Are you one of 9 million Americans who own a timeshare? If travel restrictions, airline disruptions, or uneasiness around traveling are preventing you from using your timeshare, you might feel like you’re throwing your money away. If you want to make the most of your timeshare under the current circumstances, here are five expert tips.
How to Turn Around Your Timeshare Blues in 2022
Even though timeshare owners are historically the first to return to vacationing after travel disruptions, they aren’t immune to pandemic-related challenges. According to the timeshare industry group American Resort Development Association (ARDA), timeshare owners live an average of 1,000 miles from their home resort. In a pre-pandemic world, that most likely meant a plane ride to their timeshare, but only 37% of Americans are comfortable flying right now, according to Morning Consult.
Timeshare ownership can be boiled down to pre-paying for your vacation accommodations. So when you don’t use it, you’re essentially wasting money. Here are five pieces of advice on what you can do if you’re not planning on traveling to your timeshare in 2022.
1. Rent Out Your Timeshare
“Just like the timeshare resale market, a huge secret not shared with the vast majority of owners is the option to rent their timeshare out to other travelers,” says Brian Rodgers, who runs Timeshare User Group (TUG), the oldest and largest timeshare owners group and advocacy organization.
“For those who haven’t used their timeshare in ages and don’t want to pay for a membership to a timeshare exchange company to deposit to their week, renting it out is an outstanding alternative to cover some or all of your annual maintenance fees,” he continued.
If you know that you’re not going to use your timeshare this year, list your week for rent with your home resort or one of the more popular and trusted timeshare rental sites like Timeshare Users Group, Redweek, or KOALA. TUG offers a comprehensive, free guide on the ins and outs of successfully renting out your timeshare for first-time renters.
2. Salvage Value Even With Last-Minute Change of Plans
Whether you need to cancel your vacation or your renter does, there are still ways to get value for your week, even at the last minute. There are more vehicles than ever to get another renter, and the largest timeshare exchange company, RCI, allows you to deposit your week as late as 24 hours before your check-in date. Even at this late hour, you’ll receive some credit for it to apply to a future vacation.
That’s why it is important to join the timeshare exchange company affiliated with your home resort when you make travel plans so that it’s all set up and in place if you need to change your vacation plans at the last minute.
3. Join a Timeshare Exchange Company
In the world of pandemic travel, joining a timeshare exchange company acts as another form of travel insurance for timeshare owners. For a small annual fee of $100 or less, this membership allows you to save your already paid for vacation week in their system and exchange it for another one at thousands of resorts in their network up to two years from your deposit.
If you’re not comfortable flying and want to plan your vacation at a resort closer to home, a timeshare exchange company like RCI, Interval International, 7Across, Trading Places, Platinum Interchange, and RTX facilitates those swaps for timeshare owners.
Free tutorials about RCI, Interval International-specific Facebook groups, or Timeshare User Group’s discussion boards can speed up your learning curve if you’ve never used a timeshare exchange company before. You can learn about timeshare exchange companies from other timeshare owners who have used these systems for years or even decades.
If you rented your owned week out, there are still ways to leverage your timeshare ownership for affordable vacations, especially if you decide to travel at the last minute. Ask your home resort about space available programs and make the most of your exchange company membership by booking their last-minute vacancy deals. You can secure a resort room for as low as $300 a week with no need to use your deposit credits.
4. Widen Your Destination Considerations
If your pre-paid timeshare vacation is going unused and you’re spending money on other vacation accommodations, it’s like you’re double spending on travel. A timeshare exchange membership opens up many destinations and resort options in America and globally. RCI has 4,200 affiliated resorts in over 110 countries, and Interval International’s network consists of more than 3,200 resorts in over 80 nations.
With most timeshare resorts outside of urban destinations, timesharing remains a match for the millions of Americans who are still favoring nature destinations with outdoor, social-distance friendly activities. For example, members can visit 70% of America’s National Parks by exchanging their timeshare with RCI. There are 277 RCI affiliated resorts near 44 U.S. National Parks such as Shenandoah National Park, Florida Everglades, and America’s most visited National Park, the Great Smoky Mountains.
Timeshare resorts are found in top U.S. urban vacation destinations like Nashville, New York City, New Orleans, Waikiki, Las Vegas, San Fransico, and Austin. If you’re looking to plan an international trip for future travel, timeshare exchanges can also take to you around the world, like Banff National Park in Canada, the Caribbean, Mexico, and even to the European filming locations of Outlander and Harry Potter.
5. Secure a Timeshare Exit Without Getting Scammed
With three out of every 10 Americans having difficulty covering their usual expenses, timeshare blues may have turned into financial hardship during the pandemic. In that case, there are proven ways to end your timeshare ownership yourself without paying high fees.
“Consumers should exercise extreme caution when doing business with third-party companies who guarantee they can get you out of your timeshare because their promises are often too good to be true,” said Robert Clements, vice president of regulatory affairs at ARDA-ROC, the legislative arm of timeshare industry group ARDA.
“It’s best to avoid these ‘timeshare exit companies,’ which require large upfront fees and most likely will not be able to deliver on their promise of getting owners out of their timeshare. Instead, always go to your timeshare developer, resort management company, or homeowners’ association first to discuss what kind of programs they have in place for owners who want to exit,” he continued.
If your timeshare has a low resale value, turning it back to your home resort is often the cheapest and fastest way to end your ownership. If your timeshare resort doesn’t have deedback programs, you can easily list a paid-off timeshare on the active resale market yourself. Timeshare Users Group has completed over $34 million in sales by connecting buyers and sellers in their marketplace. If you’d like to list your timeshare for sale, it is included in their reasonably priced $15 annual membership.
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