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Which Would You Pick?

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Of the two, Resort Parks International (RPI) and Coast To Coast (C2C), if you were to choose one, which & why. Thanks :)

     Spot

Edited by $Spot

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I have no experience with RPI but was very disappointed with C2C. C2C parks tend not to be on anyone's travel path, they are destination parks, and some of them are quite old and shabby. Plus, our home park closed without notice and moved to another location a couple hundred miles away then tried to tell us we still had to pay. We paid an attorney to write them a letter and they stopped dunning us.

Linda

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We have checked into several over the years.  We even stayed at a couple Thousand Trails to get a small sampling of what some of those parks were like.   Membership parks, or time shares, or whatever you want to call them are not for us.  Sorry I couldn't be of more assistance.

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Over the years  we have looked into various membership parks.  They never seemed to be where we wanted to go at the time or since and we didn't want to feel obligated to go someplace just to get our "money's worth".   Also we didn't want to be confined to time limits in a park. 

Many people do travel the membership park routes and find savings.

Where do you want to travel? If those destinations are in one of the catalogs of membership parks your looking into choose that one.  Also begin with the end in mind: can you resell it if you no longer want it or use it? Do you still have to keep paying the annual fees? How will it affect your credit if you can't sell and stop paying?  What happens if your home park bows out of the system? We know of a couple in Arizona and Nevada.

The best advice we received when we first hit the road was not to obligate ourselves to any membership campground system until we had been on the road at least a full year. It will take you that long to get out of vacation mode and begin to define your own traveling style.

And don't forget the Escapee Club discount park system:  https://www.escapees.com/benefits/rv-parking/discount-park-directory/

Safe Travels,
 
 

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Thanks folks, this is some of the info I was hoping to glean, and hopefully those with experience with these organizations will chime in as well. Background; We're beyond vacation mode and in life mode now. And though there are places that I avoid as I've no interest there, the majority of our nation is our home where we'll live for a spell. Knowing that weekly, monthly, and seasonal rates go far to extend the budget, we've been for a time considering a membership to enhance the budget even further. Also, to lay this to rest, we are not work camper or camp host material. As a potential Thousand Trails member the option of RPI exists, (and of course the C2C option) in addition to the recently added Trails Collection within the Thousand Trails network. So in a nutshell, after crunching the numbers and not being too particular on where we'll spend a few weeks as there are so many options available (just hitch up & go), we've been considering the advantage, if any, of joining a membership setting to stretch the thin budget a little further. I appreciate your responses & consideration in helping a little here :)

     Spot

Edited by $Spot

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Don't forget there is a "Home Resort" requirement for RPI. In other words you have to own in a resort somewhere and pay their annual dues as well as RPI's.

TT is expensive if you pay for it at a resort it's much better to buy one online "Used" and to pay the transfer fee.

https://banbrv.blogspot.com/2017/11/thousand-trails-good-and-bad.html

BnB

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Thanks for starting this thread, I’m finding everyone’s opinions fascinating. If the house ever sells, I’m  going to go full-time and have once again thought about membership campgrounds. I thought about and researched (briefly) the subject 4 years ago when I bought my RV initially, deciding it wouldn’t fit into my style of RVing. Now that I’ll be full-timing, I’m wondering if one would fit into my life better.

I have two friends who own membership campgrounds, one owns at an ROD resort and the other a resort with membership to C2C and RPI, premium levels. That one prefers C2C with the ability to stay for free, rather than RPI, which they haven’t used much. And they are thinking of dropping out of it next year.

So I thought the comment above about preferring RPI over C2C interesting, a different perspective. Love hearing everyone’s point of view, it really helps when it comes to making informed decisions.

