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Old 08-20-2019, 07:20 AM   #1
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Thumbs up What to join? What to join?

So many things to potentially join Thousand trails. KOA, FMCA, Good Sams, Passport America........


So Wife and I are part timers weekends and vacations mostly. We retire in 3 years and plan on going out for months at a time. We live in Massachusetts so most travel up until we retire will be within 12 hour commute of home. After retirement we will be traveling the nation.



What are the various clubs people join that are worth it. I did Join FMCA and would consider others if they are beneficial.


If you're a member of a club please give pros and or cons on why its a good or a bad club to join.




Thanks in advance.
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:48 AM   #2
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Passport America is cheap and will pay for itself in a couple of stays.

Thousand trails is expensive and won't pay for itself as a part time camper When you do go full time look into a used thousand trails membership from a broker.

FMCA is worth it just for the roadside assistance plan.

Good Sam is personal preference and dependent on if you shop at Camping World.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:16 AM   #3
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I agree with the above. If you consider thousand trails you can try it out by camping in some of their parks w/o being a member. At least that's what I heard. And the memberships being sold by brokers is the only way to go. It always seemed like it wasn't worth being locked into an expensive contract like a time-share condo. I've also heard that members are not pleased with the condition of at least some of their parks.



PPA is the best deal tho the parks often have a lot of restrictions. Often Monday-Thursday and for one day only but they are creative. But using it twice will see you ahead money wise. Their parks aren't always well located either.



One not mentioned is the one I just joined: Escapees which has a number of parks but they also have many other programs. It's only $40 a year and seems to be worth it.


KOA: we were members for years but the discount is only 10% and they've bumped the membership charge up to $30/yr. Their parks are on the more expensive side too. A couple of years ago they jacked the nightly fees way up in most of their parks. Assuming they average $40/night you'd have to spend 8 nights in their parks to make back the fee. We quit and plan to stay quit.


GoodSams I have been a long time member but may be reconsidering. Discount is only 10% but almost any park you stop at takes the GS discount. We don't often shop at Campingworld mainly because they never seem to be near when you need something. Amazon is killing them too. So I'm up in the air on GS.


HarvestHosts is another I've seen mentioned. You get to stay ONE night at some winery, farm or other spot. These are often way off the beaten tract and you are expected to spend money where you stop. You have to call ahead to get the OK for that night. Seems iffy to me but it you like to visit wineries or distilleries it might be worth it to you.


There is another group, the name escapes me at the moment tho I am a member. It lets you stay at some private property where someone joined this group. Haven't really tried it. I think it's $20/yr if you make your property available or maybe $25 if you do not. I got grandfathered in with no annual fee by joining early.


One thing I would definitely do is join Amazon Prime, we get items shipped overnight or 2 day to places we are staying at or will be staying at. Most commercial parks will hold mail for you if you have reservations.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:25 AM   #4
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So far good info thnaks for your inputs




I did Join Harvest Hosts and got the Golf membership as well. Got 15% of the membership price. I like the idea they are promoting. I'll give it a try for a year and see if it is worth it.
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Old 08-20-2019, 08:32 AM   #5
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I belong to Passport America and use it extensively.. Note there are restrictions on places that accept it, i.e. day of week, number of nights, etc. but it pays for itself.

I was with Escapee and checked into some of their sites in NM and AZ, but its not our style at this point. Maybe in the future.

We belong to Good Sam for their roadside service, but we never used it..
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:16 AM   #6
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Harvest Hosts while traveling for an overnight
Passport America for longer stays @ 50% off certain days
Escapees RV Club and their associated campground opportunities
Thousand Trails Camping Pass, the more it's used the greater it's value
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:59 AM   #7
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You mentioned FMCA. They have great benefits making it very worthwhile!

Passport America- VERY restricted use but will pay for itself the first couple of times you use it!

Escapees- They have about a dozen parks around the country that they own, plus about that many more that members own. You can stay there for about half the normal price. Very good deal!

