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The Don’ts of RV Membership Clubs

The Don’ts of RV Membership Clubs

The Don’ts of RV Membership Clubs

RV membership clubs enhance life on the road. Whether you use your RV for vacations, seasonal trips, or full-time living, RV memberships provide great value.

However, we think you should give these “don’ts” proper consideration before joining one or all of them.

The annual membership expenses can add up quickly.

Let’s dive in!

Popular RV Membership Clubs

We’ll start by introducing the most popular RV membership clubs. You’ve probably heard of some of these; others may be new to you.

  • Escapees/Xscapers (RV advocacy, mail service, etc.)
  • Family Motor Coach Association (RV advocacy, travel discounts)
  • Boondockers Welcome (nationwide driveway surfing)
  • Harvest Hosts (unique overnight camping locations)
  • Good Sam (RV park & Camping World discounts)
  • Passport America (50% off RV parks with restrictions)
  • Thousand Trails (RV park discount)
  • RV Trip Wizard (trip planning tool)
  • National Park Pass

Throughout our five years of RV travel, these RV membership programs have proven to be the most popular. That doesn’t mean they’re all great.

Let’s get into the “don’ts.”

PRO TIP: Subscribe to the Drivin’ & Vibin’ YouTube channel for hundreds of informative RV ‘how-to’ videos.

Don’t Expect To Use Harvest Hosts & Boondockers Welcome Often.

These two RV memberships (Harvest Hosts & Boondockers Welcome) are great. They provide unique experiences in urban and rural parts of the USA.

However, you can’t rely on these memberships for consistent camping.

Harvest Host locations typically allow one night of camping only. Boondockers Welcome sites usually don’t exceed four nights in one spot.

Use these RV memberships for the ‘in-between’ campsites, not for your longer-term stays.

Don’t Confuse Escapees & Xscapers

Escapees and Xscapers are the same RV club. Super confusing, right?

Here’s how we see it. Five years ago, Escapees had a branding problem. The average age of a member was probably 70 years old, and they weren’t able to sign up younger RVers very quickly.

Therefore, Xscapers was born (seemingly created with gen-Xers in mind). 

When you join one club, you join the other as well.

The groups co-exist with loose definitions of what each is. But at the end of the day, no matter which way you enter, they provide the best mail service for full-time RVers.

Don’t Use Passport America, Unless You’re Flexible

50% off RV parks is a great deal. We’ve saved hundreds of dollars with Passport America.

However, the membership might leave you frustrated if you don’t read the fine print.

The 50% off discount applies to each member RV park differently. Some parks only offer it during the offseason. Some RV parks only offer it Monday through Wednesday.

Others may only let you get 50% off for one night.

This RV membership, like Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Host, is excellent for filling in the gaps. Not for creating your entire travel itinerary.

Don’t Leave Home Without It 

Of all the RV memberships we discuss today, RV Trip Wizard is the only one that will proactively help you on travel day.

RV Trip Wizard is a trip planning tool that creates a route with your specific RV dimensions and travel preferences. You enter your RV length, height, gas mileage, and travel style into its tool, and it’ll route you on an ‘RV safe’ path.

Then you can take that RV Trip Wizard route and use it’s sister app, RV LIFE, to actively route you on travel day with its GPS mapping tool.

Don’t Forget The Most Important RV Membership

If you’re taking an RV vacation, we’re assuming you’ll visit a national park or two.

Invest in a National Park pass! For USA citizens under 62, the pass will set you back $80. That may sound pricey, but national park admission is pricey in general. Visit three national parks, and you’ll be saving money.

It’ll also encourage you you visit more national parks – which is a huge plus!

If you’re 62 or over, an annual pass is $20, and a lifetime pass is $80. This is a must-buy membership!

Sign Up for The Getaway Couple’s Free RV Membership Course

Jason & Rae of the Getaway Couple have just released a free course that dives deep into all the RV membership clubs.

They’ve been full-time RVing for years and have first-hand experience with Thousand Trails membership.

Sign up for their free course here!

If You’re Looking For an Affordable RV Trip, These FREE Campsites Will Make You (and Your Wallet) Happy

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy). You should give it a try!

Here’s our list of the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! Simply enter your email below.

M Bruce Parker

Saturday 19th of March 2022

I reflexly laughed out loud at the discussion of whether there were hookups available at "Gentleman's Clubs" associated with overnight parking. ProbablyProbably n

Ron H

Friday 23rd of October 2020

It is unfortunate that you failed to mention that most of the "clubs" mentioned are revenue generating businesses. Their revenue is generated by influencing your spending despite describing themselves as a member controlled club.

Roxanne Lai Morrill

Tuesday 1st of September 2020

omg - LOVE LOVE LOVE your list of 2020 Nat'l park - thinking we have visited at least 1/2 for that list - though not all with our RV - now we just have to go back again! and we have the National park SENIOR PASS now.

agree- Zion was #1 but almost Yosemite at # 4 could be our #1 too since we live in CA. I highly agree about your comments of each park, as we have been to ; . Zion - loved Angel Landing, unfortunely hubby had to wrong pair of shoes, loose sandals , he felt unsafe to hike the 'chain portion' , but I went by myself and made acquaintances along the rest - hiked among the Narrows too!

. Arches - yes driving thru and hiking to some gorgeous arches - 3 days wasn't enough

. Glacier - we've been there several years years ago abut miss out this past summer 2020 d/t Covid cancel our east Glacier reservations :( but definitely need to go again

. Yellowstone - unfortunately , only drove into the park 2 days out of 5 , this summer , and that was hiking at 6 am to bet the crowds without mask on- Old Faithful and Grand Prismatic overlook and trail and our fav- lil Firehole road!

. Joshua tree - past October - never go in the summer time! [ even found a great boondock area literally almost across the road into the park by Jumbo Rock campground! & for $5.00 there's a dump station down the road!

. Grand Canyon - need to RV this time... . Sequoia - " . Redwoods - " .Grand Teton - " . Everglades - " . Olympics - " . Rocky Mountain " --- way back about 20+ years ago, when we hiked with 2 toddlers on our backs to highest summit- YES , cold, windy and slightly out of breath.

and ALL the rest will be on our GO_TO_LIST - thinking not bad for 12:20 parks visited/seen/hiked , more reason to see the rest of the states and - there's plenty of others not mention, that was moving to see for historical reasons. like - Mt Rushmore, Little Bighorn battlefield , Badlands , and Dinosaur - all of these we visited and RV this past summer.

love that - you will bring Nora to Zion sometime this 2020 season. stay Covid safe and keep vibin!

Roxie Morrill @roxiehb { Instagram }

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