If you’ve been researching RV living for very long, you have probably heard of campground memberships. These memberships are designed to give you a place to park your RV at a low cost for a limited amount of time. There are two main types of campground memberships:
Membership RV Companies
This type of membership offers an RVer the ability to stay for $3 to $10 a night. Members can choose from a network of parks around the U.S. and sometimes Canada. These types of programs have a variety of rules and it is important to read the fine print on the documents. Most parks put limits on your stay. For instance, you may be able to stay as much as two weeks in a row, but you would then need to be outside the park’s system for 30 days before you could return. Here are a few of these companies:
Thousand Trails - Includes Thousand Trails and Encore Resorts
Resort Parks International - Associated with Encore Resorts- space and condo discounts
Please note: These camping memberships do not come cheap. Most memberships cost hundreds to multiple thousands of dollars upfront. They may also be considered lifetime memberships and include additional annual maintenance fees.
Personal caveat: Big rigs are rarely supported within the camping membership systems. Spaces can be very tight with hanging branches and narrow roads. If you own a rig over 38 feet and you plan to tow, I would look elsewhere.
Discount Camping Clubs
These clubs are available for $25 to $100 per year. It’s a low investment and these memberships are often helpful to the new RVer. Most parks have limitations such as black out dates for weekends or holidays. As a member, you can expect to pay up to half off the nightly charge. Here is a list of a few of these clubs:
Passport America - offers 50% off stays at a variety of parks around the US, Mexico and Canada. Membership is under $50
Escapees RV Club - offers a magazine, mailing service and cheap stays at one of their 19 personal membership parks around the U.S. They also offer a discount of 15-50% at 1,000 parks around the country. Their Rainbow Parks also offer deeded and leased lots along with a 5 year lease system.
Adventure Outdoor Resorts - A $25 annual membership which gives you camping discounts at a variety of AOR affiliated parks.
Happy Camper Club - 1200 campgrounds up to 50% off. Long term discounts at some participating parks plus a collection of free ebooks with your membership.
Again, the rules will vary so read the fine print. Finally, there are a few low cost clubs that give you free overnight stays such as the Harvest Host program. For more information on this concept check out www.HarvestHosts.com.