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Which “Passport” is it?

My wife Cleo and I have been camping for over 30 years. We consider ourselves as Partical-fulltimers. We hit the road for the summer months. We have planned our travel and campground stays around the cheapest and best campgrounds along the way. I want to share with the folks on this forum what I have observed over the years.
When we talk to the nice folks we meet in our travels we observe many campers don’t know the different discount clubs that are available to take advantage of. When I mention the clubs we take advantage of... We sometime get the “Deer in the headlights” look. I also read on this forum that there seems to be the same sort of confusion as to which is which???

After much research, we have settled for the following discount clubs...
When we plan a trip we use a computer trip planner (Microsoft MapPoint, Delorme, Rand McNally, etc). We map out our route and go to the following campground books. We try to only travel 250/300 miles per day. If we like the campground and sites around we stay 2 to 5 days.
We look for Corps of Engineering parks along the way first. There are at least 3 books you can buy the list all the CORP parks. There are also maps that show all the locations of parks.
If you are 62 years old or older you can get a “Golden Age Passport “card. This card entitles you to ˝ discounts on CORPS parks.

This is one “passport card”. Golden Age passport. It’s good in CORP parks, National Recreation areas and National Parks.

If we are in an area where there are no CORP parks we go to our “Passport America” book. This is a discount club that gives you a discount of ˝ off the campground rate. (With restrictions)

This is another Passport card. It’s called Passport America discount travel card. You can purchase the card and they supply you with a Campground directory.

When we plan our trips around the above two clubs we can spend the summer in some interesting places and save money big time.
Our 3 months average is around $10.00 to $12.00.

There are other discount clubs, Good Sam 10% discount club. This helps pay your taxes but not much more... Their magazine (Highways) supplies some good reading and camping info.
Camping World has a club that they advertise and it’s a lot like PA.

We have elected to stay away from The Campground clubs like Coast to Coast and others like it. If you want to be locked into a given number of campgrounds with a lot of restriction go for it.
Hope this helps clear up what may be a dilemma around which “Passport” is it?
Thanks for this information. I am new to RVing, so this is good to know.

Forgive my ignorance, but what is CORP parks?

Doesn't AAA give discounts to campers? Do most campgrounds accept AAA?

Thank you.
Sorry, I have another question. Do state parks allow discounts for camping or are the AAA and other camp discount cards good only at privately owned campgrounds? (or does it depend on the state)?

QUOTE(Crittercove @ Oct 20 2006, 02:04 PM) *

Sorry, I have another question. Do state parks allow discounts for camping or are the AAA and other camp discount cards good only at privately owned campgrounds? (or does it depend on the state)?


I don't know about other states but in Colorado it looks like state parks do not discount for AAA or other camping clubs. They do offer discounts for seniors on annual vehicle park passes ($27 instead of $55) and 50% discounts on campsites. I think the easiest way to find out would be to check the state park website for the state you are interested in. I don't think national parks take the club discounts either.
I just found a website that may be useful when looking for information on clubs.

It list several clubs includes brand specific clubs, camping clubs, and some state specific clubs.
Forgive my ignorance, but what is CORP parks?

Doesn't AAA give discounts to campers? Do most campgrounds accept AAA?

Corp parks are COE -- "Corp of Engineers" -- also known as "Army corp of enginers "

The "golden age passport" (which is for seniors over 62) mentioned above as well as the "Golden access passport" which is for handicaped persons. Both allow for discounts at almost all federal lands. COE, BLM, national parks, etc.

Now for "AAA" some campgrounds give a discount to "AAA" members. AAA puts out there own campground directories, they are free to club members.
Sorry for the miss-use of the Army Corp. of Engineering park. We are just used to using the short slang of CORP Park for COE and so forth. At my age I seldom get locked into the “small stuff”.
It’s good to have new members that want to get to were the old timers are fast. Welcome aboard!!!
When you are retired and still want to travel and see the country on a limited income, you have to cut as many corners as you can to accomplish the good life of camping.
I’ll address the different questions as they were posted.
Some campgrounds offer discounts for the many different travel clubs and senior citizens organizations. That includes AAA, AARP, Good Sam RV Club and the list goes on. They normally offer you a 10% discount. This discount is normally against a full fare camping fee. The discount will help pay your taxes. My thoughts on this are; if 10% of a $32.00 campground fee is what makes you happy, go for it.
If we pay over $20.00 a night for camping we would quit camping altogether. There are cheaper ways to accomplish the same thing if a little planning and research is put into the trip.

We have several friends that travel the interstate highways, stop at the most convenient campground and pay the $35.00 fee and then off to the next part of their destination. This type of “dawn to Dust” travel does not fold into my view of camping. We travel the back roads and stop and “smell the roses”.

Through much research and mental thrashing I will share some of the experiences of State parks and their approach to offering campgrounds to their residence and visitors.
Camping fees for state parks vary as much as there are states.
*** Florida will give senior residence a 50% discount. Nothing for out-of-state.
***Louisiana state parks will accept the Golden age Passport card. They will also give you a free night if you stay 3 nights
*** Georgia will give seniors a $5.00 discount
*** Nevada, Arizona and Utah have taken over most of the COE parks and will not honor the Golden age Passport.
*** Texas and Colorado have residence passes but little to offer out-of-state campers. Texas has some of the nicest campgrounds we have ever stayed at. We lived there in the 90's.
*** Some states offer non-residence a token discount for seniors.
You just have to check out each state and their state parks.

We make it a point to NOT stay in State parks for this reason. On occasion we have driven out of our way to stay at a State park and find out they offer no discount at all. Now you are in the boonies paying full prices and you are in the middle of an un-kept Family/children campground.

United RV camping club came in handy when we traveled out west several years back. They have a semi-complicated system of $5.00 and $10.00 camping fee campgrounds.
We found out that you MUST call ahead and see if they honored the fee that was listed.
We did get ourselves into some pretty good scraps with owners over the fee. I think it is called bait and switch. The owner of the club always made up the difference. We have since dropped our membership in this club.
This is as much information these old gray cells can muster at this time. Ask me anything, I’ll give you some kind of answer.
Happy camping..
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