Monday, June 3, 2013

Questions about Memberships

As we are coming closer to being full-timers, I am starting to look into several things more seriously. One is memberships. We joined Passport America last fall and have used their discount program several times with good results. The discounts have more than paid for the cost of membership and we will continue it. 

We joined FMCA two years ago because we wanted to go to their rally and take the seminars. We also got it for a couple of other discounts, including a discount on the driving class we took. Since I didn't think we wanted to go to any more of their rallies I was going to let it lapse, but then we discovered a nice discount on a tire purchase. We will need to buy more tires sometime in the future, so I will keep up the FMCA membership.

I'm wondering which others we should join. We are most interested in finding decent parks with reasonable costs or discounts. 

I've looked at the Escapees website.

Are any of you members? $60 per year is only $5 per month, it seems reasonable enough. We plan on getting our mail in South Dakota, so the Escapees mail forwarding service is not a draw.   

We don't want to register the Alfa in Texas because we don't want to have to go to Texas for inspections once a year. (We may go to Texas, but we don't want to have to go to Texas.) 

So we would be looking at the Escapees for their parks discounts and any other benefits we don't yet know we need. If you are a SKP, which benefits do you use?

We sat thru one sales pitch for a membership program when we were in Las Vegas. We did it so we could get a few nights at the resort for free, and will do so again if we have the opportunity. But we are not ready to jump into a contract for owning a site. Besides I have heard that if you want to buy into such a thing you can get them cheaper as a resale. Much like time shares.

Are there any programs that we should be wary of?  Any rip offs?


  1. You do NOT have to return to TX for state inspections once a year. You only need to get an inspection within 3 days of reaching your final destination in TX once you DO return. It could be every 5 years....or never. We just went back after 3 years and did our inspection when we got to it...

  2. We belonged to the Escapees for one year and stayed for a week for $50 at their park near Carlsbad, New Mexico. We found out that we could have stayed as guests without paying for a membership. We've visited a few of their parks and weren't all that impressed. You can't make reservations at their parks. If they don't have a site available you can boondock for $5 a night. Since we don't have a generator that does not appeal to us. So, we didn't renew. Some people love the group. Just wasn't for us.

  3. We have an Escapee about a mile down the road...I think it is nice but...if you come during the winter which you would the parking is about 3 feet away from the next motorhome...just wouldn't be my cup of tea. The lots..which you purchase are much better...and they start around $60,000 and there are always some for sale...

  4. We are members of Escapees, Good Sam, Passport America, Harvest Hosts, and being old. The one we use the most if Passport America. Harvest Hosts is a good one if you want to boondock at wineries. We have used Good Sam a few times for discounts on campgrounds but mainly have it for when we need to shop at Camping World. Sometimes that seems to be the only place we can get what we need for the rig. Escapees allow discounts at many parks - not just Escapee Parks. They are pretty comparable to Good Sam on their discounts. I like the social aspect of Escapees. That is how we have met some of the most wonderful RVers ever. The networking is just amazing. You can join in on the forum and learn anything you have a question about without being an Escapee. Hope this helps.

  5. We're Escapees, Good Sam, FMCA and Passport America members.

    I'm going to drop FMCA next year after getting some new tires. Been a member for 12 years and have not found any real benefit. Their magazine is pretty much all about their social clubs, nothing we are interested in.

    Good Sam, good discounts at Camping World and some campgrounds.

    PPA, it is a good resource for us when we travel and have saved money on it.

    SKPs, we'll continue to keep our membership up, not only because of their CGs which are reasonable, even if not terribly fancy, but I feel I need to add to their numbers for their legislative efforts on behalf of fulltime RVers.

    As for membership campgrounds like Thousand Trails and Coast to Coast, we decided to wait a while to see if they would benefit our style of travel. So far, we haven't seen where they would benefit us for the costs.

