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Should you get a camping membership?

Should you get a camping membership?

The Camping Membership Dilemma

As camping season approaches, many new and old RV owners are trying to decide whether they should invest in a camping membership. At first glance, these memberships can seem quite lucrative and like a great deal – however, they won’t work for everyone. Read on for tips on how to decide whether or not a membership is a smart choice for you.

Two Different Options

There are two basic options when it comes to savings for camping. The first is a membership. Members-only campgrounds are exclusive and only open to people who pay their dues. This exclusivity tends to go along with clean campgrounds with many amenities.

Alternatively, you can join a rewards or loyalty program at campgrounds that are open to the public (KOA for example). Typically, these reward or discount cards can be purchased annually. They tend to be less expensive and offer more variety in your options, although the campgrounds may not offer as many amenities.

If you go camping two or more times a year, then either a membership or a rewards program is likely a smart choice. These will afford you:

  • Special discounts or free access to campsites
  • Access to special rewards with affiliate companies
  • Potential member get-togethers and perks
  • Paying for itself with multiple trips

Things to consider when choosing

The first and most important thing to consider when choosing a membership or reward program is how much you will use it. These programs are only a good deal if you actually use them. Before making the leap, take time to calculate your average camping fees over a year. Then calculate what a similar amount of camping would cost with the membership or rewards (make sure to add in the cost of the membership or rewards program).

Secondly, make sure you read all of the fine print. Is there an annual, monthly or one-time fee? What is the cancellation policy? Are you comfortable with the terms of the contract? Generally, discount or rewards cards are more straightforward and have fewer terms and conditions.

Lastly, make sure you familiarize yourself with the locations of the membership. A membership is only going to be worth it if it has locations that you will want to frequent.

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