Last time we talked about whether a timeshare would be a good investment for you and your family. Before you finalize a decision, you should look into the different types of options and the various companies that offer them so you can select one that matches the things you find important in a vacation.
If you enjoy going to the same location every year (for example, the Florida Keys or Disneyworld), your safest option is to look for what is known as a Fixed Unit timeshare. That means you, as the owner, have the right to go to the exact same unit or property every year. If you are more interested in locking in a certain week every year (a good option if you have children who have summers off, or if you want to travel at Christmas), you’ll want to look into an offering that has a Fixed Week, which is just as it sounds – you go on your vacation the same week every single year.
Both Fixed Unit and Fixed Week timeshare investments will only work if you would rather have certainty about the location or the time of year to travel. If you need more spontaneity or can’t plan that far in advance or just want to follow an impulse and travel somewhere far off next year, these plans are not going to work for you.
If you are more interested in being able to travel to different locations, you should look into what is known as a Vacation Rental or Points-Based Vacation Plan. In this scenario, you buy a number of points that can be exchanged for the use of a room or condo at any number of different resorts or locations. The busier the time of year (think Christmas), the more points you’ll need to use. Other things that impact how many points you’ll need to redeem are how many days you want to stay, the size of the unit (do you need a studio or a three-bedroom because the whole extended family is coming) and the quality of the hotel (a five star hotel will need more points to stay than a less-than-five-star hotel).
My own personal experience with this scenario is that I belong to the Disney Vacation Club program (which is the Points-Based Vacation Plan mentioned above) and have had nothing but excellent experiences with not only the vacation stays but with the Disney company representatives. And my purchase bought me the right to use my points for 40 years, which means I can deed them to my son for him to use one day when he has his own family. Before you deal with any timeshare company, check on them through the Better Business Bureau website to see if they’re a reputable business.
In our final article, we’ll talk about the sometimes high pressure sales pitches you’ll get, what you need to know before you attend one of them, your rights once you sign a contract and what to do if you decide to sell one day.