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Let Me In the Club!!  RV Clubs for New RVers

Let Me In the Club!! RV Clubs for New RVers

Humans are social animals, and not just on social media. From tribal roots to meet up groups, humans enjoy the company of others. We work together, we forage together (Walmart counts), we play together on teams, we are entertained as a group, and we celebrate and mourn as a group. From our tribal or nationalistic origins, humans seek the company of other humans, preferably like-minded individuals who share a common bond – culture, language, religion, or, most importantly, the love of the RV lifestyle.

There is a benefit in being part of a group. You learn from others who have been doing this a lot longer than you. You gain inside information about the best campgrounds, most adventurous travel itineraries, and find out about the latest innovations in travel trailers or motorhomes. Friendships are forged and bonds created, all over the choice of an RV lifestyle.

As a new RVer, there are bound to be questions about why your motorhome is not performing properly. Maybe you want to try a different route to a campground, but the hairpin turns through the mountains worries you. Maybe you are ready to plan your next adventure but don’t know what it is or you are looking to replace a part on your RV and want to know if it’s easy to do. These are situations in which it is easier to ask someone you know, someone experienced, who can easily give you information you trust, without an agenda.

When RV club members get together in an organized fashion, it’s called a rally. There are rallies in almost every state and Canadian province.Some are smaller, organized within local communities; others are national gatherings, bringing in large numbers of campers and their rigs. There’s rallies organized around vintage trailers and there are rallies organized by RV model. There are also clubs and organizations that are more all-inclusive, such as Good Sam, an RV Club that boasts the highest membership.Rallies are a fun way to learn more about your RV or the lifestyle, have fun with friends, take in displays and look at new products. There’s sometimes entertainment, sight-seeing, or side trips, and opportunities to talk with others and make new friends.The bigger gatherings may offer even more perks to members attending.

There are more RV Clubs then there are states. Some have a long history, such as the Tin Can Tourists, which was formed in the early 20th century. Some are well known, like Good Sam, and others are more RV model specific, such as the Airstream RV clubs or the Fleetwood Travelcade. There are clubs for families, clubs for singles, clubs for seniors, for veterans and women-only, and clubs for Christians. Some clubs appeal to those who like boondocking and other clubs for those who prefer comfort camping.

With all these choices also comes confusion. Which club is right for you? If you are simply seeking the social factor, pick a club that meets your needs, perhaps one that is based near you or has clear similarities in lifestyle. If you are looking for other membership perks, such as travel discounts, then look for those which will offer you the most for your membership dollars. Many also offer a subscription to a club magazine, which can be a source of information, ideas and resources for your RV.

Most RV travel clubs memberships come with a discount on campground fees. These discounts can vary but every little savings along the way adds up. Different clubs have different discount deals. If this is an important perk to club membership, do some online research and choose the club that can offer larger discounts more consistently.

Who doesn’t like to score a discount? That is likely a top reason why RV Clubs are a popular resource for so many RVers.Club membership is not required when you embark on the RV adventure, but it is one of the benefits that come with the experience.

One of the largest clubs is Good Sam. An international club, Good Sam claims 1.8 million members, according to its website. In addition to discounts on stays at affiliated campgrounds, the club also offers other cost savings opportunities to members, including discounts on insurance, fuel purchases, and at outdoor retail outlets. Members can plan a trip, receive roadside assistance and find out more about their RV.

Another popular RV Club is Passport America. This club offers discounts of 50 percent at participating campgrounds.While it does not offer many other benefits, the discounts would cover the cost of membership ($44 per year).

The best advice to offer before joining any club is to do the research. Find out which offer the best options for you and your family. Look for other clubs that may check other things off the list. For example, Passport America members can also join Escapees without paying the enrollment fee.There are also RV clubs that cater to your other passions, such as golf or wine country tours.

Here’s what you should find out before submitting your membership:

  • How much of a discount is offered?
  • What is the membership fee?
  • How many campgrounds are affiliated with the organization?
  • How accessible is the campground directory?
  • Are there any additional benefits?
  • Does the club sponsor rallies or events?
  • Are there local chapters?
  • Who are the members and what are their interests?

Membership in an RV club is a good idea and can make sense as well as save cents. Like any decision, do your research. Visit a local rally organized by an RV club and see if you feel welcome and fit in with the atmosphere.Check out the club’s website and look over the Frequently Asked Questions, otherwise known as FAQs, and see if this helps solidify your decision.Ask people you know what clubs have worked best for them. Word-of-mouth is still the best way to get recommendations.

Now that you have decided to be part of the RV lifestyle, remember that you are not alone out there. The people who choose to live this way understand the reasons and are always willing to lend a hand, share some advice, or just be neighborly.Welcome.

Lois Tomaszewski is an award-winning journalist and former newspaper editor.

Oct 22nd 2018 Lois Tomaszewski

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