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what are the financial benefits of buying a timeshare?

Discussion in 'Buying, Selling & Renting Timeshares' started by ravenna, May 2, 2017.

  1. ravenna

    ravenna Guest

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    Hello all.

    I have just discovered timeshares and am intrigued; thinking of buying into Hilton GVC. I'm attracted to the emotional (non-monetary) benefits, as follows:

    -- it would encourage me to vacation, since vacations are prepaid (ie, the MF is paid) and must be booked far in advance. This is the kick in the butt I need to plan some fun into my life.

    -- I love the idea of having a very nice place in NYC and DC that's 'all mine' - that I can return to as years go by and and can view as "my place." VRBO or AirBnB might be cheaper, but I'd never be sure what I was getting and it would lack the familiarity of home-away-from-home

    I can see, also, that for certain people there's a financial benefit built in: If you are someone who's dead-set on vacationing yearly in a high-end, resort-style place, it makes sense to join a club that lets you do that for less. Instead of paying 450/night for a two-bedroom suite in a topflight hotel, you can get a similar place for less through a timeshare club.

    Please help me, however, with the number-crunching:

    Suppose I join HGVC at 7000 points platinum. Let's set aside the purchase price of X thousand dollars (and the loss I'd be taking by spending it rather than investing it) and focus just on maintenance fees.

    Currently MF on a 7000 platinum-point place bought at a Vegas Hilton property (best MF rates) are approx 1200/year and sure to rise. Add in the 'belonging fee' and the various 'point-rescue' and 'booking' fees, and it's likely to be about 1400 dollars per year in 2018.

    So, if I burn up my points in a single week by using a large one-bedroom-plus room during peak-season, I will get one week of vacation per year, at a yearly cost (the MF) of about 1400 dollars for 7 nights. This comes to 200 dollars per night.

    I could get a cheaper place without buying a timeshare - by going through Air-bnb, timeshare rentals, and/or campgrounds (I like to rough it sometimes). And I'd have the advantage of not having to book nine months in advance. I could go exactly where I want without being bound to the HGVC system. And I wouldn't be locked in and forced to keep paying for all eternity even if my finances take a downturn or if I find a more appealing deal elsewhere.

    OTOH: If I often travel in the off-season and use studios, my seven thousand points and 1400 yearly dollars could stretch far beyond seven days, to more like 18 to 28 days. (Seven thousand points would actually get me a total of 21 nights in NYC at the W 57th property, provided I stayed in a studio and confined myself to quick visits from Mon-Thurs night during the gold season - which suits my schedule and travel style nicely.) So that's pretty great, actually. 1400 dollars for 21 nights in NYC is 67 dollars per night!!!!

    In sum: I conclude that timeshares make economic sense for people who are economically secure (who won't miss the upfront buy-in money, and can pay in full without financing) and who plan to take yearly luxury vacations that they can schedule in advance. And they make *extra* sense for people who like traveling in studios and off-season, which gives far more vacation time for the same MF you must pay for a peak-season week in a larger place.

    Have I got a good grasp of the economics? Am I missing anything? Old hands, please weigh in with anything I haven't thought of.

    Thanks, everyone.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2017
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  2. AwayWeGo

    AwayWeGo TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    [triennial - points]
    We like staying in luxury timeshare vacation condos at Motel 6 & Super 8 rates. That's only possible via buying resale & by taking advantage of special sales & last-minute offers from the timeshare exchange companies.

    So far, so good.

    -- Alan Cole, McLean (Fairfax County), Virginia, USA.​
     
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  3. bnoble

    bnoble TUG Member

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    What I tell people: You will not save money owning a timeshare, no matter how cheaply you acquire it, because you will almost certainly vacation more often and in better lodging than you would otherwise. And, this only covers the cost of lodging, not meals, transportation, or entertainment. Sure, we cook in the condo here and there, but certainly not every night.

    But, if the idea of spending more time with friends and family on vacation in really nice places sounds appealing, owning timeshare (especially purchased resale) can be a sensible way to do this, provided the total costs are within your means.

