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Old 03-27-2020, 04:30 PM   #1
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Question for Thousand Trails Members

We are not full timers and don't expect to be but we would like to be out for the winter as neither of us enjoy the cold. The 'Itis' clan makes it difficult.
Plus, in the late Spring, Summer and Fall we like to take the DP for extended drives, being out for a week or two at a time. So I figure 4 to 5 months over the winter depending on whether we go to FL, RGV or AZ. (Never been to RGV and its been over 20 years since visiting AZ.) Add another 30 days over the rest of the year. Primarily the time South would be TT if we decide to buy in.

I understand from my research is that the majority of the TT preserves are along the coasts and South and in the summer we like to go to the mountains.

I am a member of Good Sam, Passport America, Xscapees and FMCA so I have other low cost options outside the winter.

We don't mind moving every couple of weeks but would prefer having ability to go from one to another without a break outside so I think I'm looking at a Platinum membership with TT and Encore resorts included. Looking at probably 3 more years as we are nearing the 80 mark and will probably look at a resale if I can find what I'm looking at.

Sooooo, here's my question for those currently using TT:
1. What membership do you have? Did you buy it from TT or Resale?
2. Based on your use and my plans, do you feel it would be a viable acquisition?
3. Are my expectations valid?
4. What recommendations can you offer?

Thanks is advance for your input - Rihcard


3
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrtribble View Post
We are not full timers and don't expect to be but we would like to be out for the winter as neither of us enjoy the cold. The 'Itis' clan makes it difficult.
Plus, in the late Spring, Summer and Fall we like to take the DP for extended drives, being out for a week or two at a time. So I figure 4 to 5 months over the winter depending on whether we go to FL, RGV or AZ. (Never been to RGV and its been over 20 years since visiting AZ.) Add another 30 days over the rest of the year. Primarily the time South would be TT if we decide to buy in.

I understand from my research is that the majority of the TT preserves are along the coasts and South and in the summer we like to go to the mountains.

I am a member of Good Sam, Passport America, Xscapees and FMCA so I have other low cost options outside the winter.

We don't mind moving every couple of weeks but would prefer having ability to go from one to another without a break outside so I think I'm looking at a Platinum membership with TT and Encore resorts included. Looking at probably 3 more years as we are nearing the 80 mark and will probably look at a resale if I can find what I'm looking at.

Sooooo, here's my question for those currently using TT:
1. What membership do you have? Did you buy it from TT or Resale?
2. Based on your use and my plans, do you feel it would be a viable acquisition?
3. Are my expectations valid?
4. What recommendations can you offer?

Thanks is advance for your input - Rihcard


3
I understand from my research is that the majority of the TT preserves are along the coasts and South and in the summer we like to go to the mountains. Not completely accurate, for example in Arizona there is 1 TT park, Verde Valley. In New Mexico there is none. In Texas there are 7 TT parks with none in RGV, but there are Encore parks there. In Florida there are only 3 TT parks the rest are Encore. Along the Gulf Coast area going on I-10 there are none.
1) We have the Elite membership and purchased it from TT. We already had a National membership so our upgrade was the cost of going thru a resale site.
2) We started full-timing last June 2019 and we use our membership. If you will use the membership it will work, but if you don't use it, it becomes a waste of money.
3) my opinion, only you can decide this question. What do you expect from a campground, have you ever been in a TT park? You can not reserve a specific site you get a reservation. So if you are expecting 50amp, full hookups at every park forget it. For example Medina Lakes has a very limited number of 50 amp sites (about 10) but only about 4 for those coming in. The rest are taken by seasonal. Wilmington in Ohio has 6 50 amp sites, 5 taken by seasonal people. Of these 1 is full time, 1 seasonal and the other 3 were out only about 8 nights total between all 3 of them. So if you go to either of these parks except to get a 30 amp site maybe with sewer maybe not.
4) First I would suggest go and get a "camping pass" for a zone. It allows you to try TT parks in different zones of the country. Try it out, you can get different zones for different areas. If you buy from a resale contact TT and make sure what comes with the plan you are looking at. Also do not forget going a resale route you will probably pay a transfer fee (used to be $750) could be more now. But you would get one cheaper compared to TT. Make sure a resale is not limited in the number of years that it is good for use before you buy.
If you do not want to do this then make a reservation and pay the fee and go in to camp. Check out the park, you do not need to be a member.
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:40 PM   #3
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hamm2018

Thanks. My DP is 43' and requires 50amp. Boondocking I use the generator but not really something to do in a CG.

With your membership can you stay in Encore too?

I do remember reading that the TT reservation is for a site, maybe? I'm sorry to hear that the best sites are leased out long term. Seems to defeat the reason for TT membership doesn't it?

Something else I need to consider. I know that I can lease a winter spot in most locations on a weekly, monthly or seasonal lease. Might consider that - seems it would be cheaper.

