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Old 11-03-2009, 03:17 PM   #1
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Campground Membership: Comments?

Are Campground Memberships worthwhile?

It looks like there are two main groups:
Coast-to-Coast and Thousand Trails

Memberships can run from a few hundred (resale) to several thousand (new or orginal) with yearly dues.

The campgrounds are private and require membership stay rules, etc.

Does anyone have these? Are they worth the purchase?
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Old 11-03-2009, 05:34 PM   #2
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We have C2C plus Passport America. All of these clubs have there good and bad points.
We have friends that do not know how to get their moneys worth out of the clubs.
We paid full price for C2C and in the first 8 months got our money back. Now that being said if you use any of the clubs they will pay for themselves, but if you just say I got this but it does not work then you are not doing your homework.
You must know what GC fees are in the area where you are going and than figure what it will cost to travel up to 40 miles each way. I figure it cost us about $8.00 in fuel for the toad round trip so if a CGs cost more than $20.00 close to where we want to visit then I am saving as we do not go every day, we go sight seeing every other day.
We have found RV resorts just miles from major tourist areas and others 40 miles away. So if you are willing to do your homework than YES clubs will pay for themselves.
Example 1: we wanted to visit New Orleans stayed at a $65.00 CG on I-12 for $10.00 per night saving $55.00 per night or $385.00 for the week we were there.
I spend about 1 hour doing my homework for each area we go to.
Example 2: stayed at Hart Ranch in Rapid City, SD $10.00 per night Mt Rushmore About 15 miles and Cody Park a few more miles where they have more wild Buffalo then Yellowstone NP.
I hope I have help answer your question.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:49 AM   #3
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We are full timers and are trying to decide if we want to join a membership campground. We want to have a place near our children where we can come during the holidays, etc. The resort we are presently looking at has a membership fee of $3000 per site (you don't actually own the site itself). Memberships are available from members for about half what the park charges. Ideally, it is better to own two sites because the park has a requirement that states that you can stay a maximum of 14 days, then you have to leave for at least 3 days. With 2 memberships you can stay for 28 days. Two memberships when bought from other members is about $3000.
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Old 11-04-2009, 01:42 PM   #4
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We were never a fan of the membership clubs but decided to pick up a Thousand Trails last year since we spend several months a year traveling and could save some bucks using the TT parks and also RPI, which TT members can also join. We bought a resale at a good price and picked up a membership with extra benefits vs what is currently sold. First year worked great and we got 50 nights for $550 ($11 each) and another half dozen nights via RPI for $10 each. But this year my wife needed a lot of medical care and we didn't travel much, so the $550 dues was completely wasted, though we did get a couple cheap nights at RPI rates.

The clubs are a good financial deal IF you use them religiously every year, but can get expensive if you don't. And you have to be willing to go where they are because most will not be along your travel route.

If you are new to RVing, I wouldn't rush into any long term club. Travel awhile and establish your style and maybe visit a TT or other club to see what they are like. Members can bring guests or you can go as a prospective new member. Meanwhile, try Passport America or Camp Club as inexpensive way to get substantial discounts with no long term commitment.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:16 PM   #5
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What is a resale? I didn't know there was a market in memberships. We have been thinking about a club but were put off by the cost.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:44 PM   #6
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there are numerous places that resale these memberships just like they do timeshares (GOOGLE IT). or look in the back of any Rv magazine, they go quick. TT has one of the more complex membership system. they have over 400 types of active membership plans. if you get the member number you can call their memberservices for the exact restrictions. I paid $500 plus $250 transfer fee for a natiowide plan.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:56 PM   #7
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My wife and I picked up a Thousand Trails membership a few years ago. We purchased a resale (bought an existing membership from an individual) for $900. This particular membership we bought was Thousand Trails, NACO and Leisure Time Resorts. We can make reservations 6 months in advance, which all memberships can't do. With our youngest heading to college, we anticipated using this camping membership to death. Unfortunately, we haven't used ours much. The $500 yearly dues ended up relating into about $50 for each of the 10 nights we used the system.

We still plan on getting much more use out of our membership, and eventually will.

Bear in mind the upfront costs, locations of the individual park locations and yearly maintenance fees. We enjoy visiting the various places we have camped thus far, and look forward to many more years of camping in the TT system.

BTW, I located the membership I purchased on the internet. We live in W Washington and found this membership being advertised from Lake Havasu AZ. The original owner had placed her ad in a local weekly newspaper, which primarily offers merchandise for sale. Around here, it is like the Little Nickle paper.
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Old 11-04-2009, 02:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tmspoon View Post
What is a resale?
There's always a few for sale on eBay, click here to take a look.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:16 PM   #9
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Thanks for the info. We've been away from the road for several years, just getting back into it. I'll do some recearch. Thanks again.
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Old 11-04-2009, 03:37 PM   #10
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As long as you aren't in a huge hurry tm, google campground memberships (TT, C2C, PA, etc.) and poke around a bit. You will find there are some deals out there to be had. Verify with the parent organization before you buy an existing account to make sure it is clear and there won't be any surprise costs associated with any particular membership. Shouldn't be a problem to request the membership number from the prospective seller, and call the membership number. Explain what you are looking to do, and express your interest in verifying there are no outstanding costs or issues with that membership. They can't give you any specifics about the current owner, but should be able to tell you if there is some late fees still owed.
If I recall correctly, there will be some sort of transfer fee that you will have to pay.

E-Bay is a good place to start, although super duper deals are few and far between. All the exposure they get draws lots of bidders for virtually everything.

There are several timeshare/membership resellers, but they will be getting a percentage for their legwork.

Doing the research yourself can result in a great deal for you, provided you are comfortable doing this and are willing to purchase in this fashion.

Brand new memberships will offer you piece of mind, everything up front and in black and white. As with anything new, comes with added costs.

Word of caution with Thousand Trails free weekend offer. They won't honor or authorize the reselling of an existing membership if you take advantage of visiting one of their properties for a duration of one year. I am not sure of the other campground membership programs, but wouldn't be surprised if they all had similiar requirements.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:10 AM   #11
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Good advice RV Roamer. We have found that if you can actually tour a park, you can usually find a bulletin board or some location where owners are listing individual memberships for sale, usually at heavily discounted prices. We went to one yesterday. The park was selling memberships at $2500, and we saw some by-owner listings that were half that or less.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:08 AM   #12
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Its not the enitial cost, Its the yearly fee that will eat you alive.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:35 AM   #13
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There's always a few for sale on eBay, click here to take a look.
I purchased a 'used' (For lack of a better term), RPI membership for about $400 in 2004. It paid for itself + the annual dues the first year. We used it only 2-3 times last year and once this year due to family problems.

Between that and Passport America our average nightly rate is about $18/night. That is over a 1113 night/6 year run. Over the last 2 years we have stayed a number of nights at KOA since they are easier access and our travels have been to specific locations rather than general site-seeing.
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Old 11-05-2009, 03:22 PM   #14
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When you buy a memebership new, it comes with lots of extras that can not be transfered when re-sold. Make sure you know what you are buying. Examples: We purchased a new membership at Colorado River Adventures and got a free week in a cabin per year, cheap storage, memberships for adult children, Coast to Coast and RPI memberships just to list a few. Some of these are not transferable, or have seperate transfer fees for each. Also, some memberships can be willed to your children a limited number of times. We used CRA because most of our trips are along the colorado river and that is where most of there campgrounds are at. Being retired, I know that I save thousands of dollars per year on camping, but we go a lot.
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