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Some people believe full-time travel is only for those with a lot of money, and depending on how you go about it, this absolutely could be true. That said, there are definitely ways to make full-time RV living a possibility no matter your income level.
For starters, a few of the best ways to save money include…
- Buying a used rig and learning to fix things yourself.
- Using reciprocal memberships for any sightseeing you do.
- Cooking in your RV rather than eating out.
Another big money saver? Camping memberships.
Camping clubs, camping memberships, and other money-saving camping subscriptions are some of the very best ways to keep RV travel as budget-friendly as possible. They can reduce your nightly camping fee average to very little, leaving you with more money to see and do cool things as you travel.
Not sure which camping memberships might be right for you? Our top picks for the best money-saving camping membership for full-timers are listed below. Choose from this list and you can’t go wrong.
For many, Thousand Trails is the key to being able to live on the road full-time. This campground chain offers a number of different kinds of memberships, each one giving the card holder slightly different benefits.
The most basic pass allows campers to stay in any Thousand Trails park within their region for up to 14 nights at a time free of charge, as long as they stay out of the system (i.e. anywhere but a Thousand Trails park) for 7 days in between reservations.
That said, there are higher-level memberships that include all regions, allow longer stays, and allow users to hop directly from one park to the next.
Trails Collection is an add-on to the Thousand Trails membership. It gives the user the option of staying at a number of Encore parks, opening up even more opportunities for camping. Campers can stay at these parks for up to 14 nights, but then must leave the system for a week. Most Trails Collection stays are free for members, but a select few parks do charge $20 a night.
Resort Parks International
Resort Parks International (RPI) is another of the camping memberships that can be added onto Thousand Trails. It gives users access to even more parks across the county for only $10–$15 a night and is perfect for those times when you want to stay in an area that doesn’t have a Thousand Trails or Trails Collection park.
We love Passport America for shorter stays. It works especially well for those 1- or 2-night stints when you’re traveling quickly. This club gives members access to a half-price camping discount at an enormous number of privately owned campgrounds across the US. Every campground has different rules for Passport America holders, but generally the discount can be used for 1–3 nights at a time.
Those who don’t mind dry camping (aka boondocking) and want to have a whole experience every time they camp will enjoy Harvest Hosts. This camping membership gives campers the opportunity to dry camp on farms, vineyards, and other such places across the country for free.
Members are asked to spend some money at any given place they are visiting, but this is a small price to pay for the awesome views and fun experiences that come along with staying in such unique places.
Similar to Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome is another one that’s great if you don’t mind dry camping, and we find that this membership is the perfect way to meet new people.
With this one, members have the opportunity to camp in the yards and driveways of individuals across the country, totally free of charge. Some provide electricity, water, or a dump station, and some don’t. Some do ask for a small donation to cover the cost of utilities, but the cost is minimal.
In almost all cases, the hosts are friendly and fun, providing good conversation along with a place to stay.
As far as all-encompassing camping memberships go, Escapees is a great option. It offers discounts at select campgrounds, access to members-only campgrounds, and a whole lot more. We love the camping discounts, of course, but find that the other benefits offered by this subscription are equally valuable, making this an excellent investment.
Besides camping discounts, other benefits Escapees offers include a mail forwarding service, rallies and events throughout the year for members, and more.
Good Sam Club
Good Sam Club is another option that offers a whole lot of different discounts and perks under one membership.
The camping discount through Good Sam isn’t the quite as deep as some others out there, but there are tons of campgrounds that offer discounts to Good Sam members—many of which overlap with the campgrounds on the Passport America list and will allow you to use one discount for the first part of your stay and the other for the second part. Just be sure you ask each place before assuming this will work at any given location.
Other Good Sam benefits include discounts on gas at certain truck stops, discounts at Camping World, and more.
Last but definitely not least, there is Fulltime Families. This is a membership every family on the road should have, as it connects you with other traveling families, giving you community wherever you may roam. That said, it can also help you save money along the way!
You see, members of Fulltime Families have access to discounts on certain partner campgrounds, as well as many of the camping memberships listed above. Additionally, Fulltime Families will be launching a recommended campground map in the near future that shows families the best places to stay with kids, helping to ensure whatever money you do spend on campgrounds is money well spent.
Join Fulltime Families
Fulltime Families Members get access to the best resources, community and discounts.
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