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Old 12-05-2009, 11:03 PM   #29
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We saved the $12 cost of a GSC membership in the first few nights of our trip. The trip suggestions on the website gives a lot of info on gas costs, local camp spots (both GSC and others) and is free on their site.

We bought it from the first site we stayed at and saved $8 right away. However, all they gave us was the little handwritten card, and to use the website you need your number. I emailed the GSC webmaster after a few days, and he gave me the number and told me how to use it.

I get a good vibe from them, and haven't even had it for a full month yet. Everywhere we stopped they gave us a discount. In fact, at one place, they said they didn't honour GSC, but because we asked if they did, they gave us their AAA rate.

I find that AAA is too wAAAy too expensive. My memory of using it was that when I did need help, they were slow to react. Today, newer cars are so much more reliable it's a wonder AAA is still in business...

I checked the "don't send me other offers" box on the signup, will report how that works out. Junk mail already fills up my mail, what's a few more pieces?
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Old 12-06-2009, 06:54 AM   #30
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We have been members of GSC for three years now, and just re-upped for another. Between the the campground discount and the the magazine, it's worth it for us.

We just renewed our AAA Plus RV, and it's now running $175.00/year for SuEllyn and I. We are considering going to the GSC plan next year. I think that it may be less expensive.

Brian
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Old 12-06-2009, 07:27 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by moosetags View Post
We just renewed our AAA Plus RV, and it's now running $175.00/year for SuEllyn and I. We are considering going to the GSC plan next year. I think that it may be less expensive.
Brian

Brian,
If I recall, we're paying about $80 for the GSC basic ERS plan, which covers all of your vehicles, and they have a premium package for around $110, which covers any vehicle you are driving.

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Old 12-06-2009, 07:46 AM   #32
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Okay, this is admittedly a little hijack but we are off a little already. AAA gets a lot of discounts lots of places---museums, zoos, etc., in addition to campgrounds. We have had it for nearly 8 years, wouldn't be without it.

It is all a balancing act, that it is.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:12 AM   #33
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I thought of joining just to get the round decal so I can cover up the ghost image from the original on the back of my TW. No amount of Goo Gone has removed it. Probably worth the $12. Now if I can get the same WBCI numbers for the front.
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Old 12-06-2009, 08:29 AM   #34
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I just think it is worth it I like the mag. but I like reading about other peoples travels since I probally will never get to yellowstone or some of the places way over yonder. If I remember the ERS is around 100.00 they will tow both truck and trailer or motorhome fix a flat on the side of the road in the rain (dont ask me how I know this ) and your right Rich you get a cool round decal.....
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Old 12-06-2009, 09:23 AM   #35
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I can give you the campground owners' end of the story.

Good Sam is an affiliate of the Affinity Corporation, which also owns lots of other RV-related businesses and services, including Trailer Life, Woodalls, Camping World, the RV.net forums (in its various guises), and so forth.

The Good Sam part makes money by charging you, the camper, for GS membership and by charging the campground owner a hefty fee for the GS listing. Presumably, GS parks are "better" than others, though there's a great deal of interrater variability across the Trailer Life raters: What qualifies as a GS park in one area would not qualify in another.

In addition, giving a discount to the very large number of GS camping members pretty much means that you'll have to raise your rates otherwise. You can figure out for yourself what that means.

We decided that the GS rating wasn't worth the amount of money that the club wanted from us, as owners. On the other end -- Maria and I as campers -- we also decided to drop our GS club membership for the usual reasons: The huge amount of junk mail was annoying; the magazine wasn't much more than glorified toilet paper; and the discount wasn't that much, given that we could easily locate a non-GS park nearby that was just as nice and didn't cost as much.

Frankly, if you're wanting to save some money, and you camp quite a bit, then a better deal would be something like Passport America, where you can get a 50% discount off rates with restrictions that are important to take into consideration.

I should mention the Passport America business model from our dual perspectives as campground owners and as campers. As owners, we simply join the system, free of charge, and promise to give the discount under whatever restrictions we set. In return, the owners get the exposure in the PA listings. As campers, we join the system ($44 per year) and use it. (You get some kind of magazine in return, too.)

Before going on, I should note that our campground is not in the Passport America system (though see below for more on discounts), nor are we members of PA as campers. We do plan to join PA when our lives permit us to do more camping, however.

More generally, Maria and I and some other WBCCI members have proposed that the WBCCI start its own 50% discount system. Basically, it just means that WBCCI approach each of the parks in the Passport America system and ask. If we could get even half of the parks in that system to give the 50% discoount to WBCCI members, that would be a very significant benefit for our membership dues, in my opinion. (PA currently lists some 1600 parks that provide the 50% discount.)

Oh, and by the same token, we do not ever plan to join Good Sam as either park owners or campers.


