Reciprocity is useful but not necessary inside the US. For the 15 years I cruised outside the US I never found a need for it. Not all US YCs offer reciprocity these days. In the Great Lakes
reciprocity is only available to members of YCs that are in a Great Lakes
Inexpensive clubs that do not have their own facilities are in a gray area. Some expensive yacht clubs consider them cheaters and will not reciprocate; after all, what is available in return? I belonged to a local "cruising" yacht club that was quite active, with 100 boats, which sent many successful cruisers out to the far corners of the world. They did have plans to pay for transient moorage for anyone who arrived here and contacted one of the officers. Given the few boats that venture up the Columbia
River, and fewer still that could locate someone with the club, it was a safe offer. That said, if someone had shown up I am certain they would have been treated like royalty. IIRC the listing in the YC directory described a marina which had a number of members' boats. I will leave it to others to judge the honesty of this arrangement. Suffice it to say that many yacht clubs with their own facilities would not offer reciprocity if they knew the truth.