Timeshares may conjure up thoughts of vacation eternity in a dilapidated condo with an unheated pool and cracked-up shuffle board courts, but timeshare ownership can be a wonderful thing, especially for families with children. If done right, the savings can be significant over traditional accommodations while staying at high quality resorts in wonderful locations.
Changes to traditional timeshare trading have substantially improved your ability to make the most out of vacation ownership. However, to take full advantage of cost savings and flexibility you need to do it right and this is how:
- Buy after-market: Glitzy timeshare presentations have some very convincing sales pitches, but never buy from the developer or resort directly. There are always current owners who are eager to sell. You can find tons of listings on EBay and sites like TimesharesOnly, where you can buy timeshares for fractions of their original price. Just ensure the deed transfer is processed by a reputable company.
- Only buy into the Points System: The Points system overcomes many of the obstacles in trading your week that are inherent to the older Weeks system. The unit you purchased has a number of points allocated to it and the points (and associated unit) are automatically deposited into the owners’ trading accounts. This means availability is more predictable and plentiful. Plus, you can still exchange your points for the inventory from the Weeks system. Another bonus is the ability to disperse your points amongst several exchanges and essentially get several trips out of one. Make sure your resort if part of a large timeshare exchange conglomerate like RCI or Interval.
- Purchase the right timeshare: Understand that location matters little in the points system. Don’t get bogged down on Orlando is not as nice as Aruba. You want to be able to travel to both Orlando and Aruba so you want the most points you can get for the purchase price with a reasonable annual maintenance fee.
- Be a smart and flexible trader: Even on the Points system, it can be challenging at times to find the exchange that you want, but there are ways to give yourself more options. Be proactive and aware of key dates. Know your advance booking windows and when you see something you like, don’t hesitate to grab it.
There are many other timeshare benefits for families. You can often enjoy one or two bedroom villas instead of cramped hotel rooms and units are normally equipped with kitchens. Many additional travel savings, bonuses and opportunities are also available through your membership in a timeshare exchange conglomerate.