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Discount Club Memberships
and Membership Campgrounds

Discount Club Memberships

PassportHappy CamperGood Sam Enjoy Amer Escapees

For short stays between destination parks, purchase a discount campground directory. These discount club memberships cost between $50 to $80 per year and provide a 10% to 50% discount off nightly rates.

Length of discounted stay is often limited to one week (or one night) depending on individual park rules. These memberships are great for short stays on the way to your destination park.

The parks listed in the directory are commercial parks. Usually they are located far off the major highway route, but sometimes they are just huge parks trying to fill their sites.

The printed and online directories included with each membership include directions to each park, the cost after the discount, and
any restrictions.

To the discounted price listed in the directory add local taxes and possible park fees. Best practice is to call the park first to make reservations and to ensure the discount is still applicable along with the final cost. Sometimes the extra charges cancel out the discount.


Private Campground Systems

TTN Wilderness

Each private campground system membership consists of parks located around the USA and Canada that provide scheduled activities, special events, swimming pools, golf courses, casino tours, and good security.

Private campground systems usually charge a one-time membership fee plus annual maintenance, similar to an HOA for homeowners. You do not own the RV site but pay for the privilege of using one space for a few days or a few weeks during each stay.

The maintenance fee entitles you to a set amount of free visits. A standard contract allows you to spend two weeks in the park and be out of their system for one week before returning for another two-week stay.

Some contracts allow you to spend that "out” week in another park in the same system. A binding contract ensures the payment of the maintenance fee for normally three to ten years.

This contract can be resold at any time if you decide to stop traveling and want to stop paying the maintenance fee before the contract expires. These are called "resales.” Generally after the contract expires the maintenance fee (and use of the park) continues until you cancel. There is no need to purchase a "lifetime” contract.

Some parks also offer year-round site availability for an extra fee but restrict your visits to a six-month period to keep their RV campground status for local and state tax purposes. One site is assigned for your use anytime within that six-month period. Expect to pay an additional $2,500 to $5,500 a year depending on the
park location.

Most park systems also have seasonal rates by the month, cheaper if you commit to three to six months up front.

Each private campground system offers the opportunity to purchase an annual membership in a private campground network ($60-$140 annually) that consists of private parks that open their campgrounds to you without an individual park system membership.

Listed here are a few websites to visit. Keep in mind that the financial status of each system should be researched before purchasing a membership.

Do not confuse these systems with "time-share” offerings that restrict you to three weeks a year, or some other structured format. Park systems are corporate-owned and maintained with no structured access limitations other than those dictated in the purchase contract.

Caution: Western Horizon is still selling memberships but has sold off all but about 2 parks.

Generally you are allowed two weeks in the park and then must be out of the "system" for one week. You can continue this routine of two weeks in/one week out as long as you desire. There are some restrictions during peak seasons that may limit your stay. Some contract agreements allow you to stay three weeks in the park and then spend one week out at any of their other parks.

Caution: Avoid "time-share” resorts such as Advance Resorts
of America.

Private Campground Networks

These memberships are purchased through your park campground system membership. Several different levels of membership are available so ask about all options.

These networks offer entrance to private parks around the country that open their doors to you for a few nights or even a few weeks without an individual park membership required.

Networks are a cooperative venture supported by private park systems to introduce you to their particular park system. No promotional seminars or salesmen. Simply make a reservation through your Network reservation system. Check in at the park office and go to your site. Nightly rates range from $0 (ROD) to $12. Reservation fees may apply ($2).

Best Way to Purchase A Private RV Campground
System Membership

To purchase a private RV campground system membership without paying the hefty entry fee, buy a "resale” membership. The best place to find a resale offer is on the Internet. Private sellers advertise frequently on the Internet, and in RV magazines.

Some members who are going off the road simply want to get out from under the annual maintenance fee. If you find one of these sellers, you may only have to pay the transfer fee ($200-$1000), the membership is free.

Brokers who resell these memberships charge anywhere from $99 to $299 for this service, plus the cost of the membership. Research these brokers carefully as there are scams out there.

Listed here are some websites that display ads from private and broker resellers. Use a search engine to find additional websites

Summary

Membership campgrounds are the perfect choice for RVers that have spent the first year traveling around the country as fast as they can. Most of us do this in the beginning.

After the first year, we begin to feel the weariness of constant travel. As we slow down and begin to really enjoy the RV lifestyle, we look for parks that cater to our needs and feel more like a home base rather than a parking lot. We can spend some time detailing our rig, making changes, washing/waxing, relaxing in the sun, and doing some hiking and swimming.

Most system park locations are outside the metro areas, usually situated on large tracts of land with plenty of trees, hiking trails, swimming pools, and social activities.

Some of the park systems actually offer monthly rates too. If you want to settle down for a few months, especially if you are still working on the road, they offer competitive rates for a short term ($300-$500 per month).

The other option is moving every three weeks (maximum), staying in another park in the system for a week, then back for three weeks (this costs you zero for the month). If there is not another system park nearby, the cost for the month would be the "one week" fee ($95 - $150). Including only the annual maintenance fee, the nightly fee average drops to about $3 up to about $10.50 for the year.

This is a very economical way to continue traveling and enjoying the lifestyle.

  • Find a campground system that has parks in the area you want to or prefer to travel.

  • Buy a "resale" for a small percentage of the new membership fee.

  • The best deal available from any resale contract gives you three weeks in the park and one week out that can be spent at any of their other parks in the system.

  • There should be no limit on free nightly stays. The only fee is the annual maintenance fee.

  • The greater number of parks available to you, the better the value.

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