Thanks for the update - Richard
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:55 PM   #4
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hamm2018

Thanks. My DP is 43' and requires 50amp. Boondocking I use the generator but not really something to do in a CG.

With your membership can you stay in Encore too?

I do remember reading that the TT reservation is for a site, maybe? I'm sorry to hear that the best sites are leased out long term. Seems to defeat the reason for TT membership doesn't it?

Something else I need to consider. I know that I can lease a winter spot in most locations on a weekly, monthly or seasonal lease. Might consider that - seems it would be cheaper.

Thanks for the update - Richard
We can use Encore but we are required to pay. In some we get a 20% discount. But you can get "The Trails Collection" "another $299/year" which allows you to stay in some Encore at no cost and others at $20.00/night. But not all Encore are included.
We are in Casa Grande Az right now and it is an Encore park. We found a park in Goodyear, Az. for a cheaper rate and will go back there next winter when we come out to Spring Training.
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Old 03-27-2020, 05:56 PM   #5
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We have the elite membership.Encore resorts you have to be out for 7 days in between stays.As for winter remember its tough getting into parks,its really only fl,az,tx that you can go to and they fill up quick.Not sure what itis clan means
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Old 03-27-2020, 06:05 PM   #6
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hamm2018

Thanks. My DP is 43' and requires 50amp. Boondocking I use the generator but not really something to do in a CG.

With your membership can you stay in Encore too?

I do remember reading that the TT reservation is for a site, maybe? I'm sorry to hear that the best sites are leased out long term. Seems to defeat the reason for TT membership doesn't it?

Something else I need to consider. I know that I can lease a winter spot in most locations on a weekly, monthly or seasonal lease. Might consider that - seems it would be cheaper.

Thanks for the update - Richard
Our toy hauler is triaxle and about 45 foot long. So kind of in the same boat with the size issue
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Old 03-28-2020, 11:01 AM   #7
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There are many, many different types of TT memberships that have been sold over the years and then of course there is the terms of their current memberships that are being sold now. Where one member can do one thing others may not be able to do because of the way their contract is written. That's why it's impossible to describe to any body what TT is all about. There are so many different flavors of TT memberships.

For us being FTer's, TT works very well but for any person who has a full blown TT membership it takes time to learn how to use it effectively. A TT Zone Pass may work for you, but they come with a lot restrictions that may not work for you. For example we can make reservations 120 days out, Zone Passes are a lot less. Reservation window times matters a lot in high traffic times like the summer when all the kiddies are out of school and parents go on vacation.

We did a video last year on how we did winter down in RGV with our membership. If you're interested you can view it here:
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Old 03-28-2020, 01:52 PM   #8
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Martin & Joanie,

Enjoyed the video especially as I have been thinking about RGV for this winter though FL has always been our winter location for a wee or so.

Several problems have arisen that maybe you can assist with:
1. Reservations don't always work out; i.e. you arrive and their are no 50 amp sites or sites long enough to safely accommodate a big rig. Have you encountered this in your TT time?
2. Thinking of Zone pass. Was told you could only stay a max of 30 nights for free during the 12 month period. After that you pay $5.00 a night. Additionally, if you stayed at a TT park for 3 nights you have to stay out of TT parks for at least 7 days. Have you encountered this during your time in TT?
3. With the Zone pass told reservations could be made no sooner than 60 days out.
4. From viewing your video and looking at parks using Google Earth it seems that TT/Encore preserves have a large number of permanent sites, or long term lease sites, many of which seem to be in the best locations of the park. Have you run into this?

Thanks in advance. Will be back to your videos in the future.

Drive safe and enjoy - Richard
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:43 PM   #9
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jarata,

'itis' arthritis and his cousin rheumatism - Its an old folks joke.

In staying at Encore, is this as a non-member and you pay a long-term lease for the winter?

In looking at my Passport America book I see several Encore parks that offer the 50% discount to PA members. I have never understood private parks limiting their members use because they invite non-members in to enjoy the amenities cheaper than members.

Still learning.

Thanks for sharing your info. Drive safe - Richard
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Old 03-28-2020, 02:45 PM   #10
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I am not a TT member but I stayed in an Encore park one winter near Phoenix AZ. It was a large park with several hundred sites. Most of the sites had Park Models. Only a few were set up for RVs. I asked at the office about joining TT to get a better monthly rate. I was paying $900. They told me that they only had a few sites available at the Encore rate even tho they were an Encore Park and that even if I was a TT member it would be very difficult to get a discounted site.
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Old 03-28-2020, 05:18 PM   #11
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Martin & Joanie,

Enjoyed the video especially as I have been thinking about RGV for this winter though FL has always been our winter location for a wee or so.

