THOUSAND TRAILS OPEN DURING THE CORONAVIRUS

Recently, I received a call from Charles who works for Thousand Trails. He informed me that Thousand Trails in my area (Washington) would be making many changes and wanted to setup a meeting time to go over those upcoming changes. I agreed and thought it would be a good opportunity to stay in-the-know about the private RV campground we pretty much exclusively use.

We got on a short conversation about how the RV community is greatly affected by the novel COVID-19 virus. The closing of private and public parks puts the roughly 1 million full-time RVers at a disadvantage and safety risk, unable to shelter in place in the is no place to shelter. Many of us don’t have it in our budget to continue roaming, searching from place to place for a place to park only to be told a few days later we have to start all over again. Add children and animals to this mix and it becomes much more serious!

Charles mentioned that Thousand Trails has stayed open for US as a community. They understand the impact this virus is having on our special community. I felt relieved and so, so grateful for their consideration because our stability and security is very much integrated into Thousand Trails. If you are used to RVing with hookups and are unable to find a place to stay, I highly suggest checking Thousand Trails and using their Camping Pass. If you are on a tight budget they offer a payment plan (no credit check)!

Stay safe during this time and reach our to the community if you are in need of help whether it be financial or in need of shelter. You never know who can help or knows of someone else who can!

RV LIVING WITH KIDS

It’s one thing to consider RV living. It’s a whole other ball game to consider RV living with kids. Here are a few things, call it food for thought, when taking on #rvlife with the kiddos:

IT WILL FEEL CRAMPED

RV living will likely be much smaller than what you are currently living in. Pair that with not one, two, but three or more bodies in a small space can feel overwhelming at first.

Making sure not to bring too much into your rig will help it feel less cluttered. Getting items to help organize your items strategically in cupboards and on walls will help tremendously!

If everyone gets up at the same time you will likely all share one tiny bathroom that barely fits you comfortably. The walkway also may not accommodate more than one, maybe two bodies passing by at once. So, having everyone moving at one time could get intense. Consider staggering your wake up times if this is a concern to you!

IT WILL GET LOUD

kids playing in RV

I am sensitive to noise. Possibly overly sensitive so it was quite the adjustment to always hearing EVERYTHING my children do at all times.

I suggest you get used to it, and fast that children need time to be loud and play. Matter of fact, play with them and it won’t be so bad. This will help when there is a time for them to be quiet. Remember they are children, not robots.

THEY NEED TO GET OUT

Pllayground

Kick em’ out. JK. Depending on the age let them play outside in front of the RV door! We personally are always outside with our kids, but if you don’t have a problem then let them loose with expectations.

If you have teenagers you may even let them walk to the cabana if your at an resort.

HOMESCHOOL?

If you are RV living with kids full-time or considering it, homeschool is probably something you need to look into or are doing already. That can mean that you teach your children or that they do online school.

Either way try to make homeschool just as fun as your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be overly difficult or boring. It also doesn’t have to be overly artsy fartsy if your not into that much.

Want to know how we homeschool and what curriculum we use? Check it out here.

INTIMACY WITH YOUR PARTNER

Image result for tie on the door

We’re friends right? RIGHT! So let me be frank with you.

Intimacy can be a difficult challenge while full time RV living with children. No amount of distance, thin walls or hollow doors can hide what’s going on especially as they get older and start understanding what sex is. Don’t kid yourself.

I suggest setting boundaries with your children that can understand “you need to knock” or “don’t interrupt unless it’s an emergency”. Waiting until the kids are asleep will be best for the ones that are too little to understand.

As for the neighbors or guests, this is the advice I read and really liked. “If the trailers rockin’ don’t come knockin'”. Seriously, though. Don’t let this lifestyle cramp your style. Figure out what works for each of you and stay intimate!

MEDICAL/DENTAL

Kids, kids, kids. They do foolish things without thinking and break bones, gash faces and who know what the heck else. Make sure you have medical for them and always know where the nearest hospital is or where to get help!

Also, keep up on your children’s dental hygiene so they don’t get cavities requiring an expensive dental visit. If their teeth start growing in kinda funky or you know that you have genetic issue (impacted teeth, missing adult teeth, peg teeth) early orthodontic intervention can save thousands of dollars later.

LOCATION MATTERS

This subject can get frustrating. There are places that do not allow children. Some make it expensive to stay with children. Be aware of these places and their rules before you show up.

If they don’t want your babes, try not to stay there. It’ll suck!

ENTERTAINMENT

Kids and teenagers can get bored pretty easily! Consider having plenty of family games an instrument or two, movies, video games, books or e-books, and/or puzzles.

