How it happened
In October 2021, I stayed with my friend in Columbus at The House for a few weeks. During my time there, she introduced me to many locals. At this point, I had only lived in the RV for about 4 months. I had taken it to the shop for warranty work in between Park Host positions so I stayed in Columbus.
Several regulars at The House had memberships to an RV Club called Thousand Trails. They all had great things to say, so I had to check it out.
What is Thousand Trails
Thousand Trails owns RV parks all over the country. If you have an RV, you can pay an annual membership and get access to various parks. The country is broken down into zones. For TX parks, I'm in the Southern Zone.
The most basic membership:
For about $600 a year, I get access to all RV parks in the Southern Zone. (An extra $315 per year and you get all zones in the US.) Once you're a member, you can stay in any of the Thousand Trails RV parks for FREE.
There are rules though:
- You can reserve up to 60 days in advance
- You can stay for free for 14 nights and then have to be out for 7 nights OR
- you can stay 4 nights or less and go from park to park
- If you need a 50 amp spot, it's an fee of $3 per night.
- Up to 9 people can stay in your spot; there are extra car fees.
Considering the per night rate for a campsite ranges anywhere between $30 - 100+, as long as you stay about 15-20 nights, it's worth the annual membership.... that's assuming the locations of the RV parks work for you.
RV Park Locations
There is an RV park in Columbus and Conroe. This was my other main motivation for getting the membership. This allows me to stay closer to Houston when needed. On my 7 nights that I have to be out of the park, I just go to a State Park that's close by.
There are a few RV parks around the Dallas area. I've only stayed at 1 so far and really liked it. I plan to check out the others. Maybe on the way to ROW or on the way back. Not sure yet.
Thousand trails also offers lifetime memberships. These cost a lot more but it's lifetime access and you get some extra perks with the membership. Like booking 90 or 180 days in advance. Stay for 21 nights instead of 14. Free nights in the cabins etc. I might eventually do one of these packages. It's worth it if you know you're going to use your RV for a long period of time and locations work for you. You still pay the $600 or $900 annual fee, but I think there are definite advantages to the premium membership for certain people.
I'm really happy with my decision to get this membership! It's a great way to have a place to stay for 2 weeks in between park host positions, or if I want to bounce around for a month or two. I hear the Lake Conroe location is really busy (rightfully so I guess) so I'm about nervous about the upcoming stay I have planned there. I tend to like places that are quiet and I have enough of an area to make it feel like it's my own little space. I'll keep you posted on what happens next!