On our upcoming vacation, I didn't have to think very hard about whether I wanted to stay in a vacation or a timeshare villa. But let me first start off by saying that I am not telling you to go out and buy a timeshare. First of all, I don't think it is for everyone. It might not be for you.
But you should definitely take the time to hear these tips. They can change your vacations forever. Timeshare can be a lot of fun. It's often misunderstood because many people have been abused by salespeople with wrongful sales tactics. What this blog is about is comparing staying in a hotel vs. a timeshare on vacation. Who doesn't like more luxury on vacation?
Most people don't realize that you don't have to OWN a timeshare in order to stay in one. There are thousands of timeshares available to rent and many more for timeshare exchange. Timeshare salespeople make you feel like there is this "shortage" of units and you should have this urgency to buy. You can rent a unit from an owner or from a resort. And you have the freedom to bargain with either one. I have rented my timeshare out several times and it's always worked out great. You don't need a management company because the resort handles check-in, security, and any extra charges the renter might ring up on their tab. You simply get payment from the renter and then make the reservation for them at the resort. They check in at the resort, give a credit card for damage deposit, and have a great stay.
Not only does the timeshare offer you more but it's also less expensive to rent. Here are the 3 biggest reasons why it's better:
1. Tons of space: Hotel rooms are claustrophobic. It's one room. There's barely room to walk by the beds. A whole family in one hotel room is really pushing it. In a timeshare, there are multiple rooms. It has a separate bedroom, a kitchen, and another living room that converts to a bedroom at night (sometimes there's even a locking door in between that offers complete privacy). The unit comes with a fantastic balcony to sit outside, have a drink and enjoy the fresh air. That doesn't happen if you are vacationing in a hotel room. You can eat meals at a kitchen table and/or kitchen island. The bathrooms are much larger and some units include a Jacuzzi tub.
2. Lots of amenities: Just having a kitchen is a huge win. Personally, I like going to the fridge (a real one, not that mini bar thing in your hotel) and grabbing a cold drink and some food when I want. I don't want to have to call room service and hope it's open and then hope they remember to bring my food an hour later. I like having it now. And if you are vacationing with kids, every minute counts to avoid the dreaded "meltdown".
Imagine a nice relaxing morning of having breakfast on your balcony overlooking the beach rather than fighting the crowd at the buffet downstairs. It's healthier, less time consuming, less expensive and a more relaxing way to start the day. At night you have separate TVs so there's no arguing about what to watch and even a DVD player. My unit has a really nice sound system (not that little alarm clock from the hotel room that can't keep a station unless you hold the antenna and stand on one foot).
And there's no maid service knocking on your door waking you up to clean the room every day. Maid service comes twice a week at timeshare resorts. You don't have to deal with hanging that silly door hanger to give yourself another 20 minutes of privacy.
3. Cost - It's actually less expensive to stay in a timeshare. I know it's hard to believe but there are thousands of timeshares that you can rent right now for much less than the cost of a hotel room in the same exact area. And if you own, the annual fees are definitely less than the cost of 1 week in a hotel room. A hotel room will cost you at least $150 per night with taxes. That's over $1,000 for the week. If you're on an island vacation it's 2-3x that price. You'll find almost all timeshares for rent that are below that price.
I know another option is renting a house. That leaves you with questions like "who's liable for damages or theft?", "Is the location good? I've never been there.", and without a brand name, you have no idea of the quality. I just think it's odd to be sleeping in someone else's bed and using their refrigerator. So to me, it's not worth the hassle unless you know the owner or know firsthand someone that has stayed there and it's a quality place. And most of the time, the cost to rent a house is much higher anyway. So that's not a viable option for me.
So there you have it. It's pretty cut and dry, the timeshare wins. But before I can honestly tell you to go out and buy one or even timeshare exchange, some things have to change in the industry first. But I won't tell you to stay away from timeshares either. If you know how to buy them and how to utilize them each year, you will have so much fun on vacation you'll be silly!