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Introduction to Thousand Trails
Table of Contents
It can be difficult to make the right decision when it comes to RV parks. The costs are high, and you could end up in a park that is not suited for your needs. One option you might consider is Thousand Trails Membership. They have over 190 campgrounds nationwide and provide discounts on campsites at every campground.
What Is Thousand Trails?
Thousand Trails is a camping membership organization that gives you access to 190+ campgrounds nationwide. You can purchase a membership online or at any of their locations for $500 to $700 and then make reservations online, over the phone, or in-person and any of their campgrounds.
The cost of your stay at each of their affiliated campgrounds is free. Stipulations and length of stay are determined by the membership guidelines.
The standard membership allows for a stay of up to 14 days at a park (within your designated zone pass) for free (as long as you are up to date with your annual membership dues). You must stay out of the thousand trails system for 7 nights. You are then free to return to a thousand trails resort to stay for another 14 nights for free.
For more on RV memberships, check out this article!!
How Does a Thousand Trails Membership Work?
Once you purchase your standard membership, you will be designated a zone. You can make reservations for free at any of the campsites in your designated zone and stay up to 14 days (again, as long as you are current with annual membership dues).
You must keep track of how many nights out of fourteen you have used in your designated zone pass before using another 14-days. Be sure to make reservations in advance. Parks tend to book up quickly especially in summer and other busy times. You are allowed to book 60 days in advance with a standard membership.
Is A Thousand Trails Membership Right For You?
A Thousand Trails Membership is great for RVers and campers looking for great resorts with lots of amenities that want to save a bit of money. If you plan to camp a lot and will actually use this type of membership, you will find it extremely beneficial.
On the other hand, if you plan on boondocking, or if a crowded campground is just not your scene, this may not be the right fit for you. It will just be an additional yearly expense.
What Happens If I Don’t Pay My Thousand Trails Annual Dues?
If you fail to pay your annual dues, then you will lose access to Thousand Trails campgrounds and all the benefits that come with membership. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s best to renew or purchase a new membership as soon as possible.
This is true even for those members that hold an Elite or upgraded membership account. You must stay in good standing with your annual dues to keep all of your privileges intact.
What Is The Reservation Process Like?
The reservation process is very simple.
Make a phone call, or go online and search for the campground you want to stay at next. You will have access to all of their available sites in your designated zone without any restrictions on how many nights you can book out of 14-days free with annual membership dues paid in full.
The website will also allow you to manage your loans or dues in order to keep up with the financial end of your membership.
What is The Check-In Process Like at Thousand Trails?
The check-in process is easy.
When you arrive at the campground, look for your reserved site and let them know that it’s a thousand trails reservation so they can assign you to your spot. You’ll need to show some form of ID when checking in. The process is similar to most campgrounds and RV parks.
You will also receive an email prior to your arrival at the campground with information about your upcoming reservation.
What Happens If I Need To Cancel A Reservation?
You can cancel a reservation up until the day before arrival without any penalty.
If you cancel after that date, your credit card will be charged a $25 cancellation fee. If it’s during the time period of your reservation and before regular check-in hours on-site, you’ll have to pay for two nights at the campground (even if you only stay one night). You can also reschedule or transfer your reservation to a new date for free.
Are The Campgrounds Kid-Friendly?
Thousand Trails campgrounds are kid-friendly.
There is always an on-site swimming pool, playgrounds, and lots of spaces to explore. Some parks also have disc golf courses or horseback riding available for your enjoyment! Most parks even have regularly schedule dance parties, arts and crafts, and other events to keep your kiddos happy and engaged during your stay.
What Are Some of The Amenities?
All of the Thousand Trails Campgrounds are privately owned. However, most have similar amenities. There are tons of activities and things to do when you visit the majority of the parks.
Some of the resort style amenities include:
- indoor and outdoor swimming pools
- spas/ whirlpools
- basketball courts
- tennis courts
- pickleball courts
- ping pong/ billiards and other game room accessories
- lake/ water activities
- nature trails
- camp store
- bike rentals
- wife/ satellite/ cable
Where Are the Campgrounds/ RV Parks Located?
The Thousand Trails campgrounds are located all over the United States.
It’s best to search for a specific location and see what is available in your area. You can also call them directly at (855) 367-6901 if you’re not sure where to start looking! They will be able to tell you all about how Thousand Trails will work for you and help find the perfect campground for your next stay.
There are some states that don’t have any parks. This may be a deterrent for some prospective members. It is best to review the park map prior to deciding on membership.
Are The Thousand Trails Campgrounds High Quality?
The quality of the Thousand Trails Campgrounds varies from park to park due to them being privately owned.
However, most are well-kept and have on-site staff available 24/hours a day to keep everything in order. It is always good practice to read reviews of the parks that you are most interested in visiting to get a good idea of what to expect. You are also able to visit as many of the parks as you wish prior to purchasing a membership to better assist in your purchase decision.
