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Old 11-18-2014, 12:33 PM   #1
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Is Passport a Bargain?

I signed up for Passport last year and haven't renewed. My experience is limited as we camp mostly in State and National parks, but my experience has been that many (most?) RV parks that ostensibly participate in this program have blackout periods during peak times.

Now I've received a solicitation from Passport for a "lifetime membership" for $400 or somesuch. I would be interested to hear from more experienced travelers if this has penciled out for you.

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John
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:10 PM   #2
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I would not lay out $400 for a lifetime membership, but have found their multi-year renewals to be a good price.

We have had PA 6-7 years, and love it. It is not for folks who camp more than they travel, IMO, but is great for overnite stays when you are on the move and spend a lot of time traveling.

There are blackout periods and dates, but you just work around them.

The 50% off pays for the annual fee in just a couple of stays, and it is frequently less expensive than public campgrounds.


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Old 11-18-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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Blackout periods especially apply here in the south during "snowbird" season. After all, if campgrounds have no problem filling up with displaced northerners who want to stay three to five months, why offer a discount?

For me, I expect Passport America to pay for itself each year mostly for one-night stands, where I stay overnight while on my way to someoplace interesting farther away. Because outside of blackout periods, nearly every PA campground offers 50% off for the first night, even if not for any others. Doesn't take too many 50% off nights to recoup your membership costs.

As for lifetime membership, how long do you plan to be RVers? It's easy enough to see if it's worth it. Annual membership costs $44 per year. If you plan to be a member for 9 years or more, lifetime is cheaper. If you don't plan to be a member for 9 years or more, the $179 for 5 years (actually 5 years right now with their "6 months free" promo) is a better deal.

Remember, membership prices may go up, but they'll never go down. So if you plan to be a member in the long term, it's worthwhile to get the lifetime membership as early as possible.

That's true for Good Sam as well. Lifetime is a better deal the longer you plan to be in.
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Old 11-18-2014, 01:57 PM   #4
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Many valid points have been raised re: PA.

Other things to consider regarding life membership, will Passport America still be around in 9 years? If so, will they continue to offer the 50% camping reduction?

I suppose much depends on what the future holds for RVing. At the moment, with fuel supplies plentiful and becoming more so, and costs at the pump declining, the future looks brighter than it has for years. How will 'climate change' political moves affect this future? Who knows. These things have implications for the future of PA, whether they will continue to have a large catalogue of associated RV Parks, and whether the 50% rebate will continue to be needed to fill those parks.

We've been members of PA off and on for many years. The cost of membership has always paid off, and we've scooped some great bargains by belonging.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:06 PM   #5
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And.....i must say this....$400 is a huge outlay, when you simply don't know how long your lifetime will be.

Or, whether something will occur that will prevent you from traveling.

Stating the obvious, but....



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Old 11-18-2014, 02:15 PM   #6
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And.....i must say this....$400 is a huge outlay, when you simply don't know how long your lifetime will be.
Too true. But I joined Passport two years ago, at the ripe old age of 54, and as soon as it came up for renewal I sprang for lifetime membership. Not only do I plan to still be alive and camping well into my sixties and beyond, but it made sense to spring for the lifetime membership while I was still working for a living and could afford it more easily.

Having only paid one annual membership before the lifetime membership, my total payout to PA is a mere $444, and that's all I'll ever have to pay. If you've already been a member for several years, lifetime membership isn't as much of a bargain because of all the money already shelled out.
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Old 11-18-2014, 02:29 PM   #7
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May you have decades of happy travel, Protag.


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Old 11-18-2014, 03:47 PM   #8
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We have passport and use it sometimes. We seldom actually get the 50% reduction due to more and more restrictions on its availability. We some times use the directory and stay at Passport campsites without the 50% reduction because many of them are nice campgrounds and reasonably priced to start with. I think the basic problem with Passport is that the 50% discount is too high for members to give except maybe for one night as a come on. Do not get it with the idea that you are going to stay a weekend somewhere at half price. Not likely to happen now in my experience.
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Old 11-19-2014, 12:59 PM   #9
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... Do not get it with the idea that you are going to stay a weekend somewhere at half price. Not likely to happen now in my experience.
Or the week, found it hard to believe an Ohio state park would have PA but it did, and only cover the 4 days of the week that they had little business. Even then it paid for the years membership
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Old 11-19-2014, 01:08 PM   #10
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Exactly, altho every once in awhile you find a place with no restrictions on days of the week, length of stay or time of year.

I believe a lot of PA campgrounds are simply trying to fill empty sites with overnighters.

Works for me.


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