Monday, December 4, 2023


Video: Pros and cons of joining Thousand Trails

This is one of the best reviews of the Thousand Trails membership program we’ve seen. After watching this you’ll wonder how anyone could ever figure out what level of membership is best, and whether in the long run if it’s a good deal to buy a membership in a camping program that can cost more than $10,000 to join.

John and Mercedes, the RV Odd Couple on YouTube, took a lot of time to analyze the TT program (and monstrously long contract), offering both pros and cons of the various levels of membership. If you’re thinking about becoming a member, you should definitely watch this video.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Kat (@guest_110637)
2 years ago

While I do agree with you that this is a good membership for Full-time RVers, be aware that they use a roundabout way to alter their contracts unilaterally all the time by changing the rules. Today you might get in with a skoolie while tomorrow they declare no skoolies allowed. Membership now worth nothing to you! If they don’t like something about your RV or you, you are not getting in to that campground no matter what you paid for your membership. They claim they can change the rules at any time and limit your membership. {bleeped} off a campground manager and they can permanently ban you from their park which lessens what you paid for. Corporate refuses to overrule a manager or even discuss it to work it out and some of their managers are not the best people.

BTW, don’t even think about plugging into one of their power pedestals without a surge protector as they are still working on repairing many of the older parks in the system.

Jeff Craig (@guest_110468)
2 years ago

EDITOR – It’s Jon and Mercedes, not Michelle.

I’d also recommend their second TT video, about how TT was handling the pandemic.

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeff Craig
RV Staff
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Thanks, Jeff! It’s been corrected. (I hadn’t viewed the video or their website, so didn’t realize the writer got her name wrong. Sorry, Mercedes!) —Diane at

GeorgeB (@guest_110417)
2 years ago

There are more negative issues with TT’s they did not mention. One, most parks are in remote areas and not necessarily where part-time travelers will want to be. Also the parks are mostly congregated in a few States. Second, the parks are not as well maintained and do not offer WIFI, other than inside the clubhouse. Third, in many parks, the premium lots have been sold to permanent structures or converted to cabins, leaving less desirable lots for members. Last, If you opt for Encore parks, which are not included in a TT membership, the discounted price is more costly than going online and finding other discounts. Last time I looked, the TT discount was 20% and the online discount that any non-member can use is a 50% discount. The one that comes to mind is Passport. If you are full-time, TT’s is beneficial. Otherwise, not so much so.

Jeff Craig (@guest_110469)
2 years ago
Reply to  GeorgeB

They essentially come to the same conclusion in their second TT video.

Jeanine Ruby (@guest_110378)
2 years ago

I’ve watched these folks on YouTube. They are always whining about something. The most depressing videos about RVing. Seems everything goes wrong in their life or else that’s just their ketch.

Jeff Craig (@guest_110466)
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeanine Ruby

Some might call it ‘real life’, but it’s nice to know that it’s not all fake, happy sunshine, 24/7. I’ve been watching them for a year now, and they are just genuine folks. Add in their special needs kid (and the video of them in Laughlin, NV a few weeks ago was hilarious!!) and I can really appreciate that they share the highs and lows of a life on the road.

Just my two cents.

David Hagen (@guest_44435)
4 years ago

Could they make this membership program any more confusing? Sounds to me this whole thing is a scam. Even your kids are responsible for paying after you are dead?

Linda (@guest_44464)
4 years ago
Reply to  David Hagen

Sounds like the average timeshare.

RV Odd Couple (@guest_44600)
4 years ago
Reply to  David Hagen

David, it’s only about as clear as mud! LOL. The kids aren’t on the hook after you pass, our understanding is that they would only pay yearly dues should they choose to keep the membership. They wouldn’t have to pay the initial investment. But like all things, it’s only worth-while if you use it!

Nancy Logan (@guest_44913)
4 years ago
Reply to  David Hagen

Each contract is different. When I got my Mom’s from her estate I found out it didn’t include a few things like RPI, but because hers was an old Alliance membership I did get extra reservation time and a couple other small things. That said, if you are full-timers and you use it, your expenses are minimal factored against pay as you go parks. I have worked in several and most run $45 plus per night.

Lee (@guest_44379)
4 years ago

Great video, very informative. Their cost per night, while impressive, is somewhat misleading as it does not include the cost of the membership(s) or the annual dues. I do understand that the longer they have, and use, their membership, the cheaper it is per day for the initial cost.

BILL BILL SMITH (@guest_44554)
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee

The delta between TT and non-TT was $22 a night ($25 vs $3). For those 91 nights in the system you could say they saved $2,002. If their mix of usage (91 TT vs 60 non-TT) continues then they’re annual savings is roughly $4,000 and their break-even for initial membership recovery is effectively 2 years. After that with annual dues of roughly $600 they’ll need 27 days of TT per year for break even. All that assumes that the $22 delta stays roughly the same.

For them it appears to be a fair bet with the only con I can see is their daughter growing up with the socialization requirements that children prosper in (stable school and friends).

I like the video and subscribed.

RV Odd Couple (@guest_44599)
4 years ago

Thank you Bill! You are absolutely right, the only issue is finding other kids. The good thing is that the Thousand Trails parks that we’ve visited all have a playground. And as more families venture into F/T RVing, we are finding more and more kids for our daughter to play with! Thank you again!

RV Odd Couple (@guest_44598)
4 years ago
Reply to  Lee

Thank you Lee! We are planning on re-calculating the savings once we hit our year milestone. Your comment is probably our biggest regret when calculating cost. We will be sure to include our membership cost in the next budget video. Thanks for your feedback!

David Scheeler (@guest_44340)
4 years ago

Have to question why Thousand Trails allows their sales people to continue with deceptive sales practices.

Glen (@guest_44396)
4 years ago
Reply to  David Scheeler

They got their membership for free.

Been with 1000 trails back. In 1980’s. It was not good.

RV Od Couple (@guest_44597)
4 years ago
Reply to  Glen

No Glen, That’s funny! We paid full price for our Thousand Trails membership. In the video we share exactly how much we paid for it. We purchased this before we became the RV Odd Couple and we still don’t receive any special benefits. (which is somewhat frustrating but fair)

Bottom line: For a full-timer it’s a no-brainer. For a weekend warrior, the zone pass is probably a better bet- if you use it!

We have no idea what the program looked like in 1980 but it’s really good now. (only 39 years have passed- lol!) Especially the Trails Collection add on! Those parks are amazing!

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