What are the best RV clubs to join?

I have started to research the many RV clubs out there trying to figure out what might be the best for us. We’ve always had AAA for our cars, but I couldn’t find good information on their RV assistance. So, by default when we purchased the motorhome, we went with Good Sam Platinum. We get a discount on campgrounds with the Good Sam Membership, a number to call for technical assistance (which for the first year might prove to be invaluable, or a complete waste depending on who is on the other end of the line), and most importantly, tow coverage for the RV & our cars. We will evaluate how useful this club is over the next year.

There are many other clubs out there so I decided to jot down my thoughts about them now and see if anyone has any input on what else is beneficial to join. We plan on only really traveling around 3-4 months a year, as the other remaining months we will (hopefully) be working and in one spot (although probably moving around the city we are working in).

Escapees – this is a popular club, with lots of supporters.  They seem to really focus on fulltimers, which is great, but I also get the feeling they are more for retirees (which makes sense). They have special parks for their members, lots of niche groups and seminars. Since we aren’t retired, I don’t see us being able to take advantage of a lot of what they offer, unless we decide to domicile in Texas (which currently we are leaning away from, even though Texas was going to be our next relo spot before this RV craziness entered the picture). While we want to check out a rally eventually, I am not sure it’s on our top must do list for the first year. I am leaning towards waiting on this club, and maybe talking to a few people that are involved to see if there is something I am missing that we could really use.

Passport America – This club bills itself as the original 50% discount camping club. I am all about a deal, so 50% off sounds wonderful. However, while there is a great deal of campgrounds listed, I looked at the route we plan on taking in December and didn’t really find any that would work. It’s $44 to get a membership, and while I can see that being recouped quickly depending on where you are traveling, part of me also doesn’t want to be limited to certain parks or areas just for the ‘deal’. It also seems like many campgrounds have restrictions that the discount is only good for one night, or not on the weekends. That makes sense from a business perspective, but from a consumer perspective, it is even more limiting.

Happy Camper Club – Another 50% off club, it requires no contracts, no home park and no point systems. Excellent. Yet, I still found a limited number of parks that we would take advantage of, along with restrictions at many of them. The biggest detractor for me was the site navigation. Lists of campgrounds do not help me – I would much rather see on a map where they are versus searching through a scrolling list and hunting & pecking to see if they come close to my route. Another club that might be great for those set to wander, but I am not sure it is for us, especially at $39.99 a year.

FMCA – The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has a range of benefits, from emergency road service, to a mail forwarding service. It’s a professional looking site complete with relatively active forums. The focus does seem to be social and indicates the greatest member benefit is fun & camaraderie of other RVers. However, I am still not sold for $50 a year, as many of the benefits overlap what we already purchased with Good Sam. Perhaps this is a superior service, or maybe just an alternate others have chosen. This is another club that I look forward to chatting with people about to see if the benefits are worth it.

CampClub USA – Here is another 50% club, with a yearly rate of $49.99. This site has a mapping function that lists the potential campgrounds that are associated with the club on a route (of course, this provides the direct freeway route, but at least it helps with where the campgrounds are located in relation to your general direction) How up to date it is remains to be seen, as the first campground I clicked on took me to a dead URL. My expectation is if this is a paid service, links would be kept up with. When I clicked on another campground to get details, it merely refreshed the map. Not so helpful after all. I fared much better by just using the find a campground location, and having it load in google maps. This is the first club that has a campground on our planned route for December, but I again remain skeptical if it is worth the money.

Overall, I am not really sold on joining clubs – I am not sure it fits into our travel plans & needs. Has anyone joined these clubs? I would love to hear feedback. Have I missed a great club that is out there? Let us know!

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About geekyexplorers

Two geeks & two furry kids traveling in an RV around the United States. View all posts by geekyexplorers

10 responses to “What are the best RV clubs to join?

  • Brent

    We joined Passport America and Good Sam but I don’t think I would do either again. We’ve managed to use the Good Sam discount once and PA never. We really prefer city / state / US parks to RV CGs so unlikely to get much use out of them in the future.

    My recommendation would be to wait and see how you like to travel and then decide if it might be worth it to join one of the above

    • geekyexplorers

      Thanks for the recommendation. We always want an emergency tow service, but I think waiting is the right idea for any others. We believe we are going to prefer the state/us parks as well – we tend to like our space!

  • Jerry & Kimberly Peterson

    After being out here 6 years we utilize all of the clubs we continue to join. We belong to Passport America, Camp Club USA, Happy Camper, Good Sam & Coast to Coast and would recommend all of them. For all of them we play a little game to take advantage of them since the saving are substantial. 50% for PA, CCUSA and HC, but for C2C, we stay at some pretty nice resorts for only $10 per night. For us it’s worth it since we do not stay long enough anywhere for weekly or monthly rates. Our insurance company provides our roadside assistance.

    Good luck in deciding which ones to use, we waited for good deals and stay with them because they work for us…not for everyone!

    • geekyexplorers

      wow! You belong to them all! 🙂 Glad to hear they are working out for you. Do you find you alter your travel course to use them, or have they just naturally fell in line? I will have to add Coast to Coast to my research as well. For the 3-4 months we travel, we also don’t plan on being in a spot for very long which is why I started looking at the clubs but our wandering might be balanced out by our monthly stays when we are employed. Thanks for sharing!

  • jill- Jack and Jill Travel The World

    Really cool learning about this community of permanent nomads. After we get back from our RTW trip, we’re thinking about doing the whole RV thing so we can finally have pets (and thus be able to take them with us)

  • Phil R

    We have joined several RV clubs over the many years we’ve camped. I’ll put my thoughts into two categories; Discount clubs and camping clubs.
    In discount category, we have belonged to Good Sam, Passport America, KoA, and others. Good Sam seems to be a vehicle for marketing their various other products and, we believe, not worth the bother. Passport America seems great if you are on the road a lot, but has proven less useful for us as many FL campgrounds don’t give the discount during the fall-spring period. KoA parks are so expensive, that membership in their club only pays if you have a particular park/parks that you can recoup the value through.
    Camping clubs is another story. We have been long-time members of FCRV (formerly NCHA years ago) and camp regularly with their Thunderbolts chapter in southeast Florida (thunderboltscamping.info). This is a great group of people and the club environment helps us to get out in our RV more often and enhances the experience. We’ve also been camping with the Winnebago-Itasca Travelers through their Florida Winnie-Gators organization. Again, this is a fun-loving group that helps us to make greater use of our RV and enjoy it more. We can’t say enough about the benefits of club camping and highly recommend this as a reason to join a club. Membership in both of these bring some discount opportunities, but this is secondary to the social aspects of the relationship.
    BOTTOM LINE: joining clubs for the economic incentive seems to be of marginal value. For the most part, we’ve been able to get comparable savings through other offers. On the other hand, joining a club for social reasons has enhanced the enjoyment and use of our RV and we highly recommend it. Especially so for the south Florida Thunderbolts (thunderboltscamping.info).

    • geekyexplorers

      Thanks so much for your thoughts! I do like the idea of hanging out with like minded people – the biggest downside I see is we won’t be in the same area for longer than a year (we are assuming). Although, even in a year I am sure some fabulous activities happen. I will make sure to look into clubs in the areas we get contracts.

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