There are literally hundreds (maybe thousands) of organizations, associations, and clubs for RVers. All of these are focused around the concept that a given group of RVers will have some common interest. Some groups are generic—they try to offer a large variety of services to virtually any type of RVer. Some will have a specific focus on a type of RV such as pick-up campers or motorhomes. Others focus on antique models or brands or even specific models of RVs Nearly every manufacturer sponsors a variety of “clubs” associated with their respective brand. Some groups are geographical—all members are located in a certain area such as a county, state, or larger area.
Many of the organizations (clubs) will have some annual dues but most are typically inexpensive. When you join, you get something, but do your homework. You may not need to join several.
I have included five different types here with the first two being the largest. I have belonged to the Good Sam Club and FMCA for many years. I am familiar with S.M.A.R.T. and Escapees and even though I qualify for membership in both, could not take advantage of their services—so I did not join. However, both have an excellent reputation. The last group is for women only and I do not qualify.
Good Sam… The Good Sam Club is one of the oldest, generic clubs for all RVers. Their membership is made up of owners of tent trailers to the largest motorhomes. Some members do not have RVs. The Good Sam Club provides nearly all services needed by RVers ranging from campground directories to emergency road service to rallies. They sponsor one of the largest rallies in the nation (called “The Rally”) attended by 4,000+ RVs. The Good Sam Club also has state rallies called “Samborees.” Small chapter rallies take place all the time nationwide and even overseas.
The over one million members receive an excellent magazine. “Highways” is for everyone. Members may then choose from two others:
- “Motorhome” magazine is designed for those RVers with drivable units
- “Trailer Life” is designed for RVers with towable units.
The Good Sam Club is a commercial entity operated by Affinity Group, Inc. Contact The Good Sam Club at 800-234-3450 or their website.
FMCA… The Family Motor Coach Association is specifically for drivable RVs—motorhome owners only. The organization has topped 400,000 members. Members receive the monthly magazine entitled “Family Motor Coaching.”
FMCA sponsors two major “international” rallies every year and ten “Area” rallies around the nation. The “Areas” are made up of a number of states in some common geographical location. The FMCA also sponsors a variety of specialty chapters ranging from “Discovery” (the motorhome model) owners to “100%ers” (those RVers living in their motorhome 100% of the time.) Contact FMCA at 800-543-3622 or visit their site.
Escapees… Specifically focused on the fulltimer, Escapees (also known as “SKPs”) is an organization providing information that helps the fulltimer. The Escapees also own and operate a series of campgrounds. The original (home) park is located in Livingston, Texas. Escapees conduct rallies called “Escapades” and smaller gatherings called “HOPS.” Members receive the bi-monthly magazine entitled “Escapees Magazine.” Contact Escapees at 888-757-2582 or visit their site.
S.M.A.R.T… This is the acronym for an organization named the “Special Military Active Retired Travel Club.” S.M.A.R.T. is a nationwide, not-forprofit, veterans organization based on a common background of military service and an interest in the recreational vehicle (RV) lifestyle. Membership is made up of retired (pension-eligible) and active-duty travelers in any type of RV (motorhomes, travel trailers, 5th wheels, whatever). They have scheduled rallies—called “Musters,”—plus caravans and other activities. Contact S.M.A.R.T at 800-354-7681 or visit their site.
RVing Women… An organization specifically for women RVers, their literature states that… “If you plan to travel by RV, already own one, or are just dreaming about your RV possibilities; if you are on the road full time or if you hung up your keys for whatever reason but want to stay connected to the women’s RV network, we’re here for you. We are a diverse group of women across the U.S. and Canada who enjoy RVing and love to travel.”
They have rallies and chapter gatherings throughout the year plus a bimonthly magazine entitled “RVing Women.” Contact RVing Women at 888-557-8464 or visit their site.
These organizations are a source of excellent information but you do have to dig it out. I always recommend joining for at least one year to enable you to receive and begin reading their magazines—long before you actually go. Then, continue your membership with those that offer you benefits specific to your RVing needs and wants. Many organizations will operate an online store where they also sell books and other merchandise.