How Can You Find the Best RV Clubs?
It might be tempting to join whichever RV club has the lowest membership fees, but you should also consider other factors.
Instead of looking for the cheapest RV clubs, you should be investigating which clubs will offer the most significant savings during your membership. Many RV clubs offer discounts between 10 percent and 50 percent on camping fees, so if you’re using your RV every weekend, you might save more money than you’re spending on membership.
Passport America leads the list in this category, offering 50 percent savings at many of its campgrounds across the country.
Thousand Trails also gets a mention here, because their (admittedly expensive) membership includes free stays at any of their luxury campgrounds!
Boondockers Welcome also offers free overnight stays by connecting you with other recreational vehicle owners who are willing to host you in their driveways. You can even get around the annual membership fees if you’re ready to host other RV campers in your driveway!
While saving money is obviously a great thing, make sure that these discounts apply to your traveling habits. Even if they boast that they offer discounts on thousands of campgrounds, it’s a good idea to check if these campgrounds are:
- Highly rated by other customers.
- Close to other tourist destinations that interest you.
The Good Sam Club boasts more than 2000 affiliated RV parks to take the prize in this benefit category! But both Passport America and Escapees also have extensive networks of partnered campsites, each with about 1600 locations to choose from.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has a wide selection of RV parks, but in addition to their full list, they also have the largest selection of 4-star and 5-star campsites. KOA has been in business the longest, giving them the most time to assemble the best list of quality camping locations.
Of course, you should also consider the less-monetary benefits of all of the RV clubs before making your choice. RV clubs can provide valuable advice, so you may want to choose the club with the largest community, or the oldest club with the most experienced members. Your savings won’t be much of a comfort if your club community doesn’t help you with your urgent issues.
Escapees stands out among all of the RV clubs on this list with a vibrant, helpful community. Their community activities, which include ongoing education opportunities as well as on-the-road job opportunities, are a benefit that really can’t be measured with a price tag.
Honorable mentions in this benefit category are Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts. While they don’t have such a passionate member community, these two clubs are designed for host-sharing and cost-free opportunities to connect with other RV owners.
Boondockers Welcome gives you RV parking for free in another camper’s driveway, or even host RV campers in your driveway. Harvest Hosts lets you camp in farms and vineyards to add a little agricultural tourism to your camping experience.
Reliability is also an important factor. The good RV clubs will offer towing services or even other on-site repair professionals. If your RV battery dies in the middle of your trip, or your hot water heater stops working, then you will appreciate the handyman that your RV club can send out to fix your problems.
The Good Sam Club also wins this category, offering several customizable plans for trip insurance that will fit your family’s travel needs and ensure a worry-free vacation.
Best Camping Experiences
Face it, unless you’re fully enjoying your camping experiences, you’re going to question the value of joining an RV club. With that in mind, it’s important to find a club that will show you a good time when you’re out with your RV.
Some clubs offer meet-ups and other ways to get to know similar RV campers like yourself. Other clubs try to make sure that every camping experience is a great one, providing top levels of comfort.
But a third way to make your camping unique and enjoyable is to complement your journey with an enjoyable agricultural tourism experience. Whether you’re a gourmet chef at home or a wine aficionado, you’ll return from every camping trip with Harvest Hosts with new and exciting memories.
Honorable mentions in this category are Escapees, with their calendar of community events, and Thousand Trails, with their luxury glamping campgrounds.
Taking a Look at the Best RV Membership Clubs
We checked out seven of the best RV clubs to join so that we could showcase them here for you. Read on to find out which RV camping club offers the best discounts and services so that you can choose the best membership for your lifestyle.
Membership with Passport America offers a stunning 50 percent off when visiting their associated campgrounds. And with more than 1600 campgrounds across the country on their list, you are pretty likely to find one near you or your vacation destination.
With a 50 percent discount, a Passport America membership pays for itself in no more than three to four nights. If you’re a regular RV camper, taking monthly or bi-weekly trips with your RV, your savings could be considerable. They also have a customer referral program for additional savings.
Passport America has a mobile app to help you book reservations and find your campsite without any hassle, even if arriving after hours.
Be wary; however: many of these RV parks have limitations on this discount. Some of them do not accept the discounted rate on holidays, and some don’t accept it even on weekends. The discount campground list is also full of some of the less-maintained and poorly-managed sites.
