Millions of people own timeshare and in an important timeshare survey a few years ago, almost 90% of those polled said they were happy with their timeshare ownership.
The types of timeshares we own these days vary from the classic one week at the same resort (or same destination) a year, to sophisticated points and fractional ownership programmes that offer access to world class resorts all over the world.
From seaside resorts to two week safaris, from chic boutique hotels in Cornwall to yachting holidays in the Caribbean, timeshare options have never been more exciting and this is just one reason why the shared ownership lifestyle – and the industry behind it – continue to thrive, even, in many cases, in times of economic downturns.
So how do you find the right timeshare for you and your family, the type of timeshare ownership that fits your lifestyle to a T?
No. 1 – Do Your Homework
It used to be one week, one resort, once a year but things are so different now, the hardest part about buying timeshare is often simply deciding what sort of timeshare or resort(s) to buy into!
Do you want flexible timeshare points to use in different ways (e.g. cruises or land resorts?) or is travelling abroad an issue – in which case owning “at home” could be the answer? Or are you more than happy to soak up some Spanish sunshine during a week-by-the-pool style holiday at a four or five star resort?
Do your homework upfront and you’ll feel better informed, it’ll help you make the final decision. Ask friends of friends who own timeshare about which resorts they recommend.
Do you want a timeshare plan that offers an exit strategy after ten or fifteen years? Or are you looking for a longer commitment that your children and grandchildren can enjoy in years to come?
No. 2 – Take out a Trial Membership
Some of the top timeshare resort developers offer special trial memberships at an affordable price so you can dip your toes into the water first and visit a selection of holidays and resorts for a specific number of weeks over a predetermined time period.
No. 3 – Use TripAdvisor, Social Media and YouTube to get a feel for the resorts you like the look of
Social media like Facebook and Twitter are brilliant for timeshare research – read forum comments, TripAdvisor comments and check out visitor photos (as well as the official resort pics).
Leading holiday exchange specialist RCI has an entire range of apps and online tools to help you (a) choose your next holiday/resort/destination and (b) get the most out of your timeshare – they even have a dedicated YouTube Channel with really informative resort guide videos. These mini guides are well worth a watch if you’re considering a resort you’ve never been to before but want to get a sneak peek before buying your plane tickets! www.RCI.com
No. 4 – Take advantage of a low cost inspection visit
Many developers now offer low cost ‘inspection visits’ – your chance to try before you buy.
No. 5 – Read the paperwork (carefully)
Check the paperwork thoroughly. Your contract will be accompanied by a document which sets out your rights and obligations including details of the annual maintenance fee, the way the management of the resort is arranged, a description of the resort and its facilities and whether there is an elected owners committee and the length of the timeshare ownership – and whether or not there is an exit after a specified number of years. If you are not sure about something or part of the wording, you might want to have a legal expert look over it with you.
And make sure there is a 14 day cooling off period which allows you to cancel your contract without penalty, within the cancellation window, according to European Union law.
Check back for more timeshare guides and “how to’s” on GoTimeshare coming in the next couple of months.