Campground Memberships and Full-Time RVing – Is a Timeshare Membership Campground for you?
Campground membership parks can supplement your RV park options…if you know what you are getting into.
There are two types of RV campground memberships to be discussed. First are the timeshare membership campground systems where you purchase a membership in a campground and have camping privileges at affiliated RV parks for a deeply discounted rate. The other type of membership is a discount camping club where you camp for a set rate or fixed percentage discount off regular rates. If you aren’t certain, we recommend starting with a discount camping club and see how that works out.
Membership Timeshare Campgrounds
Membership campgrounds can be a touchy issue. Whether one is right for you depends on many factors including, how much can you spend, do you intend to live within your membership campground system of parks, are there enough (or any) membership parks in the area you want to visit, and many other factors that pertain to your individual preferences.
We joined a couple of well-known membership systems and very much enjoyed the experience. We had access to a few parks not available to the general public and since we utilized our memberships in traveling frequently, it worked out well for us.
Of course, as with anything, there are inevitable drawbacks. Most of the membership parks are probably not going to be exactly at the destination you have in mind. A great many of them are within accessible distances from destination points (another way of saying you may have an hour or two drive).
During busy tourist times, it may be very difficult, if not impossible to get into an affiliated park when you want to be in a specific place. Try getting into a Florida resort in the winter if you can. Even if you can get in, you may have very few amenities (water, sewer, electricity) available at your site. If you arrive at an affiliated park during their busy season, don’t be surprised if they aren’t overjoyed to see you when you present your discount membership card. Even during the off-season, you may often find yourself parked out in a pasture with no water or electricity while the full-hookup sites with cable sit vacant, or are rented to overnight traffic at full price to RV’ers who aren’t members of the campground system.
Old Faithful Geyser erupting on September 11, 2001
If you intend to live within a membership campground system, plan on moving every week or two. This is not a bad thing. Living costs can be very low, you aren’t on the road all the time, and most of the parks are relatively pleasant to live in. Additionally, you have the stimulation of routinely living in new places and meeting new people.
Although the rules of each timeshare membership system differ, typically you will have limitations such as not being able to stay at any affiliated park within 125 miles of your home park (the park you own membership in), two-week limitations for total days of camping (and not more than one week at a time with at least one week between visits), and other such Byzantine rules.
Campground timeshare memberships can be purchased from individuals who transfer their membership to you, or directly from the campground itself. You’ll also find listings in Trailer Life magazine and Motor Home magazine.
The major reciprocal use (affiliated) campground timeshare membership organizations are Coast to Coast at www.coastresorts.com and Resort Parks International at www.resortparks.com both requiring the purchase of a membership in a timeshare campground affiliated with them. The good news is that many resort campgrounds have affiliations with both organizations, so your local membership gives you access to the entire Coast to Coast and RPI network or RV parks. One minor, but obvious hitch, is that there are many campgrounds common to both park systems. You will not be able to exploit the common membership to acquire more time at a park where you have already used your allotted number of days.
Discount Camping Clubs
The objective of discount camping membership parks is to obtain overnight camping at a deeply discounted rate. These offers are sometimes presented as a “Camping Club”. In fact, these aren’t camping clubs at all, but lists of campground owners who have agreed to give you a discount for using the referral service.
If you are staying at an RV park for a week or longer, you may get a better weekly or monthly rate without the discount card. You can find discount camping offers with a simple search on the internet.
In our travels, we have used discount camping cards and were very well satisfied with the savings. Just call ahead to make sure there is space before you go. The campground owners participating in these programs were always happy to hear from us and were most helpful.
If you subscribe to more than one discount camping service, you’ll probably find that there are duplicate listings. You always can go online, look at their campground listings, and decide whether there are too many overlapping entries.
Travel the Country with RV Campground Membership Timeshares
An avid RV camper like yourself might be interested to know that you can secure a camping lot annually or biennially anywhere in the country with a timeshare membership. When people think of timeshares, they probably imagine some five-star resort on the shores of Hawaii, but timeshares come in all shapes and sizes and one increasingly popular method of timesharing is to purchase a campground timeshare.
First, we’ll discuss the basics. A timeshare, whether a first-class resort in Bali or a campground resort in Utah, will generally allot owners’ time every year or every other year. With traditional timeshares, owners generally purchase the right to use a unit at a resort for a certain amount of time. Campground timeshares work similarly, though many offer unlimited usage, which means that you can camp for any number of days annually or biennially. And many campground resorts offer memberships, which give owners access to affiliated RV resorts all over the country, rather than at one location. With an RV timeshare membership, you can camp among the redwoods of California one year and the mountains of New Hampshire the next.
One difference between traditional timeshares and campground timeshares that you might want to consider is that you often cannot rent timeshares at a campground. However, for savvy campers like you, this might not be much of a concern because campground resorts tend to be much less expensive than timeshare units as you’ll essentially provide your own accommodation, and you’re really just paying for the right to use your lot. These memberships can be extremely cost-effective because timeshares allow owners to share their “unit” with several other owners, thereby reducing the cost to everyone.
When you’re looking for great deals on timeshares for sale, you might begin your search on the timeshare resale market. When you buy timeshare resale you can bypass the aggressive techniques that some resorts employ when they sell timeshare, and you’ll often save thousands because you’ll be purchasing from a previous owner rather than directly from the resort. If you’re interested but aren’t sure where to start, don’t get out of your seat just yet. The internet is an excellent resource for finding RV timeshare memberships because it offers a convenient method of comparison and allows you to research and shop on your own time and within your own budget. Timeshares can make it possible for you to explore great camping all over the country. Consider your lifestyle, budget, and vacation desires; and determine if RV timeshares are right for you.
Article courtesy of timeshare-resale-rental.com.
Next Chapter – What about boondocking to save money?
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