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Wednesday August 16, 2023

Joining a Motorhome or Caravan Club: Things to Know

5 minutes well spent

Written by John Broderick
Caravan Socialising Min

One of the most welcome ‘extra’ benefits of buying a caravan, campervan or motorhome is that you immediately become part of something bigger. As an owner you can wade into the leisure vehicle community and get involved to your heart’s content (making new friends and getting tips or advice on issues to do with your vehicle), or you can just tap in and out when you feel like it. There are plenty of online forums or social groups on popular platforms like Facebook. In addition, one of the most common ways to ‘become part of something’ is to join the ‘official’ Camping and Caravanning Club.

Why join a caravan or motorhome club?

There are several common reasons why it’s worth joining a more formalised (though not necessarily formal) organisation as well as participating in those loose groups you find on social media. We’ll run through the best of them here.

1. Offers:

There’s a chance that the caravan club you join has some sort of affiliate scheme with an insurance company, so you may be able to claim a discount on your insurance as part of your membership. There may also be a range of member offers including discounts at certain accessories dealerships or garages, plus discounted admission fees on special events such as shows or rallies..

2. Campsites:

Larger caravan and motorhome clubs may have invested in or set up their own campsite or chain of campsites. This can offer consistency to a traveller, who prefers a guaranteed experience and uniform facilities. These sites may be offered at a discount to members of the club or, in fact, may only be available to those who are members.

3. Community:

Feeling like you belong can be important. Whether you like to be up front and involved or prefer to hang back and don’t have too much to say, joining a caravan or motorhome club is a very popular thing to do. It’s also really sensible as you will have experts and advice ‘on tap’ should there be an issue with your vehicle. You’ll be able to speak to people who have been through the exact same problem, as well as people who could actually help you fix it, get it fixed or source the parts that will ensure it can be fixed.

4. Socials:

Weekend ‘meet ups’ (or ‘meets’) are rallies and get-togethers held by caravan, campervan or motorhome clubs and are a great chance to meet new people with the same interests as you. Rallies involve a number of owners getting together in the same place in their vehicles, and are highly social – though is obviously also a degree of vehicle chat and advice sought and offered through all of the fun. These social events often take place on a regular campsite (with pitches offered at a special rate), or on specially arranged locations.

5. Advice:

We just mentioned advice, in the previous section, as something club members can obtain from each other at meet-ups or online forums. But what kind of advice? You will be able to get technical and mechanical advice if there is an issue with your vehicle, or design and modification ideas. You may be able to obtain professional and legal advice from full-time club staff, as well as information on things like foreign campsites and road requirements plus ferry crossings etc.

6. Magazines and newsletters:

The bigger caravan, campervan and motorhome clubs periodically send out an actual physical magazine or email newsletters, full of insight, information and offers. Smaller clubs such as local clubs may also send out digital news to their membership on a monthly or weekly basis, too. Even though we live in the internet age, where information can be disseminated in seconds, the benefit of this type of club interaction is that everything is gathered and curated for members and they will stay informed whilst also feeling strongly connected to the club itself.

The big one: The UK’s leading Caravan & Motorhome Club

The club has been in existence since the early 1900s, having originally been formed as the Caravan Club Of Great Britain And Ireland. There are currently over a million members in the UK, and their membership is based upon the idea of connection and the coming together of owners to support each other and share enthusiasms for on the road living.

How much is caravan and motorhome club membership?

The cost of membership of a caravan, motorhome or campervan club varies from club to club. The major national clubs or societies may charge you around £60 per year for membership – which, for such a large resource with so many benefits, represents amazing value at an average of just £5 per month. More local clubs are likely to charge around £20 per year – again, great value. For the meets we mentioned earlier, there are likely to be additional fees payable. Here are the current annual costs for the more popular clubs:

The Caravan & Motorhome Club – £59 (payable by direct debit)

The Caravan & Motorhome Club – £69 (payable by credit or debit card)

The Camping and Caravanning Club – £48 (digital membership, payable by direct debit)

The Camping and Caravanning Club – £53 (digital or paper membership, payable by direct debit)

The Motor Caravanners Club – £36.75 (payable by debit or credit card)

In addition to these national clubs (and the many more you might be able to find online), there are also manufacturer-oriented ones you can join. This takes the whole concept of membership to a much more specific level. You will very quickly be able to access people with the same vehicle, or the same sort of vehicle, for advice and friendship. There are also likely to be rallies and events throughout the year which you could attend. These clubs really do foster a spirit of community around the particular brand.

For instance:

Club Camper King: Don Amott’s close association with the excellent VW camper converter Camper King is further enhanced by the opportunity to join Club Camper King. It’s free and there are plenty of benefits – including meets plus discounts and a free subscription to Wired For Adventure magazine.

The Swift Owners Club – Membership is £18 a year and is valid until December 31st in the current year (or, if the application is received between 1st September and 31st December, it is valid until December 31st the following year).

Is it worth joining?

Once you’ve bought your vehicle you may actually find that ‘going it alone’ is a little more difficult than you thought: No access to the right people or the right advice when you want to ask something, and none of the benefits associated with membership (discounts etc).

You have nothing much to lose if you join up – just that first membership fee (with fees usually paid on an annual basis), and if you discover that the club is not really for you and don’t want to carry on being a member, nobody’s twisting your arm to stay in when the time comes to renew. If joining one of the national organisations doesn’t appeal to you, even a modicum of online research will mean you find some clubs which are much more local. We believe that it is very much to your benefit to join, and become part of the community. See you at a meet!