Our memberships have really helped us stay on budget and save money while camping. Here is a list of the memberships we have, how much they cost and the pros and cons of having them.
Passport America – Original cost was $44 for the year and you get up to 50% discount rate on various private campgrounds. Our 2nd year renewal cost us $39 for 17 months. We have Passport America because we use their mailing service and help us stay at a campground for cheap. Pros = membership is reasonably priced and stays are cheap. Con = some campgrounds are tight and need up keep, plus read the detail of the discount before booking, because some have restrictions and added unexpected fees. You get what you pay for.
Good Sam’s Club – Cost was $29 for the year and you can save 10% off participating campgrounds. Ten percent savings for a week stay pays for the membership in one stay. Pro is the saving and con is owned by Camping World.
KOA – Cost is $33 for the year and you can save 10% off, plus other benefits, like a free night. Pro is the amenities, con is the campgrounds are EXPENSIVE. We usually stay for rallies or a last resort.
Harvest Hosts – Cost is $79 for the year. Most host are boondocking, so it helps to have the proper setup (solar, batteries and inverter). Harvest Hosts encourages you to spend money with your host, so it cost you something for your stay. Pro is the location of some of the host. Con is you pay for the membership and spend money with the host, so it cost more.
Thousand Trails – We purchased a camping Zone pass for the Midwest zone for $599 – $100 first time discount = $499 for the year and added the Southeast zone for $54 the year. This by far was the best membership for our budget, as it saved us over $3,300 for the year. We plan to renew and add the Trails Collection for $299 for the year, to include the Encore parks to offer us more places to stay. Pros for us, was the savings and budget friendly. Cons are some parks are tight and you are on top of each other, plus some parks need upgrade.
We stayed at a Thousand Trails campground 75 days. If we had to pay for each stay it would have cost us about $52.41 per night, total of $3,931. We paid $599 for Midwest zone minus $100 discount, but added the Southeast zone for $54 for the year, total of $553 for the year. Total savings for the year was $3,393 for the year.
Other memberships we have are America the Beautiful ($85 for the year) for national park entrance, Coach-Net ($179 for the year) for roadside assistance and RV Trip Wizard ($49 for the year) for planning our trips and navigation.
Other places we stay to save money are Walmart parking lots, Cabela’s parking lots and Crackle Barrel parking lots. We ask before staying and we support these businesses as a thank you for our stay.
What memberships do you have? What do you like about them? How much do they cost? Would you recommend them to others? Let us know with a comment below.
Thank you and God bless.