    My youngest kid is about one year away from leaving home for college, and we've been timeshare owners for just over a decade now. We've taken some incredible vacations that I'm certain we never would have done otherwise, and it's the best money I've spent, full-stop.

    That's about the size of it. There are corner cases and other inefficiencies, but this is the basic deal.
     
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  4. dagger1

    dagger1 TUG Member

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    1. Motivation to "vacation" with our kids, grandkids, and family and friends. We do not "charge" or ask for reimbursement, we provide the rooms. (Well, maybe I ask that they provide the Glenlivet...)
    2. We need 2/3 BR units, can get by sometimes with 1 BR's. Can't and won't stay in "bedrooms" as one brilliant old time TUG poster calls hotel rooms. We can generally get a 2 BR and sometimes a 3 BR for the cost of a "bedroom", but we would need two or three "bedrooms" so much less expensive (so far, anyway.)
    3. We gain the ability to eat in, cook, and drink wine together (and Glenlivet) rather than go out to noisy restaurants for every meal.
    4. I wish we had found "resale" ten years ago.
     
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  5. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I find that renting a condo or home or cabin- either through the resort itself or a private owner- is most often at least twice what I pay for the maintenance fee of my timeshare unit.
     
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  6. vacationhopeful

    vacationhopeful TUG Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I have a 2nd home ... and basicly, I force myself to drive there and stay for a night or two .. to check in on it. It used to have a community pool EXCEPT the year round people either didn't use it or installed a private above ground pool ... voting to sell the pool & lot for chump change. I have seen a black bear on my backyard ... and have the pictures to prove it. Deer are always wandering around (not interesting enough to take a picture). Trees fall down, the driveway has snow during the winter (thanks to the next ridge over ski area snow making operations ... it blows over to my deck & driveway) and the blueberries are too small to make any sense to pick.

    I did buy a fixed week at a local timeshare resort .. so I get day priviledges to use their indoor pool and gym year round plus tennis courts & outdoor pools in the summer. I think I paid $1 for the timeshare ... and use the points to book Florida winter stays. Just checkin at the front desk & they give me a free wrist bands for me & my guests to hang out for the day ... no costs. And the gym has changing rooms & showers to use.

    I have neighbors at my 2nd home .. but I know no one anymore. They live there full time, drive hours each day to jobs 100 miles away or work 2 part time jobs locally barely getting by. They most likely think I am dead, dying or way older than I am.

    I have thought about buying a home in a warmer winter climate ... and realize that it would be a place with a roof ... and I would spend year round money in upkeep ... heat, air conditioning, yard care, taxes, water & sewer, security system plus monitoring, association fees, etc. AND lose the ROI on the funds use to buy the house. And that is what it would be ... a Money Pit.

    So when people ask why I would buy a timeshare ... I tell them I have a plan ... beach block in South Florida for part of each winter. No $1,000,000+ buy in, no year round utility bills, no repairs, no yard or pool care & expenses, no security systems fees. no ANYTHING bills ... just the 7 day interval MFs which cost less than a week in a motel/hotel room in a prime season and location.

    And others here on this website have similar goals ... aka, 2 weeks on an island in Hawaii; a week in the cool mountains; a summer week at the shore; long weekends in the city which never sleeps; Fat Tuesday parades; a cool lakeview; ski slopes nearby ... all places for exploring, resting, enjoying or sharing with family.
     
  7. WalnutBaron

    WalnutBaron TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    First, let me commend you for bringing asking a great question and for bringing a proper perspective to the purchase decision you're about to make: as many have pointed out on these boards in the past, timesharing is not an "investment", at least in the traditional financial sense. A financial investment implies that the investor expects to achieve a certain return on that investment, and understands that the potential return roughly correlates to the attendant risk in whatever asset he/she is investing in. Timeshare, as you point out correctly, is a purchase--but not for investment purposes. On the other hand, if one is "investing" in one's future enjoyment of life, the ability to relax in beautiful places with one's friends and family and create lasting memories and with no expectation of any kind of financial return, then that could certainly be considered an investment with a very real return that is more intangible than tangible.

