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psherman
I've decided to join one of these two organizations and am not sure which one is the better deal. Any thoughts or experiences to help me decide? I generally camp mid-week for 2-3 nights at a time and only from about November until May (if that matters). No kids, no pets. There is a significant difference in membership fee ($19 vs $44) but perhaps that is justified by discounts. I believe that I would mostly use the membership for reduced camping fees rather than insurance or routing or technical assistance.

Thanks in advance. I'm sorry if this question has been asked and answered; I tried to search for it, but since "Sam"--a vital part of the query--has fewer than 4 characters, the search was invalid.
John Blue
My answer would be to use each. On Good Sam you will find more parks and most are in good places to camp with 10% off. On Passport you receive 50% off for one night or more nights as all parks are different. You will find Good Sam parks everyplace but Passport only has 1600 parks in US. I found parks drop in and out of this system overnight and lots are on last leg of life cycle. A small number are OK to spend a short time in and we have found a couple that were nice places. You will save the cost on Passport in a very short time due to the 50% off. Last item the Good Sam new book (2010) now has the GPS address on lots of parks and that helps you find the place.

We only use the services of parks and no route or trip planning or any other plans they have.
Denali
We have used both for the seven years we have been on the road.

For those unfamiliar with these programs, Good Sam gives a 10% discount off the DAILY rate at participating parks. No discount for weekly or monthly rates. Passport America gives a 50% discount. Each park that participates in Passport America has its own rules about when they give the discount, for how many nights, etc. Some are quite restrictive, most are not.

John provided a good description of the two. A large proportion of the parks we stop at are Good Sam members, but they usually give the same discount for other memberships as well--AARP, AAA, Escapees (15% for that), etc. Be aware that your Good Sam membership automatically signs you up for an enormous amount of junk mail, trying to sell you insurance, Camping World stuff, etc.

We never go out of our way to find a Passport America park, but since we save enough to pay for our annual membership if we use it about two nights a year, it is well worth it to us. Last year we probably used it about 20 nights, so it was a real money saver.
Florida Native
I agree with the above two posters. We have had both for years. PPA is my wife's first choice when deciding where to stay that night. We have used PPA at least 75 times and gotten a huge range of campgrounds from high end to the small rundown types. I think they are about average for American campgrounds. The concept is for campgrounds to fill spaces that would otherwise be empty at half price. The restrictions are for times the campground stands a good chance of being full anyway like holiday weekends. Some campers talk bad about the restrctions, but if it wasn't for the restrictions, then there would be no discounts. You have to play by the rules. Campowners who's situations would work embrace the plan as half the income can defray fixed cost.
Texasrvers
Iím going to come at this from just a slightly different perspective based on our travel patterns and needs. We do have Good Sam and feel like it pays for itself when we do our average amount of yearly travel. We have not yet purchased Passport America, but we do consider it every now and then. Our hesitancy is because when I look at their list of parks, the ones we normally stay at are not listed. And when I check places we would like to stay at in the future, they are not listed either. Also there seems to be more complaints (in this forum) about PPA policies and restrictions. I understand these are set by the individual parks, but that is part of the problem since there is no uniformity as there is with GS. Of course that is just my personal opinion. I have no doubt that either organization can save you money if you travel a lot and stay at their member parks. In our case the parks we tend to stay at are Good Sam and not PPA so that is why we have only the GS membership.
pianotuna
Hi all,

I am a Good Sam member. I probably won't renew as I don't stay in commercial campgrounds a lot. I prefer boondocking and government parks, so the discount is not of use. I do occasionally "Walmart it", but only if I'm trying to travel hard and fast.

I believe if I were a full time RV'er (I'm green with envy at those who are btw) then the Passport America membership might be a "must have".

On a typical trip I plan to stay one day a week in a hotel (so my wife can have a tub bath), one day a week no cooking is performed (a different day than the hotel night), and one day a week at a campground with either a dump site or a full hook up at the site.

