I have started to research the many RV clubs out there trying to figure out what might be the best for me. I’ve always had AAA for my cars, but I couldn’t find good information on their RV assistance. So, by default when I purchased the Gypsy, I went with Good Sam Plus. I get a discount on campgrounds with the Good Sam Membership, a number to call for technical assistance (which for the first year might prove to be invaluable, or a complete waste depending on who is on the other end of the line), and most importantly, tow coverage for the RV & my cars. I will evaluate how useful this club is over the next year.
There are many other clubs out there so I decided to jot down my thoughts about them now and see if anyone has any input on what else is beneficial to join.
Escapees – this is a popular club, with lots of supporters. They seem to focus on full-timers, which is great, but I also get the feeling they are more for retirees (which makes sense). They have special parks for their members, lots of niche groups, and seminars. Since I am not retired, I don’t see me being able to take advantage of a lot of what they offer, unless I decide to domicile in Texas (which currently I am leaning away from, even though Texas was going to be my next relo spot before this RV craziness entered the picture). While I want to check out a rally eventually, I am not sure it’s on my top must-do list for the first year. I am leaning towards waiting on this club and maybe talking to a few people that are involved to see if there is something I am missing that I could use.
Passport America – This club bills itself as the original 50% discount camping club. I am all about a deal, so 50% off sounds wonderful. However, while there is a lot of campgrounds listed, I looked at the route I plan on taking in December and didn’t find any that would work. It’s $44 to get a membership, and while I can see that being recouped quickly depending on where you are traveling, part of me also doesn’t want to be limited to certain parks or areas just for the ‘deal’. It also seems like many campgrounds have restrictions that the discount is only good for one night, or not on the weekends. That makes sense from a business perspective, but from a consumer perspective, it is even more limiting.
Happy Camper Club – Another 50% off the club, it requires no contracts, no home park, and no point systems. Excellent. Yet, I still found a limited number of parks that I would take advantage of, along with restrictions at many of them. The biggest detractor for me was the site navigation. Lists of campgrounds do not help me – I would much rather see on a map where they are versus searching through a scrolling list and hunting & pecking to see if they come close to my route. Another club that might be great for those set to wander, but I am not sure it is for me, especially at $39.99 a year.
FMCA – The Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) has a range of benefits, from emergency road service to a mail forwarding service. It’s a professional-looking site complete with relatively active forums. The focus does seem to be social and indicates the greatest member benefit is the fun & camaraderie of other RVers. However, I am still not sold for $85 a year, as many of the benefits overlap what I already purchased with Good Sam. Perhaps this is a superior service, or maybe just alternate others have chosen. This is another club that I look forward to chatting with people about to see if the benefits are worth it.
Overall, I am not sold on joining clubs – I am not sure it fits into our travel plans & needs. Has anyone joined these clubs? I would love to hear feedback. Have I missed a great club that is out there? Let me know!