Why Do So Many People Complain About Thousand Trails
Are you a Thousand Trails member or thinking about becoming one? If you get on any one of the Facebook groups dedicated to Thousand Trails, you’ll likely come across a lot of complaints. You may be wondering if they’re honest or if only the negativity gets through. It’s a good question and one we explore in this article. Let’s get into it and see what the fuss is all about.
About Thousand Trails
Thousand Trails is a membership-based network of RV resorts and campgrounds. They have more than 80 locations in 22 states and British Columbia. Members can book campsites according to their membership level, and the general public can book for the advertised nightly rates.
Memberships include lifetime passes. Buy in with a one-time fee and pay annual dues after that. Whichever plan you have will determine how many nights you can stay in a campground at one time. For example, some memberships allow for booking up to 120 days in advance, and you can reserve 21 nights in one campground before having to leave or go to a different one.
You can get a zone pass if you prefer not to commit to a long-term membership. There are five zones across North America to choose from, and you pay an annual fee for the zone you choose. You can reserve up to 14 nights at a time within your zone pass.
Why Do RVers Buy Thousand Trails Memberships?
RVers buy Thousand Trails memberships for ease of booking and low overall cost. While the upfront cost can be significant, it pays off within a few years. For example, let’s say you purchase a lifetime membership for $6,000, and your annual dues are $600. If you stay at a Thousand Trails RV resort or campground 180 nights each year, your nightly rate is technically only $14.44 after three years. That’s inexpensive camping over the long-term, especially for full-time RVers.
Booking is also easy, at least in theory. You can book your site on the Thousand Trails website. In addition, you can change your reservations at your leisure as long as there are openings. This is a benefit for planning travel, and you don’t face cancellation fees. However, it’s also one of the complaints members have. Keep reading to learn more.
Why Do RVers Complain About Thousand Trails?
Thousand Trails is an excellent program for many, but RVers do have some complaints. Like with most things, Thousand Trails isn’t perfect. Let’s take a look at the main five complaints members have.
Memberships and Fees Are Expensive
Thousand Trails memberships and fees are expensive, and they increase each year. However, as we discussed, the membership is well worth it in the long term if you use it enough. If you’re not going to use Thousand Trails a significant amount of nights each year, we don’t recommend purchasing a lifetime membership. A zone pass may be a better fit for you.
Online Booking Platform Is Hard to Use
Members find the booking platform challenging. While, in general, it’s user-friendly, some glitches can create confusion and frustration. In addition, Thousand Trails backend systems appear to be outdated from a user perspective. However, they’re starting to add more features, including an availability calendar for some campgrounds.
Some Campgrounds Are in Poor Condition
It’s true; some Thousand Trails properties are in poor condition. Thousand Trails is a corporation. Its campgrounds are managed independently. This means that not every property is the same as the next. Members often complain about sites or amenities needing work. However, we’ve seen increased renovations in recent years, such as electrical upgrades at campgrounds that needed it.
Location of Campgrounds Is Not Ideal
Thousand Trails has a lot of campgrounds throughout the U.S. However, there are none in the middle of the country. This is a hindrance to RVers who are traveling across the country. It would be ideal and make a membership a lot more cost-effective if there were multiple Thousand Trails campgrounds in each state.
Difficult to Get a Reservation on Short Notice
Thousand Trails members can book in advance and cancel without penalty. Some memberships are allowed to make reservations 180 days in advance. So if a person is looking for a short notice reservation at a popular campground, it can be challenging to get in. Members tend to book and hold their reservation until the last minute, even if they may cancel. That’s the good and bad part of having a membership.
Is a Thousand Trails Membership Worth it? Maybe Not!
A Thousand Trails membership is worth it for the right situation. If you’re a full-time RVer, a lifetime membership could save you a lot of money in the long run. However, if you’re trying to get into popular campgrounds during peak seasons, the frustration of not getting a spot can make it more daunting.
We recommend giving a Zone Pass a try if you’re curious about Thousand Trails. Use it to check out a few different campgrounds to get a feel for what they’re like. Thousand Trails RV resorts and campgrounds can be great. They typically have a plethora of activities for all ages. And it’s also a good way to meet fellow members and share a love for RVing. What are your experiences with Thousand Trails like?
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