Good Sam- Many parks give you a 10% discount for the total time you are there.

Good luck, happy trails, and God bless!
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:41 AM   #8
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Escapees also has a large number of affiliated parks that give you 15% to 50% off, mostly 15% from what I see. Seems to be more parks in the east than the west tho I haven't looked at the left coast. I was looking at Mississippi since I'm thinking about a Fall Natchez trail trip and saw maybe 6 or 7 parks in that area.



I saw more info on Harvest Hosts, the fee is $79/yr, you must arrive during business hours and you are expected to spend at least $20 at the site. So obviously that is a limited option for people who like to visit that sort of place.
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:56 AM   #9
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Harvest Hoast is WAY more than wineries.
Museums, farms, also..
Yes, they ask that you make a purchase.
Average wine tasting fee is $5.00 , NOT $20.00.
Watching the sun set over a vineyard with a glass of nice wine.....
Priceless..
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Old 08-20-2019, 02:36 PM   #10
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What to join? What to join?

FMCA Roadside Assist is for brake-downs of your RV which has a yearly charge which I think is now $74/year. FMCAssist is repatriation insurance which covers you world wide, but return of RV is Canada, Mexico and USA limited to $5,000, but it is included in your FMCA yearly dues.
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Old 08-20-2019, 04:47 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BQuint View Post
So many things to potentially join Thousand trails. KOA, FMCA, Good Sams, Passport America........


So Wife and I are part timers weekends and vacations mostly. We retire in 3 years and plan on going out for months at a time. We live in Massachusetts so most travel up until we retire will be within 12 hour commute of home. After retirement we will be traveling the nation.



What are the various clubs people join that are worth it. I did Join FMCA and would consider others if they are beneficial.


If you're a member of a club please give pros and or cons on why its a good or a bad club to join.




Thanks in advance.
Hudson Mass.!
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Old 08-20-2019, 07:04 PM   #12
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For all prior military- S.M.A.R.T Special Military Active Recreational Travelers
Local chapters throughout the country. 3-5 day camping "musters", Activities include golf, hiking, sightseeing, playing indoor and outdoor games, dining out, pot luck dinners, and just having a good time together. Also caravans to Alaska, the Canadian Maritimes, and special events. More details here.
https://www.smartrving.org/
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Old 08-20-2019, 09:21 PM   #13
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First we joined several groups like FMCA, Pass Port America, KOA, RPI, and Thousand Trails. For 1000 trails we have the Elite membership which gives us 3 weeks and park to park at no cost for a 1000 Trails park.
For example we are going south and west this winter. Diamond Caverns in Ky. then to Carolina Landing in SC. and then to The Oaks at the Point South. Once we get to Texas we are covering that in December and January. Point is all these parks are 1000 trails and the cost per day to us is zero. We are doing 13 weeks here in these parks and the cost is zero.
But consider what we payed for the membership and our yearly dues. Membership was around $12,000. Dues are $600 per year. We bought the membership back in 2003 and have used it every year.
If you are going to buy thru a broker check and make sure 1000 trails will honor it. I know of some 1000 trails have refused to honor. For example I have heard they will not honor the "Alliance" memberships.
Plus you will have a transfer fee to pay as well $750.00

Any membership like 1000 Trails is only good if you use it. If you buy it and don't use it you wasted your money
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Old 08-20-2019, 11:03 PM   #14
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We joined Passport America last month, as it sounded pretty good and got good reviews from another camper. We started a three week trip up the Oregon coast a few days ago and one of the stops honored PPA. We checked into that campground today and were told that PPA is only good there October thru May. Pretty much when no one is camping on the Oregon coast. We'll see if it was worth the $44 for a year.

The most popular discounts we've seen over our 45 years of RVing, have been AAA and Good Sam.

I do pay for KOA every year as we like KOA campgrounds, especially when we travel in unknown areas. They actually have some nice campgrounds in desirable areas, like Nashville. I've never done the math, so I don't know f the points you collect and can redeem, save you the price of membership.
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