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Passport America Needs to Set Discount Guidelines

Updated on April 10, 2012

Open Letter to Passport America

This fall will mark the completion of my second year as a full time RVer. With little savings and no income, finding inexpensive yet reputable places to park isn’t just a priority, it is a necessity. Fortunately I became a member of Passport America even before starting out on my great journey. It has been a great research tool.

Research is one of those things that have become a chore. It must be done whether we enjoy doing it or not. As fuel prices soar it is imperative our motorized gas guzzling monsters travel the most efficient, well-planned routes with no surprises at the end of a long drive.

Passport America boasts 1800 member campgrounds and RV Parks that offer reduced rates usually advertised at 50% off the regular rates. What full timer would pass up a deal like that?

My newest route I planned using Passport’s mapping and routing feature along with online park reviews and a few other resources. This part of my journey will take me through NM, AZ, NV, CA and possibly up to the Northwest Coastal regions.

Passport America’s mapping feature is great. Entering starting and stopping points results in a blue line route along with step-by-step directions. Member parks’ indicators (green flags) appear near the route if that option was selected.

Clicking on any of the green flags indicating a member campground brings up a new window listing the park’s name, address, contact number and other pertinent information. Several paragraphs below contain more detailed information so at a glance I know the basics about the park which helps me decide if I want to spend the extra time looking at their website which is linked to this summary page if available.

Some of the best RV Parks I’ve found and stayed with thus far on my journey have been a direct result of Passport America. With daily rates as low as $10 for full hookups, it just about makes the thought of boondocking obsolete.

The problem with growth (acquisition of more participating parks) is abuse. Advertising costs are often difficult for the small businesses to comprehend. Therefore finding inexpensive or free methods of marketing their parks, many members make it difficult to realize any savings for the Passport America card holder.

It seems that more and more member parks offer the Passport America discount with restrictions such as only available Monday thru Thursday or not available during special events. One park on my new route requires a minimum stay of three days to gain the discount! Many only offer the discount for one night while others tack on $$$ for 50 amp power, Wi-Fi, cable or other amenities.

Passport America offers a good service and has become a reliable resource for RVers. By continuing to allow the practice of setting restrictions on available discounts, member parks are contributing to a possible decline in those services which in the long run will hurt the organization. It should be a privilege to be associated with the organization and therefore Passport America should allow only those members willing to follow a precise outline detailing discounts which will benefit everyone especially the primary target…we who RV.


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    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

      I agree with you totally. I've actually had Passport Parks lie to me about pricing, etc. Over time, you learn which parks you can count on and where other good ones are as well. I thought my hubs about them would spark interest, but for some reason, few people seemed to care. Guess they like paying upwards of $30 a night for camping! I do not! I vote with my dollar. Parks that nail members should be avoided...soon they'll drop out and those that are left will get our business. We'll see how it goes!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      It is nice to have such a program available for those who travel by RV. Makes the cost more effective. Some day I will get to take a trip by RV, I will be ready!

    • TIMETRAVELER2 profile image

      Sondra Rochelle 5 years ago from USA

      I agree with you, but I also understand the RV park owner's viewpoint. When we travel, I always call ahead the day we're going to stay at a park to check to see if they still offer PA rates, if the rates have changed, etc. If a park abuses the program, which has happened more than once, I immediately contact PA. Often they drop the campground.

      If you are full timing, you really need to look into some of the free campgrounds that are available to you. They will help with cost averaging and expenses. I've written a few articles about this which you've read, but will write more as time permits. Stay tuned.

    • bdegiulio profile image

      Bill De Giulio 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Interesting read. My wife desperately wants to RV across the country visiting the National Parks. We're both still working so it would be a short trip is we did try it. Good to know about Passport America and their discount program should we ever take the plunge. It's great that you can write and publish as you travel the country, good for you.