Jan 122009
 

There are several discount camping clubs available to RVers, including Passport America, Recreation USA, Happy Camper Club, Camp Club USA, and probably a couple of others that I have forgotten to mention. A discount camping club can save you a lot of money, if you use it, and if you understand how it operates.

 

All of these organizations operate basically the same way – participating campgrounds offer a discount, usually 50%, off their regular price. This discount is usually limited to a specific number of days, sometimes as little as one night, and other times as much as two weeks.

 

Most participating campgrounds have “blackout dates” when they do not honor the discount. These blackout dates are usually during their peak periods. Many RVers grumble about the blackout dates, but you have to look at this from a business standpoint on the part of the campground.

If I own a campground in Florida with 500 RV sites, during the spring and summer I may only have 100 of those sites rented. So I join one of the discount camping clubs and offer a 50% discount off my regular rate, and maybe I can fill another 50 sites. Half of something is better than all of nothing. But during the winter, when I have snowbirds lining up to fill my RV sites, why would I want to rent them for less? Thus the blackout dates. As long as RVers understand these restrictions and plan accordingly, they can still get a lot of value for the cost of their membership.

If I had to choose just one discount camping club, my vote would be for Passport America. It is the oldest and largest, with over 1,500 participating campgrounds from coast to coast. Most of the campgrounds are smaller mom and pop operations, and they are not always on the main highways, but that’s fine with us. We prefer two lane roads and small, friendly campgrounds. But if you only travel on the Interstate highways and like big campgrounds with lots of amenities, you will still find quite a few member campgrounds that will meet your needs.

 

Current Passport America dues for one year are $44, and some RV clubs offer further discounts on annual membership. We have used it for 10 years now and been very happy. We recently spent a week at Mission West Resort in Mission, Texas, a huge campground with plenty of amenities and planned activities. Their regular rate is $28 a night, but we paid $14/night under Passport America. That is a savings of $98, which pays for a couple of years of Passport America membership. It doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out that this is a heck of a bargain!

 

Thought For The Day – Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too dark to read.

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Nick Russell

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  3 Responses to “Discount Camping Clubs”

  1. I agree with you, PassPort is GREAT! I lucked out on this one, about 10 years ago I bought a Lifetime Membership for $299.00. First campground we went to that was listed in the P/A book wouldn’t give us the discount. They were pissed at P/A. I thought uh,oh, looks like I wasted $300.00. But it ended up being a real good deal.

    Now about 20 years ago, I did the same thing with Good Sam, bought a Lifetime Membership. What a JOKE………….Not worth a damn to us…..

    Take care

    Mike

  2. I have Passport America but so far have not been able to use it. Either there weren’t any PA campgrounds where I was going or the discount wasn’t available for the day I’d be there. So I’m dithering about whether to renew. Opinions are that it’s a good deal but I haven’t found it so yet. Maybe when I cross the country in April it will help me. We’ll see.

  3. We have PA and Camp Club USA. We use PA more and may drop the Camp Club this year. It just seems like where we go there are more PA parks. We also use the free campgrounds whenever possible.

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