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. **update 3/31/15: We’ve been Escapees members a year as we did decide to domicile in Texas in 2014. We’ve been beyond impressed with Escapees as a mail forwarding service. We haven’t used the discount much and haven’t attended a rally, but the people and service have been top notch.**

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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51 thoughts on “What are the best RV clubs to join?”

  1. 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

    1. 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!

      1. Understand on the roadside assistance. Another option there may be with your liability insurance provider, that’s what we did with Geico

  2. 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!

    1. 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!

      1. We just bought our 1st trailer, will be traveling with 3 dogs and 2 lovebirds…my husband refuses to take the chickens!!!

        1. Congrats on the purchase! It sounds like a full house, even without the chickens…although having them along could come in handy. You could build a coop on the back of the trailer for eggs and they sure would help in flea invested areas! :)

        2. Hey you sound allot like us. We just bought an RV and plan to travel with 2 kids, 3 dogs and a bird. It should be interesting.

  3. 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).

    1. 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.

  4. So, tomorrow my wife and I get the motor home we want to travel in and so many questions about camping! We always drove our car and used motel rooms for vacation. Now that we are retired we want to go places and see things. Then someone tells me to join a travel club, so right now I am ‘investigating” the travel clubs which brought me here. I just learned today what boon docking means! We plan to travel three or four times a year for a couple of weeks at a time. Any one care to send advise for a green camper? Thank you in advance!

    1. Congrats on the RV! Every camper has a different opinion on clubs. We still don’t use club discounts very much if at all, but have met people that use them & use them a lot. We did just join Escapees, more for the mail forwarding than the discount aspect. We’ve been impressed with them so far. Best of luck in your research & retirement!

    2. We also just bought a new RV. We’ve been retired for 3 years and are ready to do some traveling around the US. I’ve been reading a lot about the various RV clubs and obviously don’t have a clue about them, so the info everyone has provided is helpful. There is another one called Great Escapes RV that I’ve been looking into. Does anyone have any info, good or bad, on them? We have roadside assistance through our Progressive insurance policy. I’ve never heard about the mail options or really given it any thought, so that info is extremely helpful.

  5. We have been RVing for the last 4 yrs. Only 4 months out of the year, Nov.-March..We both work so we have to be home at a certain time..On our way now..Home that is..We go to Arizona every year..SNOWBIRDS!!,That’s us..We had passport our 1st year of travel and let it go because we didn’t use it much and wasn’t worth spending money for, (In our case) no more then we used it..We now have Good Sam.. I have a problem with this because I can’t get to the website to find anything out about rv campsite locations..This is really aggravating, I like to look and see where our next stop is going to be..we don’t always stop at the same ones every year..We do have a couple state parks that we love and stop every year…Have too…We had a break down this year and Good Sam towing was a blessing..But whatever you do, Don’t break down in another state other then your own..Auto dealers charge an arm and a leg..For 2 clamps, and a hose we ended up paying $350.00..That is crazy… I am still looking to join an rv camping club… I kind of got off the beaten path there..Sorry..Would like any input on what clubs to look into for that about of time….Thank you for listening…

    1. We still maintain that most clubs don’t work for us. One thing that has changed was we joined Escapees – but not for the discounts, but rather the mailing service. Since we try to stay in state parks as much as possible, planning our trips around club discounts doesn’t really work for us. Everyone has a different style – whatever you do, safe travels to you!

  6. There are tons of mail services without having to join a club and there are groups of boon-dockers also that can help you find the best places to park that cost nothing. My husband is an Astronomy buff so Parks quite often don’t work for us as light interferes with his telescopes so we often use their info to find appropriate space to park for a day or two at a time(a month was the longest we stayed boon docking in NM so he could photograph and map a meteor shower. There are all kinds of Boon dockers out here from Astronomy to Zoology that want to experience nature, in it’s pure forms, all across the country . We do belong to Good Sam as I like to do HFH and other things that help the environment.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Our OR mail forwarding was without joining a club so I do agree. However, I have to say we continue to be beyond impressed with Escapees! PS How great is being able to take your home to places where you can photograph meteor showers – awesome!

  7. Wow…lots of great info and comments. We just bought our first motor home and took it out to a state part…..basically to make sure everything works. It seems to….still having trouble with the plumbing…but pretty sure that’s my fault and not the RV’s. I was told that Good Sam is the best club to join for the discounts at Camping World. I looked on line and they are UP TO 30%. Then I found out that the discounts on camping sites are only 10%. My wife and I both still work so we are looking at spending about 6 to 8 weeks in the motor home annually for the next 5 years or so. We live in the South and state parks seem to be plentiful. The prices are between $20 to $30 per night so I think we will stay with the State/National parks. Our auto insurance is with All State and they offer what looks to be a good road side assistance program.

    1. Thanks Steve! Enjoy your time on the road. And don’t worry, we paid a few ‘stupid taxes’ because we thought something was wrong with our RV & it was us not understanding how it works. A few years later, we just about have it down (until something else breaks!)

  8. We live in northern Florida, St. Augustine. My husband and I are also looking for a travel club. We would love to join a group of people and do some traveling together. My husband is retired, I have a few years to go but I have a very nice boss who gives me the time I need. Our RV is a 31 ft Holiday Rambler, our dog is Missy who loves to travel with us. We are nice people and looking for the same. Any suggestions !

    We also belong to Good Sam, KOA, AAA and AARP. Geico is our insurer. Seem to be double covered.

