Thousand Trails Year in Review

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Thousand Trails Year in Review

Campground Reviews

I think it is safe to say we have stayed in enough Thousand Trails campgrounds to get a good grasp of the overall state of the system.

We have stayed in parks on both the west and east coasts. They have some consistency like signage and amenities they offer but overall they are all different.

You can get a campsite in Oregon that is a flat, cement pad or you can get a campsite in New York that is gravel and grass. We don’t notice any major differences staying in Thousand Trails/Encore parks versus staying in other average private parks.

They are definitely not Tier 1 RV resorts. If you are looking for a resort that has perfectly flat, long, pull-throughs with an infrared sauna and private jacuzzi then they are not for you.

If you are just looking for a campsite that is affordable and would fall smack dab in the middle of the “niceness” scale then these parks are for you.

Check out a few of our reviews if you are interested in seeing the quality for yourself.

The Math

Thousand Trails & Trails Collection

These are all the costs associated with Thousand Trails and Trails Collection parks.

The one-time cost will vary based on the membership level you purchase and its cost. You can purchase a new membership directly from Thousand Trails or you can purchase an existing membership (recommend). Not sure which membership you need? Check out our article on all the different Thousand Trails membership options.

If you are interested in a resale then use the form below to request the current list from Kim at Campground Membership Outlet. They helped us through the whole process and it cost us nothing (They get a cut from Thousand Trails)!

Want the current list of available resale memberships from Campground Membership Outlet?

The annual membership fee includes our Thousand Trails membership and the Trails Collection add-on. The Trails Collection includes an additional 120 parks for $199 a year and is totally worth it.

The additional nightly cost includes random surcharges that some parks charge for the use of 50 Amp. It also includes any nightly charges we received for what we call “fancy” Trails Collection parks.

About 20 of the 120 Trails Collection parks charge an additional $20/night. So far, there has been only one “fancy” park that we didn’t feel was justified in charging extra (looking at you May’s Landing) but overall the parks that charge the additional fee were nicer with more resort type amenities like Miami Everglades.

  • One-time Thousand Trails Elite membership resale cost: $4250
  • Total Annual Membership cost: $748 
    • Thousand Trails Annual cost: $549
    • Trails Collection Annual cost: $199
  • Additional nightly costs (50 amp surcharge/”fancy” Trails Collection parks/etc): $915  
  • Total first-year cost: $5913
  • Nights in Thousand Trails campgrounds: 175
  • Average nightly cost including one-time resale membership purchase: $34/night 

Private/Public Campgrounds

  • Total Private/Public Campground Cost:  $4237
  • Nights in private/public campgrounds: 138
  • Average private/public nightly cost: $31/night

Is it worth it?

At first glance, you would think NO WAY. Thousand Trails appears to cost more per night, AND you are restricted to staying in specific campgrounds!

The magic of Thousand Trails, however, happens in the second year.

Let us take a look at the estimated numbers for year two using year one as a reference.

  • Total second-year cost: $1748
    • Total Annual Membership Cost: $748
      • Thousand Trails Annual cost: $549
      • Trails Collection Annual cost: $199
    • Additional nightly costs (50 amp surcharge/”fancy” Trails Collection parks/etc): $1000
  • Nights in Thousand Trails campgrounds: 175
  • Average nightly cost: $10/night!!!!!!!!!

As you can see, the second year (and every year after that) will have a MUCH lower nightly cost.

That is less than $4000 / year in campground fees including the annual membership cost if you stayed every night in a Thousand Trails campground (and you could).

If you are full-time it is almost irresponsible to NOT purchase a membership. You are just throwing money away.

If you only travel part-time, NEED to have the flexibility of camping where ever you want, or boondock a whoooooole lot then this might not be worth it to you.

But, if you are like us and want Full Hookups when you travel the Thousand Trails membership is a MAJOR deal.

Want the current list of available resale memberships from Campground Membership Outlet?

  1. Great information and breakdown of costs! Have been researching the Thousand Trails membership since deciding to get into the RV life. Will be contacting you both for some advice when we get closer to our RV purchase.

  2. Pingback: 7 Easy Pismo Beach Camping Sites in 2019
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