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checking in... Thanks for the posts folks :) 

@ Barb & Dave, I'm now examining that relationship between TT & RPI

@ Brian & Barbara, thanks for your link & the updates within

@ fpmtngal, thanks for your "two friends" reference, & your last line is the reason for the thread :) 

@ Linda, when viewing the C2C "Find A Resort" state by state I can see how having a travel path can limit available parks in relation to one's plans, and also that not having a plan can have the parks available. Seems that this could wear out though as day trips then get further from camp with each stay, leading to "Why don't we just stay over there and not use C2C this time?"

@ Joe, I agree with your view, and basically this is another reason for the thread... can I be swayed into membership due to its value.

@ Velos, your very words are as an exact quote from our conversations as we motor down the road :) 

     Spot

 

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If you are on the west coast, I would suggest you try a 1 year TT zone pass (or if you time it right get the 2 for 1 and get all of the west coast at one price).  This will allow you to try a number of the TT parks rather cheaply and decided if memberships are a good deal for you.   I'm in Birch Bay, Washington right now at a ROD/C2C park.  Just left 2 weeks at  TT park near Seattle, next week will go on to another TT park for 2 weeks, then one to an AOR park for 2 weeks, than to another Encore park.  We love the area (went to college in Bellingham, WA) and so have very little 'out-of-pocket' costs for the summer, just our annual dues.   The month of August will be at BIL's (who put in hookups for us) and then all of September will be again in membership parks.  This works for us because membership parks are so numerous throughout the west.   Now these aren't 5 star resorts, but then we don't see the parks as our 'destination' where we spend all of our time, but rather our 'place to sleep' as we explore the areas, visit favorite spots, etc.      

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Our story, FWIW:

We started our full-time journey without any campground memberships, just a membership in Escapees. Our plan was to drive a day, stay for some period of time, and repeat. We then joined Passport America on an annual basis, and quickly found that we could save quite a bit of money that way, so after a couple of years we went to a lifetime membership. We also checked out some of the Escapees Parks. We found them attractive, so we checked out a couple of the co-ops and ERPUs, with the idea that maybe one of them might be a good winter headquarters for us. Earlier this year we became leaseholders at The Ranch.

Spot, you may want to do something similar. As was mentioned above, buying C2C or TT new is very expensive, while buying a used membership is much less expensive. Passport America is pretty cheap, and with a one-year membership you can try as many parks as you want. Each park sets their own rules about when and how many nights you can stay for half-price, so they aren't a great choice for long-term stays, but are great for traveling.

Now, if you are looking at C2C or TT just to be able to use their network of parks, and you may or may not make use of your home park, then look at the maps of where the parks are located and chose the one that best suits your planned travels. Just remember that your annual cost for your home parks will be part of your annual travel costs. If you don't make much use of the system you may well find that it is cheaper to just pay the regular rate.

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1 hour ago, kb0zke said:

may or may not make use of your home park, then look at the maps of where the parks are located and chose the one that best suits your planned travels. Just remember that your annual cost for your home parks will be part of your annual travel costs. If you don't make much use of the system you may well find that it is cheaper to just pay the regular rate.

Also be aware that different home parks can have different annual fees. If you don't care where your home park is once you join, you might want to check into those fees.

Linda

Edited by sandsys

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14 minutes ago, sandsys said:

Also be aware that different home parks can have different annual fees. If you don't care where your home park is once you join, you might want to check into those fees.

Linda

Is there an easy way to find the annual fees for various parks? I started to look at a couple of park’s websites and found it frustrating to try to find out what they were.

In addition, it seems that home parks fit into different categories (at least as far as I could tell with both C2C and RPI when I was looking through my friend’s books) so buying into one doesn’t necessarily give you the same access and features as another one. I found the differences in annual costs on either RPI or C2C sites, don’t remember which.

I looked at several on-line resources (some resellers, a couple of individual membership parks as well as the websites for the various organizations like RPI, C2C, ROD, etc.) looking for the “fine print”, but either they gloss over some of it or else it appears complicated enough that my mind went into neutral. The various membership parks and their systems make successful timesharing (with all of the nuances that go with that) look simple.

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I have no interest in a membership type deal it’s just not our style at this time. 

