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Old 09-04-2008, 06:00 AM   #1
sparkie
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campground memberships and camping clubs

My husband and I are new campers. Just got our first Montana and wondering about the camping clubs and memberships. There are so many out there and we don't know if we want to join one or not. Anybody out there belong to these clubs? What do you think of the campgrounds? Do you think it's worth it to join? The clubs I've seen advertised are Thousand Trails, Naco, RPI, Coast to Coast, Ameripass and Good Sam. Pros and Cons?
Thank you in advance for any info.
Sparkie
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:32 AM   #2
Emmel
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First of all, let me welcome you to the fantastic forum of the MOC! We are presently members of RPI and Passport America. I would suggest starting with Passport and see if any other clubs are what fits your needs.
Passport offers 50% off camping at over 1300 campgrounds across the USA. One year costs $44 and that can be recovered in just a weeks visit at some cg's.
Now if I sound like one of their salesmen, I don't work for them. I DO get $10 off my next renewal by referring someone to them. If you do decide to join, use my members number RGI-0133942. Every time you refer someone, you also get a $10 fee towards your next renewal too.
As for the other clubs, they all offer a lot for each individuals needs, just take your time to check them out and this forum will be a great help! I am a member of Good Sam too and I don't know enough about the other clubs to give any honest opinions about them!
Check Passport out at www.campsave50percent.com or call them at 1-800-283-7183.
Now, RPI costs quite a bit more and has a higher yearly dues, so we use this for more weekly stays. But I only pay $10 a night at some great resorts.
I highly recommend Passport as a starter discount club and one that you will stay with for many years.
Some PA parks allow the discount for your entire stay and some for only one night, these are usually the parks we use on our journeys from one place to another.
Go to the website and check them out, you won't be sorry!
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:32 AM   #3
sparkie
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Thank you for responding. I'll check out the link and will mention your member number if we join.
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Old 09-04-2008, 07:45 AM   #4
ols1932
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Quote:
quote:Originally posted by sparkie

My husband and I are new campers. Just got our first Montana and wondering about the camping clubs and memberships. There are so many out there and we don't know if we want to join one or not. Anybody out there belong to these clubs? What do you think of the campgrounds? Do you think it's worth it to join? The clubs I've seen advertised are Thousand Trails, Naco, RPI, Coast to Coast, Ameripass and Good Sam. Pros and Cons?
Thank you in advance for any info.
Sparkie
Welcome to the forum. We are members of Thousand Trails and Coast-to-Coast, as well as being lifetime members of the Escapees RV Club. We've been members of RPI and Passport America in the past but have found that our present memberships meet our needs a lot better. In addition, we are members of the Elks and many of the clubs across America provide camping spaces, some with full hookups, some with water and electric and some for boondocking. These are only valid for members and we have found them to be great.

Please realize that each one of us has particular needs when we travel. Some must have full hookups, some may boondock (dry camp). But whatever meets your needs is what is important. No one has the best system for camping.

Orv
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Old 09-04-2008, 08:00 AM   #5
sparkie
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Thanks. We're Elks as well, and didn't even think of that.
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Old 09-04-2008, 11:18 AM   #6
exav8tr
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Sparkie, Welcome to "The Best Darned Forum on the WWW". We have found that joining a "camping club" or purchasing a park membership is a highly individual thing. A lot depends on your style of "camping" and whether you travel a lot or whether you are full time, or weekenders or just a couple weeks a year. As full timers that travel alot, not stationary, we feel that belonging to as many discount clubs as possible is a wise choice. We decide where we want to go and then locate a park or cg that fits that locale. Having said this, we are 1000 Trails members, Good Sam, Passport America, Escapees and RPI. We also use the military Fam camps and COE Parks. The only one we are truly vested in is 1000 Trails. This is a membership organization that has many CG's. However, not many in the upper midwest and east. Costing $1000's to get into and an annual dues setup the beauty is that you do not pay an overnight fee. The preserves, as they call them, are more rural and not usually located at "destination locales", mostly country campgrounds with lots of familial activity during the summer months. This is in direct contrast to the "RV Parks" that are mostly concrete and asphalt with lots of amenities that you may or may not take advantage of. When we are in an area to sightsee, we don't need a lot of amenities, other than full hookups.

