Is Thousand Trails Worth It? Our Actual RV Campsite Savings

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If you are a frequent RV camper or a full-time RVer, you’ve probably wondered, “Is Thousand Trails Worth It?”

I have been an elite Thousand Trails member since 2020, and I have run the numbers. Based on my calculations, Thousand Trails is a good financial decision. We have saved over $7,000 in just 5 years. We would have saved even more if we had upgraded our membership a few years earlier.

Keep reading to see the exact breakdown of how we saved over $7,000 with our Thousand Trails RV camping membership.

DEAL ALERT: For their 55th anniversary, Thousand Trails is currently offering special deals on all memberships. FOR THE BEST DEAL ON A MEMBERSHIP, simply click here to fill out a simple form and our member specialists Sharon and Warren will contact you with all the details! These specials will end on 5/30/2024!!

Is Thousand Trails Worth It?

Summary

Between free campsite stays and complimentary cabin rentals, our Thousand Trails membership has saved us $7,449 over a 5 year period.

Value of Free Thousand Trails RV Campsites

YearFees PaidNo. of Nights at TTValue of TT StaysNet Savings
2020$7,41859$2,655-$4,763
2021$915119$5,355$4,400
2022$92578$3,510$2,585
2023$1,04921$945-$104
2024$1,105101$4,545$3,441
Total$11,411378$17,010$5,599
Thousand Trails Savings from Free Campsites

In order to calculate whether or not our Thousand Trails membership was worth it, I looked at what we paid vs. the number of nights we camped at Thousand Trails campgrounds.

When we camp outside of Thousand Trails, the average rate we pay is $45 per night. Therefore, that is the value I assigned to each free night camping at Thousand Trails campgrounds.

We signed up for our upgraded membership in February 2020, so I have broken down our RV camping savings by year. We have planned our travel for the rest of this year, so I included all of our planned stays for the remainder of 2024 in this calculation.

In 2020, we paid a one time fee of $6495 for our Elite Basic Membership. After that initial fee, we only pay annual dues. Annual dues consist of a maintenance fee and payment for our Trails Collection add-on. These fees are currently about $1000 per year.

Now that we have more than paid for our initial membership fee, we only need to camp at Thousand Trails RV parks about 20 nights per year to cover our annual dues. Anything over that is truly free camping!

The Elite Basic Membership is just one of several Thousand Trails upgrade options. It is a great plan for full-time RVers like us, but there are other options that may make more sense for other campers. See our complete guide to Thousand Trails membership options for all the details.

Other Benefits

In addition to taking advantage of free camping, our Thousand Trails membership has saved us money in other ways.

Our membership came with free weekly cabin rentals for the first 5 years of our membership. We actually used this benefit twice. At the campground in Texas where we stayed, these cabins typically rent for $925 per week, so that is another $1850 in savings.

How We Could Have Saved More

Thousand Trails Campsite
Thousand Trails Campsite in Florida

While $7500 is a great amount of money to save over 5 years, we definitely could have utilized our membership more to maximize our savings.

In 2023, we only camped at Thousand Trails for 21 nights of the year. This is because, we chose to stay close to family at a private campground during the winter and we had a free workamping site during the summer.

However, even with only three weeks at Thousand Trails, we basically broke even for the year.

During our first 5 years of membership, we also only used 2 of our 5 free cabin rentals, which are worth a significant amount of money.

The biggest way we could have saved more is buying our membership earlier. We started full-time RVing in 2016. If we had purchased our membership then, we would have paid less and saved thousands of extra dollars in nightly camping fees.

We could also use our membership more. Our Elite Basic membership allows us to move from park to park, so technically we could stay at Thousand Trails campgrounds for 365 nights a year, which would be equivalent to over $16,000 in savings!

Is Thousand Trails Worth It in 2024?

Woman with Thousand Trails RV Park sign
The Author and Ted at a Thousand Trails RV Park

While it is clear that our Thousand Trails membership has paid for itself, is Thousand Trails still worth it in 2024? Today, an Elite Basic membership costs $9495.

If we had paid the current membership fee, we still would have saved over $2500 in nightly camping fees, plus our free cabin rentals. The upgraded membership is still definitely worthwhile for campers who will use Thousand Trails campgrounds frequently.

RVers who only camp seasonally can still save money with a Thousand Trails Zone Pass or an Escape Membership, which are more affordable options.

Also, it may be possible to buy an upgraded membership during a sale so you pay less upfront.

Simply fill out this form to request more information and current special discounts from membership specialists Sharon and Warren Lewis. Or call them (804-366-0798) and tell them Christina from Travels with Ted.


Want to save even more money on your RV camping trips?

Check out our guide to cheap RV camping and our guide to the best RV discount clubs.


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