I can tell you that Escapees membership and Passport America have saved us a good deal. 

There are some limitations to how long you get a special rate but savings are there. 

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19 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

If you are on the west coast, I would suggest you try a 1 year TT zone pass       

This is what comes up each time we discuss TT and its worth, and seems a sound way to test the waters, thanks :)

17 hours ago, kb0zke said:

Our story, FWIW:

Worth a lot David! Your story mimics ours, although we also started with Passport America, and like yourself are Lifetime Members, thanks :) 

14 hours ago, MidMOTraveler said:

I have no interest in a membership type deal it’s just not our style at this time. 

The style aspect comes up with us also as we wonder if TT would be a good fit. Our camping/traveling style, like our music, is very eclectic :) 

     Spot

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22 hours ago, $Spot said:

checking in... Thanks for the posts folks :) 

…………….cut………………….

@ Joe, I agree with your view, and basically this is another reason for the thread... can I be swayed into membership due to its value.

……………...cut...………...

 

I am all about saving money on camping sites.  My theory is you have to park this darn thing someplace 365 days a year when you are full time.  The goal should be to have it parked every day in a site you enjoy at the cheapest price possible while traveling around the country.  

It has taken us close to two years to figure out how to get our annual camping costs reduced, but they are going down.  None of the savings has involved membership parks and never will.  For us it dictates when and where we travel too much.

So far we have located three really nice campgrounds that we can stay in at their monthly rate for between $11 and $13 per day.  Two of these are in areas where we have family and visit every year.  One is in Alabama where we like to spend time prior to wintering in Florida and again when coming out of Florida in the spring.  By doing a little research and making calls with our travel planning we have found many parks that will give us a huge price break for booking two weeks instead of 3 or 4 days.  We also will boondock or dry camp if just putting miles on to get someplace special across country.  

We still pay higher rates to stay 4 or 5 months at a nice campground in SW Florida, but by doing all the above we have reduced our annual camping expenses a lot.  If I can find these cheaper rates at nice private (non-membership) campgrounds where I will fit at 73' long, most other full timing RVers could certainly do the same and probably much better.

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3 hours ago, $Spot said:

The style aspect comes up with us also as we wonder if TT would be a good fit.

We have always been involved in the communities that we live in so when going fulltime we soon found that we enjoyed spending time as volunteers while the road as well. There are many different volunteer positions with a wide range of dutes that one can take part in which we enjoyed and found educational and in most cases we did not keep going back to the same locations but found new places with new experiences each stop. By doing this we also had very low annual cost for RV sites, yet seldom were without full hookups.

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So far we have located three really nice campgrounds that we can stay in at their monthly rate for between $11 and $13 per day. 

So the location of those parks are dictating where you go.  

It is all about finding what works for you.   BTW - I have never, ever, figured out why people think having a park membership (with associated affiliate membership) dictates where you go.   If there is one in the area we are going to be in, we book in there.   If there isn't, we use PPA, Escapees, city/county parks, etc.   Just like everyone else.   It is just ANOTHER tool in our bag to use.

 

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^ I agree entirely, it's another tool in the bag. And using the tool analogy, it's as if I'm in the tool department at Home Depot with my gaze fixed on a certain tool with wonder (👁️👁️ tools)... is it worth the cost and how much will I use it vs the cost, you know, "getting my money's worth". I can certainly see it's advantage and this is a side note to the reason behind this thread. The RPI option exists with a TT Membership, and a C2C option was presented as well. Another option is the Trails Collection. But it was the two, RPI & C2C, that grabbed my attention due to similarities which then had me wonder if one would be a better choice, though the RPI option is less expensive in the price of admission. Before me lay, through Thousand Trails, RPI Preferred at $119 annual dues, and a comparable C2C at $149 annual dues following the buy in to the park. In viewing each other's maps with locations, I KNOW that I could make good use of this tool added to my bag. (The Trails Collection would come in handy too as it's free camping in 91 of the 109 parks following the current $214 annual dues). I also know that in a short time the cost of admit will be recovered. Currently, we travel in the same way that FL-JOE, MidMOTraveler, and kb0zke have stated. And like them and many others, although we have found ways to be economical while we enjoy life we have studied or are studying on a membership in TT including the various options that are available through them. As I said, I know that I could make use of the park system without seeming confined because of it, our camping/traveling style is just too eclectic. We enjoy the diversity presented by the various geographies regularly. This study, this thread, is only rooted in economics as I seek your valued opinions & case histories :)

