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ToddF

Drop KOA Value club Membership

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We've been loyal KOA members for 5 years even though we seldom stay in KOA parks. Checking on the KOA in Okeechobee FL I was shocked at the $85 rate for a back in site. Found a PPA park for $25.50 night within 2 miles of the KOA park. Maybe it's  time to stop wasting $30 year on something of such little value. We're getting a lot more bang for the buck with our Thousand Trails zone pass and Passport America membership.

Edited by ToddF

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We rarely use them though we have friends that only stay at KOA if possible. We just found them overpriced in general for what you get. We stopped staying at them 40 years ago. Stopped for the night with our children: pool $; extra people $; showers $. Yet saying that we stay at one that is very reasonable for being close to a major city. Then we always stayed at 2 parks for the night over traveling in the winter, both became KOA and raised their rates $15/night. Too high a premium. We also had a steady PPA cg that we would stop at, dropped PPA, next year was a PPA cg again. You can control where you stay to save $, you can save some money on gas to save $. You don't have much control over food costs.

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We normally stay at two KOA's twice on our trek south and back north each year, and those stays alone accumulate enough points to pay our VIK membership each year plus a couple of free nights now then, from other KOA stays throughout the year. However, both of our regular KOA's have gotten so busy that getting reservations has become difficult over the past couple of years. This coming winter we're replacing one of the KOA's in GA near the FL line with a GA state park that's only a few miles away, and the other one with a nearby park that's now open year round in PA. We tried that PA park last spring, and were very pleased with both the park and the rates. Given the reduction in KOA usage, it may not be worth it to us to maintain our VIK membership. We'll see how it goes, and we will still have our SKP, GS, and PA memberships that more than pay for themselves...

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KOA is only our choice if there is no other respectable park in the area we wish to visit. We probably average about 1 KOA stay every 3 to 5 years. 

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I haven't stayed at a KOA for over 7-8 years.
But I just made a reservation on line at one in September on my way back home. I usually stay at a Good Sam campground around 20 miles from this KOA on way North and way back every year for over 16 years.

This last spring the GS campground raised their rates with even my 10% discount to $40.20 a night.
This KOA without any discount will cost $36.38. If OK I change my yearly 2 stops in that area to this KOA.

The other 3 travel nights will be at PA campgrounds at less then $21.75 a night.

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13 hours ago, Biker56 said:

This KOA without any discount will cost $36.38. If OK I change my yearly 2 stops in that area to this KOA.

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

Edited by Kirk Wood

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53 minutes ago, Kirk Wood said:

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

This comes up on just about every discussion about KOA. Many RV Parks have sites at various prices based on various combinations of amenities/services. No hookup (tent) sites, water/electric only, full hookup, backin, pull through, etc. All at  different prices. Even many Passport America Parks charge more for a 50amp site, cable TV, Wifi, etc., if they have more than one type of site. Very few parks charge for only what you use. The price for the site is the price for the site whether you want or plan to use all of the amenities. We have stayed at about 30 different KOAs since 2004 (some more than once) and never been charged a pet fee. In over 250 different parks/campgrounds, the only place we have ever been charged a pet fee was a Virginia State Park. If you look at the KOA website, the prices for the various types of sites are clearly shown. They often do have more choices than many RV parks/campgrounds. Now if you just drive in, there is no guarantee that the cheapest type of site will be available, or that your rig will fit in it.

No membership or buyers club annual fee is worth the cost if you do not use it or value at least one or more of the services/benefits provided. KOA membership provides a discount on park rates and also a point system where like a credit card, the more you spend the larger the rebate. They also have special deals like stay 2 get one free. KOA also has agreements for special deals with various RV Service providers for things like Emergency Road Service. For years, Allstate provided a free KOA membership with their RV Help Plan. Now, there is a steep discount in the first year of the RV Help Plan and a $70 discount card good at KOA campgrounds.

Many Rvers also malign Good Sam. Again, it is only worth it if you use it. The 10% discount is not the only benefit. I have had two occasions to have the Good Sam "Action Line" help resolve warranty issues that were denied. One by an appliance manufacturer and one by the RV manufacturer. The nearly $1,000.00 they saved me will pay for a lot of years of membership.

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We stay at KOAs and the rates for the sites we pick include all the "markups" that are supposedly added.  If you only look at the base rate for a site, the "addons" will cost more.  We make reservations and the prices we had at reservation is the price we paid..