I might go East one day, and South the next. I love staying in small towns and poking my nose into the local museums, and etc. One night stops or two at most are quite common.
nedmtnman
We have been fulltiming for almost 7 years now and belong to both PA and GS. If you are going to join Good Sam wait and do it at a campground that is a GS park. It's a LOT cheaper to join. When traveling I plan my trips ( we rarely go more than 150 miles a day ) for PA and Corp of engineer campgrounds. We have the Golden Age Passport for 1/2 price at Corp parks.
RLM
I'm in agreement with those who would use both, but only if they will pay for themselves. Provided it gets used, PPA, at 50% doesn't take long. And as mentioned, the extra price of the discount is either tons of junk mail from GS or having to search for the better PPA campgrounds.
Florida Native
QUOTE(pianotuna @ Jan 10 2010, 03:00 PM) *

I might go East one day, and South the next. I love staying in small towns and poking my nose into the local museums, and etc. One night stops or two at most are quite common.


This is just about what we do. Never really know where we are going to spend the next night. We stay a while if there is interesting stuff to see. I love those small museums and off the beaten path things. We go for months at a time without bathtub which my wife loves. I better not let her see the motel suggestion. We have driven hundreds of miles out of the way to see friends that had a tub though. To me, the whole essence of RV'ing is being foot loose and fancy free. A rigid schedule makes me nervous. We drove from Northern Maine to Central Florida due to a medicla problem with my daughter in 4 1/2 days and I was a wreck. It took us over 3 months to get to Maine. I hate to say it but I think the bad economy has reduced the occupancy rate at campgrounds which makes this type of traveling easier.
MissyRez
Just FYI, if you are a veteran you can get your Good Sam membership for free! I did it at Camping World, just took in my DD214. You'll have to do it yearly, though. Can't pay a little and extend or go to lifetime membership from the Veterans' Membership. Don't know if PPA has a similar program or not. Anyone?
Luvtheroad
QUOTE(MissyRez @ Feb 27 2014, 11:20 AM) *

Just FYI, if you are a veteran you can get your Good Sam membership for free! I did it at Camping World, just took in my DD214. You'll have to do it yearly, though. Can't pay a little and extend or go to lifetime membership from the Veterans' Membership. Don't know if PPA has a similar program or not. Anyone?


I was excited to read this, as we are getting ready to renew our membership. We just called the Camping World in Winter Garden, FL and they said, nope, no free yearly memberships for veterans. The only thing they offer is a half-off lifetime membership for veterans.

Is this something regional, not offered by all Camping Worlds? Or did we just get some dodo who didn't know what she was talking about?
thetravelkids
QUOTE(jamarynn1 @ Feb 27 2014, 05:06 PM) *

I was excited to read this, as we are getting ready to renew our membership. We just called the Camping World in Winter Garden, FL and they said, nope, no free yearly memberships for veterans. The only thing they offer is a half-off lifetime membership for veterans.

Is this something regional, not offered by all Camping Worlds? Or did we just get some dodo who didn't know what she was talking about?


Not meaning to Hijack this thread, but this is the info from the Good Sam Club website concerning Military members:

How can I take advantage of the free membership for active military?
Active military personnel receive a complimentary Club membership. It's our way of saluting and thanking our soldiers for the service they provide to our country.

Active military personnel can activate their complimentary membership by showing their military ID at any Camping World SuperCenter nationwide or by calling Member Services at 866-205-7451.

Free membership must be activated by the person whose name appears on the active military ID. The free membership term is based on the number of years left on the service member’s military ID card. If the service member is already a member of the Good Sam Club, then we will simply extend their membership to match the term on the military ID card.


Do veterans receive a discount?
Yes, veterans are eligible for Life Membership Discounts. Qualifying members who want to take advantage of this pricing should visit their local Camping World SuperCenter or call Member Services at 866-205-7451. Please note that proof of qualifications may be required on select upgrade terms.

I am a Passport America member and a Good Sam member...I take advantage of Passport America whenever I can. I've already saved more this year than what I pay for an annual membership.

Bob
GandJ
Thank you to whomever resurrected this old thread. Seeing the post from John Blue startled me at first...and then made me smile. He is muchly missed. May he rest in peace.
Texasrvers
QUOTE(GandJ @ Feb 28 2014, 02:13 PM) *

Thank you to whomever resurrected this old thread. Seeing the post from John Blue startled me at first...and then made me smile. He is muchly missed. May he rest in peace.



It's hard to believe it has been just a little over a year. And yes he has been missed everyday.
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