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Old 12-06-2009, 09:48 AM   #36
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We belonged to Good Sam for about 25 years. Mainly my reasoning was the discounts for camping, and the discounts on Trailer Life and the Campground Guide. Good Sam in the day was not part of Affinity Corp but was owned by Art Rouse. It wasn't quite as corporate as it is today. Trailer Life was my bible into camping and I learned a lot from the various articles. The Campground guide was used for planning for vacations and for overnight stops while traveling. Ratings were questionable but overall it served its purpose.

Fast forward to today, the discounts on the magazine and campground guide is pretty well non existent. They are quite willing to sell discounted subscriptions to anyone without affiliation. I dropped Trailer Life a few years back, and purchase a campground guide once every two or three years. I let the membership go back in July and the emails, the offers continue to come in unabated. I was willing to keep the membership if the discounts offset the price paid. Now it's about $30 a year and I don't see that being offset anymore.

I had ERS service from them for a year, but found my Progressive insurance policy offers the same coverage for many fewer dollars. The only thing I am carrying from them is the Emergency Assistance Plus program which will fly Patty or myself back home if we have a serious illness when traveling and can't receive adequate care. It also covers getting the trailer and tow vehicle back home, and the pets. As I get older, health concerns and not leaving Patty stranded in the boonies with the trailer becomes more important.

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Old 12-06-2009, 10:07 AM   #37
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Okay, this is admittedly a little hijack but we are off a little already. AAA gets a lot of discounts lots of places---museums, zoos, etc., in addition to campgrounds. We have had it for nearly 8 years, wouldn't be without it.

It is all a balancing act, that it is.

AAA also gets nice discounts at many, many hotels---we don't ALWAYS travel and stay in our Interstate, although it is certainly our preferred method.
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Old 12-06-2009, 12:08 PM   #38
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I believe the first year on Good Sam's roadside assistance plan was around $100, it goes up the second year. The other perks of the Good Sam plan that Jack mentioned above are important and a bog part of the reason we have it. The first year discount is true of other plans and you could switch back and forth, but we haven't yet. Not all of them have all the perks and you have to read the literature carefully.

We use the cheapest AAA plan and it only covers my wife (but we are usually together or nearby). That's about $45. Maps and tour and CG books would cost far more than that for our many travels. We like having Woodall's and AAA CG book—comparisons are useful and the directions in either of them are often incomprehensible, so between 2 of them, we can usually find the CG. We've talked to AAA travel agents and they are not very good. The rest of their services mean little to us, although discounts at attractions are sometimes available. I see AAA as a map and book company with some discounts.

Lynn is right about all the discount (affinity) cards. Raise price and then tell the person with the card they are getting a discount. It's a scam. When we use those damn cards at the supermarket and then tell us "you've saved $6.40" that's stupid and a lie. And they sell info about you to other companies so they are making money on you behind your back.

We travel enough so having all the various affinity cards we have pays off, but if no one had them, no one would have to pay for the card and prices would be lower. It's like credit cards—the merchant has to pay a fee to the card company which raises everyone's prices. There's a whole lot of companies making a lot of money on phony discounts and convenience. Rant over (for now, all rant rights reserved).

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Old 12-06-2009, 12:30 PM   #39
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Also pointed out earlier, Affinity Corp (owners of GSC) need an immediate cash infushion to stay afloat. I imagine that everything would disappear if the parent were to fold.

Sounds like I'll check Passport America, or wait until spring to sort this out.
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Old 12-06-2009, 01:11 PM   #40
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Nick, if Affinity Corp. goes into bankruptcy it would most likely be Chapter 11, debtor in possession. The owner, which is 97% one individual, would keep ownership and the creditors would have several possibilities—take less principal, extend payment terms, lower interest, or take a stake in the company reducing the individual's interest. Only if the company is dissolved would people who had insurance or memberships lose their interests. The insurance company is most likely a separate corporate entity wholly owned by Affinity and even in a dissolution (and they are rare) the insurance company would most likely be solvent.

The amount of money Affinity needs a rather small for a small cap company, but small cap companies can't get credit easily now no matter how good a company they are.

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Old 12-06-2009, 02:31 PM   #41
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Gene

Duly noted. And in a 'normal economy' I would agree. But with the way things are today, I wouldn't bank on an outcome. Even the largest of companies are having cash flow issues today.

I agree on the insurance side, but if confidence were lost in Affinity on their other interests, the wheels could come off the bus. I've seen too many companies go chapter 11 this year that never get back on their feet to predict that outcome.

Even buying gift cards this season is an iffy proposition for individuals with the state of retail.

Nick
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:13 PM   #42
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We have been Good Sam Members for several years. I have their Roadside Assistance and insure my Airstream through their insurance. They paid off on an claim on my previous AS without any hassel. You will get your money worth with Good Sam. Their junk mail is no worse than many other organizations.
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