Do we need to buy membership?

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RREngr

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Hi,  While at Camping World, we were given an invitation for three days, two nights plus a $100 gas card to visit a Thousand Trails park.  We just listened to the presentation which seems to offer alot.  However, since we are new at this, we just are not sure we need to join.  I would love to hear your opinions.  We had just planned on using our MH for local getaways and then a trip to the Midwest for a family reunion next summer.  They are offering a lifetime membership for less than $5,000 and $449 per year for maintenance. We are supposed to make up our minds by 4:00 tomorrow.  All opinions would be appreciated. The salesman says that State Parks and KOA's are not safe and don't offer as great a vacation experience.  Kay
 

Ned

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Run, don't walk, away from that deal.  For your projected usage, you won't spend that much for a long time.  Even at $25/night, and you can do better than that, $5000 buys over a year of camping and $449 buys nearly 3 weeks.  I doubt you would ever get your money back in savings, even if TT has parks where you want to go.

There are restrictions on most membership parks as to length of stay and some are nearly impossible to cancel.  State parks are quite safe, and KOAs, although not our favorites, are not any less safe than any other campground, including TT.
 

RREngr

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Thanks for your reply Ned.  I appreciate your input. I have to agree with you.  Especially since Rich will not retire for three years, and at this time, we are probably only going to get to do local two or three day getaways once a month if that often. We don't even know what we like at this point, want to try different locations, ie: beach, desert, woodland, etc.  It might make sense for a fulltimer who wanted to travel from park to park throughout the year.  Yes, there are some restrictions.  We were hesitant, told him we would not make a decision without sleeping on it--which he says they usually don't let you do.  Another of those "you can only get this special price if you do it today" deals--which usually make me hesitant anyway.  Thanks again.  Kay
 

Howard R

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Hello Kay,

I probably should shout this as following Ned's advice you should be moving down the road at a rapid pace by now !!  ;D  ;D    (Run, don't walk, away from that deal.)

I agree with Ned, while it may make sense for some folks based on your description it would not be a good investment for you.  There are other options out there also, such as Passport America for I think $39/year which will give you 1/2 off at selected campgrounds, often good for only the first night..  Even at that most commercial campgrounds give a 10% discount for a Good Sam member or FMCA member, etc.

We like the Corp of Engineering, State and National Park campgrounds and have not felt insecure in any of them. 

At the very least I would suggest you do some travelling and get a better idea what you want in a campground before you decide.  It will be different for everyone, what works good for us may not for you.

My .02 ...

Howard
 

Ned

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I apologize for not giving you any alternatives.  Howard has mentioned some very good options in Passport America (http://www.passport-america.com/) and Good Sam (http://www.goodsamclub.com).  We have both but use the PA membership as often as we can.  There are no strings to a PA membership, just 50% off at member campgrounds.  Current membership is $44/year.  There may be restrictions, particularly in season, at some of the member campgrounds, but they are spelled out in the book (or CD) listings.

Good Sam has many campgrounds listed that will give a 10% discount, but be prepared for lots of mail from the Affinity Group, the GS parent company, unless, when you join, you INSIST that they keep you off of their mailing list.

If either of you is 62, you can get the Golden Age Passport which gives a 50% discount at all Core of Engineers, National Park Service, and even some state campgrounds.  If you're not 62, you can buy an annual pass for $50 that gives the same discount.  The passes also get you free adminssion to all national parks and monuments.  It's one of the great bargains from our government.  See http://www.nps.gov/fees_passes.htm for the details on the different passes.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
If you're not 62, you can buy an annual pass for $50 that gives the same discount.

Well I'll be darned. They didn't mention that when I asked about the Golden Age Passport and was told to come back when I'm old enough  :(
 

Ned

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Tom,

$50 a year gets you the same privileges as us old timers get for $10 for life :)
 

Ron

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Hi,  While at Camping World, we were given an invitation for three days, two nights plus a $100 gas card to visit a Thousand Trails park.  We just listened to the presentation which seems to offer alot. 

RUN RUN RUN away from any membership park deal.  You will very unlikely ever get your moneys worth out of them.  You will get much more use at less cost by joinming Passport America. I Strongly recommend against any membership campground membership.   Did they point out that if you join you are on the hook for life unless you are lucky enough to sell the membership?

Oh did I mention Run don't walk from any campground membership deal.
 

