Planning a trip to Europe with your motorhome, campervan or caravan? Want to use campsites and save money on travel outside of peak season? Or want to know that you’re staying at a high-quality campsite? Then ACSI membership might be perfect for you. Here’s a review of ACSI, the options and which might be best for you.
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Who are ACSI?
ACSI is a company which works alongside a network of thousands of campsites across Europe (including the UK).
It is a Dutch company which was founded in 1965 and wanted to make things easier for people enjoying Europe road trips by bringing campsites in multiple countries together to offer discounts. Now, there are around 10,000 campsites in the guide- and more are being added regularly!
What does ACSI stand for?
Great question! They don’t even have it on their website anymore- they just use ACSI. After much digging, I believe it stands for Auto Camper Service International.
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ACSI Membership- the options
Ok, honest talk time. USING the ACSI services is easy-peasy (we’ll get to that next) but BUYING the card can be a pain in the backside.
Their website is a little confusing and it can be tough to know which option you need. They have several things which all sounds reeeeeallly similar.
So let me try to break it down for you.
Eurocampings is a collection of campsites (over 9000!) which have been inspected by ACSI yearly, meaning that you get a really high quality of campsite.
These can include campsites by the sea or a major attraction, dog-friendly campsites, sites with kids clubs and pools or smaller campsites where you can enjoy some well-earned peace.
You don’t get any discount on the campsites, but you do have peace of mind knowing your holiday is somewhere which has been inspected and is well looked after.
The campsites are easy to find and most can be booked online. In fact, the easiest way to find them is using the Campsites Europe App.
Campsites Europe App
This app lists all the campsites in their Eurocampings scheme.
They also list plenty of the nicer aires too (they call them ‘motorhome pitches’, which makes things a little easier when you just want somewhere safe to stay overnight without worrying about it.
There are some handy filters which make it easy to find the right place to stay and more and more campsites have made it possible for you to use the app to book your pitch directly. If they can’t, the app has the phone number so you can call them. (Don’t forget, you can’t book aires in advance, only campsites.)
You can also make a list of campsites/ pitches you like the look of and save them to favourites so you can easily find them again later. Even better, once you’ve downloaded the information, you can also use the app offline.
I actually find it easier to find quality places to stay overnight, instead of Park4night, because I know they’ve been inspected and approved. I also like how you can filter the services for the aires, to show ones where you can get drinking water or empty waste.
RECOMMENDED: For everyone who wants to find and use high-quality campsites and approved parking spots (aires) at any time during the year.
TOP TIP: Be sure to download only the regions/ countries you need on your phone/ device in order to save space. The files can be pretty large as there’s so much information on them.
If you own a motorhome, caravan or campervan, and are able to travel outside of peak season, this is probably the option you want.
The ACSI Camping Card is a guidebook/ app and a discount card, which a discount of up to 60% in early and low season at around 3,000 campsites across the UK & Europe. It’s a great alternative to free motorhome parking and overnight stopovers in Europe.
You use the guide to find campsites where you can stay for as little as 12€/ night and the card ensures you’ll pay less than the campsites lowest advertised rate.
When you buy the CampingCard ACSI guide, you can use the card at all participating campsites when travelling outside of peak times. For a small additional fee, you can also get access to the CampingCard ACSI app, which is simple to use whilst you’re already on the road. But you still need to show the card at the campsite in order to get a discount.
And no- it’s not the same thing as the Camping Card International, which is a similar scheme but a lot more expensive
ACSI camping card fee- what does it cost?
In 2022, there are a couple of purchase options:
- If you buy a subscription (which renews automatically), you’ll get the CampingCard guidebook and the app for just 12.95€
- A non-renewing purchase for the CampingCard guidebook and app is 16.95€
- If you already own the CampingCard guidebook and would like access to the app, you can purchase it for 3.59€
NOTE: The CampingCard ACSI runs from January- December. The one for the new year comes out around October time, but if you’re travelling in November or December through into January, you’ll need to buy both the current year and the following year, so make sure you purchase the correct one(s) for your trip.
They also have an option to purchase a motorhome pack, which includes the campsites which allow a discount PLUS aires and pitches just for motorhomes/ campervans for around 32.95€. This is great, but for some reason the guide is only available in German, French or Dutch. It’s easy enough to use in any language (and the app makes it super easy), but something to be aware of. So far, we’ve just used the ‘normal’ CampingCard option and it’s been great.
Where can I buy the ACSI Camping card membership?
The best place to buy the CampingCard ACSI is here.
How to use the CampingCard ACSI
The CampingCard ACSI is very simple to use- you need to take it with you on your trip and show it on arrival at the reception of your campsite. You’ll then be given the discount.
Only one person in the vehicle needs to be a member. You must have a card valid for the year you are in.
How to use the ACSI CampingCard App
The app is also really straightforward to use- you open it and either search around your location or search around your planned destination. You can click on the icons and read more about the campsite and the facilities.
TOP TIP: You need to download the correct areas in order to use the app offline. Try to do this BEFORE you leave otherwise it will chew up a lot of your data. (Learn more about getting internet in your camper here)
Where have we used our ACSI CampingCard?