KOA has come up with a tied rating for parks.  Right now we are in KOA Holiday park which is full of amenities  and the kids that go with them and a price to fit.  But it was near a Viet Nam Buddy and that is okay with us.  There are now KOA Journey parks which are targeted for over-night type stops.  Fewer amenities and lower prices to fit.

Park [rices in general have gone up.  Another thing we are aware of is the closer a park to a tourist center, the higher the rates.  We stayed at a park near Niagara Falls and the price before discounts was $91.  The other thing to look for is places where most of the business on weekends, typically near bigger cities.  The parks are absolutely full on Friday-Sunday and then very vacant the rest of the week.  Those places set their rates to compensate for the reduced number of occupancy site days.

 

 

Edited by Mark and Dale Bruss

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

My MH is 30AMP but 50AMP is included in price, NO pets on board, Ihave my own Trav'ler using DirecTV, I have my own Internet hotspot and can use either Mobley AT&T or Sprint hotspot. So no extras needed.

I only plug into electric no water or sewer needed. If spot is level then I don't even put my jacks down and never put slideout out for a 1 night stay. Makes for a quick get away the next morning, especially if it happens to be raining. :)

spacer-20h.gif
Travel Dates: Tuesday, September XX, 2017 - Wednesday, September XX, 2017 (1 night)
spacer-20h.gif
Details: 1 Adults, Motorhome towing35 ft.
Slideouts, No Pets
spacer-20h.gif
Your Campsite: Pull-thru, Water/Electric, 50/30 amp, Cable, WiFi
Roomy pull thru sites for those not needing full hook-ups! Reserve now! Two large Pet Walk areas provided, therefore, Kennels/Pens not allowed on the sites. Limit-3 Pets
divider.gif
Your Reservation Summary:
Dates Rates Nights Price
9/xx/2017 - 9/xx/2017 $34.00 / Night 1 $34.00
Taxes: $2.38
Value Kard Rewards Discount: N/A
Estimated Total For Your Stay* US$36.38
Reservation Deposit Amount Paid US$36.38
Edited by Biker56

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5 hours ago, Kirk Wood said:

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

I've never found all these extra charges at KOA's other than an occasional WiFi charge. The price we were quoted on the reservation site has always been the price we paid. Your list reminds me of some non-KOA parks though, that have an extra $1-$2/day charge for 50 amp, and some of them only have Tengo WiFi at a price, while others have no on-site WiFi or cable at all. Oh, wait a minute... Those are Escapees owned parks... ;)

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9 hours ago, Biker56 said:

My MH is 30AMP but 50AMP is included in price, NO pets on board, Ihave my own Trav'ler using DirecTV, I have my own Internet hotspot and can use either Mobley AT&T or Sprint hotspot. So no extras needed.

I only plug into electric no water or sewer needed. If spot is level then I don't even put my jacks down and never put slideout out for a 1 night stay. Makes for a quick get away the next morning, especially if it happens to be raining. :)

spacer-20h.gif
Travel Dates: Tuesday, September XX, 2017 - Wednesday, September XX, 2017 (1 night)
spacer-20h.gif
Details: 1 Adults, Motorhome towing35 ft.
Slideouts, No Pets
spacer-20h.gif
Your Campsite: Pull-thru, Water/Electric, 50/30 amp, Cable, WiFi
Roomy pull thru sites for those not needing full hook-ups! Reserve now! Two large Pet Walk areas provided, therefore, Kennels/Pens not allowed on the sites. Limit-3 Pets
divider.gif
Your Reservation Summary:
Dates Rates Nights Price
9/xx/2017 - 9/xx/2017 $34.00 / Night 1 $34.00
Taxes: $2.38
Value Kard Rewards Discount: N/A
Estimated Total For Your Stay* US$36.38
Reservation Deposit Amount Paid US$36.38

Except for the electric hookup I get all you paid for at Walmart for $0.  For electric I have solar panels and lithium batteries which more than paid for themselves on our 8 month trip from Texas to Alaska and back last year. The actual Alaska trip from the US border with Canada and back was 139 days.  Only 2 of those days with elect hookups. This year and beyond the solar and batteries are free.

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We have stayed at a few KOAs in the last year and they sure are booming. They have found their market and they are entitled to it. If you are looking for the cheapest place, that's not their market for sure. I know when I was fulltiming price was king, as it had to be, but now that I'm very part-time ambiance is king and I'm will to pay for it and it may sound weird but I like the ambiance in most KOA parks as it is definitely more rustic. I hate the gentrified, groomed, paved and cut grass parks.  Just saying KOA knows their market and if it isn't you I'm not sure why you have to knock it. It obviously is a great fit for many people.

