Passport America VS Good Sam: Which One is Better?

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Passport america review save money campingWe are all about finding ways to save a few dollars while traveling. After all, the more money we can keep in our bank account, the longer we can keep traveling in our RV full-time. There are lots of RVing memberships out there, and Passport American and Good Sam are regarded as two of the most popular.

This is a breakdown of Passport America VS Good Sam club memberships. Both of these membership clubs offer awesome discounts, but which one is better?

Both Passport America and Good Sam offer a valuable service, but if you’re just getting started RVing or haven’t signed up for a membership club yet, I wrote this post to break down the different pros and cons for both Passport America and Good Sam.

(I use an affiliate link in the Passport America links below. This means that if you click through the link and decide to sign up, I get a small commission. I only do this with products I actually use and would recommend to a friend).

passport america

Overview: Passport America offers a 50% discount at their participating 1,600+ campgrounds across the country. We purchased our membership before we hit the road and it paid for itself within the first couple of uses. One of the first things we learned with Passport America was to always double-check the RV park reviews with Google or a website like Campendium. This is because not every single Passport America park is going to be very classy (if costs under $15, it’s because of a reason guys).

However, it has proven to be our first choice of membership club when we are traveling to a new area. If we can find a decent Passport America campground, we stay there. Like when we found a campground in Old Orchard Beach where we could walk to the beach AND it cost us under $30. Now that’s a big win.

Yearly membership cost: $44/year 

Savings: 50% at each participating campground. We estimate that last year we stayed at over 50 campgrounds who offered Passport America, which gave us a savings of over $750 for the year. Crazy, right? You can sign up for a Passport America membership here.

Number of participating campgrounds: 1,600

Pros:

  • Their iPhone application is very user-friendly and easy to use
  • 50% is a ton of savings for each campground

Cons:

  • While you can usually find several Passport America’s in each town, there aren’t as many listed campgrounds as Good Sam
  • Many of the RV parks don’t offer Passport America during weekends, peak season, or holidays. Before you show up to a Passport America, make sure you double-check the RV park profile in your Passport America application (P.S I’ve been able to talk campgrounds into letting us use our discount even though it was a weekend because they weren’t very busy. Better to just call ahead and see if they’d be willing to let you use it.)
  • Not every campground is of great quality (but many are).

good sam membership

Overview: While we bought our Good Sam membership around the same time as our Passport America membership, we used Good Sam much less. The main reason why we didn’t use Good Sam as much is that it only offers a 10% discount, which, compared to a 50% discount, is nothing to call home about.

Yearly membership cost: $27/year 

Savings: 10% at each participating campground. We save anywhere from $2-5 each time we used Good Sam, which can add up over time. But compared to saving $15+ at every use, we will always choose a Passport America park first. The membership paid for itself but didn’t save us too much money. 

Number of participating campgrounds: 2,100

Pros:

  • The Good Sam campgrounds we stayed at had an overall higher level of cleanliness and upkeep.
  • Good Sam ranks each park by cleanliness, friendliness, etc, so you can learn more about the park before arriving. (However, after talking to park owners, these numbers are skewed based on how much the park is willing to pay for higher scores.)
  • You won’t have an issue finding a Good Sam park wherever you travel. They are everywhere.

Cons:

  • Every time we tried to use the Good Sam app to find an RV park, it crashed on us.
  • 10% savings hardly holds a candle to 50% off

In conclusion, which membership club is better?

My recommendation would be to sign up for both club memberships. But if I had to pick just one based on the amount of savings it offers, it would be Passport America.

Passport America offers the 50% discount and its number of participating campgrounds is nearing that of Good Sam. Plus, as a full-time RVer who is constantly looking for campgrounds on the fly, it’s important to have a reliable iPhone application that allows us to find an RV park at any given time.

Below are a few screenshots inside the Passport America app.

 

 

Passport America definitely seems to care a bit more about the technology side of their business. They’ve been an awesome resource for us to save money while being on the road full-time. Here is a link where you can sign up for one of their yearly memberships (this is an affiliate link). If you need our membership ID, it’s C-643889.

36 Responses

  • I have Good Sam and you also get a discount at Camping World on merchandise and a good discount on propane. At FlyingJ you get $.03 off fuel, which is not much but if you go through a lot of fuel it adds up.

    • If you get the Pilot/Flying J charge card [not a credit card; a charge card must be paid in full every month] you’ll get an 8 cent/gallon discount on diesel and a 6 cent/gallon discount on gas. It’s a good deal if you’re driving something large enough that it’s more convenient to use the RV islands or truck lanes that Pilot/Flying J offer. They can also be used as free overnight parking.