More importantly make time to spend with them without distraction of any technology! They’ll remember they time you prioritized just for them.

outdoor finding a lizard

This list is not complete by all means. I will be adding more as I learn. Feel free to drop what it looks like living in an RV with kids or what your concerns would be!

NEW THOUSAND TRAILS MEMBERSHIP UPGRADE

I created this table of comparing the new Thousand Trails membership upgrade for my husband and I to make it easier for us to decide which one we are going to get. I’m an excel girl through and through. I LOVE CHARTS AND TABLES. They are straight to the point and I love it. LOVE LOVE LOVE. That’s why this visual works for me. Okay enough love…

I realized after looking through other blogs that were SUPER informative (thank you), but not organized in a way that made sense or easy for us to make a decision. Especially with so many options. Maybe it’s just because Thousand Trails has had way too many changes…

This is only the NEW Upgraded Memberships comparison. I completely understand that there are thousands (pun intended) of memberships offered by Thousand Trails, outlets and brokers that are cheaper, but this is what we decided.

BASIC ELITEELITE CONNECTIONSULTIMATE ODYSSEY
CASH BUY$6,495$8,645$13,095
FINANCING DOWN PAYMENT$650$850$1310
FINANCING PAYMENTS$148$176$265
FINANCING TERMS (MONTHS)60 MO. (5 years)72 MO. (6 years)72 MO. (6 years)
TOTAL FINANCING$9530$13522$20390
CASH VS FINANCING$3035$4877$7295
Nights of CampingUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Book in Advanced120180180
Number of ParksALL Thousand Trails CampgroundsALL Thousand Trails CampgroundsALL Thousand Trails Campgrounds
RVonthego.com Discount20% off daily and seasonal rates20% off daily and seasonal rates20% off daily and seasonal rates
Days In212128
Days outPark to ParkPark to ParkPark to Park
Unlimited Day UseYesYesYes
Cabins50% off & (5) Free Weekly Cabin Rental Rebate Certificate50% off & (5) Free Weekly Cabin Rental Rebate Certificate50% off & (5) Free Weekly Cabin Rental Rebate Certificate
Getaway Cabins$85 per night$60 Per Night + (1) Free week Stay for 10 years. Trade free week for RPI Condo or Cruise$60 Per Night + (1) Free week Stay for 10 years. Trade free week for RPI Condo or Cruise
Affiliate Benefits(1) Free Years RPI Resort Connections(2) Free Years RPI Resort Connections(2) Free Years RPI Resort Connections + (6) $500 Vacation Credits
Additional Week2 Weeks per Year at $29/week2 Weeks per Year at $29/week2 Weeks per Year at $29/week + 2 High Use Weeks per Year at $99/week
DuesDue Annually/Frozen at Age 62Due Annually/Frozen at Age 62Due Annually/Frozen at Age 62
MARCH 2020 NEW THOUSAND TRAILS MEMBERSHIP UPGRADE COMPARISON CHART

Here are the downloads that I received the same day I contacted Brandy Reneau that might be super helpful:

Things to consider…

Everyone is pre-approved! So do not worry if your credit is in the dumps for whatever reason! They only need a credit application because this is a legally binding contract which is very reasonable. Should you default on your obligations they have means of recourse.

Don’t get hung-up on the total of financing cost. Not everyone can fork out thousands of dollars upfront and that is okay. Not everyone wants to boondock, live off the land using solar and do all that fun stuff. It’s okay to feel more comfortable being plugged-in, Glamping and having all the resort amenities. Everyone’s situation is different, so a payment less than $300 can relieve a lot of financial burden with this lifestyle whether is was chosen voluntarily or not.

Another topic of conversation to note is Thousand Trails does not require a background check. I wish they did, but they don’t. So, with that said please be cautious letting your children play alone (call me overly cautious, I just won’t be that parent searching for their child!). Even for yourself, keep in mind that people full-time RV for many reasons, not all them for adventure.

Is Thousand Trails right for me?

Really evaluate how long you will be doing this lifestyle, what you are comfortable with (hookup/no hookups, being further from hospitals, affording a solar setup, do you a generator, etc.), and how often you want to tear down and setup.

I for one want to be close to a hospital if only for my children’s sake. I also do not want to be in the middle of nowhere risking being attacked by ferocious bunnies. Also, I’m currently not interested in investing in solar or installing it on my current rig.

Still can’t pick which level?

Consider these:

  • Cost of gas and vehicle maintenance cost per mile of driving from each location
  • How easy/difficult will it be to pack-up, drive and setup camp every 21 days vs 28 days
    • The Basic Elite may be cheaper, but you will move more often than with the Ultimate Odyssey
    • The Basic Elite you will move 17 times, Elite Connections 13 times, and 12 times with the Ultimate Odyssey including using your extra extended stay weeks.
  • Is the +/- $120 payment difference between the most expensive option (Ultimate Odyssey) and least expensive (Basic Elite) worth the extra money, more/less travel, effort of tear down/setup
    • Depending on the gas mileage your setup gets, that $120 gap starts to close fast due to moving more often means consuming more gas plus the cost of vehicle maintenance per mile

I really hope this was helpful for you. If I missed something or you have any question feel free to comment below!