How Much Does a Membership Cost?
A Thousand Trails membership costs $550 for a full-year membership. You can often find deals on this membership price.
There are many upgrades to the base membership that add to the price if you choose to add benefits. More on this below.
Is a Thousand Trails Membership Worth The Cost?
A Thousand Trails Membership is very worth the cost. As with any membership, this is only true if you use the benefits of the membership. If you don’t stay in the parks, it is a complete waste of money.
Are There Upgrades?
Trails Collection/ Encore RV Resorts:
The trails collection is a program that allows members to use Encore RV resorts parks. This adds more than 100 campgrounds to your already extensive list included in your membership. The cost to add this perk is $315 per year.
Elite Membership Options
Elite membership options change every now and then. In order to find out what is available, you will need to speak with a thousand trails representatives.
The Elite membership options can:
-increase your booking window (some up to 180 days in advance)
-decrease your out of system stays (you can stay in a thousand trails park all year long)
-Increase the number of days you can stay at one location/ longer stays (less moving)
-add zones effectively giving you more campgrounds to stay in(meaning you can camp anywhere you want where there is a thousand trails park)
*** These perks are paid for one time and last forever. They can be passed on to your children upon death. They are only valid if you keep current with your annual dues. The elite memberships can be sold if no longer useful.
Just as these memberships can be sold. They can be purchased used. This is the best way to find a great deal. There is a resale market for Thousand Trails Elite Memberships. It is always a good idea to compare what is being offered by the reps for new memberships and see what is being sold for resale. Find the best deal and one that works for you and your needs!!
Pros and Cons To a Thousand Trails Membership
There are many pros to owning a thousand trails membership. Some of these include:
- Saving money: A Thousand Trails membership can save you a lot of money. With many campgrounds and RV resorts charging between $20 and $100 per night. Staying two weeks with no charge a couple of times per year, this membership pays for itself and starts to save money immediately. Full timers will definitely find this to be a major perk.
- Access to Annual and seasonal Sites: As a member, you will receive access (for an additional fee) to seasonal and annual sites and numerous sought-after resorts.
- RV-Storage: Most of the Thousand Trails campgrounds have RV storage available to their members as well.
- Amenities: The resort style amenities at the resorts are amazing and well worth a visit.
For more on Full- Timer living expenses, check out this article!!
There are also some cons to a thousand trails membership.
- Packed campgrounds: The campgrounds book up very fast! If you are looking for quiet and solitude, this may not be the camping experience that you are looking for.
- Hard to Get a Reservation: Sometimes it can be difficult to get a reservation during peak seasons.
- Membership Can Be Difficult to Understand: Sometimes the membership details and how it works can be difficult to understand.
- Moving a Lot?: If you have a standard membership, you will have to move out of the system for a certain amount of time before staying at another Thousand Trails park.
- RV Resorts That Need Work: You will find this at many RV parks. However, it is important to mention that some members after joining have complained of campgrounds that need repair and that are a bit run down.
How Do I Renew My Thousand Trails Membership?
To renew, simply log in online and log in with your user ID and password. Your renewal will be available on the screen in front of you as an option. Simply fill out the required information (name, address) and click submit when done
How Do I Cancel My Membership With Thousand Trails?
If you find that you are no longer interested in remaining a member of the Thousand Trails organization after having a membership, it is simple to cancel. Simply contact the Thousand Trails organization and request to cancel your membership.
Most passes are year to year and don’t have a contract. This means that there is no cancellation fee as long as you are in good fiduciary standing.
What We Do
My husband and I have an Elite Membership. This is our first year with Thousand Trails. We are living full-time at thousand trails campgrounds while he is finishing up in the Navy and preparing for retirement.
Our membership allows us to stay within the network full time. We move every 28 days. One month we stay in Williamsburg Thousand Trails, then we move directly to the Chesapeake Bay Thousand Trails. We live between these two campgrounds from March to December. This saves us tons of money while we prepare for full-time travel!!
For more on how to make money while traveling, check out this article!
The campgrounds are very nice. They both have tons of amenities. We love having pools and a lake nearby. The sites are big enough for us and our little army of animals. The nature trails are great.
Sometimes it is a bit noisy for our taste but, overall it has been a fantastic experience and we highly recommend both campgrounds.
As for thousand trails memberships, the customer service has been fantastic!! The reservation system is easy to navigate. The website is straightforward and simple.
So far…no regrets.
Conclusion To Thousand Trails
Thousand Trails RV memberships seem like a good idea, but are they? We’ve talked about how these membership plans can help you save money on your vacation getaway. But before you sign up for one of these programs, there are some things to consider that may affect whether or not this type of membership is right for you. Let us know which features in the program appeal most to you so we can create a plan tailored just for your needs! What types of memberships do YOU prefer?
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