We just checked into a timeshare for a week on Cape Cod, and I was shocked (shocked, I say!) to find that our unit had no DVD player. There was also no dishwasher, no gas grill, and only a small kitchen counter. What's the world coming to?
Then I looked around and brought myself back to reality.I was expecting to see something like this...
It's so easy to get spoiled
Once I started looking around at the situation, I realized how spoiled I am by staying in timeshares as much as we do.
- If we were staying in a hotel instead of a timeshare, we probably wouldn't have a DVD player or a gas grill either.
- If we were staying in a hotel instead of a timeshare, we certainly wouldn't have a dishwasher, or even any dishes to wash. Instead of a small kitchen counter there would be no kitchen at all.
- Staying in this timeshare gives us a small kitchen which is perfectly adequate to do some cooking for ourselves, so we don't need to go out for every meal. This saves us both money and time. A quick breakfast in our unit, and we're ready to hit the beach.
- Staying in this timeshare, we get a huge amount of space, with a living room, two couches, two coffee tables, and a dining area. And oh yeah - that kitchen, too.
- We have far more space than hotel rooms that cost significantly more than we're paying here. More space is a great thing, and lower costs mean more money for other vacations. It's a win-win! 🙂
Timeshare exchanges and trade-offs
When you stay at a timeshare you own, you know exactly what it's going to be like. Hopefully you bought your timeshare somewhere that you love to vacation, and this works out well for you.
One of the joys of owning a timeshare, however, is exchanging your timeshare to vacation in different places, and that's what we did on this vacation. We exchanged what we owned to stay at this resort on Cape Cod.
When you work through the world of timeshare exchanges, you don't have access to everything in the world - just what is available for exchange.
The major exchange companies work with thousands of resorts, but it's not the same selection you'd have if you were just booking something online with your credit card.
For ultimate flexibility, you can't beat cash. Whipping out your Visa card can take you almost anywhere you want to go.
On the other hand, if you want to get some great vacation deals in areas where there are timeshares (which includes most popular resort areas in the world), then owning a timeshare is a great way to go.... but this is what's really important to me
What does this mean for exchanging your timeshare?
- Think about what's most important to you, and decide what are your must-have features. Is location most important (e.g. walk to the beach)? Do you consider some facilities mandatory (e.g. no pool = no go)?
- Research the resorts you're looking at to see what they're like. Between the information available on RCI or II, the resort's own website, and review sites like TripAdvisor, you can glean a lot of information about a property.
- When you're setting up a search for a timeshare exchange, you can narrow it to specific resorts you're interested in, so that it excludes any that are missing those features that are critical to you.
- In our case, we'd identified that we wanted to stay on Cape Cod. Brian knew the area well from all the time he's spent here in the past, so we could narrow it geographically to the places where we wanted to stay.
- If that DVD player was critical, we could have eliminated this resort from consideration. On reflection, I'm glad we didn't do that! 🙂
Have you had any great or not-so-great experiences with exchanging a timeshare? Any tips to share with others? We'd love to hear from you, so please let us know in the Reply section below!