Over 30 years ago vacation travelers discovered a concept known as interval ownership. The value proposition was, “Why own an entire vacation home, when you can own one or more weeks at a time?”
Many owners have bought into the concept and in spite of a lot of bad publicity about the timeshare industry, the majority of timeshare owners really do like the concept of condo-style vacations.
Diane Tucker, Sewell NJ, described her positive experiences as follows; My spouse and I have owned one timeshare unit for 27 years and another for 12 years. This unique class of ownership has enabled us to travel all over the world. We’ve been to the east and west coasts of Mexico, to Canada, to Italy, and to many U.S. states. One of my travel goals is to visit each state at least once in my lifetime.
Since I relish the planning stages of a trip, my spouse leaves the research to me. This also includes obtaining our timeshare trade, booking flights, and renting a vehicle if needed. Most of the time, we trade our two timeshare units in lieu of traveling to our home base.
Sometimes we trade for back-to-back weeks in international locations. Several times, we traded for two units in the same city, each in a different location. Air flights cost the same if you stay one week or two. Two weeks makes for a restful vacation when travel to faraway places consumes the major part of two days.
Another perk we especially like is the guest certificate that allows a family member to use our week. Years ago, our daughter met her naval-officer husband in Hawaii when his ship came into port. They spent a week together compliments of our timeshare ownership. Today our son-in-law is commander of the destroyer USS Sampson.
When I retired in April of 2008, we traveled to Florida, stopping in Virginia Beach, VA, for a timeshare week, two timeshare weeks in Florida, and a timeshare week in Myrtle Beach, SC, on the drive home.
We really like having a fully equipped kitchen to use during our travels. If we drive to our destination, we take our supplies/groceries with us. If we fly, a supermarket visit is our next step after unpacking. Although we eat dinner out every night, we do stagger eating breakfast in our unit. The best part is that our coffee is ready while we’re still in our pajamas.
If we manage to trade our one-bedroom red-week unit for a two-bedroom unit, we ask family or friends to accompany us. We have some very happy memories of shared vacations. Owning our timeshare units made all this possible. We’ve been to places which we would have never seen if it hadn’t been for our timeshares.
Disappointing the solicitors
We are both aware that timeshare ownership isn’t for everyone, but it works very well for us. When we receive phone calls from solicitors informing us that they will take our timeshares in exchange for an amount of money, my stock answer is that we love our timeshares and we wouldn’t entertain the thought of relinquishing either of them.
We do know people who own timeshares and pay their maintenance fees, but never use their units because they’re not familiar with how timeshares operate. Many times these individuals lose their weeks. To my knowledge, we have never lost a week because we neglected to make appropriate plans to use our units.
Several years ago, I figured out how much our timeshares saved us on the most expensive part of any trip: a place to stay. In calculating our savings, I remembered to deduct the maintenance fees and special assessments for each unit. I stopped this process when I surpassed $225,000.
My spouse and I travel frequently, and we take full advantage of “last call” weeks and “extra vacations” offered by the timeshare trading companies. Taking four or more trips a year isn’t unusual for us.
Better Than a New Car
When we bought our first timeshare in 1990, I had to give up the purchase of a new car. Instead, we purchased a two-year-old car to replace my old one. My best friend said that we must have lost our minds to purchase a timeshare and that this purchase was totally unlike us. She said that she would expect that type of purchase from her spouse and herself, but not from us.
Both of us feel that timeshare ownership has enriched our lives in ways we didn’t think about or know of in 1990. I’m forever grateful that I passed up a new car for a used car and timeshare ownership.
Our adult children think that timeshare ownership has spoiled us. They comment that we’re so accustomed to staying in a unit with a functioning kitchen that we’re unhappy in a hotel setting—and they are absolutely right.