     Spot 

Edited by $Spot

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1 hour ago, Kirk W said:

We have always been involved in the communities that we live in so when going fulltime we soon found that we enjoyed spending time as volunteers while the road as well. There are many different volunteer positions with a wide range of dutes that one can take part in which we enjoyed and found educational and in most cases we did not keep going back to the same locations but found new places with new experiences each stop. By doing this we also had very low annual cost for RV sites, yet seldom were without full hookups.

Thanks for this :) However, our bodies have had the word work removed from our vocabulary. (Now let's see what can be done with pain.)

     Spot 

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Spot, if you know you could make good use of having memberships in your tool bag, what is the hang up?  

Turned around, how would it hinder your travels?   We have the trails collection added.  Stayed at the San Francisco RV Park in Pacifica, for $20/night.  Easy public transportation into SF.  Savings for one week paid for dues.  We use membership parks about 100 nights for the year and move every week or two during the summer.  

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4 hours ago, Barbaraok said:

Spot, if you know you could make good use of having memberships in your tool bag, what is the hang up? 

There is no hang up really, it's all still on the table. We have some choices & options to consider before saying "I Do" :) I now refer back to the OP... With a mixed bag of reviews, comments, & experiences involving RPI & C2C found on the web I posted my question here because the options exist, hoping to gain more insight into each. With nothing more to go on, I'll choose RPI. Regarding the apparent sidebar that came up in the thread involving TT, I do like your earlier mention of the Camping Pass to test, without  contract, the fit of it all and get into some parks & the rhythm of using another tool in the bag. Among so many others, you seem happy with TT while using it about 100 nights/year, and as a member if I were to insert TT parks into my pattern in place of the parks used now our nights/year would be more so I believe that I'd be just as happy, but in reality I think the tools (camping sources/locations) would be a nice blend. As I said earlier, we diversify our stays and campsites for the pleasure of it :)

     Spot

Edited by $Spot

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Interesting thread even though it strayed from the OP. And continuing down the rabbit trail, $119 annual dues for RPI, $214 annual dues for Trails Collection, and an average of $600 annual dues for a resale Thousand Trails contract = $933 annual dues. The Camping Pass will be more $$$ annually due to buying in to the various zones to have a true apples to apples comparison of nationwide camping opportunities, so I'll stay with a resale contract examination... Using $20/day as an average cost the $933 in annual dues is covered in 47 days. That's an average of $2.56/day for the year. Of course the owner will be using RPI which has a discounted daily fee of $15 so used for 60 days/year the new average is $5.02/day, and if used for 120 days/year the new average is $7.49/day. Those are some mighty attractive camping costs to be at parks with hook-ups, and the various amenities associated with those parks, for the entire year. The initial buy in cost of the contract resale will affect this in an annually decreasing manner so if we were to add it in, say $3200 for an average buy in cost, then $3200/365=$8.77 additional daily for year 1, $4.39 for year 2, $2.19 for year 3, $1.10 for year 4, and 59 cents for year 5. It is VERY easy to see the attraction for use by full time RVers. Getting past the sticker shock and getting out the ol' calculator sure can save money over the long haul. Welp, stopped raining so I'm putting the calculator away and going out :) Auf Wiedersehen 😎

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TT often runs a 2 zones for price of 1, which is a great way to see if it will work for you.  

Yes, if you use them you can save money.  Since we are on West Coast we save thousands each year. 

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