But since the Passport America website and campground list doesn’t allow customer reviews, it’s difficult to know whether other campers truly find this membership valuable.
- Low membership cost: $44 annual fee.
- Significant discounts: 50 percent.
- Extensive list of discount camping club partners: Over 1600 campgrounds.
- Discount not always applicable on weekends/holidays.
- No available member reviews for associate campgrounds.
Bottom-Line: If you are a high-frequency camper and looking for incredible savings during the off-season, Passport America provides the best savings in the industry.
Escapees RV Club
Escapees is a different kind of RV club. Rather than focusing on discounts and services, they have created a vibrant sense of community with scheduled meetings at various participating campgrounds. These meet-ups include many networking opportunities.
Some of the great community resources that Escapees offer include: ongoing education and training courses, a job-posting board for full-time RVers so that members can offer each other work while on the road, and even discounts on club memberships in other RV clubs!
As far as direct services go, Escapees might be somewhat limited. They do provide roadside assistance and discounts at many camping grounds, although their lists are not quite as extensive as other clubs’ associations. Their list, however, includes 18 five-star RV parks that membership will get you access to for less than $15 per night.
Younger members, and members who are still working full-time, might be initially disappointed with Escapees. This RV camping club tends to focus on retired members and members who go RV camping during the workweek. As such, it might be difficult for working members to get involved and stay involved with the community.
However, Escapees has recently started up a new subset of their club called Xscapers, which is targeted toward this younger and fully-employed demographic. Keep an eye on Xscapers to build a new community for those groups of people, featuring all of the same perks and benefits.
- Low membership cost: $39 annual fee.
- On-the-road job posting boards.
- Community activities calendar.
- Inconveniently-scheduled opportunities for members with full-time jobs.
- Not many youth-oriented services.
Bottom-Line: Escapees is your best choice if you are retired and ready to hit the road and meet many other like-minded RV travelers and friends.
Good Sam Club
Largest Campground Membership
The Good Sam RV Club is perhaps the most popular among the RV clubs in this list, with more than 2 million members enjoying benefits. They also have an affiliate campground list with more than 2000 participating campgrounds on it.
But this club is much more than a discount RV club. With membership, you get access to their trip-planning apps, which can help you calculate distances and driving times, fuel costs, and finding rest stops along the way.
Good Sam RV club offers various trip insurance plans to cover you and your family in case of unforeseen troubles. These insurance plans could be as simple as towing, and roadside assistance, or they can even help your family continue on their trip without you if your attention is required to fix up your RV.
The only problem with a club this size is that you will encounter a lot of disagreement among the members. This has led to unreliable ratings at many of their affiliate RV parks, with some locations getting swamped with bad ratings, and other sites receiving fake, flattering reviews.
- 2 million members.
- Trip planning tools and apps.
- Membership includes trip insurance options.
- 10% discount is less than other clubs offer.
- Unreliable campground ratings.
Bottom-Line: Good Sam is an excellent club for campers who already know their favorite campgrounds and want peace of mind from their club’s excellent insurance and emergency services.
Best Dry Camping Experience
Boondockers Welcome is a unique kind of club. Unlike other RV clubs, they are an RV parking network. You might think of them as an AirBNB service, where members offer to host one another.
As far as service goes, you’ll be dealing with other RV club members rather than hospitality professionals. Of course, sometimes, your experience will be great, sometimes less than you hoped for, but in general, you can count on other RV owners to treat you right.
Since you’re staying with other RV owners who live locally in your vacation destination, you can be sure to get the best local tourism advice, including restaurants and sight-seeing. Your hosts might even be able to help you with maintenance or troubleshooting if you have any problems with your RV, especially for easy-to-solve problems like jumpstarting your battery.
If you offer to host other RV travelers on your home property, you can sometimes take advantage of the Boondockers Welcome network without paying the annual membership fees.
Now, because you are dry camping (or boondocking), you may have to sacrifice some of the amenities that you’re accustomed to enjoying in your RV. Your hosts may not provide electrical or water hook-ups. However, you’re getting to stay overnight for free in exciting new locations!
- Super economical: $30 per year.
- Local advice and expertise.
- Opportunities to host and meet other club campers.
