Thousand Trails Info Center

4
Fifth wheel RV camped under the trees

Overview

Thousand Trails is our favorite membership. I don’t mean just when we were fulltiming for five years, but even before and after! Looking back at our stays over the years, we’ve spent over 1,000 nights in the Thousand Trails system.

We started with a Family Courtesy card on my dad and stepmom’s Elite membership back in 2011. We used that membership so often that we were gifted a National Zone Pass the year after. Once we went full-time in 2015, we “traded in” our membership for an Elite Basic membership, mainly for the longer reservation window and the ability to go directly from one park to the next.

If you don’t already know, Thousand Trails is a set of member parks that you pay an up-front fee in order to be able to camp at them for free. In general, you can stay two or three weeks at a time and then have to move on. It’s not the best option for someone who wants to stay for months at a time, but for those who want to keep rolling or occasionally stay somewhere up to about a month, it can be a great fit.

Do you want to know…

  • How Thousand Trails works?
  • What does Thousand Trails cost?
  • How expensive are memberships?
  • What is the Trails Collection?
  • How does Trails Collection work with your membership?
  • Is Thousand Trails worth the cost?

I’ll answer all of that and more below.

People around campfire
Camping is better with friends and many of our traveling friends use Thousand Trails

Is It Worth It?

For us, absolutely! The real question comes down to if you’ll use it or not. As I said earlier, in 10 years we’ve spent over 1,000 nights in the system. Doing a bit of simple math, we would have spent anywhere from $30,000 to $60,000 depending on what you value a night of camping at!

One thing to know about the base Thousand Trails parks is that they’re generally first come, first served when it comes to sites. A few parks assign sites here or there and some parks do it around holidays, but for the most part, you’re welcomed to the park and given a map to find a site.

Your reservation guarantees you a spot, but not specific amenities like 50-amp electric or sewer. It also doesn’t guarantee that you’ll fit, but having traveled in 42-foot and 44-foot fifth wheels, we’ve never had a problem finding a spot.

Sales Rep & Discount

I have worked with a Thousand Trails sales rep to secure a discount for Learn To RV readers. If you’re interested in a Thousand Trails membership or have questions about it, please reach out to Mike Yum at 469-934-0043, via Michael_Yum@equitylifestyle.com, or by filling out this contact form. If you reach out to him directly, tell him you got his contact info from here so he can extend our exclusive discount.

Memberships

A friend’s campsite at Thousand Trails Orlando

There are different membership options depending on 1) how often you want to use the parks, 2) how long your stay is, and 3) if you want to be able to leave one park and go directly to another.

The membership levels are:

  • Camping Pass This is the base membership. There is no upfront purchase, just a yearly cost.
  • Elite BasicThis is for people who are spending extended time in areas where there are a set of participating parks and you want the flexibility to stay longer and go directly from one to another.
  • Elite ConnectionsThis is a step up from the Elite Basic membership that gives a longer reservation window and extra perks.
  • AdventureThis is the big daddy membership, which has the same reservation window as the Elite Connections one and also gives you savings in Resort Parks International (RPI) campgrounds and gives you access to the exclusively unbeatable Trails Collection+.

On top of your membership, Thousand Trails offers a few add-ons like Trails Collection and Resort Parks International (RPI) for adding significantly more parks. I’ll talk more later about Trails Collection (and its even awesomer big sibling, Trails Collection+).

See below for details of each membership to pick which is best for you.

Camping Pass

  • Access to individual zone(s) purchased. (TT splits the country into five zones; each zone has 8–23 parks in it.)
  • 14-day stay maximum.
  • Must be out of Thousand Trails for 7 nights after staying more than 4 nights in a given park.
  • 60-day reservation window.
  • Can add Trails Collection (see information below).

Cost: $630 per year or $530 per year with a multi-year commitment.

Additional zones: $70 per zone per year.

Elite Membership

The Elite membership comes in two levels: Basic and Connections. There are some distinctions between the two, with the latter option offering a longer reservation window and bigger discounts on cabins and RPI.

