Whilst having your own RV can save you stacks of cash on plane tickets and hotel bills if you aren’t smart about it RVing can still be an expensive hobby. This is where the glorious concept of Membership Passes steps in.
A single membership pass can give you access to thousands of campsites at a discounted price. Many of these networks are spread all over the country, meaning no matter where you travel, you will be able to make the most of your pass.
Sounds perfect, time to purchase, pack up the RV, and head out on the road? Unfortunately, things aren’t that simple. Before you start hunting for the bug spray you’re going to have to narrow down which Membership Passes you want to subscribe to.
With hundreds of passes on the market it’s hard to know where to start, let alone narrow things down. Luckily for you, we’ve put together this guide to help you do just that. Below are the key things you need to consider before committing to an RV membership pass.
The first thing you need to do is consider how much you want to spend. It’s worth working out how much you would spend on campsite booking over the next year if you didn’t have a membership pass. That way you can get an idea of how much you will actually be saving.
Many Membership Passes, like this one from Passport America, will pay for themselves if you use them 2-3 times.
Length of Membership Offered
The best discounts can often be found if you purchase a long-term membership (2+ years). If you are planning to do a lot of camping over the next few years this is something you should really consider.
The next thing you should consider is how you feel about the locations each pass offers. It is important to look at the number of campsites offered and the desirability of said campsites.
Number of Locations
Next, think about the kind of places you’d like to travel to. If you want to travel all over the country then you will want to look for Membership Passes that offers many campsites that are spread out across the country.
There are a few smaller or newer memberships that aren’t able to offer many locations. If you are looking for a short-term membership or to travel around a single state or area this may be a good option.
Now you want to check out the campsites that the Membership Passes offers. There’s no point signing up for a membership that offers 2000 locations if you don’t want to visit any of them, or they are really low-quality campsites.
You won’t regret the extra time spent researching at this point.
Are they accepted all year round?
Some of the memberships that offer bigger discounts are only accepted during off-peak seasons, or during the week. If you aren’t able to travel off-peak then this will be a waste of money for you.
All the memberships will clearly state on their website when you can use them. However, you may have to check with individual campsites for some of the really big memberships.
Is their service easy to use?
Does the website clearly show where their campsites are located? Do they have a helpline? Do they offer activity advice for the areas around their campsites?
These are the questions you should be discovering the answers to about each of your favorite campsites. You should be checking that they offer the features that matter most to you.
Is the membership well-reviewed?
The best way to get an accurate idea about the quality of Membership Passes is to look at online reviews.
These can be customer reviews or best-of lists online. For example, check out this rundown of the best camping memberships by Camper Guide. Reading real people’s personal experience with the company will tell you a lot more than the jargon on their website.
We would also recommend using websites like Trust Pilot and Trip Adviser to see how well the individual campsites are rated before visiting them. This falls in line with the advice we mentioned earlier of making sure the membership offers campsites you would actually enjoy visiting.
Do they offer any extra benefits for being a member?
Finally, if you are struggling to decide between a few options you should start considering any extra perks being a member will provide you with.
For example, the Good Sam Club offers discounts on petrol and diesel with their memberships.