- No guaranteed hook-ups at camping sites.
- Not a discount membership RV club.
Bottom-Line: Boondockers Welcome is an exciting experience and a great (free!) way to enjoy the hospitality of other RV owners if you enjoy occasional dry camping.
Best for Specialized Locations
Harvest Hosts is also a private property hosting network, but for very specialized locations. Unlike Boondockers Welcome, who will park you in the driveway at their homes, Harvest Hosts will park you in their farms, vineyards, or open land.
If you love agricultural tourism, this is the club for you. Harvest Hosts has exciting and unique locations around the country where you can explore and investigate the local produce industries and see what farmers and vintners like to grow in other parts of America.
This club is also specifically appealing to wine tasters and connoisseurs. If RV camping and wine discovery are your two greatest hobbies, then you will certainly want a membership with Harvest Hosts so that you can combine your favorite pastimes. Best of all: camping at these locations is free.
Because of the limited number of farmers and vintners who also love to host RV campers, this club’s affiliate list is much smaller than the other clubs can boast. Moreover, these camping locations are only for boondocking and rarely offer electrical or water hookups.
This club is also not a service or discount club, so they don’t offer much in the way of roadside assistance or other discounts.
- Low membership cost: $40 per year.
- Free camping.
- Exciting locations include farms and vineyards.
- Limited list of 470 locations.
- No other services or discounts offered.
Bottom-Line: This is the top club of choice for any camper who wants to take an RV and visit some of the hospitable farmers and vintners of America.
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) Value Kard Rewards
Largest Network of Top Quality Sites
Kampgrounds of America (KOA) has the largest and oldest network of campground sites in the United States. With this kind of history and popularity, you know that you’re connected to quality service and top-rated locations.
The KOA Value Kard isn’t as much like an RV club, but more like a discount membership to a nationwide chain. Since KOA manages so many of the most popular campgrounds around the country, their Value Kard is probably going to give you the best discounts at the best locations.
Some people choose to avoid KOA participating campgrounds because of the prices they charge, but those prices indicate quality service and well-maintained grounds. You are almost sure to find the electrical and water hookups you need, as well as camping alongside other seasoned RV veterans and experts.
The annual cost of membership is pretty reasonable, also. If you are a regular camper or even use your RV for about four weekends each year, you’re sure to make up the cost of membership in your savings.
- Great value: $30 per year.
- KOA campgrounds are consistently rated the best.
- Discounts apply at the most reserved spots and times of year.
- 10% discount is not as valuable as many other clubs offer.
- Discounts only at KOA campgrounds.
Bottom-Line: If you only camp at 4- or 5-star campgrounds with full service and hookups, then you’ll genuinely enjoy the savings that come with a KOA Value Kard.
Free Camping All Year
This club might be the most expensive one on the list, but it’s also the only RV club on this list that offers free camping without restrictions at all of their branded luxury campgrounds.
If you are looking for the best, most relaxing experience in your RV, then look no further than one of the Thousand Trails campsites. They helped define the term “glamping,” or glamour camping. You will find well-kept grounds at every site, as well as all of the electrical and water hookups you need. You might even find other on-site recreational activities and utilities at many campsites.
It’s a particular comfort to know that you won’t pay any hidden reservation fees, connection fees, or have to worry about any other lodging budgeting when you have a membership with Thousand Trails. Even if you go camping during peak season or holidays, your stay with them will be covered by your annual membership fees.
Because their campgrounds are so spacious and luxurious, it’s understandable that their selection is limited. They maintain the highest standards at their sites, and that means less choice. Make sure you find a campground that suits your needs at your destination and make a reservation before hitting the road.
- Membership offers free year-round camping.
- Campgrounds are luxury-level experiences.
- Expensive annual membership: $575.
- Limited selection of campgrounds.
Bottom-Line: If you are a “glamper” and regularly stay at the most comfortable luxury campsites, then a membership with Thousand Trails will be worth the extreme price for annual fees.
We hope you benefitted from our carefully-reviewed comparisons in this article. We’re sure that you will enjoy membership with any of the RV clubs in this list, especially with Escapees or their up-and-coming Xscapers community.
As always, feel free to add comments or questions below and share your RV club experiences with other readers on our website. If you have friends and family in the RV community, please forward and share this article with them, and happy discount camping!