    Regarding the specific example you've cited, it certainly could be an investment with a tangible financial return as well as an intangible lifestyle improvement return. And you're right--for someone like you who has the necessary requirements--advance planning capability, complete flexibility of schedule that is not tied to specific seasons of the year or days of the week to travel, and who has the financial means to handle the upfront cost as well as the annual maintenance fees as a type of vacation prepayment--the timeshare model could be an excellent choice!

    There are a couple of things in your financial analysis you are leaving out--and they're a rarity, but they can happen: first, special assessments. This can happen in the rare event when a resort you're an owner at experiences an act of God--a devastating fire, an earthquake, a hurricane. The special assessment occurs rarely, but it does occur--and HGVC reserves the right to impose such an assessment if damages exceed the insurance coverage carried on the property. For properties in NYC or DC, the risk is obviously lower than for properties in Florida or California--at least for so-called "acts of God".

    Another risk is that there occurs a sale of the property to a less-scrupulous new owner who subsequently decides to reduce maintenance or jack up maintenance fees, or any number of nefarious actions. This does happen in the timeshare industry, though less often for properties owned or actively managed by one of the top end management companies, of which HGVC is one.

    Best wishes in your future purchase. I think you'll love it.
     
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  8. linsj

    linsj TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    QUOTE: it would encourage me to vacation, since vacations are prepaid (ie, the MF is paid) and must be booked far in advance. This is the kick in the butt I need to plan some fun into my life. UNQUOTE

    This is the main reason I bought into the Hilton system. At the time, I wasn't taking regular vacations. But HGVC allowed me to do so at a price I could afford--and made me do so because I wasn't going to pay MFs and not use the points. Taking two vacations a year has made a huge difference for me since I'm self-employed. I bought resale in Orlando and primarily have used my points in Hawaii, where I can't afford to pay for a hotel. Although I collect a lot of hotel points, I don't get enough for three weeks in Hawaii.

    Timeshares are not a financial investment, but they are an investment in my well-being.
     
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  9. missyrcrews

    missyrcrews TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I own 4 weeks at the same resort, and pay around $2600/year in fees. All but one of these weeks were acquired free/nearly free. We use most of them for the deeded time, so no exchange fees most of the time. That works out to well under $100/night. We DO cook in our unit almost every meal. (Meals out with 4 kids are NOT the relaxing event they are when you are just husband/wife!) I love the access to inexpensive extra vacation weeks through RCI. (Attitash Mountain Village for less than $500 for Feb Vacation Week...SCORE!!!!) We really enjoy setting aside the time to be together as a family in a way that we are just NOT when we are at home. (Gymnastics, band, chorus, 2 jobs for me, etc etc etc!) We don't generally take fancy vacations, choosing instead to relax and explore the area. Suits the temperament of our family just fine! The Crews Family loves timesharing!
     
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  10. Jason245

    Jason245 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    The benefit is the savings between what you would pay without ownership vs what you pay with.

    Examples :

    I picked up my timeshare for next to nothing (only cost was enrollment). My mf and club fees combined equate to about 25 to 28 cents a point I think.

    4 nights off season(Fri through wed) in Eagles nest runs about 2100 points for a 2br.

    Even at 28 cents a point that means those 4 nights only cost me less than 600.. the Marriott next door rents studios with no washer dryer or kitchen for 400 a night.

    Similar situation with miami beach location.

    If I make an open season reservation for a 2 br on I drive for memorial day for 3 nights costing under 550.. if you go to hilton com 1br units for that weekend at some resorts are listed at 400 a night plus tax and resort fee.

    The benefit is cost avoidance. . Making own meals..being able to wash cloths etc..

    If you are going to vacation anyways, and don't plan on using points for staying in overbuilt areas where rental is cheaper than ownership(Vegas and Orlando ), you can usually come out ahead and have loads of memories with the family while not breaking the bank.. that bank. . :) that being said.. I believe it is better to underbuy and borrow or rent than over buy and not be able to use/have to pay fees to save points.



    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-N910A using Tapatalk
     
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  11. jedimasterjem

    jedimasterjem Guest

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    Where do you look for resales like this? Ebay? resale websites?
     
