Before we started turning the wheels of our RV, we’ve researched, read blogs, watched videos about RV club memberships. Talk about massive overload of information. Although they are great for discounts at campgrounds or RV parks, we needed a few that are more so about community.
There are RV membership clubs of every shape, size, demographic and even RV manufacturer specific. We couldn’t belong to them all so we’ve picked out five that are more niched to our interests. Now, there are several others out there but these are our go-to memberships that reap us the best rewards and I’m not just talking about the discounts. We’ll share a little about them and what their membership costs that will give you an idea of why they are our favorites. We’ll leave you to tailor your own RV club membership portfolio.
OH! And we’ll even post a few tips on how to make the most out of these memberships at the end.
ESCAPEES RV CLUB
We actually didn’t register for the Escapees RV membership until January 2017 when we heard of this awesome convergence in Quartzsite, Arizona. Since we were already in the area and wanted to get in on then fun and meet people, we instantly signed up. And now, almost two years later, we’ve forged friendships and plan our own meet ups.
Escapees is said to be the oldest and largest RV club membership in the United States. Its also the most publicized. I mean, if you own an RV, there’s no doubt you’ve probably heard of Escapees. They’ve been around for over 40 years with three generations of leadership. But make no mistake, Escapees is not a discount club. While there are discounts that are associated with becoming a member, that’s not the purpose of the club. It’s the camaraderie, community and advocacy that drives the membership roles.
But I have to tell ya, they offer amazing services such as healthcare solutions, mail forwarding and roadside assistance. The club also offers educational resources like RVers Boot Camp, RVers Online University, SmartWeigh and their awesome full-color Escapees Magazine. They also offer legal advocacy that protects RVers’ right to RV. Escapees provides thorough information on absentee voting, domiciles and healthcare.
Whether you camp or RV in a truck camper, van, fifth wheel, toyhauler or motorhome, it doesn’t matter. The club is inclusive of any RV, any age, whether your working or retired, raising a family or traveling solo. The club’s purpose is to bring RVers together and to help provide necessary information to make your RV experience pleasant and safe.
Escapees has an RVer Job Exchange and their own online forum, the RVNetwork. The club also has subsidiary groups such as Xscapers (working age members) and Boomers (retired age members), however, age is never a prerequisite of joining either group. There are even smaller subgroups called Birds of Feather (BOF) that are interest driven. In all groups, there are planned convergences, rallies and meet ups planned throughout the year.
Escapees annual membership current fee is $39.95 for U.S. citizens and $49.95 for Canada and Mexico. Membership entitles you to participation in both Escapees and Xscapers communities and provides access to all support and educational resources as well as their many discount programs.
This AMAZING RV club membership is probably one of our favorites! Why? Because we love wineries, farms, breweries, distilleries and museums! We’ve used them several times throughout the United States for a relaxing overnight parking option. And sometimes, we just want to pull in for a night to relax. And being our RV is fully-contained and has an exceptional energy management system, this is our golden opportunity!
Harvest Hosts is a community of professional, enterprising winemakers, farmers, museums and other attractions who invite members to visit and park on the business grounds for 24 hours for free. To agree to be a Harvest Host costs their hosts nothing but a clean and safe parking space for one, two or even a few RVs. Of course, depending on the size of the Harvest Host location dictates what size RVs they can accommodate. We’ve found most we’ve patronized can accommodate our 41′ fifth wheel.
Our first Harvest Host visit was a couple years ago while we were in Arizona. It was peak season for RV travelers and we simply could not find a place to overnight. Well, that was until we read about Harvest Hosts. While Dan was driving, I was perusing the internet. By the time we got to the next exit, we were signed up. Minutes later, I was researching Harvest Hosts on the way to our destination.
To our surprise, we had great choices and we picked a great rum distillery! Since we lived on the Bourbon Trail in Kentucky, this was right up our alley. So, we called them asking if they had room for our huge fifth wheel for an overnight and they said ‘of course, come on in!’. We were greeted with smiles and gave us time to park in their parking lot.
Typically, Harvest Hosts are primarily a boondocking venue of no utilities or services. The caveat is while they are welcoming us a place to park for an overnight, we show our gratitude and support by buying a product and/or sit in on a wine or spirit tasting.
Since, we’ve stayed overnight at countless wineries and farms. And because fo their generosity of providing us a safe and quiet place to rest for a night, we buy some farm fresh produce, a cool souvenir, a bottle of their most prided wine or a “bottle in a paper bag”. Its our way of saying ‘thank you’.
Watch their video:
Their $49 membership fee pays for itself in just one night. There are over 600+ stunning locations throughout the United States! So, trade that boring $50/night campground for a unique experience and make lasting memories with your family and friends.
