Season 1 Episode 10 of the Live.Camp.Work. Podcast!
My Favorite RV Resource For Affordable Camping
Thousand Trails for Budget Friendly Travel
In this episode I want to talk about my favorite RV resources for saving some big dollars on camping- which we all know is one of the biggest costs associated with RVing full-time… I’m talking about the Thousand Trails camping membership.
If you haven’t heard of the Thousand Trails Membership Club, today is your lucky day! Honestly, during our first 3 years of travel I had heard many campers talking about it and how awesome it was to get almost free camping. It was really 3 years later before we broke down and purchased a membership, and to be honest we did it as a super last resort.
If you are interested in grabbing a zone pass or elite membership- take $100 off your membership on me! Click this referral link for the discount! (<—— Affiliate link)
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Let’s get started with Episode 10: My Favorite RV Resource For Affordable Camping
Okay so in this episode I want to talk to you about my favorite RV resources for saving some big dollars on camping- which is one of the biggest budget busters associated with RVing full-time.
I’m talking about the Thousand Trails camping membership.
If you haven’t heard of the Thousand Trails Membership Club, today is your lucky day! During our first 3 years of travel I heard many campers talking about Thousand Trails and how awesome it was to get almost free camping all year long. It was 3 years later before we finally broke down and purchased a membership, and to be honest we did it as a super last resort.
Here’s what happened:
We were on our way to New York for a summer camping trip that wasn’t really all that well planned. I mean we had a general plan in place but it including one huge drawback- which I wasn’t excited about at all. To stay the whole summer in New York and with the intent of spending as much time as possible with Antwon’s 83 year old Grandmother- we would have to rent a monthly campsite close to New York City- since she literally lives 2 blocks from Liberty state park.
The campsite we decided on, was already booked. It was super expensive to stay at this campground but it was actually the cheapest monthly site we could fine… even though it was still like an hour and a half away from the city. It was like 900 a month and we still had to pay for electricity and pump-outs… geez! What a quick way to blow our travel money, right?
Well on our way through Ohio- a crazy idea popped into my head. “why not try the Thousand Trails thing?
I thought it sounded like an incredible deal, but I needed to call and check out how the Thousand Trails program really worked. I was skeptical that for one flat fee you could actually skip around to any of their campgrounds for free camping all year… I mean think about it… it just sounds too good to be true.
And I know from experience when something sounds that good- you need to make sure everything is on the up and up- before you make a commitment. I called the number from the main website and spoke with a representative who was pretty knowledgeable about all the benefits. After hearing we could stay for 3 weeks (aka almost a month) for like $200 a month… I was sold… we bought the membership that very day and made our way to our first campsite to use it.
The campground was still about an hour away from Antwon’s Grandmothers house, but with the $700 savings we were feeling much better about the drive and the budget. So we booked our new site, canceled the old one and the had the best summer ever!
Since purchasing our membership, we have used our membership too many times to count! I mean we used it all the time, and when I calculated how much throughout the year we actually pay for camping- it came out to be about $6 per day. That’s crazy! $6 per day? You can’t get dirt cheap prices like that even at state parks without hook ups, and we’re sitting cozy on a fhu site in some pretty great places for the same price as a Chia Late & a blueberry scone!
So, Here’s how the membership works:
You can buy a zone pass which allows you to pick your 1-5 zones which collectively include about 190 campgrounds and RV resorts. Each zone has a set number of campgrounds in it- where you can skip around for 4 days at a time- all summer long. For all the zones, you’ll pay around $575 for the entire year which comes out to like $49 per month
As if that wasn’t enough, you can upgrade your membership for more camping! We chose to do the elite membership upgrade, which allows us to spend 3 weeks in each park, before moving to the next and we pay about $200 per month.
About the campgrounds:
I have to be honest about the star rating at the campgrounds, because out of all the chit chat about the Thousand Trails membership- I have to say this is the most talked about topic. While they are not 5 star hotels- their also not roach motels…. They tend to range somewhere in the middle, with a slight skew towards the 5 star bunch…
I mean let’s get real. For affordable camping all year-round like what they are offering, you can’t really expect that each and every property will be picture perfect. They are all managed separately and they do their best to keep things running consistently under the franchise umbrella- but sometimes you’ll run into a miscommunication, misstep or just flat out mistake that can be annoying for a traveler after a long trip . If luxury and concierge service is your thing, you might want to explore other options. This membership is really best served for those looking to cut cost and maximize their travel dollars!
Overall, I’m thrilled we purchased the Thousand Trails Camping Pass, but even more proud of our decision to upgrade to the Elite Membership! It saved us so much on that first camping trip and has continue to prove to be a budget saver month after month!
I really can’t tell enough people about this awesome resource, which is why I chose to share it with you today. A Thousand Trails Membership is a real game changer for fulltime travelers as well as Workampers.
Think about it… you can stay at these parks in between jobs, on your way to your next job, in the off season or if you find an employer who doesn’t offer a free site- you could possible find a location nearby and offset some of the site fees by staying a few weeks and kind of jumping back and forth. You could also take a digital or remote job and camp inside the park system to keep your costs crazy low- and spend your extra coins on awesome adventures!
Hands down, the savings are really incredible, and we’ve seen many people utilize them to the fullest- by even staying inside the park system for the whole year! Image that- Workamping at one of these parks say in the northern half of the country and then bouncing around a few parks each year in the southern states during the winter while its warm. The flexibility really lets you make the most our of travel and working by freeing up a crazy amount of cash to do other things with.
Okay- that’s enough about Thousand Trails for today. I have a referral link to save you $100 off your zone pass or upgraded membership if you are interested and will make sure to add the link in the show notes.
That’s gonna all for today on the Live Camp Work Podcast. This was episode 10 of season 1 and I hope you enjoyed the information!
If you have any questions always feel free to send me an email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org or join in the conversation in the live camp work community group on facebook!
Until next time-
Safe Travels & Many Adventures!