at campgrounds in the system in New England, where campground fees can be steep. And as I wrote a few days ago, we have a total of twelve weeks (four three week stays) booked in Florida this winter, which will cost us a total of $420. That’s hard to beat.

However, it seems that Thousand Trails is currently playing some games that could leave a lot of members hanging this winter. There is a provision in their contracts that says that during peak seasons, stays may be limited to just two weeks at high use campgrounds. The reasoning for that is that it gives all members an opportunity to use the system.

Okay, I can handle that. But what I don’t like is that Thousand Trails seems to be shortening some members’ reservations from three weeks to two without notifying them. So one could find oneself having to leave a week earlier than expected, and scrambling to find a place to go.

I was first made aware of this on the Facebook Thousand Trails page, and when I checked my account, sure enough, they had shaved some days off one of my reservations without notifying me. I called and got those days reinstated, but it could have been a very unpleasant surprise. If Thousand Trails wants to exercise their two week high peak option, fine, don’t allow members to make three week reservations. But to allow us to make those reservations, and then shorten them after the fact with no notice, is not fair. If you’re a Thousand Trails member with reservations in the sunbelt this winter, check your reservations online and be sure things haven’t been changed on you.

Okay, on to another topic, sex. Yes, that nasty, scary three letter word. I let Bad Nick near the keyboard last night and he posted a new Bad Nick Blog titled Makeup Sex. Check it out and leave a comment.

Thought For The Day – I’m afraid of a world run by adults who never got spanked as children and got trophies just for showing up.

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Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  5 Responses to “Thousand Trails Playing Games?”

  1. TTN has been doing this for several years, you just haven’t noticed….We are 33 year members, and have gone through numberous changes in those years. The zone membership is the latest and the worst,,,,,,But at least we still have parks available. We also have Western Horizons, most parks are now sold, also have Colorado River Adventures.(the best of the 3) We full time and use them all…

  2. TTN has been doing this in high use parks from many years…I guess you just haven’t been using them..But they should have advised you at the time of making the reservation…We are 33 year members, plus have 2 other, WHR and CRA and all are making changes, Its a game to keep up on them all. Safe travels….

  3. They can make any changes they want. They decided that I could no longer use NACO parks after using them for years, This was after I refused to upgrade. I believe they wanted to run me off because my dues had become low $130 a year. So beware!

  4. This is a great tip. . .and one we were not aware of. . .not having been in high tourist areas during peak season.

    We love our TT membership, and have found it to cut our campground expenses drastically. . .

    Don’t work too hard. . .

    ReadyToGoFullTimeRVing Blog

  5. We have been members since about 1976 and for the last 15 years we have not used any parks. Now they send us a bill for over $ 200.00/year for maintenance every month, plus $5.00 for every month we do not pay. We can not leave this membership to our daughter, since NACO shall start billing them a much higher membership fee. No one wants to buy either for the same reason…

    What can we do to stop payments and avoid a collection agency?

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