Good Sam, PA and Escapees offer a quick return on your investment dollar in that they pay for themselve in just a few stays. 1000 Trails is a lifestyle that takes some time to see a return on investment.

Our preference for a CG would be 1000 trails first, then a Good Sam Park, then the others. I have stayed in some Passport America locales and ended up in the back 40 with or without full hook ups. Passport America does not own any parks but they have agreements with certain parks, and , has been said earlier, some offer the discount for one night or for a full stay.

Our RPI membership is through 1000 trails and we have used it several times and one time, after a one month long reservation, showed up at a CG to be told our reservation had been cancelled and they had no room for us. Luckily we were able to get into a nearby military base. We could never find out how that happened, but after calling RPI they informed me that they did not cancel and the individual park must have done so. This was a 5 star resort and over the 4th of July weekend. We had a feeling that they overbooked the park and rather than cancelling existing members they cancelled RPI folks as we weren't the only ones in that boat. That was the only time we had a problem with an RPI park....

Many folks pay nothing for camping. They boondock at different parks, COE grounds, BLM property and anywhere else public lands are available. This appeals to me, but I have not equipped my rig for boondocking yet, but may do so in the years to come. Need to make my investment back from 1000 trails first.

So, these are some things to take into consideration with the clubs/memberships mentioned. I would define my style of camping and then look into a plan that would commpliment that style.
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Old 09-04-2008, 04:05 PM   #7
ken
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Sparkie. Everyone has given you good suggestions on where to go for camping discounts. The suggestions of trying passport America is a good one. Good Sam is also good, and you might want to join a good sam chapter and go to their Samborees. As you get into camping, then look into the private parks. 1000 Trails is good. So are several others. Only you know whats best for you. There are several resales of the 1000 trails memberships along with mid Atlantic, and Outdoor World campgrounds. All three are membership campgrounds that you pay an annual dues and can stay 2-3 weeks at a time. We belong to passport America and use it and Good Sam parks when we travel. For the winter, in Florida, we stay at 1000 trails and Out door world campgrounds for nothing. We do pay annual dues which is less than the monthly charges for campgrounds in Florida.
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Old 09-04-2008, 06:50 PM   #8
Imp
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If you are looking at a camping membership, check where their campgrounds are located and see if it is in the areas where you want to go. Also check Craig'slist or ebay etc for people selling a membership. You can sometimes pick them up for the cost of transferring, usually around $650. Then you just have your yearly maintenance fee. We use passport america when we can. Check also fairgrounds or casinos. Sometimes you can get very cheap rates for full hook ups. Just do your research before investing in a camping membeship.
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Old 09-05-2008, 05:23 AM   #9
illapah
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what is RPI?
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Old 09-05-2008, 07:18 AM   #10
c5racer
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http://www.resortparks.com/index.html
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Old 09-05-2008, 08:10 AM   #11
sparkie
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Everyone here has been so helpful and informative. Thank you all for responding. We'll just have to camp and do some research is suppose. Meanwhile, I have to learn how to use this site a little bit more so we can post photos too.
Spark
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Old 09-05-2008, 12:07 PM   #12
cdaniels
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We looked into the memberships and it depends on how close you want to be to main area's. It seems most the memberships are about 20 min away from where we wanted to be so we did not invest in them at the moment with the price of gas. (1000 trails etc.) If we where not working and retired full time I think it would financially benefit us especially in Florida where they where more available and closer to attractions. Passport America looks great but again they limit the times usually Monday - Wednesday. When you only have a week or 2 to travel usually the days available did not work in our schedule. We do however know many people that have them and use them all winter in Florida and save a bundle in campground fees. Just has not worked for us to date.
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Old 09-05-2008, 01:36 PM   #13
exav8tr
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Sparkie, since you are new to this site, a signature line with your trailer and tow vehicle info is most helpful when we try and answer questions or give advice...Again, glad to have you on the forum, you will receive a PhD in RVing from here. That's how great this forum is......
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Old 09-05-2008, 03:10 PM   #14
hookman
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We have a membership that has 9 campgrounds in the system. We feel that it has been a good investment. When we started it was all the camping we could afford. we then bought reciprocals which expanded our horizons. We would not be where we are now in our RV life if it wasn't for Membership Camping.
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