  12. VegasBella

    VegasBella TUG Member

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    As others have said, you have a good grasp of the financial benefits of the type of ownership you're considering. I'm not sure your math applies to fixed weeks at small, owner-run resorts or some other situations.
    And I certainly would not categorize all timeshares as luxury vacations. There are a wide variety of accommodations. Also, some of those off-season vacations really are lower value - for instance, we traveled to Orlando during the second week of December because I knew it would be slower than many other times and we got a great deal. It wasn't an issue for us but that was one of the weeks they don't heat the outdoor pools - lower demand means some amenities are not available. I experienced similar situations at other resorts during off peak seasons.

    I also wouldn't make scheduling in advance a negative thing the way it sounds like it is for you. It's not for everyone but generally one of the best ways to save money on anything is to plan for it in advance and be one of the early birds. There are some benefits financially to doing things at the last minute if you're really flexible but for most people the longer planning window saves money. It's not for everyone but I find that it's much easier with my son in school to plan far in advance. This allows me to research the options and make informed decisions and to plan out a trip that spares us hassle. Time is money as they say, and when it comes to hassles while on vacation that is certainly true.

    Agreed. The ability to book extra vacations through exchange companies without exchanging is probably a big benefit for some people. I know for years before my mother-in-law moved here we would book her extra weeks through RCI for less than she could stay at a cheap hotel. She loved the accommodations and we loved the extra space and pool area etc for our visits with her. Point is, knowing the system and how to work it can have various side benefits beyond your own vacationing. It can help out family members too :)

    Yes, I think this is mostly true. I noticed that we are spending the same or more on our vacations but we're taking more of them. Also, getting into this world has taught me lots about other areas of savings in travel, for instance airline points programs.

    The inefficiencies are where you want to look for the best values. I mentioned fixed weeks earlier. They are one of the inefficiencies. Generally speaking, all fixed week owners pay the same MF. So the ones who own prime weeks are being subsidized by the ones who own sub-prime weeks. There are many ownerships that fall into this category and this is an area where it makes financial sense to buy a timeshare IF you want to use that fixed week or if the MF 'price is right' and TPU/exchange value is good.

    Although, there are some timeshares that are more valuable than others. I just sold one for more than I bought it for. And I own another one that's easily work at least $10k more than I bought it for. That's because I am a bargain-hunter and I found excellent deals when I bought, not because the category of timeshare is a good investment. For the record, I have also sold a number of cars for more than I bought them for and two homes for more than I invested as well. I'm OK at spotting value and I'm also kind of lucky :)

    I think generally timeshares should be treated like a gym membership. A gym membership is not an investment but it can provide excellent value. It's an investment in your health and well-being. But don't ever go into debt for it. Figure out a way to make it work without debt.

    Like others have mentioned, the kitchens that are common for timeshares are a BIG DEAL for our family. We like to eat healthy and that's hard to do at restaurants. We also enjoy not having to spend time or money on restaurant meals. I know for large families who budget plan this is a very real savings. For us it's mostly a time and hassle savings but it does also add up as a savings financially as well as saving me from the extra pounds that a restaurant-centered vacation adds onto me ;)
     
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  13. ravenna

    ravenna Guest

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    Hey thanks, everyone!

    It's good to hear everyone's perspective on the reasons you've gone timeshare, and what it's done for you.

    @AwayWeGo - I'm not aware of special sales and last minute offers, but that sounds nice! What resort systems offer special stuff, in your experience?

    @bnoble - Your comment made me grin because, of course, that's the generally unmentioned point: I currently go to NYC about every 3 years. If I have a prepaid vacation home waiting for me there and start going twice a year for museums, shows, dinner with friends, getaways with one or another of my (teenage, financially dependent) kids.... I don't think this is going to give me a net INCREASE in savings at the end of the year! But it will be money well spent.

