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Travel Cost Comparison: Timeshare vs Vacation

Sep 26

Travel Cost Comparisons: Timeshare vs. Traditional Vacations

With travel becoming a possibility again, people are resuming the habit of taking annual vacations. However, due to the current state of the economy, many people are now more cautious with their spending.  Hotel accommodations are becoming more expensive.

If you have considered buying a timeshare in order to budget your vacation expenses better, you are not the only one. According to the American Resort Development Association, 9.9 million households have taken active steps toward becoming involved in the industry.

A timeshare usually costs less than a resort hotel.

How Does a Timeshare Work?

A timeshare is an ownership model where people purchase the right to use a vacation property for a certain amount of time each year.

There is no need for the time to be identical every year or for the accommodation to be the same.

The Risks of Vacation Clubs and Travel Clubs

Timeshares, vacation clubs and travel clubs all sell people the idea of a fairytale vacation at a bargain price, but don’t be fooled. These dream vacations come with nightmarish problems.

Restricted Destinations

Timeshares are often very restrictive, as they require you to visit the same location every year. However, timeshare companies are aware that not many people are interested in that type of arrangement. As a result, they have created vacation and travel clubs that offer different destinations. The people who created the timeshare you hate also created the vacation club you want to join, which should tell you something. Additionally, you still can't go wherever you want. Some travel clubs advertise that they offer unlimited destinations. However, this only means that you can go to any resort that the club owns. If the club doesn't own a property in the place you want to go, then you won't be able to go there through the club.  If you want to visit a more desirable location, you will have to pay a higher fee.

Restricted Travel Dates

With a timeshare, you have to plan your vacations around the other owners of the property. This can be difficult because you may not be able to stay at the property when you want to. Some companies own multiple properties, so you may have a better chance of finding an available property. However, members still cannot vacation during certain times, known as blackout dates. Essentially, the club is saying that during these six weeks that contain holidays, members are not allowed to vacation at the resorts. The way to vacation during blackout dates? Pay more money. Most clubs won’t tell you that outright, either. It’s in the fine print at the bottom of your contract, so small it’ll make you go blind. Why? Because these companies are sneaky!

How Much Should You Expect To Spend on a Timeshare?

There are some initial costs associated with owning a timeshare, as well as some ongoing costs. For example, you might have to pay a maintenance fee every year.

As of 2021, the average cost to rent a two-bedroom unit with full kitchen, washer and dryer, and living room was $24,140 per week.  The average maintenance fee per 2-bedroom unit was $1,120 per week in 2021.

What Other Costs Might You Incur With a Timeshare?

After you purchase a timeshare, the maintenance fee is the only annual cost you need to cover. This fee goes towards maintaining common areas of the resort, like the furniture in the units and around the resort, housekeeping and cleaning services, and amenities like pools, game rooms, and sports courts.

As of December 2021, only 20.5% of all timeshare owners had an outstanding loan associated with their timeshare purchase. Oftentimes, parking is free at a timeshare resort, and owners rarely charge resort fees for Wi-Fi or use of the amenities as that is covered as part of the maintenance fee.”

Timeshare vs. Resort Hotel: Which Is Cheaper?

A resort hotel does not require an upfront payment like a timeshare, making it a more flexible and affordable vacation option.  What about after that? Which of these options is less expensive?

Due to the recent influx in travel and inflation, hotel rates have been gradually increasing over time, but there has been a sudden spike in daily rental rates.  ARDA encourages people who focus on value to consider the financial advantages of timeshare ownership, such as how it can protect them from economic pressures like inflation.

The cost of a two-bedroom timeshare unit has not changed much in the last five years, even though hotel prices go up and down depending on how many people want to stay there.  Timeshare ownership is more consistent and affordable because the daily rates, fees, and taxes are always changing. This makes it easier for families to plan their vacation spending.

The annual maintenance fee for timeshare owners has only increased by 15% in the last 5 years, compared to the cost of a seven-night resort hotel stay, which has increased by 24%.  The cost of a seven-night stay in a one-bedroom resort hotel unit (one that does not include a kitchen or separate living area) increased from $1,569 to $1,720 from May 22, 2022 to July 22, 2022.

An owner could save money by cooking meals in their unit's kitchen, rather than eating out for every meal.

It is not a straightforward answer as to which is cheaper, but if a timeshare meets your needs and wants, it could save you money in the long term.