RVing and traveling outdoors in your RV sure is one good way of maintaining a passion, hobby, or an interest, but it would be much better if you have people around you who share the same energy in these kinds of things. They would know your struggles and they can also help you out by giving suggestions and recommendations to other people or services that can help you with your concerns. Hence, there are a lot of RV groups campers and RV owners can join and be affiliated with.
In this article, I will discuss the different social groups for RV campers and travelers that they can join. I will also tell you the different perks of joining each of these amazing social groups, including the fees you need to pay (if any), and the requirements of each social group. I will also discuss the pros of joining a social group in general. Lastly, I will be talking about the things one should consider in joining an RV social group.
The Different RV Social Groups In America
There are a lot of different RV social groups that cater to a lot of people, depending on their age group, likes, passions, economic background, and many other varieties. Here are some of the most popular and well-loved ones.
Boondockers Welcome connects RV owners with locals who have enough space for an RV on their property. Some hosts even provide extra amenities such as water, electricity, WiFi, a firepit, pull-through parking, and also a dump station.
They welcome all types of RV travelers, with the only rig requirement being that your RV be self-contained. That is, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation must all be done entirely inside your RV. A one-year subscription is only $50, and you can camp on the property of hundreds of hosts for free. If you also sign up to be a host, the cost is reduced to $25.
This is a good one since some of you might need an additional source of income so you can have people pay your vacant lot sitting empty beside your house for a fee. The more accommodating and efficient you are as a host, the more people will get to know you and that means you can earn a lot of money from this.
This one is definitely for you if your rig is self-contained, you enjoy meeting new people on the road, and you enjoy staying in interesting locations for free. Despite the fact that this membership is mostly for boondocking, the fact that hosts have additional services is a big plus.
Good Sam Club
It is one of the most popular RV social groups in America. As of now, they have more than two million current members, which is good for having a great sense of community among members.
For only $29 a year or go for two or three-year memberships for a discount on the fees ($50 for two years and $75 for three years), this is one of the main reasons why a lot of members are joining this group. Also, they are bound to get what they paid for after just a few uses of the membership.
All of Good Sam’s affiliate campgrounds and RV parks offer a ten percent discount. Good Sam has the largest network of any RV club, with over 2,400 qualifying properties across the country.
One of the reasons why Good Sam has achieved this status is because of their wide range of perks and benefits that only their members can enjoy to the fullest.
Some of these perks include Pilot Flying J locations providing discounts on gas and diesel, emergency towing and roadside assistance for all vehicles, up to 10% off at Camping World and Gander Outdoors retail stores, free shipping on online orders from these other two stores and Overton’s, 15% off propane, online trip planner, discounts on MotorHome or Trailer Life magazine subscriptions, and virtual mailbox services.
With these kinds of perks and privileges for members for a fraction of the cost (this only takes $0.08 a day), Good Sam has sealed its reputation as one of the best RV social groups ever in the country.
This membership is completely worthwhile, to be very honest. The low annual fee of $29, combined with the numerous discounts, allows you to easily save more than the membership annual fee each year. I consider the Good Sam membership to be an excellent complement to any of the other memberships available here.
Escapees And Xscapers RV Club
Escapees RV Club is open to all types of RVers. Some are part-timers, weekenders, and seasonal RVers, but most are full-time RVers.
Xscapers, on the other hand, is targeted towards more of the RVers who are also workers, such as office workers, professionals, blue collar and white collar employees, and so on.
Currently, the club has over 60,000 members, from all age ranges and backgrounds, so you are bound to find your people here one way or another.
Upon joining Escapees RV Club, this opens you to a large selection of discounts that you can access. Some of these include cover tires, pet insurance, Costco memberships, Fulltime Families memberships, and more. Escapees costs $39.95 per year. This entitles you to a 15-50 percent discount at over 800 RV parks, as well as 18 of their own “rainbow” and “SKP co-op” parks, as well as a few other discounts through partner companies.
