It is not news that along with all the high points RVers experience, such as amazing adventures, new places, cool adventures, and incredible feelings of freedom, RVing might also have some social downsides. RV clubs and associations can go a long way toward offsetting those occasional valleys.
Associations come in all stripes: some have very specific purposes or services, some provide social connections, some are designed for families or parents who are road schooling, and some offer advice or discounts—or combinations of all of the above. There are associations for singles, seniors, remote workers, parents, sports enthusiasts, and….well, more than can be listed here. Some have membership fees, which can often be recouped in valuable information or discounts.
Types of Associations
With so many choices, choosing which associations to sign up with can be overwhelming. No one needs to belong to fifty different clubs to get the benefits. First, let’s take a look at the types of associations you can choose from. Four basic types are available.
- Discount clubs, which are often brand related; for example, Kampgrounds of America (KOA), Thousand Trails.
- Community clubs, often oriented to social networking or other special themes such as a particular hobby or sport, or even specific kinds of camping; for example, Boondockers Welcome, RVing Fly Fishers, RoverPass (for RV renters).
- Membership clubs for specific camp businesses or parks, sometimes called affiliate-based; for example, Good Sam Club, Passport America, Escapees/Xscapers.
- Host/Guest clubs, the newest type of associations, connect business and private property owners (private homes, wineries, golf courses, farms, etc.) camping opportunities with RVers.
That said, many associations have multiple benefits. While a club may have a primary purpose, group power promotes discounts that add to a club’s appeal for their target RVers. That factor alone ups the ante in your search for the most useful associations.
Most clubs have a primary focus that will determine search parameters. Of course, most have additional perks, so you still can’t just throw a dart at a list. To get more bang for your buck, you may have to invest some time examining which perks goes with which group. The most common club purposes are these:
- All-inclusive groups for general interest
- Information for New RVers
- Special-interest clubs
- Campground memberships
- Campground discounts—especially good if you move around a lot
- Access to RV parks and their regulations
- Trip planning
- Roadside assistance
- Discounts on merchandise, gas, tools, supplies, etc.
- Social networking
Even with all the association guides, the decision about how much you want to pay for which benefits is entirely based on your individual situation. However, making use of what others have discovered will give you a step up. Let’s take a look at some popular associations and their purposes.
Among the most popular associations are these:
Family Motorcoach Association – offers roadside assistance, education, a wealth of discounts, RV owners advocacy, and more
Boondockers Welcome – options for camping at more than 2900 worldwide private property locations for self-contained RVs
RVillage – a free site for making friends anywhere you camp
Passport America – along with 50% discounts for participating campgrounds
in the US, Canada, and Mexico, are trip routing and an informative app
America the Beautiful Pass – not just for the National Park Service, this covers the BLM, Fish & Wildlife, and the Forest Service, among others.
Harvest Hosts – Also for self-contained RVs, this site organizes private property sites such as wineries, farms, open-air museums for camping; includes an app, interactive maps, and some discounts
Good Sam Club – another all-round, multi-benefit club that has been around for many years, with roadside assistance, insurance, an RV evaluator, and campground discounts.
Joining any of these groups is not a lifetime commitment; if one doesn’t work for your needs or budget, there is undoubtedly one out there that will fit your situation.
Another place that makes life easier for RVers is Riverbound Custom Storage and RV Park in Lake Havasu City, AZ. Whatever association(s) you belong to, a sweet, amenity-filled landing place to kick back is a prime asset. At Riverbound, you have a café, laundromat, dog park, swimming pool, sports courts, and a playground, not to mention superior storage for your vehicle. Set it up as a man cave or an extra living room, and take advantage of the concierge service, showers, and climate-controlled storage. Buy or rent, sell or rent-out, you call the shots.