If you are interested in new Thousand Trails Membership upgrade and want more (updated) info contact Brandy Reneau (she’s a amazing) at brandy_reneau@equitylifestyle.com and let her know the Garnicas sent you!

RV CAMPGROUNDS CLUBS & MEMBERSHIPS

There are many RV campgrounds that are or affiliated with clubs and/or memberships to choose from! Make sure to do your own research to see what club(s) works best for you and your style (and locations) of camping.

The Garnicas, well we like to be plugged in so we have a Thousand Trails, Good Sam, Passport America, and Escapees RV Club membership. It may seem a bit excessive, but it provides us plenty of options that keep us comfortable while traveling on the road.

Below are a few well known RV Clubs & Memberships:

  • Thousand Trails ($599/year) Annual Camping Pass 1 zone ($125 off as of 2/27/20), $59 additional zones, $299 Trails Collections (access to 100+ additional destinations), PAYMENT OPTIONS AVAILABLE!
  • Passport America ($44/year)– 50% OFF select campgrounds
  • Boondocker’s Welcome ($50/year guests or $25/year hosts) – for every 1 person hosted, 3 months of guest privileges are given.
  • Harvest Host: Membership is ($40/year). This is a camping program that allows RVers to stay at farms & wineries.
  • Good Sam Club ($29/year) – discounts at select campgrounds
  • Family Motor Coach Association(FMCA) – discounts at select campgrounds
  • Escapees RV Club ($39.95)
  • Recreation USA

*Prices based off February 2020

There are more RV campgrounds that offer memberships such as private RV campground KM Resort. I really suggest you read review before diving into any long term contract, especially with push sales people that won’t stop calling! 🙂

LINKS IN THIS BLOG MAY BE AFFILIATE LINKS. THEY PROVIDE A SMALL COMMISSION TO US AT NO COST TO YOU FOR USING OUR LINKS. THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING ROLLING WITH THE GARNICA’S!

CHEHALIS RV & CAMPING RESORT – CHEHALIS, WA

The Garnica’s absolutely love the Chehalis Thousand Trails location! A park ranger has always been available right when we pull in. The ranger who greeted us for the first time, who is also the one we see the most, has gone above and beyond to help us with pick a private area to park as well as giving us a jump when our vehicle failed to start (read that story here).

Sites

There was plenty of large private spaces to choose from with water and electric hookups, fire pit and bench. Each time we were able to pick a spot and inform the rangers which site we chose. During the winter months they close several loops which happened to be our favorite spot (tear!)

Trails

If you want to take a nice hike, bike ride or saddle up on horseback, there is no shortage of trails in and around the campground.

We are not seasoned at all for hiking a found the inclines very mild. Then again we stopped frequently to pick the yummy berries that lead the way on each side. YUM!

Hidden Views

We stumbled upon this lovely scene while getting lost in Chehalis’s 300 acres of campground.

Just beyond the grass is a huge grassy slope the kids rolled down…okay so did we!

Children’s Play Area

If you kids are link ours, they love to play at parks. This one is really, really basic, but the kids had fun none the less.

Bathrooms & Showers

Shower for an hour….Think again! These bathrooms were outdated, but very clean thanks to their policy of making multiple rounds to check, clean and stock the bathrooms.

We took showers near loop B and to be honest they were pretty cold. I froze my honey-buns off and my son refused to get in lol

Tip: the showers near the family lodge have warmer water!

Recreational Room

Foosball, basketball, pool and video games! Adults and kids are bound to strike up a competitive game sooner or later. We had fun several times in the game room rights next to the laundry facility.

Dog Park

They have a fenced dog park! 15-20 minutes in Batman and Robin couldn’t take it anymore. They ran and played and attempted several times to escape!

Dump Stations

There are two dump stations. You will find the first one on the right side before you pass any sites.

The other is off to the left after loops A & B. This station is on a hill so make sure to apply your emergency break!

We’ve never had to wait to dump and other visitors do a great job at cleaning up!

HORSESHOE & TENNIS COURTS

If a game of Horseshoe or a match of tennis is your thing then you are in luck.

They have both here!

There is also a basketball court not pictured so the family is bound to have some kind of fun.

Laundry

(review coming soon)

Store

(review coming soon)

Pool

(review coming soon)

Slip & Slide

(review coming soon)

Interested in a Thousand Trails membership? Check them out here.