Jump to content

New to the RVing world and would like advice on Park memberships


Louisg1564

Recommended Posts

We are brand new to the world of RVing and need tons of advice. Bought a 38ft 5th wheel, selling the home and hitting the road for the next year (at least). Plans are to stop in different areas for several weeks at a time. Any advice on what park memberships to join? I have seen advice on Thousand trails, good and bad, but I understand there are a lot of options. We are under 55 and still work, so this is a working adventure.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are brand new to the world of RVing and need tons of advice. Bought a 38ft 5th wheel, selling the home and hitting the road for the next year (at least). Plans are to stop in different areas for several weeks at a time. Any advice on what park memberships to join? I have seen advice on Thousand trails, good and bad, but I understand there are a lot of options. We are under 55 and still work, so this is a working adventure.

Lot's to discuss. Here's some starters

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=121466&hl=membership

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=120468&hl=membership#entry807913

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=120059&hl=%2Bcampground+%2Bmembership#entry802227

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=119438&hl=%2Bcampground+%2Bmembership#entry796996

 

http://www.rvnetwork.com/index.php?showtopic=119093&hl=%2Bcampground+%2Bmembership#entry789876

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Welcome to the Escapee forums! We are mostly a friendly bunch and we love to help out when we can.

 

There are not many campground associations which I'd suggest for your type of use, but there are two half price groups that I do think that you may find very helpful. Passport America and Happy Campers are both groups that RV parks join in order to promote more business and in doing so they agree to allow members to stay there for 1/2 price, usually for a limited number of nights. At a cost of only $44/year, either of these or both are very easy to recover the cost of membership and there is no need to sell a membership to someone else in order to stop paying dues. In addition, the Escapees RV Club has a group of RV parks that give members a discount, as one of the many benefits of membership.

 

There are several well known groups of membership RV parks such as Resort Parks International, Coast to Coast, Thousand Trails, and several others. If you are only sure that you will be traveling for a year, it is very difficult to justify the cost of a purchased membership. You would need to find a group that had campgrounds in most of the places that you plan to visit, which is very unlikely since most of these are not found in the primary tourist areas but out in locations more away from the bustling crowds.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Think twice before buying an expensive membership so soon. We purchased one a year after hitting the road and used it quite a bit the first year after purchase. Over the next couple years several parks in the area we most often travel disappeared and we now very seldom use it, in fact I will drop it this year. Many membership parks are located off the beaten path or further from attractions or areas we want to visit. We do have a use Passport America all the time when traveling, it's well worth the very low cost. Greg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

We took advantage of a Thousand Trails special where we could purchase 2 zone passes for the price of 1. So for $549 we have the entire western half of the US available to us. Doing the math we need to stay on average 15-18 nights a year at their parks to make it worth it. The only negative is most of their parks are located along the coast however we can visit their sister campground program Encore at a discounted price which are more available inland. Regardless we feel we will be able to take advantage of the program. There are options to upgrade in their system to all parks but we won't look into that until we plan to travel the Eastern half of the country. I wish you luck in your travels.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Has anyone compared Passport to Happy Camper Parks? Is there a lot of overlap?

Several years ago I did spend some time comparing and I found that there are many of the same parks in both but in general the PA had better coverage in the west with Happy Campers better in the ease and the mid-west about the same in both. It costs $39/year to belong to Happy Campers and $44/year for Passport America for the RVer and there is no fee for the RV park to join the listings. The same thing is true for Escapee members with their park discount program & directory.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a Lifetime Membership to PA, cost us $300 15 years ago. Well worth the money. We have come out so far ahead on the Lifetime Membership, we would easily come out well ahead even if we paid the annual.

 

I'll need to look at Happy Camper for this season as we will be in the East and Eastern Canada mostly. Might be worth it and a good test.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Think twice before buying an expensive membership so soon."

----

Agreed. I can see getting Passport America because the initial cost is very low and there are no recurring/"upkeep" fees, but committing to a campground membership when one is new to the lifestyle is a bad move, IMO. Too often, new RVers make premature, often costly and "limiting", decisions on buying a campground membership, only to find that it doesn't work for who they are, where they go, and how they want/need to travel. IMO, it's a much more sensible plan to give oneself time to explore the lifestyle before locking into a contract - if one chooses to do that at all.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My advice would be to investigate any memberships thoroughly before you invest. Look for the number of available parks where you will spend most of your RV’ing time. Don’t fall for the sales pitch that you can use your membership at all their parks. It’s all about availability at each park. Be careful of the hidden cost in the yearly maintenance fee that you agree to pay regardless if you use the membership or cancel it. The majority of these membership clubs have bait and which tactics. Many of the parks you find available to you are sub-par and off the beaten path. While Passport America is a widely used vendor many parks don’t accept them.

We have been Workamping for the last 6 years so we have had the opportunity to see how many of the Membership Clubs operate. We also purchased a Membership before we became full timers and used it some but found out rather quickly that we had limitations once we left the availability of our home Park. Personally, now that we have been full timing for these past 6 years we can’t see that we could have saved the cost of the Membership.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

We bought coast to coast (C2C) 2 yrs ago and we've been enjoying it.