If you become an Escapees member, you will also receive discounts and special offers from other popular RV clubs. So it is better if you join Escapees first, and then you will get some extra benefits when you join any of these other clubs: Boondockers Welcome, Harvest Hosts, or Passport America.
If you are looking for people who can be with you while you are traveling outdoors, this is the club for you. Coming from experience, The Escapees and Xscapers members are known to be some of the most welcoming people with tight bonds ever. You will surely feel a sense of family here.
If you are a millennial or a part of the younger generations, Xscapers in particular is perfect for you, since a lot of like-minded people are here with you. Pre-COVID, they used to host events and other gatherings all over the country, aimed at making the bonds tighter and closer. These gatherings are a signature activity for Escapees and they are well-known for these kinds of activities.
Also, by taking advantage of the discounts offered, you will be definitely getting what you have paid for, and so much more.
This club is giving Good Sam a run for their money, and with good reason, most definitely.
Both Good Sam and Passport America are known for being one of the best RV social clubs ever but what sets Passport America apart is that it is more focused on providing its members a great array of huge discounts at RV parks and campgrounds.
They give a whopping 50% off at nearly 1,800 of its affiliate campgrounds and RV parks all over the United States, which is such a great deal, if you ask me.
You might be wondering about the membership fee, so be prepared to get surprised. A year of membership with Passport America costs only $44. Definitely, this is a steal, given that Passport America offers a lot of discounts with wider coverage for a cost like this. It is very much likely that you will recoup your entire membership fee after only one or two visits.
Their user-friendly website and mobile app make it simple to see all of the participating campgrounds (including those in Canada and Mexico), as well as current pricing, the discount you will get, and a complete rundown of each property’s amenities and features.
Of course, each campground and RV park has its own set of rules, so double-check that your discount is valid before you go, particularly during peak season or during holidays.
Family Motor Coach Association RV Club (FMCA RV Club)
FMCA is headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and its governance is overseen by volunteers elected from within the organization. A group of 26 families founded the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) in 1963. Since then, FMCA has issued over 500,000 memberships and has grown to become the world’s largest non-profit RV organization.
This group is mostly made up of retired motorhome owners, but as of July 2017, they also accept towables (fifth wheels, travel trailers, and so on) and other types of self-contained RVs. FMCA, like Escapees, is very focused on its community. The FMCA has nearly 400 chapters in the United States and Canada. Some chapters are divided into regions, topics, or RV types.
When you join a chapter, you can meet other people who share your interests at chapter rallies, area rallies, and conventions. FMCA rallies, on the other hand, are open to all members and do not require chapter membership.
FMCA members have access to a large community as well as a plethora of discounts and benefits. A subscription to Family RVing Magazine, access to the FMCA Tire Program, Roadside Assistance Program, Internet and WiFi discounts through Sprint and Verizon, and other benefits are available.
If you are looking for a low-cost RV club, FMCA is the place to be. They have some of the best tire discounts in the RV industry. If you are looking for a community centered on your rig or lifestyle, this should be a consideration.
Just like Boondockers Welcome, this is another ingenious platform that provides free overnight stays to off-the-grid, no-hookups RVers.
Harvest Hosts’ name alludes to the types of properties available in their membership network: “917+ wineries, breweries, distilleries, farms,” and other “attractions.” It is very much safe to say that no other RV club provides their members with such a one-of-a-kind camping experience.
A Harvest Host membership, which costs at around $79 a year, entitles you to free lodging at 880+ unique wineries, breweries, museums, and golf courses throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico. You can quickly find a location that will allow you to park for free overnight using an online directory of hosts.
A Harvest Hosts membership, on the other hand, is more than just a directory; it also includes fellow members posting photos, videos, and comments from some of their more memorable adventures.
