Known as "The Original 50% Discount Camping Club," it is one of North America's largest and longest-running RV campsite discount clubs, accepted at around 1,700 RV campgrounds throughout the United States, Canada, and Mexico.
The main appeal of this club is the 50% discount at participating campgrounds. It is designed for the thrifty RVer, who is not looking for the "best of the best" campsite.
But, membership is not without its drawbacks. So it begs the question, is Passport America worth joining?
Are You Willing to Make these Compromises to Save Money?
There are some trade-offs in terms of location and quality of the campsites. You'll want to gather information about a specific destination before planning your stay.
- Campgrounds that accept Passport America are usually not the highest-rated, and they can sometimes be off the beaten path.
- Most campgrounds have their own rules about when they choose to honor Passport America's 50% discount. For example, they may only offer a discount during weekdays and non-holidays. Or, they may only apply the discount for a single night.
- If you primarily camp at state- or nationally-operated campgrounds or prefer boondocking, a Passport America membership may not be worth your while. You might commit for a year to see how far you can stretch your savings.
Benefits of a Passport American Membership
Now that you understand there may be some concessions, it's time to decide if all the advantages of Passport America appeal to you.
The national average for a campsite with hookups is somewhere in the ballpark of $45 per night. If you stay at a participating campground two nights out of the year, you can easily see a return on your investment. The savings only add up from there.
Year-round RVers can easily save upwards of $1,200 to $1,500 per year, making an annual $44 membership fee a pretty smart investment.
But to get the full value out of your membership, don't miss out on these perks:
• Trip routing. The most overlooked benefit of Passport America is the trip routing feature. With trip routing, you can plan your travels around Passport America parks. You can add as many stops as you'd like and search for campgrounds that accept PA member cards in a given 10- to 75-mile radius.
• Free magazine subscription. With your Passport America membership, you are automatically enrolled in RV America. This in-house magazine offers product reviews, tips on how to save money RVing, and even some excellent RV cooking recipes.
• Save with the referral program. Passport America will give you $10 off your next membership renewal for each referral you bring their way. You can also refer campgrounds at $50 each!
Memberships range from single-year terms to lifetime plans. As of March 2020, the rates for Passport America memberships are as follows:
• 1 year ($44.00)
• 2 years ($79.00)
• 3 years ($109.00)
• 5 years ($179.00)
• Lifetime ($349.00)
Should you choose the "Lifetime" plan? The Lifetime plan is for those who plan to do RVing for more than ten years. If you go RVing sporadically, then maybe a lesser membership duration will be in your best interest.
If you already have your sights on a campground that accepts Passport America member cards, the buy-in price will likely be a no-brainer.
Is Passport America a money-saving solution for the average RVer? It can be so long as you plan ahead and take advantage of all the benefits that come with being a member.