Vacation clubs and timeshares: are they right for your family?

We just got back from four days on Disney World property, which meant we heard a lot about the Disney Vacation Club. Everywhere we turned, it seemed, Disney was advertising about the merits of their vacation club program. Is it a good a deal as Disney claims? How about all those other vacation clubs and timeshare programs? The answer depends on your vacation style and goals. Ask yourself the following questions to determine whether a vacation club or timeshare is right for your family, and if the answer is yes, read on for a list of top timeshare companies and holiday vacation clubs.

Grand Californian vacation

1. How far in advance do you plan your vacations?

Traditionally, buying a timeshare involves purchasing a specific unit for a specific week per year…every year. In contrast, families buying into most vacation clubs purchase a set number of points instead of a physical property, which they can use during various times of the travel year within the boundaries of their point value. Either way, a timeshare family has to plan far ahead–at year one year in many cases–in order to use their points to the fullest or take advantage of their designated vacation week.

2. How important is flexibility in your vacation plans?

Do you vacation during the same week every year? If you’re hindered at all by revolving vacation weeks at work or need to shop various weeks for the lowest airfare, buying a timeshare can be a hindrance.

3. Are you a resort-only type of vacation family?

Many timeshare and vacation club buy-ins now offer the perk of using multiple properties in multiple locations within the company’s system. This means that even though you bought your timeshare at a resort in Bermuda, you can exchange your week at the beach for a week on the ski slopes at a partner property in Vail. This is good news; however, bear in mind that while the location may change, the type of vacation will not. Your family has to be committed to one experience: a resort stay, likely at the same resort brand every year.

If you answered in the negative to any of the above questions, consider renting a timeshare instead. Whereas owning a timeshare is only right for a very-specific type of traveling family, renting a timeshare or vacation club property can e a good option for many. Because timeshares depreciate soon after buying, many owner opt to rent their unused units and points instead of selling.

Where to find a timeshare to rent:

1. Timeshare buy/sell sites. On resort booking sites, you won’t find much evidence of timeshare rental options, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. After finding the resort you’d like to enjoy, cross-check timeshare sites to see if rental options are available. We’ve found deals at the DVC Rental Store for Disney rentals, at SellMyTimeshareNOW for traditional timeshare units, and even Ebay for everything in-between.

2. Pinterest. Find a timeshare rental the fun way by scrolling through photos of vacation rentals and units on Pinterest. We start at Timeshare Hot List:

 

Best timeshare and vacation club programs for families:

1. Holiday Inn Club Vacations: We have first-hand experience with Holiday Inn Club Vacations, and love that each of their properties (across the US, but primarily in Florida and on the East Coast) offer a full array of family-friendly on-site activities such as swimming, golf, bicycling, kids’ clubs, and arcades. And each property is adjacent to family travel destinations like lakes, national parks, theme parks, or landmarks.

2. Disney Vacation Club: If your family plans to take a Disney vacation every year (and probably only a Disney vacation every year), DVC is probably a good deal for you. Plus, you get Disney perks and access to non-theme park properties, like Disney’s Aulani.

3. Marriott Vacation Club: Marriott’s vacation club properties are among the brand’s nicest, and is the most affordable way for families to stay in historic hotels such as Boston’s Custom House or high-end international hotels in Italy, France, and the U.K.

 

About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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  2. Timeshare industry is known for being very susceptible to scams; however, timeshare properties are still a successful business for most resorts. In these times of rough economy, it is important to take care of our money, and timeshares are not in the way to achieve the financial security that we are all looking for.

  3. Thanks for sharing your info. I truly appreciate your
    efforts and I will be waiting for your further post thank you once again.

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