Tom

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Ned said:
$50 a year gets you the same privileges as us old timers get for $10 for life
I'm gonna have to pay $50/year for a long time to catch up with the old folks around here.
 

izzybbar

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Just got back from visiting the web site for the Pass Program.? We are a long ways from 62? ;D, but, because my husband and me (soon to be) are disabled, we qualify for the Golden Access Passport? ;D, which is free, lifetime and gives the same coverage as the Golden Age Passport.? ?I did notice that the Golden Eagle for $65 does not give the 50% off camping site fees.? It only gets you/family into the National Parks/federal parks free of charge.? I guess it pays only if your 62 or older or disabled.
Connie? izzybbar ;D
 

RREngr

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Wow!  We got the message--RUN!  Ha ha  Actually we walked back up to the office and told the salesman that we felt we were not ready to commit to any type of membership until we get more experience and discover what type of camping we prefer.  He got a little upset and said "Good luck finding any decent places to park."  I am really glad you guys are out there to share your experience with us.  Rich checked on E Bay and found some TT memberships for sale, the lowest price being $500.  That is a far cry from the $5,000 we were quoted by the salesman today.  Probably also shows how hard it is to sell a membership once you have it.  We are not going to buy the membership regardless.  We did already join Good Sam based on a friend's good experience with them.  Unfortunately we did not know to insist on not being on the mailing list!  Oh well, our neighborhood does pick up paper for recycling!  Ha ha  Thanks again for sharing your knowledge and experience.  Kay
 

Ned

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Connie,

Thanks for pointing out that the National Parks Pass doesn't include the fee reductions for camping, just the free entrance to the parks. ?I missed that when I checked the NPS page.
 

Ned

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Kay,

Don't forget to check out Passport America.

Anytime a salesman says you must decide "right now", it's time to walk away, no matter what you're buying.  We have found hundreds of decent places to park and have never stayed in a TT park.

You can call Good Sam and ask them to be sure you're off the mailing list, unless you want to see what "deals" they will be offering :)
 

Ron

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I second Ned's recommendation for Passport America.  But I can't recommend Good Sam or anything do with Affinity Group Junk Mail Generators.  I we weren't lifetime members (Got that before it was sold to Affinity) we wouldn't be members at all.
\
Welcome back to Yuma Ned & Lorna.
 

Carl L

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He got a little upset and said "Good luck finding any decent places to park."

Whadda jerque!  :mad: 

Just go out and buy a copy of Woodall's or Trailer Life's Campground Directory and you will find all the decent places to park you want, all carefully rated for facilities, sanitation, and environment.    More over you will find it easy to make reservations by phone ahead for most even on the same day.   

Anytime some sales type says that you gotta buy today or else, you have to figure that the deal does not bear too close of a look.  Time to say byebye  ;D
 

RREngr

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Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Hi Carl,  Thanks for your response.  When we accepted the offer, we knew we would have to listen to a sales pitch--however, I told the saleman right off that we did not like high pressure sales and that we usually did not make decisions without talking it over and maybe even sleeping on it first.  At the end when he wanted us to sign on the dotted line, and said this "special price" was only good that day--I reminded him of what I had told him at the beginning. Since he feared that we were just going to walk out, he agreed to give us until the next day.  When we left, I told Rich that we needed to sign onto this forum and get some opinions from experienced RVers.    It is so nice to know all the people on this forum are so great about responding and helping to answer questions for us newbies.  We have found several campgrounds on the Internet, and will check out your recommendations as well.  We have only made two short local trips so far, but have learned new things each time and we are enjoying it.  In spite of the work involved in getting ready and when we get back, we both find the motorhome comfortable and cozy and enjoy seeing new areas.  It encourages us to get out and walk more, and we are meeting some nice people.  We are really glad that we found this forum and all the helpful people on it.  Thanks again.  Kay
 

Carl L

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You are certainly welcome Kay.  Glad we could be of help. 

By the way, I was quite serious about buying a copy of either Trailer Life's or Woodall's Campground Guide.  It is the RVers' bible for campground finding.  Best $15-20 you will spend in RVing.
 

Jim Dick

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Hi Kay,

I second Carl's suggestion about the Trailer Life guide. We use it quite often when we can't find a Passport America campground in the area we will be stopping. As far as that salesman, he's a loser from the get go. We have full timed for 9 years and have not had one problem with campgrounds being unsafe.

As others have mentioned, the only membership worth purchasing is Passport America. Getting half price at a campground you most likely would use anyway can't be beat. We have spent many nights in their parks for $9/night. Perfect when traveling and you only want to stop one night. At one park we decided we'd like to stay longer than the time allotted. The park manager let us stay as long as we wanted for the PA price.

We purchased our PA membership renewal at a show. We weren't going to use it for several months and they allowed us to delay the start of the membership until we were on the road again. That really made us happy! :)
 

RREngr

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Rancho Cucamonga, CA
I think I saw a Woodall's at Camping World.  Does CW also carry the Trailer Life guide?  If not, any suggestions on where to look for it?  With so many recommendations for Passport America, I don't think we need to search any further.  Since we will have to do mostly short, local  trips until Rich retires in approx. 3 years, I think we will want to go to places with nice scenery or special attractions close by. Shouldn't be a problem since we live in a state with so much diversity in geography and lots of points of interest.  We once rented a MH and traveled up the west side of Ca. and down the other, so we still have all the interior to explore!  We also enjoy the beach areas, and since Rich is able to take time off during the week, we should be able to go on weekdays and avoid the busy weekends when they are full and you have to make reservations waaaay in advance!  Thanks guys.  Kay
 
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