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Campground Memberships?
Old 01-26-2008, 07:52 AM   #1
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Campground Memberships?

Is anyone here a member of Thousand Trails or any other campground system? We recently got our travel trailer and the dealer 'threw' in a free membership. There is an annual fee though
I signed up for a couple Yahoo groups and it seems like full time RV folks like these campground systems. But I am trying to figure out if there is a good enough reason to join for the occasional user.
Any info as to costs, quality, location and options would help. It looks like one issue is how parks balance the use between families and seniors. Mostly we have used national/state parks but these fill up and have their problems too. Just trying to understand the proposition of the private camping systems.

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Old men ought to be explorers
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Old 01-26-2008, 08:09 AM   #2
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I can't speak for other memberships, but when it comes to TT I think it is very dependent on your preferences and usage patterns. We had a TT membership for years but rarely used it, so we gave it up. I seemed like a good idea at the time, but just didn't work out that way. If there is a TT park close by that you would use frequently, then I would say maybe it's not a bad idea. We have friends who take their travel trailer to a nearby TT for several weekends and usually a week or so each summer. They seem to really enjoy it.

OTOH, if you see the membership as something you would use as you travel around the US, I would say no. We found their parks weren't necessarily located where we wanted to go, and weren't enticing enough for us to travel to a destination park, a place to go and stay simply for the park itself.

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Old 01-26-2008, 09:57 PM   #3
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We did some shopping for memberships a while back and for us none work out. The membership group we liked has no local campgrounds and shelling out $thousands for a "home" park we could not use did nto make sense. We also travel to certain parts of the country often and none of the membership groups have campgrounds there so we use commercial campgrounds when we travel.

Some folks love them and use them while traveling for many reasons. Like REWahoo said many are not near where you want to be. Also, many have restrictions that would even make an IRS agent wince. Some many days in a park, so many days out, so many days in the system per year. Some let you stay longer but you have to have the higher class of membership (think $5-10k from the original company...cheaper on the open resale market). But, if you go where they are you can save some money...if you use it a lot...a whole lot. One guy I met said if he had bought the membership from TT or C2C at their high pressure sales "free stay package" you would have to stay 180 days per year....for 30 years to break even. Oh, and these memberships are lifetime contracts unless you can sell it; often much less than the orignal price.

Try Passport or Camp Club for lower rates on campgrounds. The annual savings more than pays for the membership. Just call ahead to make sure they will accept the lower rate before you get there. Sometimes the 50% off rate disolves when you sign in.

Good luck.
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