About 20 years ago we bought a timeshare in Hawaii. For those of you who are not familiar with the timeshare process it is very simple. You pay a sum of money upfront for the privilege of spending a week or more at a vacation site, or on a cruise at the same time each year somewhere in the world. In our case, we were on vacation in Kona, Hawaii when we were contacted to listen to a 60-minute presentation. There are always gifts involved. If you go, they will give you coffee and donuts, as well as dinners and or excursions and shows. It’s a great deal if you can walk away and say “NO”.
The companies hire excellent salespeople and we saw ourselves in wonderful places all over the world. So, we said ok and signed all the papers. They pointed out that there would also be yearly management fees, like a homeowner’s associate fee. We were able to pay a little every month and they also gave us an extra week in hawaii and a free cruise to Alaska.
Every year we went somewhere interesting but over time, the management fees went up and up. Then a few years ago, we upgraded our deal to a point system, which gave us more flexibility but the fees really went up. In general, we really enjoyed the vacations. We went places like, Orlando, Fl, Arizona, Southern California, Lake Tahoe, France, Colorado, and our last timeshare was in Malta. We also sent our kids on vacations.
In retrospect, I would have done one thing differently. I would have researched all the companies that offer timeshares. Apparently there are more than 1500 timeshare resorts in the United States. Here are a few names:
RCI – the largest timeshare vacation exchange network in the world …
Marriott Timeshare – marriottvacationclub.com
Timeshare – DisneyVacationClub.disney.go.com
Interval International | Resort, Timeshare, Exchange, Getaways …
Some are better than others but it depends upon where you want to go on vacation. But what happens is that they catch you at a weak point, after an inspiring presentation and offer those gifts. You must attend with your significant other. I suggest that you refuse to sign anything, even if they say, “this is the last unit,” until you give yourself 24 hours to think about it. I assure you the deal will be the same, tomorrow. But they are professionals and it is so easy to say YES.
Now we are at a point where we want to get rid of the timeshare. We no longer feel that the value is there. I am sure that it will be difficult to sell. I am interested in hearing your experiences with this and if you haven’t gone through this do you know anyone who has?