Think Passport America Isn’t For You? Here’s Why You’re Wrong.
We love RVing for so many reasons. Traveling the country, seeing amazing sights, and doing it all on our own unique budget.
One of the great things about the RV lifestyle is that it can cost as much or as little as you want it to. And there are many discount clubs and memberships to help you with that!
One discount RVing membership that we’ve used is Passport America. It gets mixed reviews. Some folks love it. Some folks don’t.
If you think it’s not for you, you’re probably wrong.
Let’s dive in.
What is Passport America and How Does It Work?
Passport America is known as ‘the original 50% off discount camping club’. This discount camping club offers 50% off of camping fees at over campgrounds around the US.
This company is a network of participating campgrounds that offer discounts to encourage getting customers. All campgrounds are independently owned, run, and managed.
Here’s the catch – there are “black out” dates for certain campgrounds, there are unique use-limits for each park, and the parks vary greatly with amenities. Sounds iffy, right?
Let’s get one thing clear, Passport America will get you 50% off the RV park rate. That means a $ bill, will only cost you $ That’s a big savings.
Find Reservations That Work For You
Passport America has over participating campgrounds in the United States. The campgrounds are scattered all over the place, but they’re not everywhere.
Fortunately, their website has an easy to use map that plots out each campground. You get a great visual of your road trip and can see if any of the participating parks are en route.
Sure, finding a reservation in a tourist hot spot during a holiday weekend can be challenging. However, if you’re traveling during a regular weekend, it’s pretty easy to score that 50% discount.
Keep in mind the 10 Year Rule: Even if you’re a Passport America member, you may be denied at certain RV parks if your RV is 10 years old or older.
Plan Ahead Because Campgrounds Have Blackout Dates
Most participating campgrounds have blackout dates. Blackout dates are dates when the discount is not honored.
Many times, blackout dates are during summer holidays. Sometimes they last an entire season in extremely popular destinations. Most importantly, blackout dates aren’t consistent from park to park, because each park is independently managed. This can make it difficult to plan and difficult to find a discount campground for the dates that you need it.
You can use this to your advantage.
The shoulder season is a perfect time to book reservations at tourist hot spots. Popular camping destinations in Arizona, Florida, and California cost a lot of money.
Passport America can cut a $60 night rate down to $ We’ve used this during the shoulder season in many locations. You get to visit right before or after peak season, crowds are smaller, and your bill is smaller!
If Your Prefer Free Camping Like Us, Passport America Parks Are Great for Refreshing Your Tanks
No matter how much we love free camping, we eventually need to stay at an RV park to refresh everything. The black & grey tanks need dumping, the fresh water needs refilling, and I need a long, hot shower.
Passport America is the best way to refresh.
With our flexible schedule, we don’t worry about black out dates.
And, at 50% off, we can stay at a luxury resort with hot tubs!
Pro Tip: Here are the 20 Best Free Campsites in the USA.
Some Passport America Parks Are Less Than Luxurious , Others are Awesome
Since all the parks are independently owned and managed, there is no standard for cleanliness, amenities, or anything like that.
In fact, some the participating parks are just like RV parking lots. If you only need an overnight stay, it’s no problem.
However, in addition to the great PA parks we’ve visited, we’ve stayed at a few slightly concerning locations. Reading park reviews is essential if you use Passport America.
Most importantly, if you’re camping at a Passport America park that doesn’t feel safe, let the PA team know! They have a three-strike rule. If a park receives multiple complaints, it’s likely they’ll be removed from the program.
They’re on top of quality control, but need to hear from you if a park isn’t great.
Is Passport America Right for You?
Passport America is a great discount camping resource. If it fits your RVing style, by all means, go for it!
A membership can pay for itself within uses, depending on the cost of the campground.
This discount membership is well loved and well used by RVers all over the country. Even if you’re like us and love free camping, the Passport America program can fill in the gaps between off-grid trips.
If you want to learn more about Passport America and participating campgrounds, check out their website here.
Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA
To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).
You should give it a try!
As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.
Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the , campers that love to score the best site!
We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:
Passport America VS Good Sam: Which One is Better?
This post may contain affiliate links. See our affiliate disclaimer here.
