Types of RV Clubs
There are a variety of RV club types, each offering benefits that serve different purposes. RV Discount Clubs offer RV park and other discounts along with a variety of other services and benefits. RV Travel Club memberships are based upon the make and model or class of RV you own, or on some other qualifier such as the Special Military Active Retired Travel Club (S*M*A*R*T.) Campground Membership Clubs usually involve the outright purchase or lease of an RV lot, or a time share.
Some of the more well-established clubs include:
National Discount Clubs
Specialty RV Travel Clubs
- Thousand Trails
- Sunrise Resorts
- Western Horizon Resorts
RV Club Benefits and Features
If you are considering joining one of the many RV Clubs you can guess that they are not all the same, though they will have many benefits and features in common. Some can be quite overwhelming in what they offer. They may even offer far more than you need. Use the checklist below to determine what you need from an RV club and to see which ones offer those features.
The first thing you'll want to look at is where you expect to be traveling. You may find a regional club offers more of what you will use than a national one, even if the price is about the same. Based upon where you expect to travel, you can eliminate some RV club memberships by determining whether their benefits are available nationwide, in Canada or Mexico, or by specific sections of the country.
Naturally, you'll want to make sure you get the benefits that most closely meet your needs. The list of possible benefits is lengthy, and prices vary widely from about $40 to $150 per year, and several thousand dollars for campground memberships. While there's no point in paying for more than you need, you'll be surprised how much some RV clubs offer that you might not think of.
RV clubs tend to offer features like the ones listed below. Check each club to see what the specific benefits of these features are. For example, discounts at RV parks is great, but which RV parks are included with each membership?
Annual fee vs. value of benefits
- What is the annual fee?
- Is any portion refundable if you are not happy with the membership?
- Are there enough benefits to make this a better choice than another RV club?
- Is it worthwhile to join more than one RV club?
Discounts at RV Parks and Campgrounds
- Are these RV parks that you might actually stay at?
- How much are the discounts?
- Are there stipulations, such as by reservation, or for the first night only?
- Discounts at auto and RV service centers
- Discounts on RV rentals
- Purchase discounts on other home or RV products
- Pharmacy/drug discount programs
- RV insurance
- RV Roadside assistance
- Credit card services
- Extended warranty
- RV financing services
- Emergency assistance
- Auto buying assistance
- Consumer advocacy
- Mail forwarding services
- Home base/residency
Camping Guide to Quality RV Parks and Campgrounds
- Is the guide online?
- Is the guide printed?
- Is there an extra cost for both or are both included in your membership?
Online Trip-Planning Tools
- Local points of interest
- Events-listings, club sponsored rallies and caravans
RV park or campground ratings pages online
- Does the membership offer RV park guest ratings online?
- Does the club offer products for sale?
- Are product sales their primary business, and the club a means to promote this?
- Are the product prices and quality a significant reason to join?
- Does the RV club have physical stores where you can shop for products or services?
- Are the stores conveniently located?
- Do the stores offer a significant reason to join?
Endorsements: Whose Matter, If Any
- Who endorses this RV club?
- Is that endorsement a significant reason to consider joining?
- Does the endorsor gain anything from its endorsement?
- Magazine-print or online periodical
- Articles online
- Books on RVing
- Product reviews
- Workcamper/volunteer opportunities
Social Online Member Networking
- RV Forum
- Games, prizes, giveaways
- Club chapter
- Other opportunities
- Referral fee or affiliate commissions
- Product testing and reviewing
If you're new to RVing, joining one of these clubs may get you on the fast track to ensuring a great RV trip, and help you meet your unique travel needs. Join some RV forums where you can ask questions and learn from other's experiences. Some RV clubs offer far more than you might want. Others may force you to have to choose between two great sets of features and benefits. Take your time comparing not only the offerings, but customer reviews, as well.