Elite Basic and Elite Connections

  • Access to all nationwide parks.
  • 21-day stays.
  • Can go directly from one park to the next.
  • Ability to extend 2 reservations per year for $29.
  • Can gift* 4 National memberships.
  • Offers Family Courtesy cards* that allow you to share your membership so you can camp together up to 21 nights, and they can use the parks when you aren’t.
  • Can will the membership* to someone else.
  • Can add Trails Collection (see information below).
  • 50% discount on Standard cabins + 1 free week rental for 5 years.

* Gifting, family cards, and willing memberships are limited to immediate family members.

Elite Basic

  • 120-day reservation window.
  • 1 free year of RPI Gold.
  • Discount on Getaway Cabins ($85/night).

Cost: $7,995 maximum* plus yearly dues.

Elite Connections

  • 180-day reservation window
  • 2 free years of RPI Resort Connections (can trade Getaway cabin for an RPI condo or cruise).
  • Bigger discount on Getaway Cabins ($60/night) + 1 free week rental for 10 years.

Cost: $10,345 maximum* plus yearly dues.

Adventure

  • Same features as Elite Basic & Connections memberships (access to all parks, 21-day stays, go from one park to the next, gifting, willing, and family courtesy cards).
  • 180-day reservation window.
  • Ability to extend 4 reservations per year.
  • 2 free years of RPI Resort Connections (can trade Getaway cabin for an RPI condo or cruise) and six $500 vacation credits.
  • 50% discount on Standard cabins + 1 free week rental for 5 years.
  • Bigger discount on Getaway Cabins ($60/night) + 1 free week rental for 10 years.
  • Can add Trails Collection or Trails Collection+ (see information below).

Cost: $16,595 maximum* plus yearly dues.

** A note about the maximum price: Learn To RV has worked with a Thousand Trails sales rep (Mike Yum, who we mentioned earlier) to secure a discount for our readers. Additionally, Thousand Trails allows members to “trade up” their membership when upgrading, giving you value for it versus buying a whole new package and they’ve also increased the trade-in value along with the new Feb 2022 pricing.

Trails Collection and Trails Collection+

Thousand Trails has 82 base parks spread across the country. Trails Collection adds 122 Encore parks to your membership. Most of the add-on parks are $0/night, but there is a small set of them run for $20/night.

Harbor Lakes RV Resort, Port Charlotte, FL

The Trails Collection was introduced a few years back and is one of my favorite features they’ve added. It’s been great for being able to spread our wings and has been incredible for wintering in Florida. We have literally been able to bounce around Florida all year round and didn’t have to pay any nightly camping fees!

Trails Collection

  • Access to 122 parks (bringing your total to around 200 parks).
  • Most parks are $0/night, a few resort-quality parks are $20/night.
  • 14-day stays.
  • 60-day reservation window.
  • Zone camping pass members must be out of these parks for 7 nights (just the same as their regular membership) and cannot go directly from a Thousand Trails park to a Trails Collection park (and vice versa).
  • However, Elite and Adventure memberships can go directly to and from a Thousand Trails and a Trails Collection park.
  • In either case, you cannot go directly from one Trails Collection park to another.

Cost: $330 per year

Trails Collection+

Exclusively available with Adventure memberships.

  • Access to 122 parks (bringing your total to around 200 parks).
  • Most parks are $0/night, a few resort-quality parks are $20/night.
  • 21-day stays.
  • 90-day reservation window.
  • No mandatory time spend out of the system between Thousand Trails and/or Trails Collection parks.
  • You can go directly from one Trails Collection park to another.

Cost: $630 per year

The Trails Collection+ is really that spectacular, just think you could do back-to-back stays in the Florida Keys!

Get Quote

As I mentioned above, I have worked with Mike Yum, a Thousand Trails sales rep, to secure a discount for Learn To RV readers. If you’re interested in a membership, please reach out to Mike at 469-934-0043, via Michael_Yum@equitylifestyle.com, or by filling out this contact form.

If you reach out to him directly, tell him you got his contact info from here so he can extend our exclusive discount.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Due to our agees. 82 and 86 we are selling our Thousand Trails membership but would like to know what is available for cabins. ‘also the value of our TT and how can I transfer it to my son

LEAVE A REPLY

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.