Several problems have arisen that maybe you can assist with:
1. Reservations don't always work out; i.e. you arrive and their are no 50 amp sites or sites long enough to safely accommodate a big rig. Have you encountered this in your TT time?
We have an Elite package that we bought 4yrs. ago. With our contract we have NEVER had any reservation issues. There were a couple of times last year when we were traveling to to Maine and along the way we could only get a 30amp site but....who cares...you don't need 50amp up there in early spring/summer. Never need to run AC's.

As a side note we spent 4 months in Maine and ran off a 20amp extension cord. Had to manage electric use but we did fine.

As far as accommodating a large rig, that can happen in a lot of places. That's why we choose not to go so big. Our 35' 3" rig can pretty much get into anywhere and we have never had a problem. We have a few friends who have 40' DP's and have ran into some TT parks that they couldn't get into a site. Price you pay for having a big rig.


2. Thinking of Zone Pass. Was told you could only stay a max of 30 nights for free during the 12 month period. After that you pay $5.00 a night. Additionally, if you stayed at a TT park for 3 nights you have to stay out of TT parks for at least 7 days. Have you encountered this during your time in TT?
We have no experience with Zones Passes. As I said before, Zone Passes have a lot more restrictions and less flexibility attached to them but some people can still make them work. Just depends. That's why we bought the Elite Membership when we did 4yrs. ago. The features that were included in our contract are no longer available.

3. With the Zone pass told reservations could be made no sooner than 60 days out.
Yep. Zone passes have limited access in many ways.

4. From viewing your video and looking at parks using Google Earth it seems that TT/Encore preserves have a large number of permanent sites, or long term lease sites, many of which seem to be in the best locations of the park. Have you run into this?

Well again, in RGV most all parks down here—TT, Encore and otherwise—are a combination of park models and RV sites. We have been in every Encore Park within the TT circle and NO, long term sites do NOT have the best sites. Every Encore park here varies but they overall are all nice, well kept, quiet, 55+ and reasonably priced for your week out. For us it cost about $1,100 for a 4 month winter stay down here. However, this year we ended up actually buying our own RV site. We plan on making RGV our permanent winter get away so it just made sense for us. We're going to produce a video about this too soon.

Go back to our YT channel and subscribe and hit the notification bell to the right and you'll be notified when we upload a new video. It's free and it will help you get a hold of the bigger picture down here.


Thanks in advance. Will be back to your videos in the future.

Drive safe and enjoy - Richard

My answers in red:
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Old 03-28-2020, 06:25 PM   #12
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I have a Zone Pass with the Trails Collection add on. I have spent the whole winter in the RGV. I'm in Victoria Palms now. the Zone Pass allows camping ALL year round. 2 weeks in, 1 week out of system. so theoretically you can stay in either an encore park or a TT park, for 238 days a year. So, the cost for a zone pass and TC addon is $900/238= 4/night. Everyone in the TT system gets the same when they stay in an encore park, no matter what their level is. 2 weeks in, 1 week out, 60 day reservation window. those with upgraded packages can go either TT park to park, or TC to TT with no time out. NO one can go TC to TC. As an example, here in the RGV, some people bounce from TC to TT, BUT the nearest TT park from the RGV is north of San Antonio, a 300 mile ride. If you want to stay here and not have to move, your better off getting a season rate. They can be had for 300-400 a month

Honestly, the 60 day Res. windows for a zone pass hasn't bothered me at all, but i'm flexible, and i haven't had any problems. if you insist on being in Orlando in January, then your gonna have problems. If you have a big rig, most Encore resorts have 50 amp, heck i got a couple of Prevosts next to me. but its slim pickings in the TT system. Also the really nice Encore resorts charge an extra $20 a night. Like in the florida Keys.
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Old 03-29-2020, 03:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rrtribble View Post
...
Sooooo, here's my question for those currently using TT:
1. What membership do you have? Did you buy it from TT or Resale?
2. Based on your use and my plans, do you feel it would be a viable acquisition?
3. Are my expectations valid?
4. What recommendations can you offer?

Thanks is advance for your input - Rihcard
3
1 Elite, 120 Rez window, resale, can resell only as a national pass
2 No idea. For me was the best thing I did.
Year 1 344 Nights for $1015 paid for the year
Year 2 328 Nights for $1265 paid for the year
Year 3 Current year 231 nights planned thru September
My average cost per night in a TT/TC park is $7.01 which includes the cost of the original purchase of my Elite membership

It is easy enough to see where the CGs are. Why do you assume they are not in the mountains? Many are. I've stayed in the Blue Ridge, Sedona, Tahoe and Yosemite.

I'd buy used thru Campground Membership Outlet.
https://www.campgroundmembershipoutlet.com/
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Old 03-29-2020, 04:01 PM   #14
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TXTiger,

So Encore and TT resorts aren't Members ONLY since they leased a site to you for a month.

I guess as I look into this more-and-more I can see where TT membership can provide a significant saving but I'm troubles by seeing that the majority of park sites, especially in the high traffic areas like FL, AZ, CA, etc.

Drive safe - Richard
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