We couldn’t full time without our memberships. They save us so much on camping costs. Here are some of the ones we belong to:
TSD Fuel Program – I list this first because it saves us so much money on diesel. Its only for diesel and you have to fill up in the trucker’s lanes in the back of the stations. Diesel pusher and diesel trucks pulling 5th wheels and trailers are eligible to join. TSD negotiates discounted prices from Loves, TA, Petro and various other fuel providers on our behalf. It doesn’t cost anything to join but they get 10% of the savings you get from using them. For instance, if you fill up and save $30 in fuel costs, then they get $3 and you get a $27 discount on your fuel. They use EFS for processing the payment which is the same company that most trucking companies us to handle payments. EFS has an app you download onto your phone that will show you the fueling locations in your area and what the price is. Price varies per station based on contracts negotiated by TSD. TSD has been in business for 40 years. They are a logistics company and just opened this program up to RV’ers in the last couple of years. Initially we were getting 50-60 cents a gallon discount at Loves but with the pandemic, things have changed and discounts aren’t as good it’s still a discount and we love it. They also have a referral program so if you refer anyone, they will give you $25 after they purchase 100 gals. I’d appreciate if you put my name in as your referrer: Carolyn Valk.
Payment for your fuel is automatically deducted from your bank account. A lot of people might have a problem with that but we didn’t. Those that do, have opened up a small checking account and transfer money to it as necessary. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable. One you sign up, then download the EFS app and download the fuel station apps such as Pilot/Flying J, Loves, TA, etc. to get reward points for free coffee, soda’s, showers, dumps, etc. With Loves and Pilot/Flying J, you can pay from your cab using their app and not have to go into the store to pay. Makes refueling really quick. Please note – TSD no longer has a discount program with Pilot/Flying J but sometimes you just have to use them because they are the only ones around. We stick to Loves as much as possible when we can.
Here’s the link to the program:
FMCA (Family Motor Coach Association) – Provides all kinds of benefits for members. Travel insurance, deep discounts on Michelin tires, has great rallies with lots of educational seminars and vendors, membership includes free FMCA Assist for emergency evacuations, return of dependents or pet or RV/vehicle. They also have a Roadside Assistance program for towing, jump starts, lockouts, tire service, mobile mechanic, etc. Membership also includes a monthly magazine. They also do mail forwarding, tours, etc. Initially, the club was only for Motor Coaches but they have since expanded to include 5th wheels and pull behinds.
Escapees – Fee based online RV community which provides discounts, education, mapping tools, rallies, job boards, support, domicile locations for Texas, Florida and South Dakota, Park discounts, etc. Cost is $39.95 (current price as of 6/24/20) a year. We use Escapees for our mail forwarding and domicile address. Mail forwarding is $95 a year (as of 6/24/20) plus the cost of shipments. Mail scanning is an additional $10 a month. They will scan every envelope and post it online for you to see. You can then decide to have it shredded or have it sent to you in your next mail shipment. We really like using the for mail plus having a domicile address in rural Texas makes our RV and car insurance a cheaper.
RVillage – A Mobile app supported by Escapees RV Club. Many groups are now using them as a platform for social media rather than Facebook. FMCA and Thor Diesel club are among those. It’s free to join.
Note: You can upgrade your membership to Gold for an additional onetime fee of $20 (this may have gone up) and get some great discounts on some of the clubs and items listed in this write up such as Harvest Hosts, Boondockers Welcome, TireMinder,etc.
Thor Diesel Club
Facebook: Thor Diesel Club
Exclusive Club for Thor Diesel owners only but check for your manufacturer. Most have groups you can join. TDC has regional clubs that meet throughout the year. Check for one in your region. They also have an International Rally every year in Goshen that is a lot of fun. Usually it centers around a theme. Past themes have been Pirates, Hawaiian and Out Of This World. 2019 is going to be Team Sports themed. You can also find TDC on RVillage too.