As a member you will be able to:
Install THEIr FREE App to make Host visits easy to arrange;
Customize Host lists;
Search maps of the Host locations,
Create custom trip routing;
Upload and read comments, reviews and photos directly from the App or on the Host pages
Now, we’ve not yet used this RV club membership yet. Primarily it’s because our size RV is rather on the large size and most locations are more suited for smaller RVs like vans, truck campers, and smaller towables or motorhomes. However, we do plan on utilizing Boondockers Welcome once we get out to the west coast and wide open spaces more.
From their website:
Boondockers Welcome is built by RVers, for RVers. Our philosophy is that RVing brings out the best in people – being in new places, while sharing tight quarters next to complete strangers every day has a way of making people learn what is important in life and how making friends on the road is often the best part of the story.
By definition, RVers love to travel, and want to do so comfortably and affordably. We know first hand that RVers will welcome each other to stay on their property only moments after having just met. Kindness and generosity abound. Boondockers Welcome is a venue where RVers can connect and welcome each other to camp on their property, with no expectations of being paid in anything more than gratitude and a pay-it-forward spirit.
Watch their video:
Be aware, like Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome hosts don’t typically provide utility services such as electric, water or sewer so its important that your RV be totally contained and well cared for.
This RV membership was the first that we joined. We read about it on several social media pages. It was fairly inexpensive by offering substantial discounts on campgrounds and RV parks with a few stipulations (ie. certain days of the week, etc.). Passport America‘s claim as being the Original & World’s Largest 50% Discount Camping Club for over 1800 participating campgrounds and RV parks.
Our first two overnights using our Passport America paid for our entire yearly membership. However, buyer beware, there are limitations with Passport America. Participating campgrounds and RV parks typically don’t extend the club benefits during high-season, weekends or holidays. On the Passport America app and website, each participating campground or RV park will list usage criteria. Once you join, you can download our their free mobile app on all devices! The Passport America membership is currently $44 a year. And if you prefer, you can get multi-year discounts up to a lifetime discount.
GOOD SAM CLUB
This was another one of our first memberships however, we’ve let our Good Sam RV membership lapse as it really didn’t benefit us personally. Their discounts were no different than military discounts, so why pay for something we received anyway.
The only other reason we had the Good Sam discount was to receive discounts at Camping World but since we don’t shop there either, having the membership was just a waste of money. They also offer Roadside Assistance, Extended Service Plans, Insurance, Travel Assist as well as other programs.
But, just because it wasn’t a viable option for us, doesn’t mean it won’t be for you.
Lastly, and though this isn’t one of our top 5, we do belong to our RV manufacturer’s Heartland RV Owners Club which offers a wonderful community of Heartland RV Owners Only. The Club Leadership organizes rallies all over the country throughout the year. They also has an amazing resource of that valuable information through their online forum that presents opportunity to ask questions or help others with their Heartland brands.
So, those are only a handful of what’s out there. When you’re looking for RV memberships, just keep in mind what you’re wanting out of them. Are you looking for community? Are you looking to belong to an all-inclusive campground or RV park venue? Or are you looking for an RV membership that offers discounts and opportunities to save money? They all are out there. Just make certain you read the small print. Some have limitations.
Tips on making the most of RV club memberships:
1) Do your research – Not all RV club memberships are going to appeal to everyone or even you. Whether they are campground memberships or community based, just see if they meet your objectives and criteria. There’s no sense joining a campground or RV park based membership if you’re not interested in those types of venues. Personally, we’re not apt to join ‘lifetime’ memberships because club or membership rules and criteria can change and not meet our expectations later.
2) Buy only memberships that you really need – We’ve found that a lot of memberships replicate each other; especially those offering discounts. Find a few that are niched to your RV or camping style.
3) Don’t let your favorite RV club memberships lapse – We’ve had this happen to us twice. I thought I had them paid but oops! Now, all of our RV club memberships are in our automatic bill pay through our financial institution. Our mailing center will send our new membership cards to us when we reach a location where we can receive mail.
4) Cancel club memberships that no longer meet your needs – Did you trade your motorhome in for a truck camper? Or do you want to check out a different venue of campgrounds? Just cancel them or allow the membership to just expire so you don’t pay for something you just don’t need.
Other RV memberships that may be fitting to your RV lifestyle but not limited to:
- Full-Time Families
- Happy Camper Club
- Thousand Trails
- Encore RV Resorts
- Coast to Coast
- KOA – Kampgrounds of America
- RVing Women
- Loners on Wheels (for solo or singles)
- Wandering Individuals Network
- Rainbow RV Club (for gay/lesbians)
- Explorer RV Club (Canadians)
- State Park Membership
- Federal Park and Public Lands Pass