    I appreciate the insight you all have. What a great website TUG is. A timeshare buy definitely feels like something that will suit my lifestyle and family for all the years to come (I am 15-20 years from retirement, starting to shove the kids towards the exit hatch, and am recently eager to shift focus away from money-making and toward adventurism and a relaxed schedule.) Currently I am deciding between HGVC and wyndham, and had the idea of seeing if Wyndham will cut me a sweet deal on a week in Alexandria VA this summer, in exchange for sitting through a sales pitch. :)
     
  14. VegasBella

    VegasBella TUG Member

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    The deals and last minute sales are when exchange companies haven't exchanged deposits they sell them off at low prices without requiring an exchange. In RCI they're called "Extra Vacations" and "Last Call." For instance, in often able to get a week at Grandview in a two bedroom for under $400. I have access to those deals simply as an owner of a timeshare and an RCI account. I don't have to trade to get a deal like that.


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  15. Jason245

    Jason245 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Ebay.. bargain basement has some offerings on occasion as does tug marketplace. .

    But I got mine as snipe bids on ebay.

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  16. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I got my free timeshare on Timeshare Nation.
     
  17. TUGBrian

    TUGBrian Administrator

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  18. ww1aerofan

    ww1aerofan TUG Member

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    I have two weeks of time share at the Maui Schooner.
    I find my biggest savings to be the food!

    We have a family policy of eating out only once a day, and
    Cooking the other two. Eating out on vacation for us is
    $75-100 a meal for 4 of us, so that amounts to a huge
    Savings over the two weeks.

    When we get to Maui we load up at Costco,
    having a full fridge in the room allows us to buy in
    in bulk on family staples such as hamburger, cheese,
    Soda, wine :), fruit, milk, etc...

    We could never afford the cost of staying as close to the
    Water in a hotel in Hawaii.
     
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  19. deslagle

    deslagle TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Timesharing has made great sense for my family.
    I am a pharmacist and my spouse was a teacher. We are retired now.
    As a pharmacist, because I booked 1-2 years in advance, I got to take my vacations during summer vacation
    when it was competitive to get the July and August dates.
    We enjoyed having the kitchen for breakfast and lunch and we only ate out at dinner. We saved money there.
    We had lots of room. No Motel 6 or Super 8 for us. Our usage was much nicer.

    I believe it would be cheaper for me to use Costco travel overall. We originally bought in 1992. But something changed that whole equation.
    We found out we did not buy wisely for trading power. Then I got a good deal on Kona, Paniolo Greens 2 bedroom. It had great trading power.
    We went to Myrtle Beach, Fiji, Canary Islands, New Hampshire, Fort Lauderdale.
    Seemed the only place we could not get to was Maui and the Oregon coast.

    But in 2008/2009 the equation changed for me. The recession left many in financial trouble and we got our portfolio shuffled to our advantage cheaply.
    We ended up on Maui, Kauia, Grand Cayman, St Lucia(Windjammer Landing), Hacienda Trios (Playa Del Carmen) every other year plus Raintree Vacation Club.
    All were at least 1/8th of the original price wholesale. Three of the six were less than a thousand dollars up front.
    None of them was a Hyatt or Marriott or Sheraton Nor Hilton but we have great trading power
    and two are TUG rated over 9.

    So by starting timesharing at the age of 42, It paid off for me. By the time I figured out points vs weeks and power vs no power, the economy changed and we came out
    smelling like a rose (thank you recession) . Our old time shares were equity exchanged easily to upgrades. Our initial investments turned out to be quite low.
    We go where we like to visit every other year. We save on eating out and we have much more room and more bathrooms than a cheap motel.

    My only advice even for a brand new timeshare is never pay 1/2 the asking price. there is always a way to get below that.
    But if you like a certain resort, watch ebay.com, redweek.com, TUG and others and eventually you can get it very cheaply.
    I do not believe it works like that with Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Starwood. You are going to have to pay a lot more up front.


    DES
     
  20. kiapgh23e

    kiapgh23e TUG Member

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    I am in the same boat as you OP. We owned DVC but I got into 2 mortgages, so we dumped DVC. But now that we are back to normal, Im stalking the Bargain Basement page. But Im trying to digest all the info I can on the different timeshares (hotel brands). But Id love to get one/two soon.
     