If you enjoy golf, Harvest Hosts offers a $20 upgrade that grants you access to an additional 300+ golf courses and country clubs with overnight stays. Keep in mind, however, that sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation should be done and handled completely inside your RV.
If you need a place to stay for one or two nights on the road and dislike Target or other types of parking lots, this is the place to stay. This one has tie-ins with golf courses and country clubs all over America so if you love RVing and golfing, well, this one is perfect for you.
You can take advantage of the benefits offered by KOA’s Value Kard for $33 per year.
This discount card saves you 10% off every stay at KOA campgrounds, and you can earn points to redeem for cash off future stays. Each 25,000 points earned equates to a $50 discount on your stay. During the KOA customer appreciation weekend, they even give you a free night.
KOA Campgrounds are widely available throughout the United States, particularly in popular cities and near tourist attractions (like National Parks, downtowns, and more). They are extremely family-friendly, with most parks offering activities tailored to children. However, due to the prime locations and activities available, we have found KOA parks to be on the more expensive side.
If you plan on spending more than $300 at a KOA campground in a year, you should get the card. I also recommend this RV membership if you are camping with children and want to keep them entertained.
The Happy Camper Club
This club operates on the same business model as Passport America, with paying members receiving 50% off at participating campgrounds. According to the Happy Camper, there are approximately 1,200 campgrounds to choose from.
In theory, this $39.99 per year club can provide significant value to its members. However, nothing they do in practice is modern, well-designed, or intuitive. If you are willing to navigate their painfully outdated website, this club might be worth your time.
Some might feel that I am being overly dramatic, but it is completely up to you if you want to subscribe as a member. We might have different experiences so what is good to me might not be good to you, and vice-versa. Be a member at your own risk of convenience.
Thousand Trails Membership
Thousand Trails is a campground collection owned by the same company, Equity Lifestyle Properties Inc. They also own a collection of RV parks under the Encore brand, which are more resort-style and have more amenities.
This is more of a campground membership than an RV club membership. If you are a full-time RVer, this membership club can save you more money than any other membership. This membership entitles you to use all Thousand Trails campgrounds for free on a nightly basis.
I totally recommend this if you are a full-time RV camper. I also strongly advise purchasing your membership used, as you can save thousands of dollars over purchasing a new one.
Overnight RV Parking Club
This one is a simple and clever source for finding free overnight parking lot “camping” locations around you. Overnight RV Parking Club provides their members with a real-time directory of over 13,000 parking lots nationwide that allow free overnight stays for just $24.95 per year.
They keep their directory (on their website and mobile app) up to date on a daily basis, and each listing has real user reviews. This is a fantastic resource for frugal RVers who don’t want to pay for a campground every night they’re on the road, while also avoiding expensive parking tickets.
Pros Of Joining An RV Social Group
Of course, you are not required to join an RV social group but joining one or two can give you a lot of benefits and advantages meant to make your RVing worthwhile and much more convenient.
A Ton Of Exclusive Perks And Benefits Waiting For You
If you are thinking about joining one of the many RV Clubs, you should know that they are not all the same, even though they will share many benefits and features. Some can be quite overwhelming in terms of what they have to offer. They may even provide far more than you require. Having a membership makes you feel like you are in on something that others have no access on.
Memberships come in handy, especially if you are having a hard time finding a suitable campground or RV park for you to stay, particularly during the peak seasons. Most campgrounds and RV parks might prioritize you for reservations because you are a member of the RV club they are affiliated with.
You might even have access to some of their amenities that are reserved for their VIP guests, just like how VIP lounges are only accessible to people who are cardholders of a certain bank.
Naturally, you’ll want to ensure that you get the benefits that are most closely aligned with your requirements. The list of possible benefits is extensive, and prices range from about $40 to $150 per year, with campground memberships costing several thousand dollars.
Some might offer discounts and privileges that are not available to others, while others might offer partnerships to other RV clubs for no additional cost.
