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Old 10-30-2011, 12:44 PM   #1
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Join Date: Oct 2011
Location: Bucks County, PA
Posts: 8
RV 'Travel Clubs' = Time Shares?

We are new to camping but now that we have acquired a camper and a vehicle to pull it we plan to be out often and see a good portion of the country this way. We recently accepted an invitation to camp free at a very nice campground. The hitch was that we had to listen to their 'pitch' about joining their group. The deal was a substantial up front payment (with a nominal annual fee) in exchange for unlimited free camping at our home park and two other related parks, with cheap ($10 - $15/night) camping at a network of other parks. There were a few other little benefits which we most likely would not use but the free and inexpensive camping was intriguing. Does anyone else have experience with organizations like this? I was impressed with the park we visited, it was nice, clean, well maintained, well managed etc. but the up front cost was pretty steep. I figure we would have to use the home and affiliated parks 30 - 40 nights a year to come out even and then it could be a good deal. I have no idea what any of the affiliated parks are like but the people selling the package assure me that the parks have alll been vetted and they are top of the line.
I have always been mistrustful of 'time shares' and this has a similar feel.

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Old 10-30-2011, 01:37 PM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 65
Dave Ramsey,says once your in you wiil never get your money back if your not happy,There are several post on camp grounds in this forum ,listen to them they are the eyes and ears for every thing good,Don't do it.

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Old 10-30-2011, 02:45 PM   #3
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Location: Bucks County, PA
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Thanks, sounds like sage advice. There is an intriguing sound to them but the up front cost is quite a bit. Even though one might save an average of $20 a night (if that is indeed true) it can take a good many nights to pay for itself. Of course I know many people who own time shares (I think the comparison is a pretty accurate one) and who love them. We plan to get a lot of good use out of out new camper and I'm sure we will encounter many nice campgrounds and a few of the others.
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Old 10-30-2011, 03:55 PM   #4
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Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Southern Ontario
Posts: 774
May I ask how much these deals are approx?
Do they expect you to reserve way ahead and what is the availablility of campsites once they take your money?
Is there an annual fee?
Just curious as we had to cancel our free stay
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Old 10-30-2011, 04:02 PM   #5
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Location: Maple Ridge, BC, Canada
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If you decide to go ahead with it, check your local Craigslist first (in fact, it might be worthwhile check it anyway). There is always at least a few folks trying to unload their camping memberships in order to recoup at least a portion of their investments. We have also checked out a couple of these Member campground "opportunities" and so far, have decided to pass on them.

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Old 10-30-2011, 05:34 PM   #6
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Location: Camano Island, Washington
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you might want to look at Passport America, CampClubUSA and Happy Camper as alternatives to camping timeshares.

a lot cheaper to join and all have numerous member campgrounds.
some do have restrictions but it's usually weekends and holidays.
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Old 10-30-2011, 07:15 PM   #7
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Location: Lake Charles, La.
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lets see how close i can get to the cost; abt $5000 to get in and $365/yr. if u join any of the services (RPI, C to C) that allow u to camp at other similar campgrounds that aren't owned by that company, abt $300 or so to them. it gets better...they also have condos u can rent for the week in places like Hawaii. problem with that is that u can go thru a travel agent and rent them for less. cruise...for abt 30% more than using a travel agent.

if ur a full timer, it will pay off.
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Old 10-30-2011, 08:33 PM   #8
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Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Waxahachie
Posts: 64
I inquired about one of these type of membership parks a few years ago and never found the value in it. We travel the US for my husband's job about 6 months of the year in our RV. I thought it would be great bc we would likely recoup the $ as much as we stay in campgrounds. Fine print was the deal breaker: said we couldn't stay at any one park for more than 14 days. His jobs can last over a month at each location so that was a no go.
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Old 10-30-2011, 10:02 PM   #9
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Posts: 97
We've been to a few of these freebies - take them when you can, but we passed each time, save our money, and keep costs down by staying at State Parks. They're much better than any commercial campground anyway.
If you can't wake up with a smile on your face, go to bed with a coat hanger in your mouth!!

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Old 10-30-2011, 10:39 PM   #10
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I also got offers of free camping from several companies. I'm still getting them into my 13th months of owning my trailer. There's no way I could even come close to getting my money worth based upon my style of camping. I wish some of them had a mini-plan but it doesn't work that way. I have yet to accept an offer to come up and check things out even with the offer of 20 free nights of camping and $150 check for time and gas.

Beware of what it takes to get out of a membership so you know what to expect. I do know some people with memberships but they are full time RVers.

Great choice for "Living within my means" and camping for one...

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Camping History: 45 Trips / 133 Nights / 3736 Miles
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