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Old 07-06-2019, 09:16 AM   #1
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Seek Info on Best RV Campground Membership - KOA - Good Sam, etc.

Newbie to the scene with retirement on horizon. Planning on many trips to come, but what about the best campground memberships???
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:08 AM   #2
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Depends on needs and expectations. Do you plan to travel around the US or just locally? Do you want more upscale RV parks with all paved roads and manicured patches of grass or any old CG?

We have a Thousand Trails membership and really like it. They're typically older CGs and on the more "rustic" side and usually have outdated electrical and sometimes no sewer hookups. We bought a pre-owned premium membership off CL and can stay in any of their CGs in the US and don't pay enough extra $$ per night.

There's Coast to Coast, RPI and a few others. If you want to travel afar, you need to look into where their CGs are located. Thousand Trails for example has no CGs in the central area of the US. Some people get multiple memberships in order to have more choices available.
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Old 07-06-2019, 10:47 AM   #3
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I am not a member of Thousand Trails, but the campground where my seasonal site is participates with Thousand trails. I have no idea of how reservations and site selections are made with Thousand Trails members, but it always seems that they are always stuck on the least desirable sites available. The campground can be near empty, with loads of great sites available, but it doesnít seem to matter ó Thousand Trails members seem to get the shaft and are put on the sites that nobody would usually want.

Is this a common practice with other campgrounds, or is it just my campground? How much say do the members of these things usually have when it comes to reservations? Are there different levels of memberships that give people varying degrees of site selection and reservation times?

Bruce
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Old 07-06-2019, 02:25 PM   #4
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We're retired and we use Passport America a lot. It fits our camping style.
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Old 07-06-2019, 02:28 PM   #5
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We've been happy with Good Sam (~10% off) and Passport America (~50% off). BTW - some CGs have restrictions about when both discounts can be used. We have found PA to have more restrictions because, well, it's 50% off! Both are fairly inexpensive and we made our membership costs back in three outings.

Usually the GS restrictions are based on the days of the week and/or "level" of campsite offered. The PA restrictions we have found are based mostly on days of the week. But, like bikendan, we are retired and have flexibility in our scheduling.

Good luck!
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Old 07-06-2019, 02:30 PM   #6
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I am not a member of Thousand Trails, but the campground where my seasonal site is participates with Thousand trails. I have no idea of how reservations and site selections are made with Thousand Trails members, but it always seems that they are always stuck on the least desirable sites available. The campground can be near empty, with loads of great sites available, but it doesn’t seem to matter — Thousand Trails members seem to get the shaft and are put on the sites that nobody would usually want.

Is this a common practice with other campgrounds, or is it just my campground? How much say do the members of these things usually have when it comes to reservations? Are there different levels of memberships that give people varying degrees of site selection and reservation times?

Bruce
We've been to most of the Thousand Trails in Wa, Or & Ca and one in Vegas. Every one of them has been first come, first serve. The only exception I recall is an Encore/Thousand Trails and one that has a section for 50 amp RVs. We've always had the choice of the best sites if they happen to be vacant when we drive around looking for a site. Being able to choose your own site is important to those wanting satellite.

Thing is, in the busy season, if you're only at a CG for 2 or 3 days, the full-timers and those staying for 2 or 3 weeks often get the good sites. And it's usually because you can get on a waiting list and when a site becomes available, they will let you know and you can move to it if you want. FHU sites are especially in high demand.

With Thousand Trails, there are many levels of membership and some are no longer available (can find pre-owned sometimes). With some memberships, you can book 90 days out, you can stay in the system continuously, have frozen dues for life, etc. This blog explains some of the features, benefits & membership types: https://rvlove.com/2015/01/28/thousa...ship-upgrades/

Some Thousand Trails CGs have a retail section and membership area. The only one I can recall that is segregated like that is the one in Leavenworth and the retail area is next to a main road.

Some of the Thousand Trails CGs are extremely popular, like on the Or. coast. You def. need to book as far out as you can and that's where having a membership level that allows 90 days out is beneficial.

I have no idea how Thousand Trails compares to Coast to Coast, RPI and the others.
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:30 PM   #7
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If you are a retiree, get a Lifetime Senior Pass, which saves 50% at all Federal parks. Most don't have too many amenities, no sewer hookup, or WiFi, but the sites are generous, clean, inexpensive, and reservations can be made on TV their app or online.
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Old 07-07-2019, 01:06 PM   #8
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We use GS and Passport America primarily. We have had good luck with PPA - it paid for the next several years of membership with one stay in New Orleans! We just joined KOA for the first time this year. We don't normally stay at KOAs as we find them to be pricey, but our home campground is KOA, so one stay paid for it.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:39 PM   #9
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We joined GS, KIA, Passport America the cost is minimal for each we also have the federal senior pass,life time.
We pick and choose campsites by location, cost and amenities. Have paid for all in our first yr camping.
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Old 07-07-2019, 02:58 PM   #10
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PA, GS Fed passport and Corp of Engineers

PA works great if travelling. Start calling ahead two hours before stopping. Second best is Corp of Engineers. Immaculate (our money at work) but hard to get into.
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Old 07-07-2019, 06:21 PM   #11
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I don't think there is a 'best' Campground membership.

