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Old 04-09-2013, 11:31 AM   #1
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campground memberships

Does anybody know anything about camping resort memberships? We have an east coast resorts near us, and I've seen memberships for as low as $800 on craigslist. It seems that if I were going to do a lot of traveling, a membership into something like this, with a one time fee, would be the ideal way to go. Any thoughts?
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:35 AM   #2
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Best advice:
Read the fine print!!!!!
Look at ALL fees EVERYWHERE in the contract!!!!!
Double check where all the parks are, they may not be where you want to go.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #3
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We buy our RV's to travel and see the sights. Going to the same spot time after time seems to go against that strategy. I found the memberships make some sense if they are nearby where I want to, or expect to travel. If the east is where most of them are and I expected to travel west, I would take a very close look at their value. $800 divided by $50 = 16 stays if you pay $50 per stay elsewhere. Providing that is all of the cost per stop! THe one thing that it seems to me is owning one of the memberships may end up dictating when and where I travel.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:42 AM   #4
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It very much depends on how much you will be travelling and will you go "out of your way" to get to membership parks.

We travel 6 moth of the year. We have 4 membership "packages".

Passport America - this is a "no brainer", so yes, we would do this again.

Good Sam - it comes with a Good Sam membership, but on it's own we have not benefitted from it.

Thousand Trails - in the old format it was excellent, but after the Encore "take-over" we can not see the benefit any more. It used to be an advantage, but not as it is at the moment (don't get me started - I think Encore is robbing people who paid a lot of money for a membership only campground scheme).

Coast to Coast - we probably break even on this membership, but only because our "home park" has a cheap annual fee.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:43 AM   #5
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We are full timers and when we started out thought a resort park membership would be a good idea for us but it wasn't. We tend to stay at least a month in one place and the parks limit you to 14 days or so then you have to move. That doesn't work for us.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:50 AM   #6
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Being that we go everywhere, and constantly, GS is all we have and all we need.
Before retirement, clubs would have worked for us if they had parks where we wanted to go. They didnt. Also, the stay limits would have been a bother.
Nuff said.
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Old 04-09-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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X2 on what PyrateSilly said!

I.E. they are like a Spa Membership- IF you USE it they can be a money saver, however if you DON"T use it they WILL cost you money!

We were in one for a while and found that when we were traveling from point A to point B most of the assocated parks were so far off from the direction that we were traveling that it wasn't worth the time or the cost of fuel to make use of them.

Look at what it costs IF/WHEN you want to drop your membership!

May you have fair winds and following seas!
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Old 04-09-2013, 12:10 PM   #8
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It may make some sense if you winter in AZ where there is an abundance of BLM land. Many membership park owners will stay at their “park” for the 2 weeks “in”, then dump their tanks and fill up with FW then go to a nearby BLM area for their “out week”, then back to their park for the next 2 weeks.

We thought of that but as we are “boondockers” at heart why not just Boondock all winter on BLM land?
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Old 04-10-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
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Passport America is about $60 a year
Good Sam is $25 a year, less if you do multiple years at a time
KOA is $24 a year right now
Active and prior military is usually 10% off most campgrounds
AAA is also usually 10% off most campgrounds
I know there are more but those are just off the top of my head.

So for about $150 or less for the year you can try most of the other memberships for a year and decided which you use more and then next year just pay on those ones.
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Old 04-11-2013, 03:09 AM   #10
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I had the same questions about Thousand Trails, you can get two 'zones', but if you are outside those zones, what is the benefit? From what I have read and seen, I have to agree with the majority of the posts, it just doesn't seem worth it, unless you go to the same places all the time
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:19 AM   #11
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Any membership program is valuable only if you use it. Don't buy a campground membership just to save money - buy it because the resorts are places you WANT to go to. Then you save money when you go there. Or looking at it another way, a bargain on something you won't use is no bargain - it's a waste of money!

We bought a second hand Thousand Trails membership at a very good price, but the annual dues are still fixed. The cost/night is excellent only if we use all or nearly all of the contracted amount. If you don't use them all, the fixed dues make the effective cost per night much higher. In some years we've saved a bunch using their resorts, but in others we were not able to stay there as often and we saved little or even lost. One year health problems curtailed our travel and we wasted that years annual dues; another year we simply chose to go places where they had little available and we broke even.
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Old 04-11-2013, 08:43 AM   #12
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As others have said, it's only cost effective if you use the membership. I have three full memberships, 1. VIP Thousand Trails. 2. Colorado River Adventures. 3. Mountain Lakes Resort in Lytle Creek,CA. I also have ROD & Passport America. We travel a lot. My total annual dues for all memberships is 1200.00 per year frozen. But I also have to admit, I've owned the first 3, for 22 years. My buy in at Mountain Lakes ( 1,000.00 ) Thousand trails (5,000.00) and for CRA ( 2,950.00 ). I can stay at any thousand trails park for 3 weeks, Mountain Lakes 2 weeks and CRA 2 weeks at no additional fees. It sounds like I bragging, I'm not!!!!. I'm just happy I purchased these memberships when I did. Always look first in a Penny Saver newsletter or etc. for a second hand membership purchase.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PyrateSilly View Post
Best advice:
Read the fine print!!!!!
Look at ALL fees EVERYWHERE in the contract!!!!!
Double check where all the parks are, they may not be where you want to go.
Excellent advice!

Most companies want a long term contract, once you sign, you are stuck.
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Old 04-12-2013, 02:16 PM   #14
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When we fulltimed before we had a Thousand Trails National Membership. Since we HAD to workamp (because I was not retired and needed to make money), the membership provided us with both employment and places to stay in between jobs for free. I don't know how the membership work now, but it seems to me even though we will be retired this time around, a Platinum or Elite membership (21 days in each park, going park to work) will work for us even with the yearly dues. I will look for a used one when the time gets closer.
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