Tips for Using Passport America to Save on RV Camping
Tips for Using Passport America to Save on RV Camping
Plus, our favorite Passport America campgrounds so far!
By: Kenny & Sabrina Phillips
Sabrina and I have been Passport America members for two years and thought it would be an excellent time to review the service. To be honest, we were late to the party on this membership and should have joined sooner.
We heard about Passport America for several years while RVing, but we didn’t join earlier because we thought the membership was much more expensive than it is. So, we never looked into it. That was undoubtedly our mistake as we didn’t do our research on the program. After I had the opportunity to interview the CEO in 2022, we decided to look into it further.
Why We Are Passport America Lifetime Members
We found out that a Passport America membership starts as low as $44 for a year. So, we purchased a one-year membership and made that $44 back on the first time we used it for a three-night stay. That same year, we purchased a lifetime Passport America membership because they offered a discounted price to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
Sabrina and I liked the program so much that we went ahead and bought it even though we still had time left on our annual membership. We felt the promotional price of less than $300 was too good to pass up. (Note that was a special discounted price and that the lifetime membership is only available for purchase at shows and rallies, like Camp Winnebago in July.)
However, if you are a GoLife Perks member, you can save 25% off a new Passport America membership. Once you receive your GoLife Perks confirmation, you can purchase a one-year membership through the Passport America website using your discount code or contact them by phone to set up your discounted membership.
Read more about signing up for and using your GoLife Perks membership in this article.
What is Passport America?
At its core, Passport America is a campground discount club that allows you to save 50% off your campsite stays. They have more than 1,100 campgrounds in their directory across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
But it is important to note that Passport America does not own any of these campgrounds. The membership is just providing you with a great price at these participating RV parks and campgrounds. Since they are all individually owned, they will have different rules of when and how many nights you can use the discount for (which I will talk about more in the next section).
Booking Campgrounds & Using the Passport America App
Finding and booking campgrounds has been easy using the Passport America app, but there are things to pay attention to when booking a stay.
Don’t Forget to Check Reviews
We use the app to find campgrounds in the area we are going to visit by using their location tool. Just put in the zip code of the area you are visiting, and a list of campgrounds will pop up. However, you will want to check online for reviews of these campgrounds because, as I mentioned earlier, none of them are owned by Passport America and since they are all independent of one another, they can vary on how nice they are.
After using the service, I can say we have not stayed at a bad RV park or campground, but we have avoided some based on Google reviews.
Make Sure You Read the Notes Before Booking
The Passport America app also has a lot of helpful info for when it comes time to book your stay. The most crucial bit of information you will want is under the “Important Campground Notes” section, which you should see after choosing the campground you want to stay at from the app then scrolling down.
The notes will let you know if there are any blackout dates for using your Passport America membership. You will also find out if there is a limit on how many nights the discount is good for. Sabrina and I just stayed at a campground last week that only allowed one discounted night. Because of the app, we knew this in advance and were not surprised by it.
I would say most campgrounds typically give you a discount for at least three nights. Some have no limits, but knowing all of this before you book your stay is important.
Keep Your Membership Card Available at Check-In
Once we find the campground we want to stay at, I usually call them to make the reservation and let them know I will use my Passport America pass. They typically ask for our membership number and expiration date on the card. We don’t have an expiration date anymore because of our lifetime membership and we just let them know that. Also be sure to bring your card with you during check in because they will ask to see it.
Our Top 3 Campgrounds in the Passport America Program
We have stayed at some great campgrounds and RV parks through the program, and I bet we would have never known about some of them if we weren’t members and using the app. Some of these campgrounds have now become our favorite campgrounds to stay at while traveling.
I am choosing these three parks as my top choices because we have stayed at each of them for multiple nights and have really enjoyed our stay. Most of our Passport America stays are only for one night as we travel through an area.
Coronado Campground in Bernalillo, New Mexico
We have stayed at Coronado Campground on three separate occasions and always for more than one night as we love New Mexico – especially old town Albuquerque, which this campground is not far from. The campground offers great views of the Rio Grande River and Sandia Mountains.
It has cute little adobe-style picnic areas and is an all-around quiet park to relax and unwind. The campground also has dirt walking trails that are perfect for dog walks.
Bosque Brewing is in walking distance of the campground and a great spot for lunch or dinner. The campground is also a long walk or short drive to the ancient ruins of Kuaua Pueblo, which is a historic site and well worth checking out.
The Passport America discount is currently available from November 1st to March 1st and is valid for up to four nights of your stay. This will make your stay as little as $15-$22.50 a night depending on the site you choose. All sites in this park are water and electric only.
Tradewinds RV Park in Golden Valley, Arizona
Tradewinds is one of those RV parks that just makes you feel like you are on vacation. You get a large full-hookup site, palm trees, and mountain views. On the property you will find Bocce ball, horseshoe pits, and a recreation hall with covered patio, bar, and pool tables. There is also a gym and nature trails to walk with your pets. Now that we have the Jeep, we will need to book another stay there as they are close to some good Jeep trails.
The Passport America discount is currently good all year round and can be used for three nights in a row allowing you to stay at this great campground for only $22.50 a night with full hookups.
Sleeping Ute RV Park in Towaoc, Colorado
Sleeping Ute RV Park offers all pull-through sites with full-hookups. It has an indoor and outdoor pool with a sauna as well. The campground is owned by and attached to the Ute Mountain Casino, and we enjoyed going in to try our luck on their machines.
What we enjoyed most about this RV park was its location, we stayed here to visit Four Corners Monument and Mesa Verde National Park. Both locations were under thirty minutes from the campground and we would recommend both for a bit of history and to enjoy the sites.
The Passport America Discount is currently good from April to October and is good for your first night stay, saving you $24.
When we left that campground to return home, we also stopped in Monument Valley to take photos at the Forrest Gump filming site. We enjoy visiting movie sites, especially when they are in scenic areas like this one.
(Note: These rates and restrictions are from the time I am writing this article in January 2024 and are subject to change. But what will remain is that you will always receive 50% off the current price at participating campgrounds).
Final Thoughts on Passport America
Overall, I believe the membership is worth it as it pays for itself quickly and is easy to use. If you are thinking of signing up, my best advice for you is think of where you are planning on traveling for the year and see if there will be participating campgrounds available along or at the destination of your trip. And remember you can save 25% on the Passport America membership with your GoLifePerks membership!
If you are a Passport America member, please let us know of some of your favorite campgrounds in the program as I am sure we would all like to add them to our favorites in our Passport America app.
Take care all, and safe travels!
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