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Old 07-12-2014, 07:40 AM   #29
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1996 34' Excella
Elberta , Alabama
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Posts: 763
Originally Posted by Beaubill View Post
The best part of this club is that it includes membership to Camping World who has stores all over to purchase supplies,parts and equipment. They also have insurance, Roadside Assistance and other services.
Camping World, and Good Sam no doubt do offer discounts, (supposedly). The 10% discount at campgrounds is usually negated by an annual increase in rates of 10% or more.
In the case of Good Sam, their road service is good, but be aware of the constant barrage of junk mail from them, containing ads for other services that are intentionally designed to look like a normal bill for their road service. We got stuck on this a couple years ago, because we didn't pay close enough attention. Needless to say, they would not return the nearly $100.00 fee.
As for Camping World, be very careful if you use their service departments. Our experience with them has been very high prices, and incompetent service technicians.
For whatever it's worth.

Larry C

Old age is coming at a really bad time!

1996 34' Excella 1000, interior totally redone, 2003 Dodge/Cummins HO, U.S. Gear exhaust brake, Diablo tuner, 115 gallon aux fuel, Bedslide, Airsafe/Reese Dual Cam, and a bunch of other stuff
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Old 07-12-2014, 08:16 AM   #30
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1992 29' Excella
2010 22' Interstate
Van By The River , Georgia
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 1,622
I don't know much about Thousand Trails but I have heard people on the road refer to the membership in the same sentence as Passport America, Good Sam and other camping memberships. However, after looking at the Thousand Trails web site I see it's something quite different from Passport America. If I understand the web site correctly it cost $545 to join (I presume per year) and the number of campgrounds seems very limited (see the picture below)

So, getting back to the OP, I would not buy a Thousand Trails membership. I did find the Passport America membership paid for itself plus some and this would vary depending on your traveling habits. Danielle and I were reasonably happy with Passport America but found we had to be careful about the rates (was it good for 1 day or multiple days), and other potential restrictions. The Passport America app is very good at defining the limitations. We also found that some of the campgrounds were less than stellar but that was okay for us if we were staying for less than $20 per night.

Back to the OP again...

Originally Posted by tallredboned View Post
Thats why I am asking...but average cost is over 450 per month...I an full timing.
I presume tallredboned is referring to paying $15 per night ($450/month) to stay at Thousand Trails facilities. If this is the average price and they were all really nice campgrounds I might reconsider joining but the high upfront cost discourages me and as I said the limited availability is also a no-go for us.

So Phoenix makes several good points including this initial question:

Originally Posted by Phoenix View Post
Tallredboned, just curious. How much have you budgeted for monthly camping expenses?

FYI, on our recent roadtrip to the Pacific Northwest, the following are campground fees we paid per night, categorized by campground type:

• National Park, National Forest, Bureau of Land Management and other Federal Campgrounds (Senior Pass discount = 50%) -- Most have no hookups; some have electric and water; very few have full hookups. RATES (with discount): $6 to $12 per night ($180 to $360 per month). Most campgrounds limit stays to 10 days.

• State, Regional and City/County Park Campgrounds (a few offer $2 to $3 discounts to seniors) -- Some have no hookups; some have electric and water; some have full hookups. RATES (with discount, if available): $16 to $37 per night ($480 to $1110 per month). Most campgrounds limit stays to 10 days.

• Commercial RV Parks and Resorts -- Most have electric and water, or full hookups. RATES: $33 to $50+ per night ($990 to $1,500 per month). Many offer discounts for extended stays.

• Boondocking on Federal and some state land -- No hookups. RATE: Free. Most jurisdictions limit stays to 10-14 days, but this rule is often not rigidly enforced.

If you indicate how much you wish to spend per month, others can make suggestions with this dollar figure in mind.
Most of the full-timers we meet on the road have found various forms of work-camping, volunteering and boondocking keep their costs low. Some get the monthly price under $500 by staying someplace for the season but they pay for electricity separately. Lots of options but $15 per night is not too bad.

In addition, tallredboned indicated full-hookups was the preference.

Good luck on your quest for finding low-cost alternatives to camping but I suspect low prices and full-hookups (every night) are not in same equation.
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Lucius and Danielle
1992 29' Excella Classic
1996 GMC Suburban C2500 7.4L
2005 Chevrolet Suburban K2500 8.1L
Got a cooped-up feeling, gotta get out of town, got those Airstream campin' blues...
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Old 07-12-2014, 07:24 PM   #31
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1975 25' Tradewind
dallas , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 84
Wow this is very informative. I am definitely joining Passport America. AND I think you all are very right i will reduce my stays to two weeks max at all locations. That will make a huge difference on cost.

As far as boon docking...i have absolutely no problem with that, once i figure out how to get my water pump to work and my fridge on just propane. But that is another thread.

Any other advice is greatly appreciated.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:10 AM   #32
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2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
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People who like to do long stretches of boondocking frequently have solar panels to keep their batteries charged.

Something else to consider.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:11 AM   #33
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2018 25' International
Van Wert , Ohio
Join Date: Dec 2011
Posts: 130
As we have traveled extensively across the country....mostly sight seeing....I am shocked at the increased pricing of spending a night in most campgrounds. Three night ago we stayed in a Michigan State Park....we only wanted a place to pull off the road, hook up to electricity, sleep, and move-on in the morning....$35 plus tax...ouch. So I understand your situation.

