To membership or to not membership - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-06-2006, 02:57 PM   #1
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Now that we are moving from being a tent camping family to a MLFRV family my mom wants us to join all these RV clubs that she and her husband are members of. We get this huge discount for joining because of their membership. They own one of those 104 foot (just joking, it is around 32 or 34 feet) 5th wheels with pull outs and pop ups and all sorts of things pulled by a Dodge Cummings dually which never driven over 45 miles an hour no matter what highway it is driven on.

Now we have never been one to camp in those sardine style camp grounds (apologies to those who do, it is just a personal taste) and the majority of these clubs are just that, so there is just no appeal to our family. Plus the added expense to maintaining the membership is a big turn off to us. Now to just try and tell mom we aren’t interested without making it seem like we are rejecting her. Sigh……

What are everyone’s personal experiences, with pros and cons to being in those clubs?
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Old 09-06-2006, 03:42 PM   #2
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If you are going to be traveling a lot, then Passport America, and Happy Camper Club, both offer 50% off in parks all over the country. Membership around $50 a year. It doesn't take long to recoup your investment !

I had intended to travel fulltime, and joined Coast-To-Coast, but their parks were never where I wanted to be, so I dropped it after several years. Thousand Trails is great, if you want to stay in their system, but they were never where we wanted to be, either.

I am like you, I would rather be on the beach, roaming around Big Bend, or at one of the lakes around here, or in a State or National Park, less "sardiney". There are lots of State Parks here in TX, that offer some lovely campsites, with lots of things to see, and trails explore, and I am sure that it is the same all over the country.

I don't know how you can explain that to someone, unless they have done it. Some people just want to 'stay on the grid', and go to the same old type of 'resorts'. I don't think I want to be parked right next to a 'bulgemobile', whose occupants rarely come out !!
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:00 PM   #3
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With about 22,000 miles now on our UHaul, we have never found a need for 'clubbing,' because we so seldom camp in commercial campgrounds. Between state and national parks and forests, there are too many great places to camp without being squeezed between behemoths. The kind of places that give discounts to clubs are exactly the places we avoid.
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Old 09-06-2006, 07:57 PM   #4
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What are everyone’s personal experiences, with pros and cons to being in[b] those clubs?
IMHO. The allure of any club is it's members. I would belong to such an organization if a critical mass of people I wished to associate with were also members.
As much as I enjoy certain amenities, I could only enjoy them shared with a group of friends.
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Old 09-06-2006, 10:53 PM   #5
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Welcome, and congrats on your new-to-you FGRV ... you will not regret your choice! We share most of the opinions already given ... generally, if a commercial CG has "resort" in its name, we keep driving. We. too, enjoy the openess of state & FS campsites, and the fact that other campers are actually 'out', doing things like hiking, exploring, fishing or swimming.

We are in our second year as Passport America members and feel that one is good value for $$$ - only one less-than-pleasing CG; the rest were great. Afraid we can't offer any 'soft' way to tell your Mom, except to explain your camping preferences while letting her know you respect her choices ... and expect the same, eh?

Wishing you many happy memories and safe journeys - hope to see ya out 'n about in the future. L 'n D
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Old 09-06-2006, 11:09 PM   #6
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Here's a thought for you. Wait a year or two before deciding to join any of them. If you join any now it's quite possible that it would be the ones you didn't use. After a year tally up the amount you would have saved if you were member of X group. Then decide which clubs you want to join, if any.

This is also one argument your parents shouldn't have any objection to. You can keep extending the "let's wait a while" point.

I looked very closely at several and have decided that I don't really need any, in fact it would have cost me more in club membership than saved. I did join Good Sam and I don't think I got my money's worth.
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:13 AM   #7
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You could join Good Sam for the roadside assistance program. The services are competative with AAA and the membership gives you the discount in Good Sam parks. This is usually in the form of a discount on camp fees at participating places.

Good Sam does not have thier own parks, they only partner with participating ones. They usually are RV parks tho, not campgrounds.

KOA is another way you might compromise with Mom. The membership is relatively cheap (30 bones? I forgot.. I'll have to look up my fees! LOL!) and *most* parks are OK. I wouldn't use them as a desination, but a stop over on long trips TO a destination.

