Hitting the open road in an RV and exploring the great outdoors is a dream for many. While RVing allows for independence and adventure, being part of an RV club or association has many benefits. As you consider RV membership, understanding the different types of clubs, factors to consider when choosing one, the pros and cons of membership, and some top clubs can help you make the best decision.
Why Should You Join RV Clubs and Associations?
RV clubs and associations offer a plethora of benefits that can transform your RVing journey from ordinary to extraordinary. These benefits include:
Savings on camping fees:
One of the most appealing benefits of joining an RV club or association is the opportunity to save money on camping fees. These organizations often negotiate discounted rates with participating campgrounds and RV parks nationwide, allowing members to enjoy significant savings on accommodation expenses. This can be particularly advantageous for frequent travelers or those planning extended stays at campgrounds.
Access to exclusive perks and services:
RV clubs and associations typically provide members access to a range of exclusive perks and services that enhance their RVing experience. These perks may include roadside assistance, which offers peace of mind in case of unexpected breakdowns; RV maintenance discounts, reducing the cost of maintaining and repairing your RV; and special events, providing opportunities for socializing and exploring new destinations with fellow RV enthusiasts.
Networking opportunities and community engagement:
RV clubs and associations foster a vibrant community of RV enthusiasts, creating a platform for connecting with like-minded individuals who share your passion for RVing. Through group rallies, educational workshops, and online forums, members can exchange experiences, forge lasting friendships, and learn from each other’s expertise, enriching their RVing journey.
Enhanced safety and security:
Safety and security are paramount concerns for RV owners, and RV clubs and associations play a crucial role in promoting safe RVing practices. These organizations often provide valuable resources such as travel advisories, alerting members to potential hazards or safety concerns along their routes; emergency assistance, offering support in case of accidents or emergencies; and theft prevention tips, helping protect RVs from theft or damage.
Knowledge and expertise sharing:
RV clubs and associations serve as valuable repositories of knowledge and expertise, empowering members to enhance their RVing skills and address common challenges. Through workshops, seminars, and online forums, experienced RVers share their insights and guidance, helping newcomers learn about RV maintenance, troubleshooting techniques, and tips for selecting suitable RV camping spots.
Types of RV Clubs and Associations
The world of RV clubs and associations is as diverse as the RVing community itself. Here’s an overview of the main types of RV clubs and associations:
Affiliate-based RV clubs
Affiliate-based RV clubs are the most common type of RV club. These clubs negotiate discounted rates with a network of participating RV parks and campgrounds across the country. Members of these clubs can save a significant amount of money on camping fees, especially if they plan to travel frequently or stay in campgrounds for extended periods. Some popular examples of affiliate-based RV clubs include Good Sam’s Club and Passport America.
Specialty RV clubs
Specialty RV clubs cater to specific RVing interests or niches. These clubs can provide valuable information and resources tailored to your specific needs. For example, there are specialty RV clubs for boondocking (RVing without hookups), family RVing, and RVing with pets. Some popular examples of specialty RV clubs include Boondockers Welcome and RoverPass Unlimited.
Brand-based RV clubs
Brand-based RV clubs offer access to a chain of RV parks owned by a single brand. These clubs can be a good option if you plan to stay at RV parks owned by that brand frequently. Members of brand-based RV clubs often receive discounts on camping fees and other perks, such as exclusive access to amenities and events. Some popular examples of brand-based RV clubs include Thousand Trails and KOA.
Host/Guest clubs connect RVers with business and private property owners, providing unique camping opportunities. These clubs allow RVers to camp for free or at a discounted rate at farms, wineries, breweries, and other unique locations. Some popular examples of Host/Guest clubs include Harvest Hosts and Boondockers On Wheels.
Factors to Consider When Choosing an RV Club or Association
With a plethora of RV clubs and associations available, selecting the right one can be daunting. Here are some key factors to consider when making your decision:
Your RVing style: Think about how you use your RV and what type of RVing experiences you prefer. An affiliate-based club might be a good fit if you’re a full-time RVer seeking discounts on extended stays. If you enjoy boondocking or camping with pets, a specialty RV club could be more suitable.
