Hey just a quick “check in” from Huntington, Utah. I’m heading tomorrow to a NFS camping area that is VERY remote, so, I’ll be out of contact (for a short time.)
I have SO much to share of my recent travels (spectacular!) and of upcoming events (and a conference in Vegas!) But… I ran across something this afternoon I’ve got to share…
Do ANY discount Campground Memberships make sense?
The short answer – YES. Well, two of ’em. Why? The annual cost for each is SO LOW it is a “no brainer” as far as I’m concerned. ($50 or less per year) – and the potential “payback” through savings is massive.
As a full-time traveler, I’m HIGHLY motivated to save on campground costs – which are now COMMONLY over $30/night for full hookups (many WELL over $30 per night) and even for dry camping (boondocking) rates are creeping to $15 – $20/night or more! So… here’s how you can save when RV camping –
Here are my 2 DISCOUNT RV CAMPING RECOMMENDATIONS…
Boondockers Welcome – This is a relatively NEW RV CAMPING MEMBERSHIP PROGRAM – and at a MINIMAL cost. At $50 per year, it’s a “no brainer”! Use THIS LINK AND – you can now save 15% – use this code when you register: RVAcrossAmerica15 Membership with this program gives you FREE camping – with NO strings!
The premise is simple – be a guest FOR FREE for between 1-5 nights at host sites (could be a private home, a ranch, a farm…) and STAY FREE if you’re boondocking (not using hookups of any kind.) Often for a small fee ($5-10/night) you can hook up to the hosts electric and use their water. Read each host’s profile to see what is available at their property.
MUST be in a self-contained RV (motorhome, trailer, 5th wheel, etc.)
Click HERE and then from the page that loads, click “become a guest” (You can also review “how it works” and where their hosts are located – there are MANY.)
Another “no brainer” discount RV camping program…
Passport America – This is the “original 50% discount program”. They have MANY campgrounds and at $44/year to join, it only takes a few nights stays to recoup that fee.
The ONLY “catch” I’ve found is you have to read each campgrounds profile to see the conditions on the 50% off stay. For example, it may require cash payment only, or one night only (though some offer many nights at the 50% discount rate), or it may be used only “off season” or in the “shoulder seasons”.
Regardless – I’ve found MANY times where this membership has saved me lots of $$.
To join click HERE and follow the prompts on the page.
Additional RV Discount Camping Programs
Good Sam – low cost ($29/year) but only offers 10% off (mostly) nightly stays; few weekly discounts – and MOST Good Sam campgrounds are quite expensive to begin with, so with a 10% discount, you’re still paying (frankly) too much!
Harvest Hosts – medium cost ($79/year) – interesting concept, BUT on their home page they clearly state that while your stay (1 night) is free, you’re expected to purchase wine or products offered by the host. That can QUICKLY add up to more than a fee-based campground.
Hipcamp – great idea, no fee to join, BUT every campground DOES have a fee. But… worth a look as you travel.
Thousand Trails, Coast to Coast Resorts – and others like them – EXPENSIVE and a life-long commitment – kinda like time-shares. My general advice: AVOID unless you are CERTAIN you’ll make extensive use of their service AND you’re prepared to pay a BIG fee upfront AND maintenance fees for as long as you live (or sell the membership at a steep loss.) The other BIG variable you can NOT know as you enter into one of these is whether their campground network will stay as it is today – what would you do if they lose a significant number of member campgrounds?
In closing – I have LOTS more coming up! I will be sharing truly inspiring photos, video and stories from my time here in Huntington, Utah. In the time I’ve been here, I visited “the swell”, “the wedge” (twice), swinging bridge, 9 mile canyon, Goblin State Park, Little Horse Canyon, Swayseys Cabin, Joes Reservoir, Huntington Canyon and more. Please allow me time to compile all this and present it in a (hopefully) coherent and compelling way.
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14 thoughts on “Discount RV Camping Memberships – Which Ones ARE Worth it…”
I love my TT membership that I purchased used. I’ve been full timing since March and got way more than my investment. I do have a $550 a year maintenance per year but at the typical $30/night, I’ll recoup that within the first 18 days of next year. I
I’m glad its working for you at this time. I’m concerned on 3 fronts for you: 1) what if the selection or availability of TT campgrounds decreases (its not guaranteed); 2) can your 550. / year increase? ; 3) if (and when) you elect to stop rv’ing, can you simply stop paying the 550/month with ZERO penalty?
Don’t forget the “America the Beautiful” Interagency Pass that gets you 50% off at Corp of Engineer Campgrounds and free access to National parks, plus a lot more.
Thanks! It had slipped my mind. In my case, I’m looking forward towards next summer when I can get a lifetime pass!
Thanks for the information and your thoughts on Harvest Hosts. A lot of people in the RV Youtube space are highly recommending HH, but they fail to mention that you are expected to purchase something from them which ends up costing more than anticipated. I am not full-time yet, but definitely will go with Boondockers Welcome.
I’m getting that info directly from their own website – and while they don’t *require* a purchase, its strongly encouraged. BW has no such requirement (or system at all.) Al
IMO, if you purchase something from a Harvest Host, it can be consumed (food or drink), used multiple times (clothing), or gifted for a birthday or holiday. The money that you would have spent at a campground instead goes to benefit you or a loved one and also helps a small business, so it’s a no-brainer win-win for everybody! You also might get some entertainment factor thrown in as well through touring the HH’s property, feeding animals, learning about local history and things to do in the area…the benefits are endless!
I agree. It is the PREMISE that I have an issue with. I do not like “free camping, but we’d like you to buy something while you’re there” approach. Boondockers welcome (rvacrossamerica.net/bw) does not put that stipulation on your stay. Oh, and I now have secured a 15% discount for those who use the link I just provided and enter “rvacrossamerica15” when making their membership purchase (which costs about 1/2 of what harvest hosts costs). Al
The problem I found is many of their locations have severe restrictions on RV size. My modest (by today’s standard) 33′ 5er wouldn’t fit in many that were on my routes
And that is why BW shows you details about each host before enrolling in the membership. I’m in a 35 ft 5er, for the region I travel, I see several potential stays. And for 30 bucks, its not a membership decision i’ll fret over!
We just bought the basic Thousand Trails zone plus Encore. $749 for the year. We have since broke even with two camping trips. Now the rest of 2019 and 1/2 of 2020 if free or $20 per night. We did not buy into the big money commitment, those who did and regret it should have started small. We did much research and this actually works for us. (YMMV). We also have Good Sam, Passport America and are KOA members. After you article we are looking at Boondockers now also. Thank you and keep the information coming, always helpful.
My main concern w/ TT is you don’t know what the future holds as far as their campground base. Correct me if I’m wrong, but there are ongoing costs to remaining a member? And are you “locked in” in any way if you opt to stop using it? Al