  6. We also cut our motorhome insurance in half by going through FMCA with GMAC insurance. Check out their rates.

  7. We were FMCA members for years. Went to one rally, got 10% off one campground. Not renewing.

    Passport America is my favorite. Can't lose on that one since it pays for itself quickly.

    Thousand Trails - members for one year in Florida because of a special deal. Well worth the money we paid. They offer zone packages now that aren't real expensive if you use their campgrounds. Wouldn't work for us because we don't like to plan our trip around TT campground locations.

    Escapees - Joined one year. I think it works better in the west than some other places.

  8. Traveling with four rescue pups keeps us from staying at a lot of campgrounds...we just wing-it. We did join FMCA when we bought our MH and renewed it so we could join FMCA 4 Wheelers this year. We also have a Good Sam/Camping World membership! Decisions...decisions...good luck!

  9. Jack is right about the timing for the TX inspections and I was able to renew my license plate sticker online for a 3 year term. I use Escapees for my permanent address in TX and their mailing service. I have only stayed at the Escapees park in Livingston, but I plan to stay at some of their other parks. They also offer discounts at other RV parks with membership 15% to 50% off of parks listed in the handbook. Because I am workamping, I have not signed up with the membership RV parks such as Coast to Coast. I do use Passport America and am considering renewing FMCA, I had let my free one year membership lapse.

  10. Escapees rates are very cheap for staying in the parks, but we found we just didn't use it enough because we didn't stay out in the west very long. There are not very many parks to use for the membership compared to other memberships. There are three in CA, one in Washington, three in AZ. it's a good discount and all good experiences the first year we used it. We joined Thousand Trails by buying a fantastic deal at the RV show. It's VERY expensive if you sign up just by going to the website. We have used that membership over and over for fantastic savings. We never could have afforded the cost of membership using the traditional signup methods for how many joined and had to pay thousands of dollars. We paid 499.00 for a year's membership for the entire country (they have four "zones") You an sign up for one or more zones at the RV shows. Thousand Trails is in the same company as Encore parks so many offers for great discounts come through monthly to stay in sister Encore parks. That's how we stayed in Maine in the Bar Harbor area for seven weeks last summer at 99 dollars a week. If you have more questions, email me.

  11. I only have two memberships: PPA and Escapees (lifetime member). As you know, I spend most of my time on refuges, but Passport is still a bargain for me for travel times in between.

    I've stayed at several Escapee parks, and found them reasonably priced with very helpful people. I think the heart of Escapees is providing support to members when they are in need. The CARE facility in Livingston is also another reason for membership. That is where I would have stayed if my brother had not been able to help with my hip replacement recovery.

  12. Good Sam: Only $25./yr. This is our most important membership (besides Escapees). Cheap membership, many benefits. 10% off park fees & we find the majority of parks accepts GS, up to 30% off Camping World and many times free shipping! But our best part is the RV Plus card! Read my review and description on my post.
    Harvest Hosts only $25./yr. Free overnights a approved wineries & farms. I'm no longer a member, because hubby prefers campgrounds. Sigh.
    Passport America:$44./yr 50% discount Many parks accept, even if they don't advertise it. Best to check PA website. Many restrictions on how the discount can be used depending on park. PA website can show participating parks along your route.
    Nat'l Forest Annual Pass: $80./yr $10./yr if over 62. Free for military and disabled. Whether you camp or just visit Nat'l parks, this comes in handy. To enter Grand Canyon is $25. Many other parks are $10-$15. It all adds up.
    Escapees:$70./yr But until July 31 the membership is 1/2 price to celebrate 35yr anniv. You can also receive a discounted rate if you are a member of GS, PA, or Woodalls. We domicile in TX and use their mail forwarding. If you are joining just for camping discount, probably not worth it. But previous comments are correct. You do not HAVE to return for inspection. Inspection needed when you return. Also,agree with The Dahl's comment, "I feel I need to add to their numbers for their legislative efforts on behalf of fulltime RVers." Escapees has fought the gov't to enable certain addresses be acceptable as a "physical address".


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