We are all about finding ways to save a few dollars while traveling. After all, the more money we can keep in our bank account, the longer we can keep traveling in our RV full-time.
There are lots of RVing memberships out there. I want to give a full Passport America review and Good Sam Club review as these are the two RV memberships that it seems everyone says you need on the road.
Both of these membership clubs offer awesome discounts, but which one is better?
(I use an affiliate link in the Passport America links below. This means that if you click through the link and decide to sign up, I get a small commission. I only do this with products I actually use and would recommend to a friend).
Passport America Review
Overview:Passport America offers a 50% discount at their participating 1,+ campgrounds across the country. (Don’t be fooled by the covered wagon on their logo. This is a great RV membership!)
Yearly membership cost: $44/year
Savings: 50% at each participating campground.
Number of participating campgrounds: 1,
- Their iPhone application is very user-friendly and easy to use
- 50% is a ton of savings for each campground
- While you can usually find several Passport America’s in each town, there aren’t as many listed campgrounds as Good Sam.
- Many of the RV parks don’t offer Passport America during weekends, peak season, or holidays. Before you show up to a Passport America park, make sure you double-check the RV park profile in your Passport America application to see if they are currently accepting the discount. (P.S I’ve been able to talk campgrounds into letting us use our discount even though it was a weekend because they weren’t very busy. Better to just call ahead and see if they’d be willing to let you use it.)
- Not every campground is of great quality (but many are).
We purchased our membership before we hit the road and it paid for itself within the first couple of uses. One of the first things we learned with Passport America was to always double-check the RV park reviews with Google or a website like Campendium. This is because not every single Passport America park is going to be very classy (if costs under $15, it’s for a reason guys).
However, it has proven to be our first choice of membership club when we are traveling to a new area. If we can find a decent Passport America campground, we stay there. Like when we found a campground in Old Orchard Beach where we could walk to the beach AND it cost us under $ Now that’s a big win.
We estimate that last year we stayed at over 50 campgrounds that offered Passport America, which gave us a savings of over $ for the year.Crazy, right? You can sign up for a Passport America membership here.
We are lifetime members of PA because we know how much money it can save us. We’ve been RVing since and this membership has paid for itself 50 times over.
Good Sam Review
Overview: Get 10% off your stay at all Good Sam parks + discounts at Camping World and Flying J.
Yearly membership cost: $27/year
Savings: 10% at each participating campground.
Number of participating campgrounds: 2,
- The Good Sam campgrounds we stayed at had an overall higher level of cleanliness and upkeep.
- Good Sam ranks each park by cleanliness, friendliness, etc, so you can learn more about the park before arriving. (However, after talking to park owners, these numbers are skewed based on how much the park is willing to pay for higher scores.)
- You won’t have an issue finding a Good Sam park wherever you travel. They are everywhere.
- Every time we tried to use the Good Sam app to find an RV park, it crashed on us.
- 10% savings means you need to use the discount at least 10 times to start saving money
While we bought our Good Sam membership around the same time as our Passport America membership, we used Good Sam much less. The main reason why we didn’t use Good Sam as much is that it only offers a 10% discount, which, compared to a 50% discount, is nothing to call home about. We will go slightly out of our way to stay at a PA park and save $20 versus staying at the nearby park and save $4.
We save anywhere from $ each time we used Good Sam, which can add up over time. But compared to saving $15+ at every use, we will always choose a Passport America park first. The Good Sam membership paid for itself but didn’t save us too much money.
In conclusion, which membership club is better?
My recommendation would be to sign up for both club memberships. Both can save you money, especially if you’re RVing full-time.
But if I had to pick just one based on the amount of savings it offers, it would be Passport America.
Passport America offers a 50% discount and its number of participating campgrounds is nearing that of Good Sam. Plus, as a full-time RVer who is constantly looking for campgrounds on the fly, it’s important to have a reliable iPhone application that allows us to find an RV park at any given time.
Below are a few screenshots inside the Passport America app.
Passport America definitely seems to care a bit more about the technology side of their business. They’ve been an awesome resource for us to save money while being on the road full-time. Here is a link where you can sign up for one of their yearly memberships (this is an affiliate link). If you need our membership ID, it’s C.
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