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Old 05-13-2009, 07:30 AM   #1
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Passport America membership

We were considering getting a PA membership and were looking at all the restrictions they have, (off season only in Fla., not on weekends, one night only etc). Has anyone asked CGs to waive the restrictions when you call for a site? Looking for some encouragement.......Tom

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Old 05-13-2009, 08:40 AM   #2
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Hey Tom,

I've had PA since 2001 and have used it a lot when a CG is on my route. I've never asked a CG for an exception to their published policies but I doubt it could hurt anything if they were asked. Worse they could do is to decline the request.

The restrictions aren't too bad, we check their directory and/or online listings before we go to one. If the CG has a restriction that we can't accept or object to we just don't go there or, if it's a CG we really wanted irregardless of the discount, we just pay their posted rates.

The PA isn't going to work for everyone, it takes a little planning to make it work and to recoup the registration fee before you'll save any money. This style of trying to save a little money isn't agreeable to many folks and they'll disparage PA due to the restrictions, but some won't mind their limitations and enjoy a savings.

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Old 05-13-2009, 09:05 AM   #3
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Just to clarify, PA doesn't have any across-the-board restrictions. Each park defines its own restrictions and can modify them whenever they like or choose to ignore the ones they have previously stated.

I've never asked for a restriction to be waived, but I've had a couple parks voluntarily waive them, e.g. when my stay has overlapped with a restricted time they would give me the PA rate for the entire stay.

We have no reservations at all about recommending PA - you only have to use it a couple nights a year to recoup the entire price
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:16 AM   #4
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We've had PA for about 10 years and always recoup our membership fees. We use it mostly for overnight stayovers and it works well for that. Campgrounds use PA to fill sites that would otherwise be empty. They have no motivation to offer 1/2 price when the sites would be filled anyway (like FL in winter).

Each camper has to decide if PA will work for him or her, and then either buy a membership or not.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:31 AM   #5
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Never asked for waiver. PA has more than paid for itself in the 2 yrs we have used it.
We also have Good Sam but most of the places we have gone to also take AAA or others and we have AAA. Saving 10% is not worth the money they ask IF you have anything else.
Good luck with your decision.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:08 PM   #6
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The whole concept of the discount campgrounds is to fill sites that would otherwise be empty. Better to get half the income rather than no income at all. Many campground cost are fixed and occur whether the site is rented or not and half price defrays these costs. This is a well used strategy used in the hotel, airline, rental cars, ETC, industries. Makes good sense for the company and the camper. If a campground is going to be full say during a Magnolia Festival, a NASCAR race weekend or a holiday weekend, then it would be bad business to rent it to us for half price. We must look at it from the owner’s side also. If it wasn’t for the restrictions, then they would not be in the program. The restrictions are not there to screw the camper, but to give the camper a discount during the times the sites would not be utilized at normal prices. It is a win win situation for both of us. Asking for the restrictions not to be followed is no different than calling the campground off the cuff and asking for a discount. Call and ask with this in mind, but don’t get mad if they follow the restrictions agreed upon and printed in the book, Remember, they get nothing from the discount club and pay a advertising fee to get in the book. It is all about filling additional empty sites. It isn’t a club where you have “rights” like a ownership club.
We have and use Passport America and Camp America. If you are going to do much camping, then there is no reason not to have them. Several stays will pay the yearly fees. We have says $1,000’s with them and I have talked about them with owners and the opinions above reflect their views. Their two books my wife keeps on top to decide where to stay nightly.
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:22 PM   #7
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I have PA and use it when it is convenient. I bought the lifetime membership. It hasn't paid for itself yet, but will as time goes on. Like others have posted, I have had a CG wave its' restrictions. If my stay is different than what they allow, I just ask if I stay X nights can I get the PA rate. I've been refused only once. That was at a large corporate owned CG. The people at the office didn't have the authority to over ride the "computer".
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Old 05-13-2009, 03:38 PM   #8
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I belong to Passport America and find I only have to use it a couple of times a year to recoup my money. Not all of their campgrounds are for staying more than one night but it works when traveling. I find it to be a very good deal. The restrictions is something I can deal with. A lot of the busy parks in the winter here in Florida have restrictions during their busy times.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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Many campgrounds set aside a percentage of sites for discounts. So don't be surprised if you show up at a CG, ask for the discounted rate, and be told that there are no sites available. Some travelers have been hostile when seeing empty sites and being told that there are no sites. This causes the CG owner to not want to participate in the discounted programs. Be courteous. The are there to provide a service, but you cannot be demanding in your requests. A little "honey" goes a long way.
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:43 PM   #10
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We inadvertently asked for a waiver because we mis-read the restrictions for one CG that we visited. We presented our PA card and they told us that PA wasn't allowed for Friday nights but went ahead and gave us the lower price anyway. They were less than half full (it was November) and they were apparently were glad for any additional revenue that they could get.

We call ahead while traveling and if there is a problem applying the PA discount for that night, we normally know it before we pull in.
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Old 05-14-2009, 08:23 AM   #11
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OP--Thanks for all your replies and helpful information. I'm going to give it a try and maybe do some bargaining. Like Hitchhiker sez, "Worse they could do is to decline the request"

I've learned alot from my salesman son-in-law. He says there's always a deal to be had. When he buys a pair of shoes he always leaves the store with a smile and a free pair of matching sox.
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Old 05-22-2009, 04:50 PM   #12
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We downloaded the POI's for Passport and import into Streets and Trips to plan our trip.

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