  • […] members of Passport America and Good Sam, which both offer discounts at participating campgrounds (here is a review I wrote of using Good Sam vs. Passport […]

  • Perfect timing! My wife and I are about to start our 50 state RV road trip and already payed for Good Sam’s. After reading your post and looking at the Passport America app, we might have to get that too! I have a feeling that I’ll have a very similar blog post when the time comes.

    • Awesome Shea! Glad you liked it. If you guys decide to go with Passport, would love it if you could purchase through my links on this blog 🙂

  • RVE 0017: Jill Sessa Talks Travel Advice for Solo Female RVers and Running a Service-Based Business - Heath Padgett says:

    […] Passport America […]

  • […] Lodging: $2,710.84 (Were able to keep this so low mostly because of using membership clubs like Passport America) Groceries: $2,053.05 Gym Membership (planet fitness): $344.84 Phone Bill: $1,311.22 Eating Out: […]

  • Heath…in the past hour I have read your comparison, joined PA, made reservations at a PA campground starting Monday and already amortized my first year membership fee!! Thanks!!!

      • Hey Brad, when you first sign up, they send you a picture of your card so you can use it before you get it in the mail (we used that for six months until we got back to Texas to get our mail). But for a lot of parks, we say we have PA or GS and they don’t even ask to see the card at all.

  • […] Passport America […]

  • We have had our THOR Windsport 31a for a year now and have Good Sam & Passport America. I find Passport America excessive restrictions but decided to renew with the Cyber Monday offer, buy 5yr & get 2yr free! CODE:CM16

  • Good lord I am spamming the heck out of you guys… but when I purchase these in 2019? I will use your link. Hope still doing it then. Otherwise…um.. this comment is moot. =)

  • […] Passport America VS. Good Sam […]

    • Passport and Good Sam typically send us phone books of all the participating parks once a year.

  • How did you get your affiliate link for Passport America? I would love to be able to share a link for family and friends, or to post on our blog!

    • You automatically get one if you’re a member. Just sign into your account on their site and you can find your link!

  • Which is the real/better Passport America? There are 2 different Passport America sites. Two different companies. https://www.passportamerica.com and http://www.passport-america.com

    • Hey Toby, here’s our link: www.passportamerica.com/netid/hea_894

      Both of those websites are the same company. It looks like the second one you found is the side of the company that’s geared more toward attracting campgrounds to join versus campers.

  • […] Passport America vs. Good Sam Club Membership […]

  • Good article, I agree with MOST of what you’ve written, with the exception of God Sam parks having the ability to pay for a higher score. I happen to be one of the reps that rate campgrounds for Good Sam. In addition to rating the parks, they are able to purchase advertising in the directory and online. There is a very set way the parks are rated, which is pretty black and white. We rate them, share the ratings with the park owner and then discuss marketing. We’ve had to bring scores down in parks that advertise a lot just based on changes in the park and not meeting the set criteria. The flip side is we also tell parks little things they can do to improve the ratings and most parks listen to and appreciate the advice and we are able to up the rating the next year. this goes for parks that advertise or not. If we did a pay to play, we’d get fired, it’s not something that is taken lightly, a lot of time is spent on this in training. It’s part of the integrity of the club, members getting a true look at parks they might visit. If a park owner says they are able to pay for a higher rating, I’d venture too guess it’s a park that doesn’t advertise with Good Sam at all and are jaded.

    As for the mobile app, much improved, give it another go. 🙂

  • I’ve been a traveling by rv minister since buying our Vixen 21TD in 98. I’ve put 203,000 miles on it. I stay mostly at Walmart and churches when overnighting . I read your whole post and enjoyed it. Like you, I’m home anywhere I park. We just bought an 04 Four Winds Chateau 31p to replace our Vixen while trying to find a new transaxle for it. Having gotten 28-30 mpg in the Vixen all these years, it’s hard getting 8.5 mpg in the Chateau. But the extra room is nice. The RV life is a good ministry, too. See ya down the road. I’m easy to find, I’m the one with a smile, because I’m having fun.

  • […] use Good Sam and Passport America for camping discounts—I highly recommend both. But if you really want to save money camping, […]

  • […] Passport America VS Good Sam: Which One is Better?  This page is a good example of narrow reporting. No mention of insurance, mechanical breakdown, liability, etc. Tunnel vision with overnight temporary camping the view. Something I recommend doing at all Web sites where you are seeking information, read the comment section. The most valuable information and/or a link to more info may be found there. […]

  • […] Passport America also recently released an updated app available free in the App Store too. When we’re looking for stopover sites or trying to save money, we’ll check Passport America first. […]

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