I am a KOA and a Good Sam member and have gotten my fees back on both in services and predictable places to stay on the road.
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Old 09-07-2006, 12:00 PM   #8
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My parents have a membership in Advance Resorts America. They are able to pass it down to us and all we'd have to do is pick up the yearly fees. Does anyone have any experience with this one?
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Old 09-07-2006, 07:05 PM   #9
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Tons of information, thanks guys

I am looking into all the clubs mentioned to see if they would be a good fit but we may just not camp enough yet to justify the cost. We camp about 5 to 6 times year almost exclusively at state or national parks.
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Old 09-09-2006, 09:36 PM   #10
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Darin,
You are wise to wait awhile. Settle into a style of RV'ing with which your family is comfortable.

Unless my wife and I are attending the occasional rally or an annual musical festival, a park is not a destination in itself, but a means to comfortably arrive at a destination. For us, a destination may be a place which has historical significance, an unusual museum or art gallery, an especially scenic route or area, a renowned shopping local for something we collect, a special entertainers performance, a part of the country where friends and/or relatives reside or possibly somewhere about which we are just curious.

Simply travelling to a camping spot or group of camping spots which are all pretty much alike seems to be a waste of a good mobile way of travel to us. Some of us wish to explore new vistas when we travel but some of us really are more comfortable renewing acguaintances at the same locations.

Try the different styles of RV'ing and then decide whether investment in a membership club fits your style. Once in a while, joining your parents will give you perspective on why they enjoy their style and also help keep them happy!

"To each his own" is especially appropriate when choosing how we RV!

Enjoy the process,
Kurt & Ann K.
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Old 09-14-2006, 01:27 PM   #11
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all good replies.
we belong to passport america and resort parks international....but we have traveled extensively over the last 4-5 years. been in all of the lower 48 states at least once and many several times.
pa has paid for itself many times. not so sure about rpi.
think the best advise is to wait awhile.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:10 PM   #12
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My wife and I still work and so we need to make the most of our vacation time while traveling. It has turned out that these organizations have really been a great benefit. We try to have a “Date-Weekend” once a month.

We have several memberships.
  1. AAA Auto Club of Southern California
  2. Good Sam
  3. Passport America
  4. Escapee
AAA gives camping discounts at selected RV parks, gives us maps and other discounts. Did you know that you get 15% discount from ALL NAPA auto parts with AAA?

Good Sam gives camping discounts at selected RV parks. Also Great Roadside assistance.

Passport America gives 50% off at the participating camp grounds. We found that when we are traveling across several states and need (want) hook-ups, this one is the best. A $22per night camp costs $11. It paid for itself on our first trip to Texas. It was all a bonus on the way home.

Escapee, is a whole different program. You get the first night free when traveling. Additional nights cost $15/night for full hook-ups. We find these to be the best in terms of “community”. They give you a hug when you show up, invite you to the evening gatherings and are just plain cheerful and friendly. We have decided to buy into the one near Yosemite, Calif.

Happy Camping,
~M
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:39 PM   #13
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There are some useful group, organizations to belong to. We're AAA members, discounts at some RV parks, maps, road side service, etc.
Good Sam (not ERS). Disounts at some RV parks, however most of the places we've seen will give discounts to either AAA or Good Sam or AARP.

The best bang for the buck for us is the Golden Age Passport at $10.00. Good for the rest of your life. No entrance fees at National Parks. 50% camping fees at Forest Service campgounds. I haven't camped in a National Park since I got mine but probably will within the next several months.

I believe the Golden Eagle Passport has the same usage fee structure. The cost is $65.00/year. If spend a lot of time in NFS and NPS places it might be worth checking into.
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Old 09-14-2006, 03:43 PM   #14
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The best bang for the buck for us is the Golden Age Passport at $10.00. Good for the rest of your life. No entrance fees at National Parks. 50% camping fees at Forest Service campgounds. I haven't camped in a National Park since I got mine but probably will within the next several months.
Good one Byron. I forgot about my [b]Golden Age Passport. It is a Must Have. Also, I am eligable for [b]Golden Access Passport

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[b]Golden Access Passport
Cost:
Free, lifetime.

Benefits:
Honored nationwide at all Forest Service, National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation, US Fish & Wildlife Services, and US Army Corp of Engineers sites charging entrance or day use fees.

Admits pass owner and any accompanying passengers in a private vehicle.

At per-person sites, admits cardholder, spouse, children.

Receives a 50% discount at campgrounds (does not include hookups for water/sewer/electricity), highly developed boat launches and swimming sites and for specialized interpretive services.
Validation

Lifetime pass.
[b]USDA Forest Service
[b]National Recreation Pass - Comparison

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