When my mom first became a full-time RVer about 20 years ago, I started hearing the word "Escapees" come out of her mouth quite a bit. She absolutely loved being an Escapee!
Fast forward 18 years, and I am now also an Escapees RV Club member (a premier camping club). I joined as I launched into full-time RVing life two years ago. I am currently an Xscaper, an offshoot club of Escapees catering to a younger generation and those still working while on the road.
It was pretty much the first thing I did after buying my RV. I needed to get myself domiciled and I needed a mail forwarding service. I already knew Escapees would fill those needs perfectly.
About 9 months into my full-time RV life, I found out about an even bigger benefit of Escapees. They had just started a new branch of Escapees called Xscapers. This group was focused more towards the non-retired/younger generation of full-time RVers. This fit my bill perfectly!
I was 42 when I launched, which is relatively young age for a full-time RVer. Currently, about 85% of the club members are over the age of 65. Therefore, Xscapers appealed to me greatly and I have met many many cool peeps who I have more in common with as they are closer to my age and have similar interests and needs.
They have been an invaluable resource for me in learning the ways of the road and the ins and outs of finding good internet while boondocking.
There are plenty of other benefits to being an Escapee. Let's have a look at some of those benefits.
You Need A Place To Call Home? Escapees Can Give You A Domicile Address
The idea of being a nomad is appealing to many of us. You might have just sold everything you own including the house, to full-time RV. In this case, you have no address.
However, the government doesn't really allow for one to just be a true nomad with no address to speak of, and still have any rights. We call that 'homeless'. They want to have a place that they can reach you if they need to come after you for money or to vote, file your taxes or whatnot.
So, you really have to have some address to call home. You will use your domicile address to register your vehicles, to get your drivers license and health insurance, and file your taxes, all depending on your situation.
For RVers, there are 3 states that are generally the best for this purpose: Florida, South Dakota, and Texas.
These three states have no State income tax, are better than some for getting health insurance coverage, and can be cheaper for things like vehicle registration and/or taxes on large purchases.
There's a difference between the definition of 'residence' and 'domicile'. A residence is a place you have as an address. You can have as many as you want to have. It is a place of general abode without regard to intent.
A domicile, on the other hand, is a residence that does have intent. It is a place that you can be absent from, but you have intent of returning to.
You can have more than one residence, but only one domicile. Your domicile will be the place that controls your legal jurisdiction in things such as voting, taxing authorities and the like.
Visit the Escapees page about domicile with the rules and information about health insurance and such. Links to the big three states and step-by-step on how to get domiciled in them are listed below:
Campground Discounts At Their Parks and Participating Escapee Parks
Escapees owns 8 campgrounds, which they call 'Rainbow Parks, ' including their flagship Rainbow's End RV park in Livingston, TX (which also happens to be their headquarters). They have partnered up with about 1,000 commercial parks in the country where you get an Escapees discount. Rates can be as low as $250-$350 per month. That's a deal!
They also have 11 'co-op' parks. You can purchase a membership entitling you to use a specified lot until you die or until you sell the membership back to Escapees. You must be an Escapees member to rent a site at a co-op park. If you are an owner in the co-op, you can rent out your space while you are traveling.
Additionally, you can rent a space from an owner if there is one available from an owner who is away. Call to check for availability.
Getting Your Mail Just Got Much Easier
Getting your mail is one of the more difficult things to do while living on the road whether you live nomadically part-time or full-time. Escapees makes it easier with their mail service program. They provide you a mailing address where you should have all of your mail sent to. They collect your mail on your behalf, then forward your mail to your location upon request.
They will let you know what you have waiting for you by simply asking via email or a phone call. They will sort it for you and throw away what you don't want and send you what you want to keep. They also provide a mail scanning service so you don't have to wait for your mail/pay to have it delivered. The scanning service is available for an additional fee.
Annual mail forwarding fees start at $95 and increase up to $135, depending on which type of mail forwarding service you request. There are additional fees you will have to incur such as postage fees, cancellation fees, enrollment fees, and more. Still, for a yearly fee, this mail forwarding service is pretty priceless and very affordable.
Making New Friends: Getting to Know Like Minded RVers Through Escapees Convergences and Rallies
The Escapees club puts on a number of convergences (gatherings) every year all across the country. These are great for getting out there and meeting like-minded RVers who also love being on the road.
From educational boot camps to rallies, there is no shortage of events to choose from every year. Some are free, some cost for the educational aspect or for the gathering itself, and some cost just to cover your camping fee. From Florida to Alaska, these are great opportunities to meet like-minded club members and to learn more about RVing.
They also offer sub-groups such as their Bof's (Birds of a feather) groups, HOP's program (travel by land, sea, air) where they have get-togethers consisting of touring or doing some adventurous activity.
They formed the Xscapers group for the non-retired crowd a few years ago, and they have Xscapers convergences in areas where internet access is plentiful for the digital nomads among the Xscapers.
It's simply a great resource for meeting new RVers and learning and having fun while on the road.
Other Member Benefits
In addition to the above mentioned, there are a few other things that being an Escapee offers.
1. Escapees Magazine: Full of information about RVing and rallies and learning about your RV.
2. Job Board: Connecting those looking for work on the road with employers needing people like us.
3. Advocacy: The Escapees RV Club has been a strong advocate to keep the rights of full-time nomad RVers intact. Straight from the Escapees website: "Over the past 35 years, Escapees RV Club has fought to uphold full-time RVers’ right to vote; defeated unfair RV-specific taxes; protected free overnight parking rights; and stood up to city, county, state, and federal regulations that threatened our personal freedoms."
4. Escapees CARE program: When one lives in their RV and gets to a point where they need assistance in daily living, the solutions usually include burdening family members with helping with daily care, or having to sell the RV and move into a house or a nursing home.
For those who do not want this, the CARE program steps in. It offers a site for $1090 per month (for one person. Add $545 for a second person) in Livingston, Texas which includes:
- Campsite with concrete pad and a phone line.
- Use of private storage shed.
- Three meals, plus snack seven days a week.
- Housekeeper and laundry service.
- Help with dumping and switching propane tanks.
- Transport to local health services.
- Weekly Bus Trip for food and miscellaneous shopping.
- Access to adult day care services, for a fee.
As mentioned above, an extra $40/day you can enroll in the adult day care program which assists with more personal things such as bathing, toilet assistance, medications, injections, helping with meals, walking and exercise.
No matter whether you are a full-time RVer or a part timer, there are benefits to be had from being an Escapee.
Membership is $49.95 per year.
Visit the overview page of their benefits coming straight from the horse's mouth on the Escapee's website.
Author: Kelly Beasley
As a seasoned and passionate RVing expert, I have dedicated myself to living the full-time RV life for over 5.5 years, immersing myself in the unique quirks and joys of the boondocking lifestyle and gaining a wealth of knowledge and experience along the way. In December 2020, my business partner and I made the transition to part-time RVing, but in January 2023, we hit the road once again, this time in our trusty vans. My mission is to help others embrace the RVing lifestyle with confidence and excitement, armed with the knowledge and resources needed to make the most of their adventures. I believe that the more you know, the more you can truly appreciate and enjoy the freedom and flexibility of the open road. Join me on this journey and let's make some unforgettable memories.