Factors to consider before purchasing?
You need to understand your own needs and how they match the benefits offered through the membership.
Two main factors to consider carefully:
1. Use: Are you really going to use this membership?
How many days a year will you use it?
How many years will you use it?
2. Location: Are the campgrounds in areas where you plan to travel?
Most membership campgrounds are in Western, Eastern, and Southern United States.
What else should you be aware of?
- Bankruptcies (or Chapter 11s) of membership campgrounds can and do occur
- Will you be able to find space when and where you want?
- Dilemma of peak demands from January to March in favorite Snowbird destinations such as Florida, Arizona, and Southern California
- Are you willing to plan ahead? To make reservations 60-120 days or more in advance?
- Not all memberships are created equal
- Not all campgrounds within the same camping system are created equal
- Increasing cost of annual dues
- Utility surcharge and service fees
- A perception of decreasing site availability
- Increasing number of usage restrictions imposed on members
- Sales tactics can be high pressure; be wary of hard sell situations where you must decide within an hour whether or not to spend thousands of dollars—you wouldn’t buy a house or recreational vehicle that way, and certainly shouldn’t join a membership campground under that kind of pressure
Be sure to read the fine print
Questions to ask?
- Are my annual dues frozen (at age 65)?
- Is my membership transferable?
- Will my membership allow access to additional campgrounds if acquired at a later date?
- What is the process for getting a reservation?
- Can my family use my membership?
- If the membership camping system has financial problems, what will happen to my membership?
- If the membership camping system is bought out by another system, what will happen to my membership?
Disclaimer: I am a member of Thousand Trails, Western Horizon Resorts, and Passport America camping club but do not represent them or sell memberships.
When you travel you experience, in a very practical way, the act of rebirth. You confront completely new situations, the day passes more slowly, and on most journeys you don’t even understand the language the people speak….You begin to be more accessible to others, because they may be able to help you in difficult situations.
— Paulo Coelho, The Pilgrimage