    1. We’ve been really impressed with Escapee’s – they have a great mailing service and tons of clubs if you would like to join specific groups. Safe travels (and yay for a flexible boss that allows you to do so)!!

    2. Hi Madelyn,
      My wife and I are close to retirement and hopefully an RV to spend many months on the road with our Border Collie (Deuce) and our two cats (Oliver & Louie). It may seem like a lot but we never had children and these guys go with us everywhere.
      We are in Michigan but we have family in Florida and will be heading there once we get our RV.
      I know it seems far off in time and distance, but who knows as you never know when the road will bring folks together.
      We are so excited about this next chapter in our lives as neither one of us has travelled much due to our careers…..we are so excited and WD also hope to meet people like you and your husband

  9. One of the comments were “there are tons of mail services without having to join a club.” The only ones I can find are associated with joining a club. I am like Geeky in that I plan on using state and national parks for the most part, so I like the idea of saving more money by not joining a club. Where do I find these other mail services?

    1. Have America’s Mailbox out of SD and didn’t have to join a club. Passport America seems a good fit since I travel between SD, WA, CA, and TX.

  10. Re: Roadside Assistance. We had AAA for our roadside assistance but found they are not rally prepared to handle a 37′ motor home. We waited for hours twice and then were told they could not find anyone. We signed up for Good Sam Roadside assistance and have used them three times on our last 3 week adventure! Great service, not only finding a tow but finding people who could find parts etc. The people they recommended were great!
    Re: Clubs to save $ on camping. We use Passport America and others and always save more than the cost of memberships.
    We travel sporadically. some times a long weekend, sometimes two or three weeks at a time. Home base Fort Myers, FL.
    Re Clubs: We joined the Newmar ( our unit brand) Kountry Klub to experience the fellowship. Met great people and enjoyed the outings. However I’m personally not a “joiner” so I limit our times with groups.

  11. We were approached by coast to coast resorts by tres rios resorts. Sounds like a great deal except for the initial purchase of s lifetime membership at our “home resort” for 10 grand. How does the coast to coast membership measure up in your eyes and experience? I’ve never been in an rv club and don’t want to have someone run my own rv up my own bum out of ignorance.

    1. As you can see from the post, we are not overly fond of most clubs. You should ask yourself how much you would really use those specific resorts only – only you can determine if 10k is reasonable. Good luck!

  12. Great post! Not sure if anyone has head of these guys but I ‘ve used RoverPass them a bunch to help me find good places to stay. They are not really a camping club but rather a tool that allows you to find a place to stay. You can inquire at a ton of campgrounds and then sit back and wait till the campgrounds get in touch with you about pricing. Instead of making all the effort to call campgrounds and call them, they put it all in one spot and then make it easy to find out if they have a spot for you with pricing and everything handy.

    1. I looked at Women RVers as I am a single woman traveling with 2 dogs. It is hard to find out much information without joining.
      Have you used it and what do you you like about the group?

  13. I was wondering if you ever decided on a club? My husband just retired and we purchased an RV this evening. We are excited about making some plans for travel. We are so new at all these camping sites that I don’t know where to look or if we should join a club. I really like the idea of a social club. I would I go about looking for one? We always love discounts but I’m still confused if they are worth it.

    1. Escapee’s was the only club we ended up joining, but more for the mail service than any discounts. We have heard that they also have some great social options. Safe & exciting travels to you!

  14. I live in Arizona and would like to find an RV group that has a home group in Phoenix/Mesa area so I could meet some of the people before I travel with them . Any suggestions?

  15. Just getting into rving and want to stretch our rv dollars. My main concern is finding a one night stop on our way to our final destination mostly a National Park. Passport America, Happy Camper Club and Campclub USA look like they might fill our needs. I am concerned with restrictions. I noticed that one RV park in Estes Park, CO doesn’t allow the 50% discount during the entire Summer, May through September. I would love to hear about your experiences with any of these or any other camping organizations out there.

  16. When we were fulltiming, we use Passport America and loved it. Paid for itself the 2nd time we used it. We were also Good Sam members and felt is was a good deal. FMCA was another we used, but did not renew.
    We are now planning on getting another coach, but not fulltiming it this time and will join Good Sam as well as PA again!
    Passport America had a book and it showed all the camp sites, so we had no problem in finding sites we could use.

  17. In a year or two we will be selling our home & everything & RVing full time. We will have a fifth wheel. We are new to RVing but have been tent campers for years. Need any info on clubs to join & benefits. Plus what about our mail? There probably shouldn’t be much but if someone does want to send mail, where can you set up something like that. Also, is there a website or something about boondocking & exactly what it is? Thanks so much. Can’t wait to hit the road! ?

    1. Google will be your best friend. Plug in some searches & you should find a lot of information. We really don’t use this blog as a ‘how to guide’ as there are a ton of references already out there. We use Escapees as we mention in this post for mail and have been pleased, but there are other options depending on where you want to domicile. Most importantly, good luck on your upcoming adventure!

  18. I was just thinking about the fact that I’ve joined to a few clubs and I’m hardly using any but Passport America. I’m also a member of Sam’s, Xscapers, KOA but I’ve used those only once. I’m living on my small RV full time while working remotely and I’m spending most my time around Southern California. When I decide to be in the city I just sleep on the street in safe neighborhoods.
    SmallRVlifestyle recently posted..5+ Smart Tips To Buy A Used Class B RV

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