As promised, this is the first post of a handful of posts about a wide array of RV memberships. It makes the most sense to start with one of the biggest and the oldest RV memberships out there, Escapees.
In my mind, I tried putting the long list of RV memberships into categories. I came up with ones that focus on services, discounts, community, education, lifestyle and camping. At first, I considered writing about all the memberships that fit into each category but I quickly realized that was a bad idea. The problem is that many RV memberships offer multiple areas of focus. So, this series is going to be a bit of a hodgepodge but, in the end, I’ll cover all the biggies and maybe a few you haven’t heard of before.
Escapees describe themselves as:
The Escapees RV Club is one of the oldest, largest and most loved RV membership organizations in the world. We provide a total support network for all RVers, regardless of their travel style, type of RV, or experience level.
Escapees RV Club: Brief Background
The club was founded in 1978 by Kay and Joe Peterson and grew so quickly, they soon felt the need to establish an official headquarters. In 1985, the Livingston, Texas, Escapees RV park and headquarters opened and continued to be built and expand for many years to come. Why small Livingston, Texas? The story involves a head-on collision with a tree which you can read HERE. And to read the history of the club itself, click HERE.
By the way, both articles are on their blog which puts out a new article once a week and is available to everyone, regardless of whether or not you are a member.
What Escapees Offers to Members
Because they are so large, the arms of Escapees are far reaching. For your annual membership fee, you get access to the Jobs Exchange where remote working opportunities (including workamping) are listed, quarterly magazine, advocacy for issues important to RVers (especially full-timers) and, finally, discounts. Lots and lots of discounts. More on the discounts in the next section.
In my opinion, the discounts are the biggest reason to consider joining. You can do the math (which you’ll probably hear my say in every article in this series) to help you decide if it’s a good value for the money for you.
For an additional fee, they also offer:
- Mail forwarding service with addresses in Texas, Florida and South Dakota (the three states most full-time RVers use for residency purposes).
- SmartWeight is a service where they weigh each tire of your RV to make sure you have the weight distributed evenly. This is done at the Livingstone headquarters and at many events.
- Roadside assistance.
Additionally, it can be a great way to find community on the road. Escapees offers Hangouts as well as HOPS (Head Out Program) which involves group trips all over the world. You can sign up to be part of a group of like-minded or like-interested people. These groups are called BOFS (Birds of a Feather) and there are dozens to choose from. I’m in the genealogy group as well as the geocaching group.
In addition to things exclusively for members, they offer a lot of things for members and non-members alike. However, if you are a member, you get a discount. It’s here where membership quickly pays for itself.
- RV Online University offers two courses and members save $20 on each course.
- RV Foundations: Operation, Safety and Maintenance
- Learn to Live in an RV: Road Map to Full-time RVing
- Annual RV Rally called Escapade. The price for an RV spot and 2 tickets is $265 (dry camping) and $425 (full hookups). It’s $50 less if you are solo. Prices jump $30 after June 7. Non-members pay an additional $40 and, get a one-year membership. You can find more info HERE.
- RV Parking (this is the term they use) which comes in three forms:
- Discounts at 800 partner campgrounds for 15-50% off.
- Rainbow Parks are owned by Escapees (as I understand it) and they offer both long-term and short-term parking. Discounts to members are on both types of parking. There are seven Rainbow Parks. I have stayed at two and have another booked for 2022. Both times using my “stay a month or more” strategy plus with discount, the money I saved paid for my membership for years to come.
- SKP Co-op Parks are exclusive to Escapee members and there are 11. While you can stay short-term, the majority of the slots at these parks are for those who purchase a lot and stay really long term. They seem like a good deal if you find an area you like, though the waitlist to get a lot is years long. I’d hoped to visit one over the winter but with COVID they stopped allowing new arrivals. Plus, of course, I changed my plans and stored my RV for the winter. When I visit one and learn the ins and outs of the lots, I’ll write more on the subject.
- Discounts with partner companies such as a law firm that helps RVers with domicile issues; pet insurance, Good Year tires, Battle Born batteries, an electric bike and many many more.
Are You a Remote Worker Who RVs?
Escapees started out as a club that mostly retirees joined. However, as you know, RVers under retirement age who still work make up a higher and higher percentage of RVers every year. Escapees responded by creating Xscapers in 2015, a subset of Escapees that focuses on the needs of those still working.
I have a theory that the name is an echo of Gen-X but I have no idea if that’s true. They have a separate website and Xscapers-specific gatherings. And, here’s a fun tidbit, Xscapers is run by Kay Peterson’s granddaughter and her husband.
The great thing about the things offered by Xscapers? It doesn’t cost anything extra. You are able to access everything about Xscapers with your Escapees membership.
Should You Join?
Of course, only you can answer this. But, with their fingers in so many pots, it is hard to believe there isn’t something for everyone. For example, even if you don’t utilize the discounts in a way the membership pays for itself, you might still find it a good value with all the community opportunities it offers.
The annual membership cost is $49.95. If you join, I’d love to have you use my affiliate link. Click HERE or on the graphic below for more info and to join.
All photos in this article used with permission from Escapees.
Links to Relevant Posts:
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