Why A Timeshare Isn’t Your Ticket to More Travel

Timeshare

She spoke so fast that the only words I picked up were “Captain George’s”.

And the sole reason I heard those two words was because I’d uttered them just hours earlier when I told the Babe* what I wanted for dinner.

Once again, the woman upstairs had conspired to give me exactly what I wanted. But not before I made a sacrifice.

The timeshare presentation would take a little over an hour and include a tour of the new Virginia Beach oceanfront resort.

Afterward, we would receive two free dinners at the delicious Captain George’s seafood buffet and a free resort stay in one of several pre-chosen destinations.

I welcomed travel, but more than anything, I wanted the food.

For the first hour, our presenter gushed over the benefits of owning a timeshare.

“With you spending so much on travel each year,” he’d promised, “buying a timeshare will save your money from going into the garbage. Instead, you can invest in a piece of the Virginia Beach oceanfront.”

The three-bedroom, beachfront condo resort made my mouth water. And if I didn’t travel so much, it might have been much harder to walk away.

But it didn’t take me long to realize that his pitch wasn’t truly aimed at people who loved to travel. It targeted those who wanted to travel more but didn’t think they could afford it.

Timeshare presentations sell the travel dream instead of cheaper travel. Here’s why timeshares don’t equal a better travel experience.

High Costs

Depending on how many times you turn down the timeshare offer, you will eventually get a price that might raise your eyebrows. A guaranteed resort-vacation every year for the rest of your life might sound like a hard proposition to turn down.

Except that you must. Because you can do better.

When you add the monthly costs, plus any fees and taxes, chances are you’re overpaying. Especially when you consider that the timeshare is only the lodging portion of your vacation. You still have to pay for transportation, food, and entertainment.

We were told several times that a timeshare is an investment. This isn’t true.

Investments should have a return and you won’t get this with a timeshare. In fact, you’ll lose money when you’re ready to sell.

With sites like Airbnb and Trusted Housesitters, you’re able to find lodging for a fraction of the costs of hotels and resorts. And you can book brag-worthy spaces for unbelievable deals.

Long-term Commitments

One of the major points our presenter made was about owning a permanent vacation rental to enjoy yearly.

And once it’s paid off, we have a deed to this vacation week to pass down through the generations.

Did I mention, we’ll also pass down the fees and taxes to our loved ones?

Because you’re buying this property for one week each year, you can’t just give it back if you change your mind. You’ll have to find a buyer to get rid of it or convince the timeshare company to take it back.

And that might be a hard sell.

If you need more proof, head over to Ebay and check out all the timeshare units selling for $1.00.

Limited Options

When your mom told you to shop around, she made a good point. That’s because you can always find a good travel deal if you know how to look.

Timeshares limit your options to specific locales and in my experience, these areas aren’t ideal. Often they are located outside city limits and away from main attractions.

During the presentation, we heard that it’s easy to trade your location for any destination offered by the company. What you don’t hear is that this trade is based on availability and comes with a fee.

Also, it’s harder to jump on an awesome flight deal when your travel dates are limited.

Timeshares are booked by the week for specific dates. Depending on which agreement you choose, you could be locked into the same date each year.

Either way, you’ll suffocate on the lack of options.

Three hours of polite declines later, we smugly walked away with two free dinners at Captain George’s and a free stay in another popular resort.

Thinking back on the experience, it was a cheap sell of our time, but the dinner was sooo worth it. Not to mention I got a good picture of what my dream, beachfront condo should look like!

Have you suffered through a timeshare presentation? Did they convince you to buy? Tell your story below!

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*If you’ve been reading Awe Inclusive for the past few years, you might recall me taking a guy’s travel virginity. I am no longer with that guy. I’m now dating someone whose sense of wanderlust is ridiculous, but who has lost his way in the unrelenting humdrum of the rat race. New goal: break new Boo out of the rat race and live in travel bliss. Wish me luck!

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Photo by Grace Garcia via Flickr.com