RV Clubs have been around almost as long as the motorhome itself, and for decades they have brought RV enthusiasts together and saved them money.
Full-timers and veteran travelers often join clubs to save money on campground stays and RV-related costs. For those who live in their RVs year round, campground savings alone can add up to thousands of dollars each year, especially when RVers prefer luxury parks with additional amenities.
Not all organizations are the same, though. Each club offers different perks and discounts, and membership costs range from small monthly fees to thousands of dollars for multi-year memberships.
Some clubs only operate in certain areas of the country, whereas others are truly nationwide. Some provide a total RV experience, while others focus on campground discounts or access to private campground networks.
ALL-PURPOSE RV CLUBS
These organizations are what most people imagine when they hear the word club. These have the most features and resources to facilitate the RV lifestyle.
Two main benefits distinguish this type of club from the rest: community features like events, local chapters, and excursions offer a support network and a sense of belonging, while educational resources such as online tutorials and in-person classes make RV travel easier.
For novice RV owners, clubs allow access to a wealth of knowledge—hidden-gem attractions, repair tips, rules of the road. This wisdom represents decades of invaluable experience and helps newcomers get the most out of highway life.
Founded in 1968, the Family Motor Coach Association provides members with a wide range of features and RV discounts. Members can attend a number of events around the country, join a local chapter, or share information with other Rvers in online forums. While the F in FMCA stands for family, anyone interested in RVing is welcome to join.
FMCA has the most robust educational platform of any club on the list—users can learn just about anything RV-related through FMCA’s online “university,” online video tutorials, and their monthly magazine Family RVing. The organization also features an app, making it easy to use these features on-the-go.
Other benefits include FMCAssist, which offers medical assistance in emergency situations, and numerous discounts. Users can save on a wide range of services:
- RV Wifi
- Roadside Assistance
- Windshield Replacement
- Mail Forwarding
- Car Rental
Members also receive discounts, usually around 10% off, on parking through a network of participating campgrounds. FMCA also offers discounted memberships to KOA and Passport America (see below), which offer savings on hundreds of campgrounds, resorts, and RV parks in North America.
For those who simply want to save money on accommodations, FMCA might offer features they don’t need; however, for RVers who want to learn more or expand the role of RVing in their lives, FMCA is a great choice.
Escapees RV Club has been around since 1978, and provides many of the same perks that FMCA offers: mail forwarding, events, groups, forums, discounts, a magazine, and educational materials. They even have a handy mapping tool for trip planning.
Their motto is, “A total support network for all RVers,” and they feature a number of chapters, groups, and events provide something for everyone. Their Birds-of-a-Feather groups unite members by shared interest, such as metal detecting, genealogy, and photography.
Their Xscapers community focuses on working age RVers and provides support for finding jobs and helps younger RVers navigate the difficulties that come with earning a living while living on the road.
Their website makes it easy to search for discounted RV campgrounds and resorts, and search results display pricing and discounts (up to 50% off), location, and the most basic information. Frugal travelers will appreciate the up-front pricing information, but most will want more information about where they’re staying, especially Rvers who prefer longer stays in each location.
Taking a cue from the likes of Facebook, RVillage offers a free place for travelers to meet new people and share just about everything. Rvers can make friends, post pictures and stories, and use their mapping tool to find attractions and share experiences in person.
RV Parks and other organizations often maintain a presence on the platform, allowing them to communicate more efficiently with travelers. RVillage is also available in app form for tablets and smartphones.
Offering a 50% discount at almost 1600 locations across the continent (including Mexico!), Passport America offers savings at more RV campsites than any other club on the list. Membership includes a free subscription to RV America magazine and online trip-routing, which is available on the website and on the app.
While their campground search interface looks a little dated, it provides great details about each campground, including pictures, amenities, pricing, and notable features. Absent from the details are any ratings or reviews along with any restrictions on using the Passport America discount.
Some campgrounds will only offer discounts on certain days of the week or in the off-season, and it’s not always easy to know without contacting the campground. At $44 a year, though, the restrictions are understandable, and plenty of members still think it’s worth it.
Rather than a network of affiliated parks, these companies allow discounted or free access to their own branded RV parks. There are a number of memberships available, but many only have a handful of locations—the two listed below have options across the country.
We also chose memberships that allow access to sites with full hookups, but for those who are comfortable with boondocking clubs like Harvest Hosts offer great dry camping options in interesting locations.
The oldest and most well-known campground organization, KOA has over 500 locations across in the U.S. and Canada, including resorts.
KOA campgrounds typically feature more amenities than your regular state park campground, and their website features user ratings and campground reviews that make their booking tool more convenient than any other organization on this list.
Signing up for the Value Kard, their rewards program, bags users a 10% discount on nightly fees. For $30 a year, the rewards program can pay for itself in just a few short trips. Plus, locations are open to the public, so if friends and family want to meet you there, they don’t need to be members like the other campground memberships.
The downside: for RVers who spend the majority of their nights in RV Parks, the KOA Value Kard alone won’t offer enough savings.
A Thousand Trails membership grants users free RV camping at over 190 parks and resorts. They don’t have locations in every state, so check their map before signing up to see if they have options that work for you. If you’re traveling to the Rockies, you’ll need to look elsewhere for accomodation.
The lowest annual package runs $599 and will give campers access to one campgrounds in one zone area of the US. When RVers camp at a Thousand Trails campsite in this zone, they do not have to pay any nightly fees, though some amenities, like 50 amp service, cost extra.
There are a few other stipulations and restrictions unless members opt for the most expensive membership option. In order to access all 190 locations, users need to add a “Trails Collection” package to their membership for an additional charge. Even so, full-time RVers can save a lot of money with this membership.
The online booking system displays photos and detailed information about each location, so it’s easy to figure out if a location has a dog park or charges for wi-fi. The absence of user reviews is the only major downside—it’s nice to know what others have to say.