  21. LannyPC

    LannyPC TUG Member

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    For us, it is quite the opposite. Of course, this is based on our personal tastes and circumstances and I know many TUGgers feel the opposite that I do but... I do not like the idea of a "forced" vacation. Don't get me wrong. We love to vacation and we try to plan in advance to do so. But many things come up. Finances can change on a dime (no pun intended).

    If we cannot afford to vacation for some reason, being "forced" to do so is counter-productive. If I were "forced" to go on a vacation when we really have more pressing matters to spend our money on, I would have a very difficult time enjoying the vacation because I would be constantly worrying about:
    1) How we're going to pay for this and
    2) Cutting costs and severely restricting spending during the "vacation".
     
  22. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    Resorts Owned:
    Hgvc Eagles Nest, Hgvc Surf Club, Hgvc Indian River, Hgvc Anderson, Sunrise Bay & Club, Chetola, Gulf Tides, Jade Tree Cove, Banyan Resort, Blue Ridge Village
    I agree with your advice. Watching and waiting patiently gets the bargains, the needles in the haystack. With my two Hilton they were gotten at bargain prices too.
     
  23. fernow

    fernow TUG Member

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    Timeshares don't make sense. But then neither do BMWs. Hyundai will get you there just as nicely. Depends on how you define nice. With Timeshare and BMW, you pay for value as only you can define it.

    As I write this I am sitting in a beautiful 2 bdrm house just out of Bend OR rented for $175/nt from VRBO. Golf trip. None of the timeshares in this area (and there aren't many) were available. Lots of folks seem to note cooking as a timeshare advantage. This place has a kitchen. Never needed motivation to take a vacation. Paying too much for something doesn't motivate me. Some timeshare advantage is more theoretical then real. Good luck booking NYC or D.C. unless you own there or have a completely flexible schedule, even in Gold season. We have rented many time from VRBO, even repeats, and the owners treat us like family. Home away from home, as it were.

    Timeshare DOES come with a relatively consistent product and often with resort amenities but plan on paying too much per night (compared to like alternatives), occational booking frustration, the odd bad unit and be sure to budget cost (as in time, hassle and maybe $) of getting out of your timeshare contract when you are done with it.

    I own 2 timeshares. Have enjoyed them but doing the accounting over 15 years, would have had just as much fun and been many $1000 richer had I gone the rental route.
     
  24. dagger1

    dagger1 TUG Member

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    Well put, just be ready for the occasional unpleasant surprise with VRBO and AirBNB if you have mobility issues...
     
    mpumilia likes this.
  25. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    I definitely get this, but I will tell you many, if not most, of our timeshare vacations have had restricted spending and so on. But if it weren't that we owned them we would have gone no where-nada.

    For example- when we were in Hawaii for 3 weeks (yes- 3 weeks)- we NEVER ate out ONE meal- except the LUAU-and an inexpensive meal at the mall in Honolulu while we were waiting for the red eye flight back to New York.

    It was one of the best vacations we ever had (2nd to Yellowstone). We did almost everything for free- beaches, snorkeling, sightseeing. We did pay for one expensive excursion, but we still would have had a great time without it.

    Yellowstone was the same. I think we ate 2 meals out all week. We took sandwiches with us inside the park, etc. Had breakfast in each day.

    Even without having to spend money on airfare, timeshares are great. We love our home resorts. One tank of gas. We food shop up there- and we relax and sight see- go to the lakes, swim in the pool, hike, etc. Free. Point being- you can take a vacation and spend minimal money. Kind of like a staycation- but at least you get away.

    If we didn't own timeshares, we would have stayed home or just kept working. UGH!

    But- yes- you are forced to pay those maintenance fees. But they are cheaper than a lot of rentals in most cases.

    We are renting in Estes Park this June directly from a timeshare resort and it is well over twice what we pay in maintenance fees or to rent from an owner directly, but unfortunately there are no private rentals for this resort and I generally don't play the exchange game because we like going to our home resorts in addition to an occasional rental somewhere.

    Bottom line for us is we get more vacation time from our timeshares (3 weeks) and spend less money in total than people who take one week vacation somewhere without timesharing (excluding campers I guess).
     
    Last edited: May 7, 2017
    Magic1962 and hekela1206 like this.

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