5 Reasons A Thousand Trails Camping Pass Will Save You Money
One of the things my family loves most about RVing is the ability to travel all over this gorgeous country without breaking the bank. After all, who wouldn’t want to see and do amazing things without emptying their wallet?
That said, while RVing is cheaper than other forms of travel almost by default, we do still go out of our way to make the RVing experience as inexpensive as possible. To do this, we turn to memberships. Reciprocal zoo and museum memberships and an annual national parks pass make attractions affordable. Meanwhile, camping memberships ensure we never spend too much on campsites.
We have a few different camping memberships. However, our most used membership—and the one that saves us the most money every year—is our Thousand Trails Camping Pass. While we did pay a pretty penny upfront to get started, the pass has more than paid for itself over time.
Here are the ways our Thousand Trails Camping Pass saves us money on our camping adventures.
1. Low yearly dues
As is the case with all camping memberships, a Thousand Trails Camping Pass means paying yearly fees. Luckily, these fees are totally affordable, and they have a monthly payment option, meaning the cost never hits hard at all.
2. No camping fees
What do we get for the upfront cost and yearly fees? Absolutely no camping fees at any of the Thousand Trails campgrounds.
That’s right, we can use this membership 365 nights a year and never once pay a single cent as long as we stay within the system. In fact, there have been years during our time living on the road that we have stayed almost every night in a Thousand Trails campground. Since our rig is 100% paid for, this means we have the option to have a place to live with utilities included for under $600 for the entire year.
Of course, we do have to follow the rules, leaving each park after our 21-day limit. Additionally, using the Thousand Trails system exclusively means we are limited to only the places where these parks exist. Still, this is a pretty fantastic deal!
3. Park-to-Park Thousand Trails Membership
Part of what gives us the opportunity to spend so many nights in Thousand Trails campgrounds is the fact that our camping pass allows us to hop from one park to the next. We don’t need to spend any time at all out of the system, and can spend our full 21 days at each park we visit.
The one exception to this is when we are staying in high-use parks during high-use season. During those times, we are only allowed 14 days in a high-use park, but can still hop from one to the next without any time out.
4. Add-on options
In addition to our Thousand Trails membership, we also pay to use the Trails Collection membership. This gives us access to even more parks across the country. Most of these are also completely free for us to use with our membership, but there are a few that charge $20 a night. Trails Collection parks allow 14-night stays, but members are not allowed to hop from one Trails Collection park to the next.
Besides the Trails Collection, holding a Thousand Trails Camping Pass also gives you the opportunity to purchase a Resort Parks International membership. This is yet another discount club that allows you to use an even broader selection of parks across the country for around $10 a night.
5. On-site activities, events, and amenities
Finally, we must mention the fabulous on-site activities offered at many Thousand Trails locations. From crafts and games for the kids to live music and exercise classes for the adults, we’ve always enjoyed the events and activities we’ve attended at Thousand Trails parks. On top of that, we love the amenities such as tennis, mini golf, and great swimming pools.
Most of these are completely free of charge, and those that do charge require only a small fee. Attending on-site events saves us money in multiple ways:
- It keeps our son busy without requiring us to constantly replenish our stock of crafts or rotate games.
- It also provides our family with entertainment that we can get without purchasing a ticket.
- The activities save us gas money, since we never even have to pull out of our parking place to have a good time.
- They reduce our food budget by encouraging us to stay home rather than going out to eat.
As you can see, a Thousand Trails membership is a budget traveler’s dream come true. As RVLove put it, “If you travel extensively, as we do, and [want] to manage your camping costs while on the road, TT is a fantastic way to help you do that.”
We probably wouldn’t be able to travel and explore as much as we do without our membership, and we encourage everyone who plans to hit the road full-time—or even those who simply want to camp often in a place near many Thousand Trails parks—to look into the Thousand Trails system.
For more information, visit their website at thousandtrails.com.
Finding your Thousand Trails or Encore campgrounds is easy with RV LIFE Pro. By using RV LIFE Trip Wizard or the RV LIFE Pro app, you can filter to see only Thousand Trails and Encore parks. Whether you are planning a summer vacation or a weekend getaway, RV LIFE Pro fits your RV lifestyle.