This article was written in partnership with Family Motor Coach Association.
Freedom, flexibility, and proximity to the outdoors are some well-known perks of RV travel. But did you know that being part of the RV community can also give you things like 24/7 roadside assistance, discounts on tires and batteries, and exclusive access to helpful tools and resources? RV clubs and memberships not only offer a wide variety of deals and discounts, but they strive to make RVing easier, safer, and more enjoyable for everyone.
So, regardless of whether you’re just heading out on vacation, doing some seasonal travel, or living in an RV full-time, there’s a club for everyone. And we’re here to help steer you (pun intended) in the right direction.
Why Join an RV Club?
Now that you’ve gotten your RV, you might be wondering: Why should I join a club? Well, if you’re new to RVing, these clubs can provide excellent resources and forums to help answer any questions you may have — even those obscure questions only your dad would know, like how to put your RV into cruise control. And, if you’re a seasoned RVer, things like rewards programs, campsite discounts, and special pricing on RV parts can help save you time and money.
Many clubs also make a point to help facilitate social connections and put on events. For example, the Family Motor Coach Association (FMCA) — the world’s largest not-for-profit RV owners association — holds regular rallies and expos all over the country. These events are open to members and non-members alike, and include RV displays, educational seminars, entertainment, and fun camping opportunities.
Three Categories of RV Clubs
Most RV clubs can be categorized into three major categories:
- Support Networks
- Campground and RV Parking Access Groups
- Emergency Roadside Services
Support Networks offer a wide variety of benefits, ranging from relevant RV discounts to informational forums to community events. These are basically the most “club-like” of the three. Support Network clubs include FMCA (fun fact: FMCA now includes motorhomes, fifth wheels, and towable trailers!), Escapees, and Good Sam Club. Memberships at these types of clubs can usually be tailored for individuals, families, or corporations, depending on what you’re looking for.
Campground and RV Parking Access Groups focus on facilitating access to a network of parks, often at a discounted price. Thousand Trails, Passport America, and Kampgrounds of America (KOA) are three of the most popular groups, giving their members free or discounted access to a unique network of campgrounds and RV parks. Membership fees for these groups can vary greatly based on the number of parks in a network and how you want to use the parks (day passes, extended stay, use of extra park facilities). Certain memberships can also be customized specifically for families, full-time RVers, and boondockers.
Emergency Roadside Services are very similar to motor clubs, but specialize in the care, maintenance, and towing of RVs. These clubs cover things like windshield replacements, dead batteries, even complete RV breakdowns. Some of the most well known service providers are Coach-Net, Roadsafe, and AAA (which also has an RV add-on package for existing automobile members). Something to keep in mind with these club memberships is that many are regionally-based. So if you register in one state, but break down in another, then you might not have access to all of the services.
What If I Want All Three?
If having a support network, access to parks, and roadside assistance are all important to you, then you’re better off joining a one-stop-shop like FMCA.
FMCA not only offers incredible discounts on things like mail-forwarding services and Michelin tires, but they also publish a monthly magazine, host a variety of events and online classes, and offer premium WiFi packages. The FMCAssist program, which is automatically included for all members, helps with emergency medical evacuations and repatriations. This program takes care of everything so both you and your RV can get to a safe place. FMCA will even pay to have a family member meet you at the designated safe drop-off location.
In an effort to help members stay even more connected, the FMCA will also be releasing a brand new app this August called FMCA RV Club. The free app — which will be launching at FMCA’s 100th International RV Expo in Minot, North Dakota — will let you track your RV’s unique maintenance schedule, store and share preferred service centers, receive notifications for ownership details like vehicle registration, plan road trips, and access helpful RV check-lists and how-to guides.
To learn more about the FMCA RV Club app or FMCA membership details visit https://join.fmca.com/fmca19tg/.