Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Cold Front and Thousand Trails

The southeast has been hit with a cold front that extends deep into Florida.  That's not good news for us, since we're heading to Tampa!

We woke up to 28 degrees, and Tampa is 37.  Unfortunately the extended forecast in Tampa doesn't get much better. This is very unusual for December.

This cold weather is making it a little more difficult to get last minute things done. We need to de-winterize the motor home, but can't until we're ready to leave.  I'd like to move into the motor home tomorrow, cats and all.  That way I could get the house cleaned up now instead of waiting until the last minute, but I don't want to burn up all of our propane.  I guess we'll get it all figured out.

Howard from Rv Dreams posted a blog about Thousand Trails camping club.  I had never checked them out and had heard they were expensive with lots of fees.  Howard said they have a new "zone" option for $499 annually, and that until the end of the year, the initial enrollment fee will be waived.  After that year you can either continue your membership or cancel with 60 days notice.  Hmmmm?  With a zone membership you can stay for free for up to 30 days.  After 30 days, you can stay for $3 a night.  Hmmmm..  I went to the website for more info.  Here are the different zones.  Notice there are many states with no rv parks and most don't have many, even Florida and Arizona.

There are four zones to choose from.

I think the southeast zone would work best for us.  There are some restrictions which I think we could live with, but the number of campgrounds is limited.  There are only three in the entire state of Florida.

Here are the restrictions I copied from their website:

In general you can stay up to 14 consecutive days at a time and wait seven days before beginning your next stay. If you stay less than four nights at one resort, you are allowed a consecutive stay at the next resort without having to observe the seven-day rest period. Within these guidelines, your pass provides you with unlimited camping all year long!

I did a live chat with "Jessica" who was very helpful.  Here is what she told me.

Normally the "enrollment fee" is $5000 and annual dues are between $550-600!  Now I remember why we never joined!   I remember reading about people who purchased memberships and sold them, but the transfer fees were very high.

They are celebrating their 40th anniversary and have waived the $5000 and annual dues are $499.  She assured me that was all the fee...no tax, no additional charges.  (we'll see)  She also said next years dues would only be $499.

There are certain sites available for Thousand Trail members only and you can reserve them 60 days in advance.  She checked and found there are still sites available in Florida in February.  

For an additional $199 you can get either a Florida or Arizona "Max" pass.  That will buy you 4 additional resorts in Arizona and 6 in Florida.  One of those resorts in Florida  is in the Keys.  I checked the rate and for February the monthly rate is normally $2130 to $2865!  I imagine all those sites are booked!

I still want to do more research and see what people that have the membership think about it, but it might be a good deal for us.  The $499 breaks down to $17 a night and after 30 days, we'd only pay $3.  The main issue I see is lack of campgrounds.  You'd have to plan your journey around them.  

Anybody out there have any thoughts or experiences, good or bad?

I can see more research is needed.


  1. I can only say -be very careful and understand the small details. These parks are often used by people basically living in the resort system. They move from one to another and back. During the peak season, they can be hard to get into. The system also has many many difference contracts and the resale market is loaded with them.

    We purchased a Western Horizon Membership the first year on the road. For us, this proved to be a mistake. This system is having a lot of issues with its members and the quality and maintenance of the parks. If we could do it over again, we would have not joined. Luckily, for us we only bought a five year membership. Our view is that it would be a mistake to buy a lifetime membership.

    We have found that having to try and get our moneys worth out of the membership has forced us to travel a different pattern than if we would not have had the membership. We now just forget that we have the membership and travel as the mode strikes.

    Having said all that, some people we have met seen quite happy with the Thousand trail resort system.

  2. Hope you get a lot of replies re: Thousand Trails. I've read up on the new zone concept. Sounds not too bad if you actually plan to be in a particular area for at least two weeks. It might work for our trip up the East Coast this summer. Before you make a decision, let me know because there is a lady here in our park who has one to sell since her husband passed away and she won't be using it. Who knows, she might just want to be rid of it. I think the transfer fee is $750 but it would be good all over the US.

  3. I'm not big on any of these club memberships as they often have way too many restrictions. Plus, I hate the idea of having to pay an annual fee as that sort of makes us obligated to make sure we use the parks even though we may not want to.

    Just my thoughts on this, others will differ for sure.

  4. We don't have any of these types of memberships because we like to travel where ever and we use PA most of the time. But we have friends who have TT and love it and use it all the time especially in CA.

  5. Be sure you have all the details spelled out. Sometimes, if it seems to good to be true...it is!
    Only thing I know about TT is my cousin had a membership years ago and she said they were left "high and dry" when TT "moved out of Florida". Guess they are back on a limited basis(?).
    We have PA and have used it once, so far, but thay paid for our membership.
    Good luck deciding and finding a good place in south Florida.

  6. More things to learn about. Please do a post on what you learn, positive or negative.

  7. Wow, it sounds really complicated to me. Let me know how it all works out for you guys. It's cold here too and we are both wishing we were already in Arizona. We like being able to get outside without bundling up like eskimos.

  8. Definitely wouldn't be our kind of thing.

    Sounds similiar to a time share type of thing and they get you good with those, they make it sound really good but after you get all the fees and things and the lack of parks, you may end up finding that it wasn't worth it and you don't use it as much as you had planned on.

    Just our thoughts on it.

    Kevin and Ruth

  9. We belonged to Coast-To-Coast for many years. The parks were usually so far off the beaten track, and never on our way to anywhere, that we finally dropped it.

    It depends if you just want a nice place to stay, or if you are traveling.

    Sometimes it is just great to stay in a National, State Park, or even COE and BLM, but if you have a membership, you feel like you have to use it.

    Escapees and Passport America would seem to be better, money wise. Then you are not tied down, and RVing is all about freedom.

    Happy Trails, Penny, TX


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