RV memberships are one of those things you either use or you don’t. There’s a massive market in the RV industry when it comes to memberships. Some are better than others, but it’s easy for you to waste your money on them.
After reading this, you may want to wait to pull the trigger on that RV membership. Let’s see why you might think twice before signing up.
What Are RV Memberships?
RV memberships are discount programs and clubs geared toward RVers. They typically involve an annual fee to maintain your membership and provide various benefits. Whether you’re looking to save money while RVing or join a community, RV memberships can do just that.
What Are the Benefits of RV Memberships?
There are many benefits to RV memberships, some of which are better than others. Some of these membership programs can be a great way to save money while RVing. Other membership programs can provide you access to a massive community of like-minded people who enjoy the RV lifestyle.
RV memberships leverage their strength in numbers to partner with brands and other resources for RVers. This typically means you can save money on camping, fuel, insurance, and other RV-related items by joining. If the membership provides discounts that you’ll use, the membership may even pay for itself.
Many of these RV membership groups host events across the country for their members. This can be an excellent way to connect with old friends and meet new ones. If you enjoy meeting people and being a part of a community, these events are a great way to do it.
What Are the Disadvantages of RV Memberships?
While there are some benefits to RV memberships, there are also some disadvantages. Not all of the memberships are all that great. Some RVers have joined membership programs for their discounts. However, they found the discounts lackluster in practice, if they could use them at all.
Those selling these memberships do a great job of talking them up. They’re in sales for a reason, and they’re great at their jobs! Some of these memberships can be rather pricey to buy into and have annual fees on top of that. Getting out of some of these memberships can be tricky, especially if you sign a contract to join.
What Types of RV Memberships Can You Buy?
There are several types of RV memberships that you can buy. The most popular memberships help RVers save money on supplies and camping fees. Let’s look at a handful of the most popular RV memberships we see in the RV community!
About: Good Sam is one of the most popular RV membership programs. You save money while shopping at Camping World, Gander RV, Overton’s, and Pilot/Flying J. Many of the retailers offer specials and free shipping to Good Sam members. You also won’t have to pay full price at the fuel pump, as members save $0.05 per gallon on gas and $0.08 per gallon on diesel at Pilot/Flying J truck stops.
While many RVers love saving money with their Good Sam membership while shopping, they also love the discounts on camping. You can save 10% on more than 2,000 Good Sam parks and campgrounds across the country. If you’re already spending a significant amount of time in these parks, you can save hundreds of dollars each year by becoming a member.
Price: Starts at $29 for one year
About: Passport America brands itself as the original discount camping club. It provides 50% savings at over 1,200+ campgrounds across the country. By staying at these campgrounds, you can easily pay for your membership each year. You can use the Passport America app to quickly and easily find nearby campgrounds that offer discounts.
While many join Passport America for their discounts for camping, they also offer trip routing services. These services allow you to input your route and search for Passport America campgrounds along your route. So if you’re planning a road trip, you can plan out your stops at these parks to maximize your savings!
Price: Starts at $44 for one year
About: Thousand Trails is a popular RV membership program for those looking to camp as cheaply as possible. You can camp for 12 months with minimal nightly fees by buying into this timeshare-like membership. Thousand Trails has a network of hundreds of campgrounds across the country. Many of these campgrounds offer sites for even the largest RVs, and most have full hookups.
Depending on your Thousand Trails membership, you can save thousands of dollars each year on camping fees. Some of the higher-tier membership plans allow you to stay for weeks at a time and will enable you to move from campground to campground.
Lower-tier plans may limit your ability to stay for more than two weeks and require a specific amount of time between stays. However, you can save a tremendous amount of money each year by joining Thousand Trails.
Price: Starts at $630
About: Resort Parks International, or RPI, is an RV membership program with resorts in the United States, Canada, and Mexico. In order to join RPI, you must first purchase a membership to a home resort.
An RPI membership is an add-on to the membership from an affiliated RV resort across the country. Once you become a member, you can take advantage of $10 per night camping at over 150 RPI properties and more than 200 partner resorts across the country.
Price: Varies by location
Coast to Coast
About: Coast to Coast is another timeshare-like program for RVing. You buy into a home resort where you’ll spend the bulk of your time RVing or living. You’ll be the owner of a specific lot where you can park your RV for as long as you like. After joining a home resort, you can join Coast to Coast and start taking advantage of your membership.
As a part of your Coast to Coast membership, you get massive discounts on camping. For $10 per night, you can get a full hookup campsite in one of their campgrounds all across the country. Their resorts typically have aquatic activities, mini-golf, and game rooms. You’ll find plenty of activities for the whole family during weekends and holidays.
Price: $90 per year
Which Camping Membership Is the Best?
When it comes to camping memberships, the best membership is the one that you’ll actually use. Thousand Trails has hundreds of excellent campgrounds across the country, but membership will do you no good if there’s none where you plan to do the bulk of your camping.
It’s essential that you thoroughly investigate a camping membership to make sure you’ll actually benefit from it. Many RVers have wasted money by purchasing camping memberships with little to no benefit for them. Don’t be one of them!
Why Can RV Memberships Be a Waste of Money?
While RV memberships can save you some money, they can also come with many restrictions. Some of the most popular RV membership programs come with so many restrictions it’s hard to keep them straight. To partner with as many campgrounds as possible, many programs allow flexibility to the campgrounds for how they structure their discounts.
You may find that you’re only able to use a discount during the week, on specific sites, or even during certain times of the year. This can make planning trips hard if you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck regarding your membership.
RV memberships often do a great job of talking up their discount programs. A large list of discounts may look great on paper, but they’re worthless if they’re to establishments or products that you’ll never use.
Are Any RV Memberships Worth It?
Purchasing an RV membership can be worth it if you use it. Just because a membership talks up its benefits doesn’t mean it’s for you.
Spend some time thinking through and calculating how much you’ll actually use the membership. This can save you the trouble of making a costly mistake or signing a legally binding contract that’s next to impossible to escape.
Which RV memberships do you use that are worth it for you?
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