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13 hours ago, Al F said:

Except for the electric hookup I get all you paid for at Walmart for $0.  For electric I have solar panels and lithium batteries which more than paid for themselves on our 8 month trip from Texas to Alaska and back last year. The actual Alaska trip from the US border with Canada and back was 139 days.  Only 2 of those days with elect hookups. This year and beyond the solar and batteries are free.

I am glad you like that kind of Full time life. But it is not for me. I don't want to sit at a Wally World parking lot for 15-17 hours a day.
That is how long I spend at overnight campgrounds and at destinations I use electric 24/7.

I don't have to carry around all the extra weight of solar panels and need to buy expensive batteries.
That by your post will last forever and never need replaced.   solar and batteries are free. :)
I can only get my T-105 6V batteries to last around 7 years 6 months on average and then need to replace them for $$$, not free.

I need electric to run my refrigerator, stand alone Freezer, stand alone Ice Maker, Both AC(Like to keep RV temps between 73-78º 24/7) with one being a heat pump also, 2 small space heaters,  my 55", 26", 24", 20" and 10" TV,  Genie DTV receiver, surround sound stereo system, 2 desktop & 2 laptops, charge my iPhone plus 2 iPads, keep my hotspot working, weBoost, WiFiRanger running, hair dryer, convection/microwave(use it a lot), water heater, and other items that use electric.
Yep!! I am a electric hog. :)

I don't think my roof it big enough to hold enough solar panels to keep enough batteries charged(which I have no place to put them) to run all my devices.

By the way I just checked my Quicken for 2016 my average per night/day for Full Time hooks ups came out to $4.48 a day for the 12 months. 2015 it was $4.15 way back in 2003 it was $5.15

My LPG bill every year has averaged $51.96 a year for the last 11 years and includes use(mostly exercising) of my LPG 6.5W generator.

You enjoy your solar & I will enjoy my electric.

 

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Not knocking KOA...the membership just doesn't pay for itself in our case. Post is under "living on a budget" which we are.

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I agree that paying for something like a KOA Value Card is simply a cost/benefit thing. If it saves you money, then get it. If not, it makes sense to let it go. 

Some years we've had one and used it.  Years when I know we won't be travelling as much, or I know of specific parks along the way, we don't. We've stayed in some very nice KOA's that were competitive with other parks in the area, so the idea that they are always more expensive or run down isn't accurate in our case. 

We've never seen the kind of add-ons that others have mentioned. 

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We do not stay  at Wall marts, Truck stops, etc our choice. We prefer KOA as they are usually close to a interstate. and can accommodate the rig. We stay at several a year in our travels usually for overnight stops only. We also use PA when they  suite our needs. We have never paid 60,70,80 $$ for a KOA CG .We have not seen the add- ons mentioned here.

At the end of a days travel we like to have dinner, shower ,kick  back and relax. We always get 50 amps ,full hook ups, pull through When in travel we are off the road by 4 maybe 5PM. What ever your travel style it is right for you.

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As Kirk stated above, I use them if there are no other nice places. Some are not that much more then others and they are supposed to live up to standards set by corporate KOA. I stayed in one in southern MI earlier this month, about $40 for a pull thru with full hookups, TV and 50 AMP. They also had pick your own blueberries. We felt that it was a very nice place.

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On 8/21/2017 at 5:40 AM, Kirk Wood said:

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

You know I have heard that before but I have NEVER ever paid more than what is advertised online. Yes, there are differences in the price for a 30A or 50A service. Yes, they may also offer sites with cable or no cable. But NEVER have I paid anything other than what is told me when I make my reservation. 

 

Edited by Chalkie

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57 minutes ago, Chalkie said:

You know I have that before but I have NEVER ever paid more than what is advertised online. Yes, there are differences in the price for a 30A or 50A service. Yes, they may also offer sites with cable or no cable. But NEVER have I paid anything other than what is told me when I make my reservation. 

 

I agree. That has been repeated so often on this forum that it must be true, right??  But we've stayed at about ten KOA's in the past couple of years and I've never been charged anything extra upon arrival. 

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An additional comment here about KOAs. Their prices vary widely depending on the type of KOA that they are (Journey, Holiday, Resort). In a way much like the price variance of staying in a Motel 6 or a Hyatt Regency. Various levels of amenities command different prices. Also KOA campgrounds are not just randomly placed. They are carefully placed so that they are convenient to good "days end" locations. 