Your budget: RV club memberships vary in price, so consider your annual or monthly budget when making your choice. Some clubs offer tiered membership options, allowing you to choose the benefits that align with your needs and budget.
Your interests and preferences: RV clubs and associations often cater to specific interests and preferences. Consider your RVing goals, hobbies, and travel plans when evaluating different clubs.
Location and coverage: If you have specific travel destinations in mind, check the geographical coverage of the club’s participating campgrounds or RV parks.
Advantages and Drawbacks of Being a Part of RV Clubs and Associations
Deciding whether to join a recreational vehicle club or association is an important choice for RV owners weighing the potential benefits and drawbacks of membership. Exploring some key advantages along with a few potential limitations can offer a balanced perspective.
On the positive side, RV clubs provide a wonderful sense of community through rallies, meetups, and sharing the passion for road travel. Tapping into the collective knowledge of seasoned member veterans offers invaluable insights for newbies on everything from basic maintenance to must-see destination advice. Access to member-only discounts on campgrounds, gear, and services also delivers tangible financial savings that generally offset annual membership fees.
However, RV clubs aren’t for everyone. Those wanting maximum flexibility without rules may find club guidelines and restrictions limiting for their freewheeling style. Expectations to attend meetings and events can also hamper spontaneity for some. And in any group dynamic, occasional conflicts can arise between members with strong opinions on club decisions or vision.
Weighing personal priorities and travel style against the camaraderie and perks club membership confers allows determine if joining makes sense. RVers wanting community connections and shared experiences will find immense value; independent explorers may discover restrictions chafe. Assessing the alignment of expectations and benefits guides the decision.
Top 5 RV Clubs and Associations You Can Join
While there are over 100 RV clubs nationally, a few of the largest reign supreme in offerings and member satisfaction. Here is an overview with more specifics on coverage, fees, and perks:
- Services: Offered to all RV types; provides services across the US and Canada,
- Cost: $39 per year for Standard membership, $109 for 3 years Elite membership.
- Features: Extensive campground discounts, trip planning tools, popular online forums & magazines, 24/7 roadside assistance
- Services: Exclusively for self-contained motorhome owners; available across the US and Canada
- Cost: $60 for the first year (additional $10 for initiation fee), $50 thereafter.
- Features: UNITES motorhome families through rallies, local chapters, maintenance guidance, operating tips
- Services: Offered to all RV types; mostly US coverage but some Mexico campground partners
- Cost: Starts at around $50 per year
- Features: Education seminars, conferences, forums, partnerships for member discounts across North America
- Services: Offered to all RV types; provides 50% off camping discounts at over 1800 campground partners across the US, Canada, and Mexico
- Cost: Starts at $44 per year, and $400 for a lifetime!
- Features: Focuses exclusively on providing significant cost savings on camping, with no additional frills aside from a basic membership benefits package
- Services: Over 3,500 hosts offering free overnight RV parking locations across the US and Canada. Expanding network covers a wide variety of sites including farms, wineries, breweries, etc
- Cost: $79 per year membership
- Features: Unlimited free overnight stays, no nightly camping fees, 100% money-back guarantee with membership, a wide variety of unique host locations such as 3,571 Community Hosts, 825 Wineries, 656 Breweries, distilleries, etc.
Hitting the open roads in an RV allows you to explore places and make memories in a unique way. While the freedom of the nomadic lifestyle calls, joining an RV club opens up a world of support, friendships, and resources that greatly enrich the experience. Assessing your personal travel priorities and preferences and then matching those to the varying club types aids in selecting the right fit. Whether you seek niche community connections, vast arrays of discounts, or group travel camaraderie, RV clubs have an offering to meet your needs. The investment pays dividends through lifelong friendships and invaluable advice from fellow wanderers. So embrace the open road ahead but consider bringing along some great company for the ride by joining an RV club community today!