We use KOA because of their discount, ease of booking, campground 'points' and general accessibility for people with a disability. However, they aren't everywhere.

We have a Good Sam membership also.

But if you're looking to save money, consider getting the Federal Pass and look for Corp of Engineers and Federal campsites on www.recreation.gov.
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:42 PM   #12
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We use Good Sam, KOA, and Passport.

IMHO - passport is best if used during week (50% discount).
Once weekend comes it is the same as others.

Also KOA every time you book one of their campgrounds, as previous poster noted, you build up points good for discounts above and beyond 10%.

Wife and I can travel mid week and weekends, so it doesn't matter.
All have camp site books you can see by state and amenities.

Good Luck & Safe Travels
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Old 07-07-2019, 07:45 PM   #13
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We have membership in KOA and Good Sam Club, and have had good results from both organizations. We have never experienced any discrimination regarding the camp sites we wish to choose. We camp on average 4-6 days every month, so the membership charges are offset by the savings we realize. Last year we toured and camped for more than 2-1/2 months throughout the Western US and saved far more in membership discounts than we paid in CG fees.
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:20 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Ribko View Post
Newbie to the scene with retirement on horizon. Planning on many trips to come, but what about the best campground memberships???


It really comes down to what works for you. I rarely do overnight stops and if I do, I hit Walmarts. Passport America has never paid for itself. I love Harvest Hosts but never get to use it.

We even generally avoid KOAs. I bought into the KOA program twice and didnít get the meager cost back out in savings.

We use the heck out of Thousand Trails, though.

See if this article helps:
Campground memberships for weekenders and fulltimers
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:24 PM   #15
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Is this a common practice with other campgrounds, or is it just my campground? How much say do the members of these things usually have when it comes to reservations? Are there different levels of memberships that give people varying degrees of site selection and reservation times?



Bruce

If itís JUST a Thousand Trails park, members can choose any site (usually, there are some exceptions). Monthly and seasonal folks get preference of whatís available when they pick their site; but they wonít move a transient stay for the sake of the longer term/paying person.

If itís a campground that has some sites set aside for Thousand Trails (and others), then what youíve seen is common. Specific sites, often less desirable are what are given.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:18 PM   #16
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Good Sam, only because there are more than any other, 10 % off. Harvest Host, if there are some in the area you are traveling and you are able to "boondocks". There are more of these in the mid-west. It is $45 a year, camping is free and since they are on a farm or winery, HH encourages you to buy something. If you have the time these are interesting, we have had tours of farms and wineries. Friends have been invited to have lunch w/ owners, cool experience and quiet. Passport America, $40 a year and it is 1/2 price of the campsites. Again more of these are more north/ mid-west from Florida. You have some restrictions on dates and it takes a little more time to find, but we have used for bargain 1-2 night stops and have found some gems.
Senior National Park pass, big saver if you plan to go to those parks. Pays for itself in several stays.
We have used RV Wizard for trip planning. This is the 1 item, I use most often. We can share our planned trips w/ family and other campers. You can put in your preferences of discount cards, road choices, milage limits for the day, etc. They bought Campsite Reviews about a year ago. The two sync together and have a lot of features that allow you to pick the best camp area for your style. Campsite Review gives you info on the camp ground you pick, camp web info w/ prices and then 3-4 more camp sites in the same area w/ reviews and rating from other campers. This includes specific camp site #'s and info. This allows you to put reservations on a electronic spread sheet or print w/ all stop phone numbers and addresses on it w/ milage between stops. They have a free demo you can look at w/o giving any info. Wife and I have used RV Wizard for 3 years and love it.
You have to decide what works for you. EX -Allstay, State Parks.
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:28 PM   #17
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Skip Thousand Trails. We had a 3 night free stay, left early. Like a time share for RVs, old, trashy, too restrictive in open reservations. First come, first stay- no available sites. Membership deal, not worth it. Been to two different parks in TX, same results.
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Old 07-08-2019, 03:20 AM   #18
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If itís JUST a Thousand Trails park, members can choose any site (usually, there are some exceptions). Monthly and seasonal folks get preference of whatís available when they pick their site; but they wonít move a transient stay for the sake of the longer term/paying person.

If itís a campground that has some sites set aside for Thousand Trails (and others), then what youíve seen is common. Specific sites, often less desirable are what are given.
This must be the case with where I am talking about.

This is what is displayed at the top of their website:

Click image for larger version

Name:	E835E138-03F4-4F26-B8DA-2CE0BB6A6A11.jpeg
Views:	67
Size:	51.3 KB
ID:	209265

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Old 07-11-2019, 02:56 PM   #19
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PA worked on this long trip, also as others mentioned, senior pass and COE
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Old 07-11-2019, 03:05 PM   #20
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This must be the case with where I am talking about.

This is what is displayed at the top of their website:

Attachment 209265

Bruce
What park is it?
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