Local Clubs – We are members of a local Texas Club called Texas Boomers and Happy OK Wanderers which we met coming back from Las Vegas. Both are clubs that have rallies in the general areas where we live and get together several times a year or even monthly. Look for clubs to join in your area. Facebook is a good place to start your search.
Good Sam’s Club – Owned by Camping World. Members get a 10% discounts at participating campgrounds. Fee based Membership. They also offer various insurances. Research carefully before buying their insurance. There are lots of pro’s and con’s when it comes to insurances.
Passport America – Fee based membership. 50% discount at participating campgrounds but they can have a lot of restrictions on when they will honor it. Some are only on weekdays not weekends. Some won’t during their peak season. Always check the Allstays App for special requirements and ask when you make the reservations.
Thousand Trails – RVLove.com has all the information you need to decide whether or not a membership with Thousand Trails is a good fit for you. You can buy a Zone pass for $599 (as of 6/24/20) which covers just a section of the United states or an upgraded membership that covers all Zones. They used to have a 2 for 1 Zone Pass option that they offered several times during the year but I haven’t seen them offer that in long awhile but you can add additional Zones for an add on fee of $59 each (as of 6/24/20). You can pay for it in full or by the month. If you do the monthly and have it drafted from your bank automatically you get a discount.
You can say for 2 wks then must be out of the system for a week before going to the next TT park. If you upgrade, for example, to the Elite, you can stay for up to 3 weeks and then go to the next park without having to be out of the system. That means you can go from park to park to park. You have access to over 80 TT parks and discounts at Encore parks. Do not buy an upgraded membership from Thousand Trails. Buy a used one from a broker. You will save thousands of dollars. We almost bought a new one from TT. They wanted $5600. Then we talked to a broker and got the same thing by buying a used membership for $3600. We have been traveling for almost over a year now since we bought it and have found it to be invaluable. It paid for itself in the first 3 month.
We also added the Trails Collection which adds 1000 more campgrounds which allows us to stay 2 wks at their upper end Encore parks for $20 a night. The Trails Collection is now $299 (as of 6/24/20). You must be out of the Trails Collection for a week before you can book another Trails Collection park.
Note: some parks are really nice. Some are just so-so. None have been unbearable. Read all you can at RVLove.com to be as informed as possible before making a decision. Some parks also charge $5 or so additionally for 50 amp service and even $1-$5 per package if you have packages delivered while you are there. Other parks won’t accept mail at all. If your planning on having mail/pkgs delivered to your next park, call ahead to see if they allow it. Some have even accepted them for us before we got there and just held them until our arrival.
Boondockers Welcome –
Facebook: Boondockers Welcome Group
Annual Membership required. Cost is $50 a year (as of 6/24/20). These are people that have room on their driveway or on their property that host members for free. Usually they do not provide hookups but occasionally some will. If you get in a pinch and can’t find a campground in your area, you can log on and find a host close by that will let you stay at their place. We have used them several times and found them to be a great resource. We met a nice couple in PA that we stayed with for 5 years now and we have become fast friends. The length of the stay is determined by the host but members are reminded not to overstay their welcome. Please negotiate up front.
Harvest Hosts – www.harvesthosts.com
Membership required. $79 a year (1092 locations) or $119 if you add golf courses (1448 locations). Prices are current as of 6/24/20. Hosts have wineries, farms, museums and breweries/distilleries that allow you to boondock on their property. Members are encouraged to support the Hosts but it’s not a requirement. One night stay unless the host offers to extend. We have stayed at several wineries, a car museum and a farm. We have camped in the middle of a vineyard and in the middle of an apple orchard. We highly recommend joining as we have stayed at some amazing places.
Here is our referral link to save 15% off membership costs:
Military – If you’re a member of the military (retired or active) you can stay at military bases. Most have hookups.
Elks Lodge – If you are an Elks member, you can stay at their lodges but I believe most are without hookups.