The best deals I have found are at Mom & Pops campgrounds. The latest example of this was just south of Chief Joseph Pass in Idaho...$20 a night with water and electric, a friendly family, and a family run restaurant....

These places can be found, but it takes a bit of searching (internet helps) and often these places are far from where you might want to be and (as I have occasionally found) do not live up to the pictures and write-ups provided on the web page.

I yearn for the 60s when National Parks were a $1.50.....
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Old 07-13-2014, 07:23 AM   #34
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Michigan state parks take Passport America Sun-Thurs......I'm pretty sure it is Michigan, could be Ohio.

At any rate, if you can get half-price during the week, can splurge a bit on something on the weekend.

A lot of the state parks around the country also charge more for out of state campers. Hate that.

We have been known to stay in PA and public campgrounds during the week, and just find a spot to boondock Friday and Saturday nights.

Spend less, do more.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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Old 07-13-2014, 03:22 PM   #35
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1975 25' Tradewind
dallas , Texas
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Posts: 84
Solar panels are on my mod item at a time.
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Old 07-17-2014, 09:24 AM   #36
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Virginia Beach , Virginia
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
I don't like the mail solicitations, either. And to be honest, I've never even stayed at a park that offers a Good Sam discount in the 2 years I've owned my Airstream Interstate.

Dear Protag... every campground that I've found that does offer a Good Sam discount offers an identical one for AARP - which isn't a "pro senior" organization, but a PAC - registered political lobbying organization - that manages to inundate one with about as much crap as the Good Sam organization.

Your experience with insurance via Good Sam surprised me. Their first quotation was for over $1200 per year. When I told them my current "expensive" policy was about $750 LESS, they came back with a comparable policy at the lower price.
I might be old as dirt, and I may have only three living brain cells left with two of them waving goodbye to the third, but any organization that offers "customer service" like that? (Clear intent to take advantage of credulous elderly people... well lets just say that out of respect for the horse they rode in on, I'll refrain from any appropriately judgmental comments.
Sincerely, Paula
Today is a gift, that's why they call it the present.
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Old 07-17-2014, 10:57 AM   #37
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2013 30' Classic
Greenwood , Mississippi
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Passport America might be a good thing for retired people. I can't see it working out for us.
2013 Classic 30 Limited
2007 Silver Toyota Tundra Crew Max Limited 5.7 iForce
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Old 08-05-2014, 09:18 AM   #38
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Houston , Texas
Join Date: Feb 2012
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We like Escapees a LOT, we full time, they have affiliated Parks with 15% to 50% discounts, plus they have a number of their own Parks, owned by the group or some are co-ops, but all Escapees, great places to stay, normally for Escapees only. The membership is well worth a small annual membership fee. Their mail service for members is excellent, the club is based on friendship, and you will really see it. They have other benefits, including a care center and discount services. Check out their website, and visit one of their Escapee parks.
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:43 AM   #39
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1999 28' Excella
New Orleans , Louisiana
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We have been on the road for a yr and a half. Our mail is thru America's mailboxes in South Dakota, tags are registered there. Vehicle registration is inspection sticker and drivers license is good for 5 yrs. Stay in SD for one night and you can be a resident. There is no income tax, insurance is very reasonable.

As far as places to stay..we use free campsites/campgrounds and have found some wonderful small town city parks with electric..most paid is $15 and some are free. Also we use Passport but have found the city parks are most of the time nicer. Also use the Corp of Engineers parks that are half price for us oldies. Right now we are in OK at a Casino. Many casinos have free RV parks with electric and water. This one has full hookups.

It has been a learning game but not been that difficult to find reasonable camping fees and we enjoy boondocking. Free campsites has been helpful. We rarely make reservations.

Good luck!
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Old 08-11-2014, 07:52 AM   #40
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2006 22' Interstate
Normal , Illinois
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Exactly, badkat.

If you want under $20, most nights, it can be done.

Spend less, do more.

🏡 🚐 Cherish and appreciate those you love. This moment could be your last.🌹🐚❤️
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Old 10-29-2014, 07:57 PM   #41
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APPLETON , Wisconsin
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Awesome thread.
- Scott.
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Old 10-30-2014, 07:31 AM   #42
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2000 31' Land Yacht
Central , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by Protagonist View Post
...the annual membership fee of $25 saves me about $400 per year on my RV insurance even if I never use it for anything else! I know this because when I was shopping for RV insurance, I got two quotes from Progressive, for identical policies except one quote included the Good Sam discount and the other didn't, so I was able to measure exactly how much the membership saved me.

That's not to say others would get the same discount.
I used the same method with Hartford and aarp, not only 50% discount but could pay yearly instead of every 6 months.
I probably should recheck if it is still the great savings as Geico a number of years ago was the cheapest on getting but managed to increase each year to finally when I did the Hartford switch it was higher than all others.

Back to the original poster, I had Coast to Coast for a number of years, thinking it would be good for fulltiming but finally dropped it due to increases in rates and the discovery of being a second class camper in their rating system, only on a space available wouln't be bad if all spaces were dedicated to the system, pulled into a park with obvious empty spaces and was told they are full, all c to c sites full, but I could buy a regular site for the going rate.

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