Whilst touring in our motorhome, we’ve used our ACSI card all over the place.
- We stayed by the beach while motorhoming in Croatia, which was MAGICAL.
- Used it at Lake Bled campsite in Slovenia
- We’ve used it numerous times whilst touring France in our motorhome
- and many more!
ACSI Review- what are the benefits of Camping Card?
There are some HUGE benefits to purchasing the CampingCard ACSI for anyone who enjoys travelling to Europe and plans to use campsites, even if it’s just occasionally. Heck, you can save more than the cost of membership in just 2 nights!
Let’s take our motorhome tour of France as an example.
Usually, we prefer to use French aires as much as possible, or we love to wild camp in France away from everyone.
But there have been several places where we’ve struggled to find a wild camping spot, or an aire- especially on the French Riviera. In those instances, we used an ACSI campsite and saved about €10 each night! That adds up to a lot of savings over the duration of a motorhome trip.
Another thing we like is that, unlike with other motorhome clubs, you can still use the campsites even if you aren’t a member- you’d just pay full price. So we can arrange to meet friends or family at a certain campsite without issue.
Planning a trip to France with your motorhome or camper?
GUIDE– For a step-by-step guide, with video walkthroughs of aires, motorhome set up, checklists and more, grab our France Road Trip & Motorhome Travel Planner
CHECKLIST– Don’t forget to grab your FREE France motorhome travel checklist HERE
GEAR– And if you need any motorhome gear for touring France or Europe, here’s what we recommend.
When can you use ACSI CampingCard?
There are some small differences on when sites will accept the ACSI card (it’s clearly marked in the guide for each place) but, generally speaking, many campsites will accept CampingCard ACSI most of the year and even as far into the summer as the beginning of July.
The peak season times where it is NOT accepted generally include Easter (and the week either side of it if the schools in Europe are off), and the month of August. Some bank holiday weekends are also excluded.
ACSI Great Little Campsites (with app)
Bear with me, because there’s more! ACSI also have a website and app called ‘Great Little Campsites’.
This is a collection of over 2000 small campsites and motorhome pitches around the UK and Europe. Facilities vary, from rustic to those with swimming pools! This is a great compromise if you want to get away from noisy and overcrowded campsites but still want the security of a site instead of an aire in Europe (or even motorhome wild camping!)
You can get access to the app for just 3€ for the year here (but remember, not all these small campsites will accept the ACSI discount CampingCard.
ACSI Club ID card
And then, there’s the ACSI Club ID- which is NOT the same thing as a CampingCard membership. The Club ID allows you to get discounts on items in the ACSI shop, plus some discounts on days out and camping equipment.
One of the big advantages of an ACSI Club ID card is that you can keep your passport safely tucked away: almost 8,800 ACSI campsites accept the card in place of your ID, so you don’t need to hand over your passport on check-in. It also insures you for 3rd party liability.
The Club ID costs 4.95€/ year (2022 price) and you can buy it here
Planning to take your motorhome to Europe?
And lastly, there’s Suncamp, where you can book camping and motorhome holidays which are family-orientated, staying at locations with kids clubs and many facilities to give them an amazing holiday. We’ve never used these, but you’ll see that option on the ACSI website if you’re interested.
Do you have to book ACSI campsites in advance?
ACSI have a wide range of campsites. If you’re planning to visit in peak season, and want somewhere near the beach or with specific facilities then yes, it’s well worth booking as far in advance as you can.
With the Camping Card, the whole point of the scheme is to encourage camping outside of high season and peak times. Therefore, by definition, it shouldn’t be too busy. I think nearly every ACSI site we’ve used, we’ve just turned up- which is good, because we rarely plan our motorhome trips too far in advance!
ACSI membership review- is it worth it?
If you’re going to be travelling around Europe and using campsites, then yes- absolutely!
There are pros and cons to all the schemes. If you enjoy staying at high quality campsites, then Eurocampings and the ACSI Campsites Europe app is well worth the money.
For the camping card, if you can ONLY travel during school holidays/ peak season than no, it’s not right for you. But for most other people, it’s well worth it.
A couple of things to note:
- many campsites close at end of September/ October and don’t re-open until March. If you’re only using your motorhome in winter, or going motorhome skiing, then ACSI might not be right for you either (although there are a few campsites which stay open all year).
- If you’re enjoying solo vanlife, then you might find ACSI discounts aren’t worth it (as most of them have a set price based on two adults).
- If you’re travelling November/ December, bear in mind you’ll need to buy the next year to start 01 January. So you might not get full benefit.
But, overall, we think ACSI is well worth the investment.
Planning a European Road trip? These posts might help:
- Driving in Europe – everything you need to bring
- Driving in Europe after BREXIT– essential changes to know about
- How to find free overnight stopovers for motorhomes and campervans
- How to get LPG in Europe
Kat never planned to buy a motorhome. She also never planned to quit her job as an air traffic controller, go touring around Europe in said motorhome, start one of the UK’s largest motorhome travel websites… or get a cocker spaniel.
If you’d like to connect with Kat, send her an email or follow her adventures on social media.