Who knew there were so many different kinds of rv clubs out there?
You will most likely find that there are clubs for whatever motorhome or recreational vehicle you might own. There is generally an annual fee to join the club and there are member benefits which can include some or all of the following:
So, do a search for your make of rv, and see what you find.
There are rv clubs whose primary purpose is discount camping at rv parks and campgrounds, and others that operate as rv social clubs as well as offering member benefits such as those mentioned above. So, start your research to find the ones that fit your needs best. As the Travelocity gnome promises, “You never have to roam alone.”
Good Sam Club: Current cost to join this rv club is just $27.00 for one year. Benefits include a free subscription to Highways; 10% discount at 2100 Good Sam parks and campgrounds in North America; 10% discount at hundreds of RV Service Centers; discounts at 120 Camping World SuperCenters; fuel discounts at 650 Pilot Flying J Travel Centers; and rv loans and insurance (I had both with Good Sam the first few years); 1500 local chapters; state rallies; trip tours; even pet benefits!
Family Motor Coach Association: This is perhaps the largest motorhome owners group, with 100,000 active member families. To join, you must own a Class A, B, or C motorhome, or a bus conversion that contains cooking, sleeping and permanent sanitary facilities. A family membership is $50 the first year, $40 per year thereafter. There are extensive benefits and discounts, similar to those offered by Good Sam.
Escapees: Fee to sign up as a new member in the U.S. is $70; renewal is $60. Member benefits include a bi-monthly magazine; mail forwarding service; a number of Escapee parks (some with lots for sale or lease) that charge overnight camping fees that are about half the cost of the typical RV park; 15% discount on overnight camping costs at commercial RV parks throughout the US; and a CARE center (a Texas-licensed, adult day-care center in Livingston, TX).
Here’s another reason to consider joining Escapees RV Club. They have just announced the creation of a new job board, which allows other businesses and individuals to create free “looking for help” listings that can be viewed by 50,000 Escapees members.
This seems to be one of the most popular rv clubs; I have met more RVers who belong to Escapees than any other club, other than Good Sam. I just joined.
WIN (Wandering Individuals Network): To join the WINs, you must be traveling alone in your rv, and not yet 70 years old. Once you’re a member, you can travel with whomever you want, and stay in as long as you want no matter how old you get. This is a very active group: hiking, kayaking, caravanning, etc. Cost to join is $70.
Loners on Wheels (LoW): A singles RV club with an rv park in Deming, NM, where members can stay at greatly reduced rates. There are 50 regional chapters in the US, Canada and Mexico. You must be legally single to join and, should you get married, your membership is terminated. Cost to join is $50.
RVing Women: Membership in this rv club is open to all women, 18 or older, who are interested in RVing. Owning an RV is not a requirement. To join as a new member is $55.
If you are looking for $10/night or 50% off on your camping costs, be careful!
I have read that a Wilmington, Delaware firm that advertises itself as RVParkSuperpages.com as well as UltimateRVcamping.com is frequently cited as a “ripoff.” RVers pay for a membership, and then discover that the RV parks supposedly giving 50% discounts to members have never even heard of the service and will not honor the discount rate. One such park had even been closed for several years.
Many campground memberships are available as resales, so if you find a membership club that provides what you want, check Craigslist or do a search on the internet to see if you can find one for sale. Be sure you know specifically what you are buying as there are variations in the types of memberships sold over the years.
Mountain Lakes Lytle Creek Campground: A membership only campground, open year round, with full hookups (water, sewer, and electric), fishing lakes, pools, activity rentals, and daily entertainment. Membership does include an annual fee but can be purchased at significantly lower prices on SellMyTimeshareNow.com, an online timeshare resale company with a highly trained staff to assist you. Their large inventory includes affordable Mountain Lakes Lytle Creek memberships to purchase from current owners, along with other fantastic campground memberships.
Special Military Active-Retired Travel (SMART) is what it says - a club for active and retired military personnel who enjoy the RV lifestyle.
The Handicapped Travel Club was formed in 1973 to encourage RV traveling for people with a wide range of disabilities.
Harvest Hosts, the first membership program of its kind in the US, provides RV owners with FREE overnight stops at wineries and farms across the country. Sounds like a nice RV resource.
RV Guests is another membership club that gives members free overnight parking at Northwest wineries and farms.
Western Horizon Resorts: A membership RV club similar to Thousand Trails. There is an initial membership cost to join, and then an annual fee applies.
Resorts of Distinction (ROD): Only members of resorts that are affiliated with ROD may join. The Home Resort determines the initial membership cost to join, and then there is an annual fee. Formerly, Thousand Trails members could get ROD membership, but that is no longer the case. Check with ROD for the most recent information on how to get access to this program of discounted campgrounds.
Adventure Outdoor Resorts (AOR): Only members of resorts that are affiliated with AOR may join, and initial cost is determined by the Home Resort, then an annual fee applies in exchange for reduced site fees. Western Horizon members may join AOR.
Coast-to-Coast: Only members of resorts affiliated with Coast to Coast may join. Again, the Home Resort determines the initial membership cost, then an annual fee applies in exchange for reduced site fees.
Passport America: A very popular rv club offering discounts on camping. Members save 50% on camping costs at over 800 campgrounds in the US, Canada and Mexico. Yearly cost is $44. for their travel card.
Resort Parks International: There are several different levels of RPI, and you can join only if your home resort is one of their affiliated resorts. It gets pretty complicated. I purchased a 10-year membership through one of their affiliates my first year of rving – not a very good decision as it turned out.
Most of the parks were in the western states. I did use it a lot the summer I traveled the West, but may not have saved enough to cover my initial investment. We stayed at a number of their parks for $10-13/night which is a very good price. So, definitely look into this one, but figure out where you will be doing most of your traveling first – will their parks be in that area? I didn’t do my homework...
Happy Camper Club: A 50% discount club for RVers. Nearly 1200 US and Canada rv parks and campgrounds. Current annual cost is $39.99
Thousand Trails, affiliated with Equity Lifestyle Properties, has over 80 parks and campgrounds in 22 states and British Columbia, Canada. You choose a “Zone Camping Pass” for one of their four zones: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast. The annual fee for one zone is $499. For some reason, they are unable to issue a zone camping pass to residents of MN, MS, or SD. The pass allows you to stay free at their parks until you have reached 30 days of camping; then there is a $3.00 fee. If you do your traveling in one of their zones, the savings can be considerable. You can add zones or do all four zones – additional costs apply. If you’re interested, check their website and give them a call to get more details.
Boondockers Welcome - a network of people around the world who are willing to offer free parking to RVers on their own property for a night or two. This is a wonderful idea for all those who love boondocking – so check it out.
Do you have any questions? Any comments? This is your chance to let me know what you're thinking, so please do. I really enjoy hearing from you.
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View from Campsite at Devils Tower, Wyoming