Those of you who like exploring the world from the comfort of your motorhome or campervan have probably realised that this is not a particularly cheap hobby. Oftentimes fuel, food, and other miscellaneous expenses can end up costing quite a bit.
Fortunately, if you look for them, there are plenty of opportunities available to save some cash here and there. One such example is the ACSI camping card. In this article, we will go over what an ACSI card is and how it can help you save your hard-earned cash at campsites.
What is An ACSI card?
The ACSI camping card is an initiative started by Auto Camper Service International that can help you get discounted rates at any number of picturesque locations all across Europe. The card works on an annual membership model, where you can renew it at the end of every calendar year for a small fee.
There is a network of ACSI sites all across the continent, and the camping card can help you gain exclusive discounts at most of these locations.
Whenever using this card for a discount you will be charged one of only five different flat rates. These are 12, 14, 16, 18, and 20 Euros, depending on the campsite and the discount rate. One thing to note is that these rates can be revised between years, so you may encounter a different rate list in the future.
How Does An ACSI Camping Card Work?
Now that you know the fundamentals of this card and what it is, you may be wondering how you can go about using it.
The first prerequisite is that you sign up for the card and have a valid one with you when going to a campsite. Secondly, you need to go there in a campervan or motorhome of some sort. Although it is worth noting that cars with trailers, caravans, or tents will also be allowed.
Upon signing up, you will also receive a book detailing all the campsites where the ACSI camping card is valid. The pages will provide important information on each site such as location, available services, and prices.
Moreover, it is worth noting that the discount card is only accepted by most sites during the off-season. Due to this, there are relatively fewer sites giving discounts during July and August which are peak months.
This, however, is not an issue as there are still some sites that have their peak seasons earlier or later and thus are willing to accept the discount cards during July and August. The book will provide you with details regarding when each site accepts the card and when it does not. This will help you plan your trip and not face any surprises upon reaching the site.
ACSI also provides a companion app as well as a website. Both these services allow you an alternate way of checking information on the campsites as well as making bookings. Although, if you prefer, you can still call and make a booking as well. This may, however, sometimes prove challenging due to language barriers.
Where is The ACSI Card Applicable?
A card can offer all the discounts in the world. However, if it is valid at only one or two locations then that is not particularly useful. Fortunately, this is not the issue over here.
The ACSI discount card is valid at a shockingly large number of campsites all across the European continent. In fact, you can find sites in 22 different countries. All in all, these number over 3000 locations - enough for you to visit a new site every weekend for 60 years!
The reason for this wide network is the fact that ACSI is also one of the biggest campsite guides in Europe. Due to this, it has a lot of connections within the industry and can provide a wide range of services.
The largest number of campsites are in France, boasting a high 1500 locations. In second place is the Netherlands with 440, followed by Germany and Italy with 350 and 330 respectively. In fact, there is even an ACSI campsite in the micronation of San Marino.
Due to this wide network, you should be able to use your card at most camping spots, however, we of course recommend that you check each campsite and its discount period in advance before going to the location.
What Other Services Does The ACSI Discount Card Provide?
With the ACSI discount card, the only benefit is not just saving some money at most sites but there are also a few other conveniences brought about by this card.
For starters, when you sign up, the book contains pictures, contact information, and locations of thousands of campsites all across Europe. Thus, even if you do not utilise the discount, you still get a vast database at your fingertips.
Another thing to note is that in addition to providing these discount cards, ACSI is also a certification agency. This means that if a campsite has the ACSI sign, it is visited every year by an inspector who conducts a thorough review of the site.
This means that ACSI sites are generally good quality, safe, and well kept. Just because you are getting a discount will not mean that the standards are not up to par. In fact, due to the fact that ACSI is a regulator, you are likely to get better quality than you would if a campsite was not regulated or inspected.
Is The ACSI Discount Card Worth It?
Now that you have an idea of the services, there is only one question remaining, that of value. Is this card worth the price and hassle to get it? To answer this, we need to investigate a few of the benefits and drawbacks.
Without a doubt, the ACSI discount cards definitely help you save money. In fact, some sites can provide a discount reaching as much as 60% to ACSI cardholders, especially during the off-peak season.
Due to this, you are likely to make back the money you spent on the card in the matter of a few trips. Any further trips you make from then on will be pure savings. So when it comes to value, there’s no question about it - the ACSI has a lot to offer.
One thing to note, however, is that although ACSI gets you good discounts on the price of staying at the campsite, there may still be other costs that you have to pay in full.
This includes things like local taxes or the prices of certain services at the site. In these instances, particularly if the other miscellaneous costs are significant, the ACSI discount will only end up saving a relatively smaller proportion of your overall bill.
However, even with this fact, a discount is a discount, and you will have saved a good deal of money. Moreover, the ACSI card provides other benefits as well. For example, standard entrances only include two adults but with an ACSI discount card, a lot of campsites will let you bring along up to three children below the age of five for free.
Moreover, in a lot of instances, you will also be allowed up to one dog with you for free. These can result in extra savings and further help the value proposition of the card.
Thus, in conclusion, for most power users who frequent campsites with their campervan, the ACSI discount cards bring a lot of value to the table. This, paired with the flexibility of literally thousands of campsites across the continent, makes it one of the best options available for campers on the market.