A longtime reader contacted me yesterday saying they are considering a Thousand Trails campground membership and asking me for my thoughts on the matter.
Thousand Trails is like any other membership campground system. If you use it, it can be a good deal, and if you don’t, it’s a waste of time and money. We used it a lot when we were fulltime RVers and saved a small fortune with our membership.
There are many different types of memberships offered, and they seem to change them on a monthly basis, as well as the benefits and limitations of each one. We had a nationwide membership that included Thousand Trails, Leisure Time Resorts, and Outdoor World, which all fall under the same umbrella. That allowed us to stay in any campground for three weeks, and then we had to move to another campground in or out of the system for the amount of time we were there before we could return.
So, for example, we would stay at the Orlando Thousand Trails Preserve for three weeks, then we would drive 35 miles or so to the Three Flags Outdoor World Resort in Wildwood, Florida, and stay there three weeks, and then go back to Orlando, spending the winter bouncing back and forth like that. At $5 a night for a full hookup RV site, it was worth moving every three weeks. We did the same thing a couple of summers on the Pacific Northwest coast, bouncing between the Seaside, Oregon Leisure Time Resort and the Long Beach, Washington Thousand Trails, again about 35 miles apart.
Whatever you do, don’t pay full price for a new membership. There are tons of them out there that people just want to get rid of and not have to pay the annual dues. You’ll see them listed in the back of Escapees magazines and other RV magazines and sometimes even on campground bulletin boards. If you find one you like, call the main office and give them the membership number and make sure you know exactly what you are getting, what campgrounds are part of the package, how long you can stay, and all of that. As I said, they change plans a lot, so you need to know exactly what plan you are buying, and if anything changes with an ownership transfer. There will be a transfer fee to pay, based on the original membership contract.
Overall, it was a very good investment for us. $5 a night in Florida or on the Pacific Northwest coast for a full hookup RV site is darned good. We did the same when we went to New England, spending $5 a night at two or three campgrounds up there. Our annual dues were something like $500 a year, for which we got 50 “free nights” and after that we had to pay the nightly fee.
Some of the campgrounds are a bit rundown, and they can be very crowded during peak season, so you have to plan ahead and make your reservations in advance. But overall, for our needs, it was a good option. Your individual style may be different.
And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Thanks to Linda Sand for this one!
Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Big Lake Hoarder, the nineteenth book in my Big Lake mystery series. To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.
Thought For The Day – I guess we should retire the expression ‘avoid it like the plague’ given how little effort people put into avoiding an actual plague.