 

We also use Good neighbor parks and PA.

 

Our tips!

1) Always check availability

 

2) You'll use your homepark the most, so make sure it's nice, great location, low nightly fees. We pay $5 per night and free nightly stays at the other coast resorts.

 

3) Ask LOTS of questions.

 

4) C2C parks are spread out, use PA in between.

 

5) Talk with other members, they usually have great tips.

 

If anyone has any questions about Coast, I don't know everything, but I'm happy to share my experience. :)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We've been at our home park exactly ONCE. If you are a fulltimer, the location of the home park is the least of your worries. It is the availability of having access to other parks across the country. We have C2C, ROD, AOR, and a TT 2-Zone pass. We use them 100+ nights of the year all up and down the West Coast, as well as across the country. C2C, ROD, & TT all have online reservation system -- just remember that each park will allot only a limited number of sites for each affiliation each night. We often find that if the ROD sites are full, we can get into the park under C2C or AOR.

 

Barb

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We use Passport America all the time and save tons of money for the $44 annual fee. Yes the Happy Campers and Passport America do overlap a lot, but then so does Good Sam and Passport. For the campgrounds that participate in Good Sam and Passport, I'd rather get 50% off with Passport then 10% with Good Sam. We dropped Good Sam as we seldom used it. Each campground owner can set his/her own rules for the use of Passport such as certain months, weekends or event times it cannot be used, a certain number of days. We have not found that to be a problem . Some parks will extend the discount longer or over a weekend, just depends on how busy they are. It doesn't hurt to ask.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We are brand new to the world of RVing and need tons of advice. Bought a 38ft 5th wheel, selling the home and hitting the road for the next year (at least). Plans are to stop in different areas for several weeks at a time. Any advice on what park memberships to join? I have seen advice on Thousand trails, good and bad, but I understand there are a lot of options. We are under 55 and still work, so this is a working adventure.

 

Sorry, this doesn't directly apply to the question you asked, but when I saw your post, I had to laugh. Perhaps it's food for thought...

 

Those were the exact plans I had when I started full timing. But the first park I stopped at was so nice and such a good fit for me, that I stayed longer. Finally did a long term lease. Have been here going on 2 years and this is so comfortable really don't plan on moving. Had I joined any travel organizations, it would surely have been mostly a waste in my case.

 

Things don't always go the way you originally plan, so it might be best to join things one at a time and learn from each experience, instead of jumping into a bunch in the beginning?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Until you get some rving under your belt(1-2 years) I would only buy into Passport America and maybe Happy Camper. AFter that time frame you will have a better feel for the type of rver you are.

 

Some rver's need to have reservations and schedule themselves for many months at a time, many of us just drive until we want to pull off and then go look for a cg. Some of us drive for a while and then call a cg down the road to make sure they have space. Some of us prefer boondocking or State/National Parks. Some are happy at Walmart or anyh parking lot. You need to find out what type of rver you want to be before making any commitments to any organization. We joined several organization for a year, found out we didn't use them and didn't renew.

 

With TT or C2C the option to get out is very limited. We wanted to get out of our home cg that allowed us C2C and essentially had to buy our way out. We learned our lesson.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Until you get some rving under your belt(1-2 years) I would only buy into Passport America and maybe Happy Camper. AFter that time frame you will have a better feel for the type of rver you are.

 

Some rver's need to have reservations and schedule themselves for many months at a time, many of us just drive until we want to pull off and then go look for a cg. Some of us drive for a while and then call a cg down the road to make sure they have space. Some of us prefer boondocking or State/National Parks. Some are happy at Walmart or anyh parking lot. You need to find out what type of rver you want to be before making any commitments to any organization. We joined several organization for a year, found out we didn't use them and didn't renew.

 

With TT or C2C the option to get out is very limited. We wanted to get out of our home cg that allowed us C2C and essentially had to buy our way out. We learned our lesson.

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

With TT or C2C the option to get out is very limited. We wanted to get out of our home cg that allowed us C2C and essentially had to buy our way out. We learned our lesson.

 

 

 

That simply isn't true. C2C is easy, just don't renew. Home park (assuming you are up-to-date on dues) just send a letter stating you are not renewing, same with TT. And with a TT Zone Pass, you just don't renew.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Maybe now it isn't true or it was just our home park. We had to pay almost $1000 to get out of the contract(it was in the contract) plus even if we kept the home park we hadn't paid for C2C for 8 years and they wouldn't let us sign up for C2C without paying 8 years of back dues. As I said, we learned our lesson.

 

We were just glad to get out of the whole mess. It was our mistake, there were never any C2C parks where we wanted to be and the few we stayed in gave us horrible sites. Seemed like a good idea at the time but just wasn't worth the money. We average now about $11/night which is fine with us. For the amount of time we were able to find a C2C+all the dues our average was well over that. You can't just look at the per night cost after you join, you need to count the ongoing cost and amortize the initiation fees also.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Problem with people talking about what happened 10-15 yrs ago is that none of it is relevant to today. If one travels extensively on the west coast, one should seriously consider membership parks as they are everywhere. Other parts of the country, not as extensively.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

×
×
  • Create New...