There is no doubt that many popular RV Travel Clubs have known downsides to them. Current members share their experiences with hidden fees from the most popular clubs to even get access to the best benefits and perks that often don’t show up until after you’ve committed to a year. Benefits that you’ll find yourself not even using. And benefits you could easily find from other clubs.
Consider: RV Travel Clubs: Are They Worth It?
One of the biggest named downsides is hidden limitations on how and when you can use perks. Now that the downsides are out in the open, let’s look a bit more in-depth at what you might find hiding.
What RV Club Perks Are Not Useful
Plain and simple, there are many “perks” from RV clubs that travelers simply find themselves not using. From discounts, you’ll never use, to resorts you’ll never stay at. A lot of the useless perks repeat themselves from person to person, so it’s safe to say a lot of these are perks you won’t use either.
Good Sam Club:
When asked about what benefits, many members said that the discounts on campgrounds were the least used ‘perk’ for them with Good Sam Club. The discount is 10% and many RVers say they can do some online digging to find RV park rates that are even cheaper without the discount offered. As well as this, many members say their mail service isn’t worth the $9 cost, as the amount of mail that they receive from Good Sam Club itself makes the cost of postage going up.
Escapees RV Club:
Escapees travel club has its own exclusive RV resorts, but there are only eight across the U.S., located mainly in the southern states, ranging from Arizona to Florida. With as few as there are, many members find themselves not going to these resorts unless they happen to be driving through the area. As well as this, finding and reserving spots at these parks has been proven to be difficult, even when using their Escapees Maps service.
RV Club Hidden Limitations
Another big downside that has been talked about extensively amongst members is the limitations to how and when the perks can be used. Limits to how you can use your discounts, how long you’re allowed to stay at a resort, what time of year you can stay, and how many times you can stay at a property over a year were just a few of the issues given.
Passport America is one of the biggest culprits on limitations to your membership. While you can get large discounts on campsites, the discounts run at a nightly rate. So, if you’re planning to stay long-term at any given park, you will still have to pay the regular nightly rate.
Along with this, Passport America doesn’t allow you to combine discounts. So, if you’re a member of the military or a senior, you cannot use that in addition to Passport America. In addition, many RV parks have limits to what time of year you can stay with Passport America, how long you can stay at the park, and how many times you can stay at their property annually.
This limitation is from an individual campground and is not directly from Passport America so there could be lots of inquiries to find out if you need to alter your travel plans.
The Thousand Trails is an RV club based primarily on access to their campgrounds across the US and select places in Canada. This RV club is another big culprit of restrictions. From regulation on the appearance of your RV to what types of pets you’re allowed to have. But one of the biggest limitations is how long you’re allowed to stay at their parks.
At any given time, you’re only allowed 14 nights at the campground before you’re expected to pack up and move on. This limitation affects many full-time RVers who spend long stretches of time at resorts.
RV Club Hidden Fees
While fees are an expected part of joining any memberships, RV club or not. There are some fees that don’t pop up until after you’ve committed to a full year. Fees can change on where you live, where you stay, and what benefits you want to access. Here are some of the most common fees members have encountered and you’re likely to encounter as well.
Good Sam Club:
For Good Sam Club, one of their biggest draws to the membership is the ability to access roadside assistance in an emergency. But what isn’t mentioned is that the club and roadside assistance are separate fees, while Good Sam club members get priority on service, you still have to pay to access the roadside assistance beyond your membership.
While there are many benefits associated with the club, Escapees has many hidden fees that nail you in a lot of places. While their mail service is one of the most beloved parks, it is an additional fee to set it up. Along with that, you’ll incur an extra $15 a year fee if you want access to boondocking locations, and another additional $10 if you live in Canada or Mexico.
Why Joining An RV Club Is Not Worth It For You?
Now that we’ve gone through many of the hidden and not discussed downsides to RV clubs, from the fees, useless perks, and limitations, you may find yourself doubting if joining an RV club is even a good idea. Here are some situations you may find yourself in where it’s a better idea all around to forgo joining an RV club.
You’re A Casual RVer
If you find yourself in a more “traditional” type of life, only taking RV trips during your vacation days and holidays, you may find that the cons outweigh the benefits of any RV club and you’re paying for more than what you’ll likely get out of the club. If you’re searching for a community of like-minded people to travel with, a Facebook group would likely bring more value to you.
You Live Or Travel Outside The USA
With a lot of limitations of campgrounds that popular RV clubs have available outside of the US, along with extra fees for not being a resident, it may be a good decision to forgo joining a club. The same goes if your intent is to travel within Canada or Mexico. If you still want the benefits of an RV club, you might want to look into RV clubs based out of your home country.
You Stay At Campgrounds For Longer Stretches Of Time
There are many RVers who use campgrounds as “home base” and will stay for months at a time, snowbirds being a great example as they stay in one location during winter. Given the limitations that many discount clubs have, RVers that plan to stay at a campground long might investigate negotiating with the campgrounds themselves on discounted rates for longer stays.
You’re A Boondocker
This is one of the biggest cases in which you should not join a traditional RV club. As many clubs rely on RV parks being their biggest draws, you may not find yourself using most of the perks, even if other RVers find those perks to be the most valuable.
The one exception here is Boondockers Welcome, at the cost of $50 a year (the rough cost of a single night’s stay at a traditional RV park) you can stay on a host’s property and make connections you otherwise wouldn’t have.