Are the ever-escalating costs of vacation accommodation getting you down? Are you desperate to secure more time away with your family without having to worry about last-minute bookings and the associated costs?
Buying a timeshare product might provide the answers to your travel woes. So, why are you reluctant to sign up right away?
Perhaps you’re hesitant to try out this vacation option because you’ve heard about timeshare scams and unhappy customers. Maybe you simply don’t know enough about the pros and cons of timeshares to give it any serious thought.
Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about timeshare.
How Does a Timeshare Work?
First things, first. Timeshare is a shared vacation ownership concept that allows you to occupy an amount of time at one resort every year for the duration of your contract.
You pay a large upfront cost to secure this right every year, as well as an annual or monthly fee toward the upkeep of your accommodation. So if you need to finance your timeshare product, you’ll pay two bills associated with your vacation every month.
Over the years, the initial timeshare concept has evolved considerably in line with vacationers’ needs, so you’ll find a few options available when you go shopping for a timeshare.
Types of Timeshares
There are three main types of timeshare products available on the market today. These are:
Fixed week timeshares mean you occupy the same apartment in the same resort at the same time every year. You can swap your space with other timeshare owners via a timeshare exchange company or rent it to other vacationers, as you see fit.
Flexi week timeshares have no fixed dates. You buy the right to occupy a certain type of unit during a particular season.
For instance, you may own a two-bedroom apartment at a resort during the off-peak season. This gives you occupational rights to any two-bedroom unit in the resort during an off-peak week.
Once you’ve booked your accommodation, you can exchange it if needed, rent it out, or occupy it yourself.
Vacation clubs own portfolios of properties outright, and they assign a points value to every room size, time frame, and resort in this collection. Larger units, more desirable resorts, and popular seasons have a higher point value.
When you sign up with a vacation club, you buy several points that entitle you to use accommodation to the same value every year.
You can split your points up into as many bookings as you like by adjusting the unit size and time of year you book your accommodation.
Regardless of how many points you own, you can usually save them up for an extra-long vacation next year or borrow some extra points from next year when needed.
Once you’ve booked your week you can either occupy it, rent it out, or swap it for another booking via an exchange company.
Pros and Cons of Timeshares
There are over 22 million timeshare owners worldwide, and most of these people enjoy their vacation products to the fullest. Here’s what you can look forward to when you own a timeshare product.
If you love to vacation in the same area every year, there’s no better way to secure your future vacations than by buying a timeshare.
Whether you opt for a fixed or a flexi week timeshare product, you can rest assured knowing there’s a place in the sun reserved for you, as long as you book in time.
Knowing where you’ll vacation in advance makes planning so much easier and relieves the stress of trying to cram everything into one trip. If you miss an activity this time, there’s always next year.
Since you’re paying for your holiday anyway, there’s also no pressure to save up for your annual vacation and then end up spending the money on some or other necessity before the time.
It’s easy to get swept up in daily affairs and neglect your need for a break from the daily grind. With a timeshare, you pay for your holidays in advance, forcing you to commit to time off with family and friends.
Good quality accommodation is one of the best benefits of timeshares. When you vacation within a portfolio of resorts, you’re assured of the same standards throughout.
You’ll never arrive at a resort and discover that it doesn’t live up to your expectations. In general, timeshare companies keep their resorts in excellent condition according to their customers’ preferences.
Some of the more prestigious timeshare brands offer a range of luxury options with many extra facilities and high-end features, too.
Not only does timeshare work out cheaper in the long run, but you’ll save on your annual vacations too. Most of these accommodations have full or partial kitchens that make budgeting for meals easy, cost-effective and convenient.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money on eating out every day when you stay in timeshare accommodation. These facilities also come in handy for parents with small children who have fussy eating habits and irregular mealtimes.
With no mealtime hotel schedules to stick to, you’re free to explore all day long if you choose, and grab a meal wherever you are at the time. You’ll also enjoy the freedom to experiment with novel local ingredients during your time away.
In-room washers and dryers can save you a ton of money on laundry fees. When you can wash your clothes during your vacation, you can pack lighter too, so needn’t worry about extra baggage charges if you’re flying to your destination.
Free parking, entertainment, and onsite facilities add to the savings when you stay in a timeshare resort. Most timeshare resorts have swimming pools, sporting facilities, restaurants, bars, wellness centers, and daily children’s entertainment programs.
Some of the more luxurious ones even offer extra features like water parks, games arcades, and discounted access to nearby theme parks.
Once upon a time, going to the same resort every year was a disadvantage to owning a timeshare. Now you can spread your wings in any direction you like with timeshare ownership.
Flexible points clubs and exchange organizations mean you can swap your timeshare week or points for accommodation and experiences across the globe.
High-end vacation clubs offer their members to use their points for cruises, expeditions, and unique experiences, too.
What’s more, thanks to the way timeshare points and exchanges work, you can enjoy more or fewer vacations every year, depending on your needs. Timeshare accommodations come in all shapes and sizes, from studio apartments to large villas accommodating eight people.
If you book one of these multi-roomed accommodations, you can invite more people along on your vacation, which increases the fun and helps you share costs.
Drawbacks of Owning a Timeshare
The only downsides to owning a timeshare have to do with costs. Timeshare is an expensive concept.
After all, it isn’t cheap to pay for a lifetime of vacations in advance. Some timeshare owners find they can no longer afford their payments due to hard times or changing circumstances, and this is where the trouble starts.
It’s exceptionally difficult to cancel a timeshare contract outside the cooling-off period, and most timeshare contracts last for many years, if not a lifetime.
You can rent out your timeshare to other vacationers to help recoup some costs. Yet, while this can bring in some money toward your bills, there’s no guarantee you’ll manage to rent out your week in time.
Selling a timeshare is never a lucrative proposition, either. Resales prices are shockingly low, and while there’s high demand for some weeks and resorts, it’s unlikely you’ll ever get your money back.
What’s more, although the industry has cleaned up its act in the last several years, there are still some fraudsters in the industry who prey on timeshare owners desperate to sell their weeks.
Check out these timeshare selling tips to see how you can avoid these pitfalls.
Priceless Vacations for Your Family
When you consider the pros and cons of a timeshare, it’s clear that careful consideration of your current and future financial situation is key to maximizing timeshare ownership.
It pays to remember that the benefits of these products are all intangible. Your physical timeshare property isn’t worth a lot on the open market, but the opportunities for family bonding and unforgettable vacations it brings are priceless.
Are you not quite ready to explore the world of timeshare ownership? Browse our travel section for alternative travel inspiration.