While there is no point in paying for more than you require, you will be surprised at how much some RV clubs provide that you may not be aware of. If you are new to RVing, joining one of these clubs may put you on the fast track to a great RV trip while also assisting you in meeting your specific travel needs. Feel free to join some RV forums to ask questions and learn from other people’s experiences.
Do not join an RV club just because your friend is there because you have different needs and preferences from them. Make sure that your chosen RV club can accommodate your concerns, especially in emergency situations. It can be very hard and frustrating to contact your RV club and they cannot help you in the end.
Some RV clubs provide far more than you might expect. Others may force you to choose between two excellent sets of features and advantages. Take your time comparing not only the offerings but also the customer reviews.
Save A Lot Of Money On Discounts And Incentives
Most RV campers join social groups for the benefits, and when we say benefits, meaning we are referring to the wide list of discounts a member can avail when they join a specific RV social group.
Passport America and Good Sam are the best RV clubs in terms of these, since they offer a huge range of discounts, from 50% off on nightly fees down to discounts on tires, fuel, more discounts on campgrounds and RV parks, access to members-only privileges, RV supplies, and even accessories.
Some also offer reciprocal memberships to other clubs, such as Family Campers and RVers getting a reciprocal membership to Passport America. Joining an RV club can really help your budgeting and finances while living in an RV much easier.
Share Your Passion To The People With Same Interests
Again, just like what I mentioned at the beginning, RVing counts as a hobby similar to fishing, doing sports, or any other pastimes. Joining an RV club is important since you can find more people getting your wavelengths, not only in RVing but also on other things.
You can also bond with other people during your trip, which can get you by in case you miss socializing with people back home. Gaining friends with similar interests is a good thing because both of you can benefit from each other, both in long-term and short-term ideals.
Things To Consider In Joining An RV Social Group
Now that you know all the things you can get from joining an RV social group, here are some things that you have to consider before joining one.
The Benefits You Are Expecting To Get
One of the reasons why most people join RV clubs and social groups is because they are after the perks and privileges they offer to members.
If you are the kind of RVer who wants to save more on expenses by having discounts on campgrounds, RV parks, fuel, and other important aspects of RV living, then joining clubs is for you. Do your research and check the benefits of each club available. After doing your research, whittle it down to the clubs closer to your needs.
You do not need to join every club in existence as it can just bring you hassle and trouble in the long run, in terms of keeping up with the membership fees.
The Membership Fee That You Are Paying
Of course, it goes without saying that these RV clubs are not for free. You must pay a certain amount for you to avail the perks and privileges exclusive to members. Most of these RV clubs charge on a yearly basis, with many of them having affordable rates.
However, keep in mind that you do not have to join every single group or RV club to gain more perks. Some of them offer reciprocal memberships to other clubs for free. Others offer discounts, although smaller than the members, but they still offer convenience to you by saving more.
Also, you have to remember that you should get what you paid for, so pay for memberships that you are sure of using in a year to recoup what you paid for. After all, $80 is a big amount in itself.
Consider The Type Of Traveler That You Are
In joining RV clubs, we must remember that we must join depending on our needs and preferences.
If you are someone who prefers having more discounts in every affiliated campground or RV park, then choose an RV club that can cater to your needs. If you are someone who is in need of free subscriptions to other businesses and services related to RV, then choose an RV club with that specific privilege.
Some RV clubs only offer discounts on RV parks and campgrounds, while some offer discounts on goods and services related to the RV industry, such as tires, accessories, and other relevant items.
Do your research and see if your preferred club can give you what you want, and more. Remember that your money should be worth it, and your subscriptions and memberships should cater to your needs as a camper.
Joining an RV social group is never a requirement for RV campers, but joining one or a few would open a gateway of perks, advantages, and privileges that will surely make your RV camping experiences much more worthwhile, convenient, and memorable since you enjoy a lot of things that made your camping trips much easier. Consider the several things we have mentioned before joining, and enjoy!