RAS isoforms have been proposed to exhibit differing biological outputs due to differences in their relative occupancy of cellular organelles and signalling microdomains. The membrane binding and targeting motifs of RAS are encoded by the C-terminal hypervariable region (HVR), and the precise localisation depends upon interactions between the HVR and the host membrane. Classic studies revealed that all RAS proteins rely on farnesylation and either palmitoylation or a polybasic stretch for stable binding to membranes. We now show that, for N-RAS and Ki-RAS4A, mono-palmitoylation and farnesylation are not sufficient for specifying stable cell-surface localisation. A third motif that is present within the linker domain of all palmitoylated RAS HVRs is necessary for stabilising localisation to the plasma membrane. This motif comprises acidic residues that stabilise palmitoylation and basic amino acids that are likely to interact electrostatically with acidic phospholipids enriched at the cell surface. Importantly, altered localisation is achieved without changes in palmitoylation status. Our data provide a mechanism for distinct HVR membrane interactions controlling subcellular distribution. In the context of the full-length RAS proteins, this is likely to be of crucial importance for controlling signalling output and engagement with different pools of effectors.