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Escapees of course to at least handle your mail, attend Boot Camp and go to Escapades. After that it depends on what type of RVer you are. Passport America is pretty much on everyone's list, Harvest Hosts is fun and different. After those I would wait and determine your camping style.

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Welcome to the Escapees forums! I too suggest that you give serious thought to joining what I believe to be the only complete support system for full-time RV living. As to other organizations, it will depend upon the style of RV living you plan to do. Some reap great benefits from belonging to one of the membership RV park groups such as Thousand Trails, while other lifestyles get little benefit from it. If you have any interest in work camping you would probably gain by subscribing to the Workamper News. If you are 62 years old or older, get one of the America the Beautiful Senior Cards. There are two campground discount groups which you should consider, Passport America and also Happy Camper Club but there is little benefit to joining both. 

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Welcome Dennis.   Right now since 'C' started, the RVing arena has changed exponentially due to supply and demand, albeit demand was increasing leading up to as well we noticed.

To each their own, but I personally would hold off joining most anything unless you can see immediate benefit to you.   For example we joined Passport America for just one year in June 2018, as a trip with a cousin flying in from Ireland to join us meant we could save 50% at the Oasis Las Vegas (2 x 3 nights at start and end of trip), and again in Santa Barbara and the Napa Valley.    However, I noted the following year Oasis was no longer being offered on Passport America.   As demand has increased in fact fewer CG's/Resorts are offering deep discounts.   When we plan a trip I cross reference if needed what CGs in the vicinity are Passport America affiliates and the options have diminished immensely from 3+ years ago.

Many lately are saying that Boondockers Welcome and Harvest Hosts are becoming harder and harder to get into lately as well, so another reason to check things out before parting with your money and finding your travel groove.

Some join Thousand Trails and then find it too restrictive for their travels trying to be at the specific offerings, but feel they need to divert to use their membership having paid for it.   Lots lately saying they can't get in to many of the places in the programme either for various reasons.

Some sound advice above, research your options for mail forwarders, where you are domiciling, and checking into CG's, try travelling without parting with large monies initially unless you can evidently see an immediate "we will use" saving.    It's a bit like gift cards from stores, they know there'll be many buying and several never using them.

Safe and Happy Travels.  FTW.

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Welcome to the group Dennis.  I'll second everyone's suggestion of Escapees and Passport America.   If you are interested in membership parks, I'd invite to read our page from our blog on Membership Parks.  There are several things to consider and I agree it takes a while to know if they might fit your traveling style, especially if you haven't done much RVing before you retired.  

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In general I wouldn’t recommend buying a membership resort, unless you are planning on using the home resort and understand all of the ins and outs of the membership plan and how to it will work while you are traveling.  For some people they are an excellent choice, but not for everyone.  A friend of mine has Coast-to-Coast and RPI, and finds that their traveling style is too spontaneous for the system mostly (they have to reserve 3 days out).  They have enjoyed several really nice parks though, so they keep paying the annual fees.

I wanted to buy into Thousand Trails when I first got the trailer over 5 years ago, but found all of the different types of memberships too confusing, so I held off.  I’ve now been full-time for 2 years and still don’t feel that my particular RVing style fits in with membership resorts.  But that’s just me.

As far as other clubs go:

Escapees, definitely.  Excellent education/information, use their mail forwarding address and so on.

I joined Good Sam right away because of the 5 cents off a gallon of gas at Pilot/Flying J - the closest and cheapest gas station to where I lived was a Flying J and I usually filled up there 3-4 times a week.  I’ve hardly used it for anything this past year since I haven’t been traveling much and there’s no handy Flying J or Pilot station.  I know that many GS parks give the same discount to AAA members as they do to Good Sam members, and one gave a better discount to veterans.

 I have Passport America.  It doesn’t take many stops before you’ve paid for it.  It isn’t as useful as it once was - as noted a number of parks are no longer accepting it and those that do often have restrictions so that they only accept it off-season, and usually only for a couple of nights.

I recently joined Harvest Host, but have yet to use it.  I haven’t been traveling much and there didn’t seem to be any on my route when I was.  I’m reserving judgement - I don’t drink alcohol so wine tasting isn’t something I’m going to do, and most of the people I know who like it have been staying at wineries, enjoying sampling and buying some excellent wine.

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3 hours ago, fpmtngal said:

I know that many GS parks give the same discount to AAA members as they do to Good Sam members, and one gave a better discount to veterans.

I learned to just lay out all my membership cards and let the clerk pick which would give me the best rate. For instance, one used Passport America for weekdays then AARP for the weekend when PA wouldn't cover those days.

We did buy into a membership resort after a year of traveling. Our home park was in Arizona where we spent the winter--two weeks in and one week out--but we never used any of the other parks in that system because we didn't like making reservations in advance. (I would call our home park from Walmart in town where we stocked up for the next two weeks to reserve for that night.) We did stay in several Escapee Member parks and some others with Escapee discounts plus lots of Passport America parks as we traveled the rest of the year.

Linda Sand

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I agree with Escapees and PA for starters, and Good Sam if you use PFJ station often for fuel and the occasional parks that accept them. As Linda suggested, I just lay out my deck of cards and let them pick unless I know they only accept one. I once accidentally included a library card in the deck, and the check-in clerk picked it up and said very seriously that one was worth a 10% discount. I thanked her, and then had a good laugh when the receipt showed a 10% senior discount... :)

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Be aware that most of the "clubs" like Passport America can only be used in commercial campgrounds, and most limit the specific days you can stay.  Personally, I am a full-timer who almost entirely stays in national, state, and county campgrounds because I like to have a larger space and be out in nature instead of packed into a campground where I can hear their TV and conversations, even inside their rigs.  At least wait until you know what your camping style is before you invest money in one of these plans. 

The only card I use on those rare times where i stay at a commercial campground is AARP and I have that because of my Medicare supplement insurance.

When I first started out 9 years ago, I did join the KOA discount, but then got tired of the noise and crowded conditions in most of them. 

Edited by Solo18
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