What Does a Thousand Trails Membership have to do with RVing Full Time?
When we decided to RV fulltime as a family, we had no idea that we would be getting a Thousand Trails Membership! We knew we needed certain creature comforts to RV long term. Hot running water, electricity, and septic were just a few of the items that we needed to be successful RVers.
Since we’re not the type to rough it or boondock long term, we knew we’d be spending the majority of our time in RV parks. Once we started looking at the cost to stay at gated and safe RV parks, we quickly saw the value in a membership.
And as looked at memberships, none stood out more than the Thousand Trails Membership. For your convenience, there are affiliate relationships in this post. This means if you purchase and mention RV Odd Couple, your purchase will not cost you a penny more, but we will earn a small commission. These help us offset the costs of the blog and creating the video.
Thousand Trails Membership Levels
Currently, there are four Thousand Trails Membership Levels: Zone Camping Pass, Elite Basic, Elite Connections, and Ultimate Odyssey. (There are older membership levels such as platinum but this article is all about the newest membership levels.).
Differences between Camping Pass & Elite Memberships
The Zone Camping Pass is the entry level pass. The Elite Basic, Elite Connections, and Ultimate Odyssey are the upgraded or Elite Memberships. For us there were three main differences between the entry level Thousand Trails Camping Pass and the Thousand Trails Elite Membership.
1. RV Parks Included
The first difference between the Thousand Trails Camping Pass and the Thousand Trails Elite Membership is the RV Parks included. Now if you are only RV’ing in one area of the nation, the Camping Pass might work great. If you are like us and you are traveling all over, then you will want to be sure you have the whole U.S. included.
2. Days In vs. Days Out
The second difference between the Thousand Trails Camping Pass and the Thousand Trails Elite Membership is the is the Days in/ Days out. If you have a place to store your rv or if you are a pro at boondocking, then the camping pass is a great deal. But if you like to have hot running water every day of the week, 365 days a year, an upgraded membership is a no brainer!
The Upgraded memberships let you go park to park. This means that you can stay in one spot for 21 to 28 days without moving. This is extra nice if you are at a place that you want to enjoy without being in a rush!
3. Advance Booking Timeframes
The third difference between the Thousand Trails Camping Pass and the Thousand Trails Elite Membership is the advance booking timeframe. This is essential how far in advance you can reserve your stay in Thousand Trails Campgrounds. There is a big difference between the advance booking timeframe of the Zone Camping Pass to the Elite upgraded memberships.
We have quickly learned that with RVing as a national trend, reserving a spot 60 days in advance isn’t always enough. Especially if you are traveling to snowbird destinations in the winter or if you are traveling in the summer, RV parks fill up fast!
One of the biggest reasons we upgraded our membership was to be sure that we would have a spot. We love being able to plan our route months in advance!
How do I get a Thousand Trails Elite Membership?
There are two ways to purchase Thousand Trails Memberships. You can go through a broker, or you can purchase it directly though thousand trails. We decided to get our membership upgrade diectly though thousand trails. The following reasons are why:
Full Disclosure, we purchased our Thousand Trails Membership from the call center. We wish we had contacted Jim and Brandy because they could have saved us 11% just in taxes and they are incredibly kind and responsive people. They actually live this lifestyle and they are a joy to talk to!
Benefits to Buying Thousand Trails Elite Membership directly though Thousand Trails:
While many full time rv’ers talk about their resold Thousand Trails Memberships, there are some advantages to buying a “new” membership diectly though Thousand Trails. Some of the benefits include the following:
1. Instant Access
Memberships directly purchased though Thousand Trails offer instant camping privladghes. No waiting for processing, if you buy a membership through Thousand Trails, you can schedule camping the day you buy!
2. Advanced Booking
We already discussed advanced booking, but it’s so important! Some memberships only allow you to book 60, or 90 days in advance. When you upgrade to an Elite Thousand Trails Membership, you can book 120 to 180 days in advance. This huge! With more and more people turning to RV living, this is a great way to make sure you get hookups for free!
3. All Parks Included
Sometimes the resold memberships are so old that they don’t include all the parks in the system. Buying your camping pass directly though Thousand Trails Guarantees access to all parks within the Thousand Trails system.
4. Prices are Negotiable
Many people don’t know this, but you can negotiate when you are looking to upgrade your membership directly though Thousand Trails. Salespeople are allowed to offer incentives. Just be sure they are writen in the contract before you sign!
5. Family Benefits
Thousand Trails upgraded Memberships can be willed to family! Some memberships also include additional passes that can be given to immediate family. Remember this is a Thousand Trails Lifetime Membership. If managed properly, this membership can serve generations of your family!
Memberships purchased directly through Thousand trails can be resold. You may not want to keep your Thousand Trails Lifetime Membership forever, so being able to resell it is a huge bonus! Your contract will transfer to the buyer! If you resell a brokered membership, it may loose some benefits or have a limitation to the number of times it can be resold.
7. Financing Available
Thousand Trails offers financing for your membership keeping your monthly payment low! Just be sure to read the fine print! Interest rates can be as high as 17% and they may require a 10% deposit.
8. Cabins Available
We got a combined 15 cabin/vacation rentals with our membership. 5 are reimbursement vouchers and 10 are getaway cabins with RPI. With our adult children and in-laws, these cabins are a great way to vacation as a family without cramping on each other’s personal space. 🙂
For the absolute best contact directly from Thousand Trails, look no further! Contact Jim and Brandy Reneau by phone on 770-622-4188 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention RVOdd Couple – they will get you a Zone Camping Pass at the best price available.
Thousand Trails Memberships though a Broker
One of the greatest benefits to getting a Thousand Trails Membership through a broker is that they cost less. Some of them also have grandfathered dues at a very low price. Every brokered membership is different. If you have time to wait for the transfer these are the only people we would recommend. Check out Kimberly & Chad at 1-800-272-0401 or email them at email@example.com! Tell them that RV Odd Couple sent you.
*Full disclosure, even though we didn’t buy our Thousand Trails Membership through a broker, we did work with Kim in finding out our options. She was a joy to work with and she helped explain everything to us. She always responded to our emails and calls super quick. Even though we didn’t go through Membership Outlet, we can’t think of any other place to consider! Contact Kim or Chad by phone on 1-800-272-0401 or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org and mention RVOdd Couple!
Thousand Trails Membership Reviews
We absolutely love our Thousand Trails Membership. We wouldn’t be writing in so much detail about this membership if we didn’t absolutely love it! But as with all things, there are a few minor setbacks. Check out our pros & cons to a Thousand Trails Membership.
Thousand Trails Membership Costs
When you look at our latest RV Park Costs, it’s crystal clear that our Thousand Trails Membership saves us tons! Although some Thousand Trails Parks charge incidentals for 50 Amp or certain conveniences, the $5 a day hear and there is nothing compared to what it would cost us without our membership!
Why are we sharing about out Thousand Trails Membership?
When we decided to take this huge leap of faith and RV full-time with our family, so many people offered us help. We’d like to pay it forward. We’ve created a download of our “Top 10 RV Must Haves.” This download has links to ease purchase. You’ll Join our “Odd Squad” and be the first to know about our new adventures, products, and RV living hacks!
Thanks for Joining our Odd Squad,
John, Mercedes, Sage & Skippy