When you jump into the full-time RV living life, it is worth considering getting campground memberships. Buying an RV and live in it full-time can be an affordable way to live. Sometimes when you are living on the road, you just go with the flow. A major problem with this is arriving at campgrounds after offices are closed.
Campground memberships are a great way to avoid this problem. RV memberships are a perfect way to save money living the RV life. It will easily be one of the things you don’t mind paying for each year.
Why Join an RV Campground Membership Club?
Campgrounds are getting more crowded as camping and RV living are increasing in popularity. RV camping fees can range anywhere from $25 to as much as $150 per night. Prices are only expected to increase, so this is going to add up. The increased travel demand from RVers has caused prices to increase. Campgrounds want to make money off of this demand.
Major hotel industries have even started RV park franchises as a way to cash in on this newfound lifestyle. Through reservation and management software, these companies can run RV parks. There are RV resorts like Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp popping up all across the country. And they are charging premium rates to stay.
This matters to you because larger companies are only interested in profit. This means higher prices for you as an RVer. As they drive their prices up, the RV campgrounds that were here first can also increase their prices.
The solution is joining an RV campground membership club. You can get lower prices at campgrounds, saving anywhere between 10 to 50 percent on fees. Some will even let you stay free in certain places. There are several benefits to buying an RV campground membership and several important things to consider.
What to Consider When Buying a Campground Membership?
Location: Directories for campgrounds are usually listed online. Check out where they are to see if they are near you or near places you want to visit. You want to make sure you do not end up spending more money on gas to get somewhere just to save on camping fees.
Rules and restrictions: All clubs have different usage rules. An example is that some allow a certain amount of weeks in the year or so many consecutive days before you have to leave the system. Rules will vary by season and according to other affiliations. There are also usually rules as to when discounts can be used. Make sure you ask questions so you fully understand all restrictions before you join.
Contract and fees: Contracts and fees vary by membership club. Some are for a year commitment while others are longer. Some have a one-time fee and others have payments each month. Make sure you understand all aspects of the contract including cancellations and fines. Make sure you are comfortable with all the terms before you agree.
The last thing to consider is if you really are going to use the membership. It can be easy to think free camping is a great deal, but if you do not use it, you have wasted money. The goal is to save money and you can only do this if you use the benefits. Decide how much you will be camping, and how long your trips are on average, and choose a membership that is best for that. The more you use a membership, the more it saves you. Be honest when it comes to how it will be used. If you camp often enough, a membership is a winning deal.
Different Memberships and Clubs for RVers
There are many RV campground memberships and clubs out there. A few of the top-rated ones are below to get you started. Make sure you do your research to find the one that will be a great deal for you.
Boondockers Welcome: This is a unique membership that connects RVers with hosts that offer a free place to park for boondockers. You get access to a long list of potential places to stay, all located on private land. You get a listing for locations along your route each time you head out. A secure messaging system lets you work out the details of your stay with the host.
Coast to Coast: To join, you have to be a member of an affiliated resort and this will be known as your “home resort”. You get discounted camping rates within the system as well as other benefits and savings throughout the year.
Passport America: This is a popular discount RV camping club. Members get 50% off camping fees at participating campgrounds. The fee you pay for this club pays for itself within the first two nights of camping.
Resort Parks International (RPI): This reciprocal camping membership has hundreds of campgrounds in the U.S. and Canada. A few are even in Mexico. Fees are generally $10 per night for members at qualifying places. You have to be an affiliate of an RPI resort to join this club.
Thousand Trails: This system includes 80 campgrounds. There are five zone passes, and you can buy one. This gives you access to campgrounds in that zone for one price. You receive discounts at Encore RV Resorts. There are different levels of membership here too, depending on how long you stay and your time out of the system.