I just went through the list of KOA campgrounds that we have stayed at over the last 4 years and it is a pretty long list. We also have stayed in state parks, PA parks and Good Sam parks but in studying the list the KOAs that we mostly stayed at have been convenient to our daily travel limit. 

The only KOA that I can honestly say we will never again stay at is one very close to our daughters home. They are now a "Resort" and have placed themselves in the stupidly expensive category, which is a shame for us as it makes for parking further away.

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13 hours ago, mptjelgin said:
14 hours ago, Chalkie said:

 

On ‎8‎/‎21‎/‎2017 at 7:40 AM, Kirk Wood said:

Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted. Things like $3 extra for 50a, $2 more for a pet, $2 for cable TV, $3 for wifi, and so on. A friend tells me that the letters KOA stand for the words "keep on adding."  :unsure:

You know I have heard that before but I have NEVER ever paid more than what is advertised online. Yes, there are differences in the price for a 30A or 50A service. Yes, they may also offer sites with cable or no cable. But NEVER have I paid anything other than what is told me when I make my reservation. 

I agree. That has been repeated so often on this forum that it must be true, right??  But we've stayed at about ten KOA's in the past couple of years and I've never been charged anything extra upon arrival. 

This statement has been around for decades. I think this is a hold over from the pre-internet days. The KOA Directory would list a range of prices for each campground with no real explanation that tent sites with no amenities were the lowest price and each added amenity increased the price for that site and that the price for the site was the price for the site no matter what you chose to use. RVers would pull in thinking that they would get the lowest price for any site they wanted only to find out that there was no electric/water at the tent sites, they would not fit in the tent sites, all the water/electric sites were taken, etc. The catchy slur phrase was born, caught on and has been repeated ever since.

 

 

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30 minutes ago, trailertraveler said:

The catchy slur phrase was born, caught on and has been repeated ever since.

 

That part is very true and because we so rarely stay in a KOA, it may well be outdated, but it was valid back when we first began to travel by RV. I suspect that it has been at least 3 years since we last stayed in a KOA because of past experiences. I was asking Pam what she recalled and for her, there is one particular trip that she has never forgotten, which I'll describe. 

We raised our family in Wyoming where campsites are readily available with no reservations and many without fees. In the late 70's we were traveling to California with 3 boys, 1, dog, and two of us. We could not recall the exact prices now but we stopped at a KOA somewhere in Utah where our KOA guide listed a site for our pop-up with water and electric only for something around $15. What she remembers is that because we had more than 3 people, it was an extra $1 each for the other 2, and it was $1 or 2 for our dog, and then since we didn't have a shower in the RV, all of the showers required quarters to get the water. We think that we stopped in 3 more KOA parks that trip and found the extra charges pretty much that way. Since that trip, we have mostly avoided KOA parks but have found that in general, the older ones are more to our liking if we do stay at one. When a business develops a reputation, it can take years for that to change. 

We do occasionally stay in a KOA nowadays if there are few options or if it is the most convenient, but I still believe that in most areas where there are other parks as well, the KOA tends to be among the higher priced for what we actually use. I may be wrong in that belief, but the last I knew we were still allowed differing opinions. :)

Edited by Kirk Wood

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In 1973 i was traveling in a 12 year old van. my first time out. somewhere in Kansas, i was smelling gamey. i saw a koa sign and pulled in. the owners were very friendly. asked if i wanted electric. i only wanted a place to rest and sleep, and have a shower and shave. i was directed near the wood line in a grassy field less than 100 yards from the showers, pool and office area. i enjoyed being away from the children. just before dusk, the owner and his well behaved setter walked around the camp, stopping to say hello and seeing how i was doing. a very pleasant stop for a grimy hippy run away. i hope to have such a enjoyable stop someday.

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1 hour ago, Kirk Wood said:

I may be wrong in that belief, but the last I knew we were still allowed differing opinions. :)

Of course we're allowed different opinions.

But what often happens here is that experiences that may be 30+ years old are stated as current fact.

You admit that you rarely stay in KOA Campgrounds and that your defining experience was back in the 70's. Yet in August 2017 you stated "Be careful as we have found that KOA tends to have a bunch of little extra charges once you arrive that push the rate up above what was quoted."

Folks that have stayed at KOA's recently have indicated that is not the case. So does that change your opinion, or will it forever be set in stone??

 

 

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I can't remember ever staying at a KOA, every time I have checked their CG prices they are always at the higher end. PPA is our best option and we can usually adjust our mileage to use them for about half of our traveling stops. I won't stay at Walmart or truck stops either, I like my FHU's the same as when I was living in a stick house.

Greg

Edited by gjhunter01

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