What exactly are RV clubs and are they worth it? Sure, they have their perks, but do the perks outweigh the costs? Here’s a quick guide to RV clubs…
Should you join an RV club or not? That is a question that many avid and new RVers ask themselves.
Joining an RV club can be great. Many people have met other like-minded travelers that way and love the perks of membership.
But, others do not use their membership and find that it is money wasted.
Before you jump into an RV club, read through my guidelines. I explain what an RV club is, the benefits and things to consider before joining, and my top 3 RV club picks!
What is an RV Club Membership?
An RV club is a membership you can join that gives you exclusive access to specific campgrounds and other amenities. Many RV clubs attract like-minded people that can provide networking opportunities as you hit the road in your RV.
Many people have met in their RV club campground and kept in touch, creating longtime friendships.
There are tiers in the RV clubs themselves and memberships within each club when it comes to RV memberships.
You can join clubs that are more expensive but offer guests resort-style amenities. Or less costly clubs, offering basic amenities at a discounted rate.
In addition, many clubs offer membership at different levels. If you pay more to join, you will receive more benefits. Some also offer lifetime memberships, while others have fees to pay annually or several years.
Benefits of Joining RV Clubs
There can be many benefits of purchasing RV campground memberships.
One benefit is staying at exclusive locations that other people don’t get access to. These are “member-only” campgrounds, which does help with finding availability.
As we’re all aware, getting a campground reservation is really difficult lately.
So, having a membership to campgrounds that aren’t open to the public gives you more options.
Stay for Cheap
You can also usually stay for free or for a nominal fee. Many clubs allow you to book guests as well. They can bring their open trailer or rent one from the club.
In addition, many clubs have cabins that you can rent for a change of pace.
Less Worry About Finding a Site
Since the inception of Covid-19, there has been an influx of campers. Many campgrounds have been booked solid, and it can be challenging to get a reservation.
A camping membership may mean that you can score a spot in a cool area when other people cannot. Of course, very popular campgrounds may fill up, so you will want to check ahead of time.
But it can feel good to know that you will be able to find space for last-minute reservations.
You can check out our podcast, too, for Camping Reservation Tips.
Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Club Pass
While camping clubs have great benefits, they are not for everyone. You will want to make a few considerations before buying into the membership to ensure that it truly fits your RV lifestyle.
Usage Rules and Restrictions
How long do you like to camp for? How many people can you bring with you?
Ask these questions and more to ensure that the membership is a good fit for you.
Contract and Fees
Each camp club has different rules and fees. Be sure to read the fine print before signing any contract. The last thing you want to do is sign up for something to find out later that it is not all it's cracked up to be.
Be sure to ask about membership dues, guest allowances, and pet allowances.
Location, Location, Location
Just like in real estate, campground locations matter. You know your camping style and the areas that you want to visit.
Before signing up for a membership, make sure that the locations fit the places that you like to see.
Otherwise, it will be money wasted.
Will You Truly Use It?
The more you use your membership, the better value it is to you. If you do not use it, it might be thousands of wasted dollars.
So, really take the time to consider whether you will use it or not.
Calculate how many times you need to use it to break even and see if that’s an easy number for you to reach.
Top 3 Clubs to Join
Sometimes the best way to determine if an RV club is right for you is to look directly at the RV clubs. The following are the top three camping clubs that Jennifer and I recommend.
Jennifer and I love Escapees RV Club. It works for every type of RVer.
Whether you are a single RVer or a full-time RVing couple, there is something for you.
When you join Escapees RV Club, you gain membership to two clubs: Escapees and XCapers RV Clubs.
This club has been around for 40 years, but Xcapers is younger. It is a subgroup that draws many people that work from the road or have their families traveling with them.
The club offers 18 different campgrounds around the United States. They have also partnered with 1,000 other commercial parks to provide camping discounts for members.
It also offers roadside assistance for a broken-down RV, can help you with mail service, and provide RV service discounts for members.
In addition, the club helps you find different ways to supplement your income while on the road.
The thing I love most about Escapees is the sense of community that they have developed. They help fellow RVers connect and build lifelong friendships.
Read more about Escapees:
- RV Podcast #285: Best Practices for Boondocking – where the interview is with Kerensa Durr and Brandon Hatcher. The Escapees, and its Xcapers subgroup of RVers who work from the road, have recently put out a list of suggested best practices for RVers who like to boondock.
- Are RV Campground Memberships and Clubs Worth It?
This RV club is for those folks looking for something a little different and unique.
Harvest Hosts includes access to 3227+ wineries, breweries, farms, and museums! The businesses are exciting places, incredible locations (including 412+ golf courses) across North America. In return for the overnight stay, all they ask is to purchase something from the host.
I love this option because I would most likely purchase a bottle of wine or something from the gift shop anyway. But by camping overnight for free, I save money!
It is an excellent choice for those that also enjoy supporting small, local businesses.
You can use this link and the discount code: HHFRIENDS15 to get 15% off Harvest Hosts annual membership.
A third membership to look into is Passport America. They have over 1,800 participating campgrounds that offer half-off camping fees!
If you plan to camp a lot this season, it is worth looking into since that can save you a lot of money in the long run.
The great thing is that you can check out their participating campgrounds before making sure that it fits your style.
An Alternative to Paid Campgrounds: Boondocking
Want to learn how to boondock?
We created a PRINT version of our most popular guide to help you with the most common boondocking problems. We get a ton of questions from our subscribers about how to get started boondocking that range from where to go and wild animals to water conservation to what equipment to use and more.
Throw off the shackles of traditional RV Parks and campgrounds, stop paying high fees every night that you spend in your RV, and experience the boundless amounts of nature while boondocking!
You’re done with the noisy RV parks, the 3.5 feet of room you have squished in between two other RVs, and other people’s kids running through your campsite?
You’ve ditched the hookups, the concrete blocks and have replaced them with self-leveling and Navy showers?
And this is the article to read – The Ultimate Guide to Cheap or FREE RV Camping Sites