Thousand Trails vs Boondocking

Since there seems to be a lot of confusion and questions on our video entitled “Is Thousand Trails Cheaper than Boondocking?” we figured we’d put the assumptions and figures here so you can look them over in detail. FYI, these are just our notes so they might be tough to follow but the info is there. Enjoy!

  • RV Parks vs. State Parks vs. Thousand Trails vs. Boondocking
    • General averages…no discounts, special rates, bargain hunting, etc., etc., etc.
    • Assuming Full Timer, normal travel patterns, usages, etc.
    • Each would be preferred overnight stay
    • Assume 180 nights per year
  • RV Parks
    • Weekly Rates
    • Weekly Average of $240 (6 nights x $40)
  • State Parks
    • Nightly Rates
    • Nightly Average of $30
    • Assuming full or partial hookups
    • Includes county parks, COE, etc, etc., etc. (Government RV Parks)
  • Thousand Trails
    • $5000 Membership over 5 years or $1000 per year
    • Maintenance Fee of $600
    • No other overnight costs…they’re optional
  • Boondocking
    • Assuming some solar
    • 2 hours generator, .5 gal/hr, $3.00 a gallon
    • Assuming dump and FW fees of $15 every 14 days
    • Not amortizing solar, battery, composting toilet, etc. costs
  • Totals
    • Nightly
      • RV Parks – $34.28
      • State Parks – $30.00
      • Thousand Trails – $8.88
      • Boondocking – $4.07
    • Yearly (Daily*180)
      • RV Parks – $6170
      • State Parks – $5400
      • Thousand Trails – $1600
      • Boondocking – $732
  • Some Notes and Observations
    • Amortize initial boondocking costs (solar, batteries, blue boy, composting toilet, etc.) then nightly and yearly costs are similar to TT or boondocking might actually cost more!
      • Boondocking $732 vs. Thousand Trails $600
    • Can’t find TT parks everywhere but can’t boondock everywhere either.
    • Thousand Trails costs the same per year no matter how much you use it. RV and State Parks or Boondocking increases or decreases.
    • Of course, once you pay off or go beyond the amortization period, Thousand Trails becomes less expensive per night and is only $600-ish per year.
  • Summary
    • Thousand Trails and Boondocking are far less expensive than RV parks and State parks.  Without these options, many of us couldn’t afford this lifestyle.

Thousand Trails and Boondocking have similar costs, both up front and ongoing, both have limitations, advantages and disadvantages.