How to Save Big Bucks with Passport America

Today's guest blog post comes from Courtney of Nomad Baby. Our next guest blog post will be from Cherie of Technomadia, so stay tuned.

Whether you are planning to travel the road full time or are looking for a family getaway, Passport America could save you big bucks. When used right, you can expect to set your measly ten percent discount aside and start saving 50% a night!

At first I was hesitant to pursue Passport America for three reasons:

  • The RV lodging industry has its fare share of scams.
  • The Passport America website isn't the most convincing.
  • You have to pay a membership fee of $49 for the discount.

I took the chance on it and have been pleasantly surprised. Within my first three nights, I made back the $49 I'd spent for the membership.
How it Works
Basically, the website (and iphone APP) has a map of the entire United States. As you zoom in to a specific region, the participating campgrounds will start popping up. You can click on the campground to learn more about the amenities, rates, and limitations.
The Fine Print
The small catch to Passport America is that the campgrounds can set up parameters for when the discount may be used. This varies from campground to campground but is listed on the campground profile. For example, one campground might only accept the discount Monday-Thursday. Another may only accept the discount October-April.

Of course the longer you expect to be on the road, the more use you'll get out of the membership, but it's not just for full-timers. We met a family in San Diego that was taking an 8-day vacation at an RV park. Normally there stay would have cost $372. Including the PA membership, they only paid $235.
The Campgrounds
When I read the forums about PA, many people were concerned about the quality of campgrounds that would accept a fifty percent discount. In our five months on the road, from east coast to west, we have only stayed at two bad campgrounds. And those two campgrounds weren't even apart of the PA program. Here's a look into the campgrounds (quoted for full hookups) you might find via Passport America.

Bass Lake RV, Dillon, SC

Bass Lake Campground (Dillon, SC) $16

PassPort America Profile
This campground is very bare bones as far as sites are concerned, but it's about as isolated as you can get parked next to an interstate. They have gorgeous trees lining the property, a playground, and access to canoeing Bass Lake. The owners left the "rat race" to run a
simpler life. They've owned Bass Lake Campground for a few years now.
Santa Fe Park RV Resort (San Diego, CA) $22.50- $26

Passport America Profile

We wildly enjoyed this park. The park is just north of San Diego, but it seemed "15 minutes" away from anywhere we wanted to go (no matter the direction). It was actually only about 10 to get to the zoo! The park is located at the end of a frontage road, so there's hardly any traffic passing the park, however there is an interstate nearby. There's an amazing pool, recreation center, movie room, clean restrooms, and affordable laundry room. We were very pleased with out stay.
Arrowhead RV Park (Logan, NM) $10

Passport America Profile

This type of park is the most basic hook-up site out there. We love finding these lots so we can avoid boon-docking overnight. This place has full-hookups and a shower house. That's all folks!
Favorite of the Trip- Lake Aire RV Park (Charleston, SC) $15

Passport America Profile

I can only hope I have a park like this near my house, because it was the perfect escape. The sites were spacious, and you had your choice of a few terrains. We chose the lake view. They have shelters for a BBQ, a playground, hammocks, lots of grass, gorgeous flowers, and ducklings! I can imagine heading here for a week over the summer or staying for a few nights while passing through Charleston.

As you can see, there are a wide variety of campgrounds in PA to meet your needs. Spend a few minutes on their site checking the different campgrounds along your route to see if they are a good match for you.