5 Reasons We Avoid Passport America RV Membership

By Kyle & Olivia Brady | Founders of Drivin' & Vibin' | We use affiliate links and may receive a small commission on purchases.

5 Reasons We Avoid Passport America RV Membership

We love RVing for so many reasons. Traveling the country, seeing amazing sights, and doing it all on our own unique budget. 

One of the great things about the RV lifestyle is that it can cost as much or as little as you want it to. And there are many discount clubs and memberships to help you with that! 

One discount RVing membership that we personally tend to avoid is Passport America. So what exactly is it and why do we avoid it?

Let’s dive in.

What is Passport America and How Does It Work? 

Passport America is known as ‘the original 50% off discount camping club’. This discount camping club offers 50% off of camping fees at over 1000 campgrounds around the US. 

This company is a network of participating campgrounds that offer discounts to encourage getting customers. All campgrounds are independently owned, run, and managed. 

This sounds great, right?! It definitely can be if it fits your style of RVing. 

But Passport America isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and there are many caveats. Here are 5 reasons we avoid the Passport America RV club. 

It Can Be Hard To Find Participating Campgrounds In Many Areas

Passport America has over 1400 participating campgrounds in the United States. The campgrounds are scattered all over the place, but they’re not everywhere. 

It can be hard to find participating campgrounds in many locations.

It’s especially difficult to find them in certain tourist hot spots or super remote destinations.

Keep in mind: Even if you’re a Passport America member, you may be denied at certain RV parks if your RV is 10 years old or older.

Many Campgrounds Have Several Blackout Dates

Most participating campgrounds have blackout dates. Blackout dates are dates when the discount is not honored… And it’s not always practical or cost effective. 

Many times, blackout dates are on weekends and holidays. Sometimes they last an entire season. Or, if the park is in an area that has a popular seasonal attraction, the blackout dates will be for the duration of the event. 

Blackout dates aren’t consistent from park to park, because each park is independently managed. This can make it difficult to plan and difficult to find a discount campground for the dates that you need it. 

We Prefer Free Camping

Perhaps one of the biggest reasons we avoid Passport America is because we don’t need it. Who needs 50% off campgrounds when you can just camp for free? 

We prefer free camping and like to stick to areas where we know we can find an abundance of it. 

Passport America can be useful after free camping for several weeks to take care of things like holding tanks and laundry. But for us, we just don’t use it. 

Pro Tip: Here are the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.

Some Passport America Parks Are Scary

Since all the parks are independently owned and managed, there is no standard for cleanliness, amenities, or anything like that. 

Some the participating parks are just ike RV parking lots. Others can be downright scary! They may be in bad neighborhoods, mismanaged, or full of sketchy characters.

Reading park reviews is essential if you decide to use Passport America. 

It Just Doesn’t Fit Our RVing Lifestyle or Preferences

We like free camping. We also like to RV in areas where there is free camping available.

Also, we travel in places where there aren’t an abundance of participating campgrounds So, because of these reasons, Passport America just doesn’t really fit into our lifestyle. 

Is Passport America Right for You?

Passport America is a great discount camping resource. If it fits your RVing style, by all means, go for it! 

A membership can pay for itself within 1-3 uses, depending on the cost of the campground.
This discount membership is well loved and well used by RVers all over the country. But, if you’re like us, free camping is more your thing and it doesn’t really fit. 

If you want to learn more about Passport America and participating campgrounds, check out their website here. 

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

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!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers that love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

8 comments

  1. We have never been able to use our Passport America membership. Not only because of blackout dates. The last place we tried to stay told us that PPA members couldn’t make a reservation, we had to just take a chance that something would be available when we got there.

  2. We need to have electric camp sites and are willing to pay up to $25 for the service. We are older and have problems using computers effectively. Do you have any books that handle these needs?
    Beef

  3. I’ve had mixed results with Passport America. I haven’t stayed in a bad place, but as you highlight, most of the time when we travel almost all of the Passport America spots are blacked out.

  4. I find Passport America a good “lifetime membership” investment. Yes, there are blackout dates, limited stays, and silly rules like take your chance and we only take cash. But come on folks, this these issues are present anywhere. Blackout dates – a LOT of RV parks will have no reservations for you during large, local events. Some RV parks have designated spots as nightly (with limited stays), weekly and long term. While there is comfort in knowing where you are going to stay ahead, but I have to bet many of us have made last-minute reservations, stops, or calls in hopes of getting a site. So the issues, including “shady” parks, exist everywhere, regardless if they are PA parks or not. I treat my PA membership as a tool in my quiver of memberships, free site resources and favorite places to stay. I just make my travel plans to fit what’s available. Not for everyone, but works for me. Happy Camping!

  5. I agree with everything jalapenokid56 posted. I would also like to add, that some of our favorite campgrounds now, we found because we used them as Passport America campground for an over night stop.

  6. Generally we have had good luck with PA but lately we are finding the parks have closed or no longer accept PA even though they are on the list. And the last lace we reserved was soooooo scary we felt safer in in a parking lot.

  7. We have always kept our PA membership. I figure for the cost of it it pays for itself in a couple of stays. I admit I don’t purposely try and stay at their campgrounds but always enjoy the surprise discount when we do.

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