My family and I have enjoyed our timeshare for 30 years, and it has been a fabulous vacation memory maker for us. In fact, I know lots of very happy timeshare owners. I’ve never understood why timeshares get such a bad rap. Why don’t people see the great benefits timeshares give their owners? Often when I see bad comments I think, “but that is not how it works!” So what is it the happy timeshare owners know that the unhappy ones are missing? Haven’t they learned the hacks that make this great?
I think it is time to set the record straight. I set out to use my 30-year experience, as well as the experience of some of my friends, to teach you how to use your timeshares effectively, so you too can have the same great experience my family has had. The Guide to Loving Your Timeshare: How to Get the Most for Your Money in Family Fun and Experiences comes out on August 30th to teach you the ins and outs of using your timeshare to get the most bang for your buck. This book also includes real practical qualification for timeshare ownership.
There seems to be three groups of people who speak poorly of timeshares: Those who were not qualified to buy one in the first place, those who haven’t learned how to use their timeshare effectively and are unhappy with the results and those who don’t actually own a timeshare and are just passing on what they heard others say. The first two problems will make anyone an unhappy timeshare owner and as far as the third problem….
Imagine how frustrated you would be if you purchased a nice new car but never learned how to drive it properly? It would either sit in your garage unused or every time you took it for a drive you crashed it into something. Either way you would be unhappy and probably would be telling your friends how stupid it is to own a car. But frankly, the car isn’t at fault for your unhappiness.
When you learn how to use your timeshare you will have a great experience. If you don’t choose to learn the nuances of timeshare ownership, don’t blame the timeshare.
When you learn how to effectively use your timeshare, it becomes easy to spot the naysayers who haven’t learned how to use a timeshare, or worse yet, they don’t even own a timeshare but think they are qualified to educate you about it. Keep on the lookout for anything like the following mistaken assumptions to identify them:
-You’ll be stuck going on the same vacation every year.
-Who wants to vacation the same week every year?
-Those maintence fees are so expensive.
-Timeshares are the most expensive vacation option.
-If you don’t want it anymore, you can’t get rid of it.
-You are limited to the six resorts they own.
– Let’s see how you like Bora Bora in fifteen years.
-Timeshares are a horrible investment.
-You can never go where you want.
If you own a timeshare and aren’t getting what you want out of it, or you still think timeshares are “The worst possible thing you can do with your money,” then it’s time to learn how they really work. Let’s start with the facts. Following is what my experience has been over the last 30 years.
We purchased our timeshare in 1992 in New Orleans. Unfortunately, we didn’t know better at the time and paid retail price. Since then, we have used more than 80 timeshare vacation weeks. When I add up all my costs of owning and trading our timeshare, the cost per week of vacationing at a five-star resort is $630 a week and dropping with each additional vacation we take. That is about the cost of staying at a motel six for a week. So much for the timeshares are expensive myth. If I had a book like this before I bought my timeshare and learned how to buy it for next to nothing, my average weekly cost for vacation housing would now be $402. My book will help you do better than I did in the beginning.
You might find it interesting that in the 30 years we have owned a timeshare, we have never actually stayed in our timeshare. We have always traded it, which gives us its maximum value (The first hack you must learn). If we stayed in our timeshare, we would only have one week of vacation each year, because we only own one week. But by trading it, we are now averaging about seven weeks of timeshare trades each year with our one week.
We did not have this option during the first two decades of ownership. During that time, the system provided us two weeks of vacation trades each year. Since the system changed about a decade ago, we now get more than two trades a year. This year we have already traded for eight weeks; five weeks for my wife and me, one week for me alone on a business trip, and each of our sons used a week for their family and friends. If I really milked the system and searched out maximum bargains for each trade, I could easily trade for more than 20 weeks a year with the single week I own. I don’t know a lot of people who even take that much vacation.
Most of our vacationing has been in the US, but we have also traded into Mexico and France. Timeshare trades are available all over the world and I suspect I will make it to many other countries in the future. However, our new grandchild has lessened our travel desires.
Except for one place three hours away from our home that we really like and is easy to get to, and one place in coastal Southern California we revisited one, we have not gone back to the same timeshare twice. With more than 4,000 different locations to choose from, we don’t need to repeat any. I like my vacations to have some variety and that is exactly what my timeshare provides.
Those who complain about paying maintenance fees don’t know how to use their timeshare. Their main complaint is they must pay their $1,000 maintenance fee even though they don’t use their timeshare. First off, if you haven’t use it, why not? Why own a vacation option and not use it? This should never happen. USE YOUR TIMESHARE VACATIONS EVERY YEAR!
The second issue with paying their maintenance fee is they didn’t get the most out of their ownership. If they had traded for only four vacations last year, their $1,000 maintence fee would have become $250 per week of use. I can’t imagine thinking that $250 for a week’s stay at a top-notch resort is expensive.
For those who say owning a timeshare is a horrible investment, I would like to see where vacations show up on your tax forms. Vacations are never an investment; they are an expense. Since it costs money to go on a vacation, timeshares are a way to lesson that expense and have great accommodations more affordably. I will walk you though several ways to achieve this in the book.
The last timeshare trade is a great example of the savings you can get. With every business trip or conference I attend, I always look to see if I can get a timeshare for my housing to save considerable costs. In my most recent case, the nice hotel the conference was at would cost me $1,120 plus taxes for the five nights I needed. I found a top tier timeshare, four miles away from the conference, that I could trade into for $199 for seven nights. The savings over the cost of the hotel was almost exactly the difference in price between the first class and coach airfare I was planning to use. I had two options available to me for almost identical prices: 1) Fly coach and stay in a hotel with a single room and a bathroom. 2) Fly first class and stay in a top notch timeshare with a bedroom, bathroom, living room and full kitchen for two extra days. I would also need an Uber for the 4 mile ride to the conference each day.
There are many hacks to using the timeshare trading system that will cut your cost per use way down. Most timeshare owners don’t even know all the ways their timeshare ownership can be used to reduce the cost of vacationing. One chapter of the book is a list of quotes I acquired from interviewing timeshare owners at the pool during their timeshare stay. They were all very happy with their timeshare and most of them weren’t even aware of the nuances of timeshare trading that I teach in the book. Others offered some good hacks.
During my poolside interviews I met one man who had rented his vacation through hotels.com for $319 a night and didn’t realize he was staying at a timeshare. He thought his price was a bargain for what he was getting at the resort until he learned my cost was less than $70 a night. He said he needed to investigate buying a timeshare.
For those who think using Airbnb is cheaper, think again. I met a person poolside who uses her house as an Airbnb just an hour away from this timeshare. When she rents out her home for $350 a night, she comes and stays at her timeshare for $68 a night. She makes $282 a night on the price difference, and the timeshare is a much better place to stay with several swimming pools, two restaurants, lots of scheduled activities and amenities, and a live theater. She literally gets a paid vacation every time she rents her home on Airbnb.
If you are a timeshare owner, my book will teach you how to better utilize your timeshare to make your experience a great one. If you have always believed timeshares are a waste of money, check out my 30 years of timeshare experience, let me help you save a fortune by learning the truth about timeshares. You might even learn you are the perfect type to enjoy a lifetime of timeshare experiences.
If you have had a great experience with your timeshare, tell us about it in the comments so everyone else can hear. This is your chance to counter the trash talk. (No trash talk accepted in the comments this time)