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International Travel and Timeshares: Worth it? Do you miss out on the local culture?

Discussion in 'New to Timesharing? Look Here!' started by MommyErin, Apr 19, 2017.

  1. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    I grew up traveling extensively, but not staying in timeshares. After a lot of research, I'm pretty sold on purchasing a resale DVC contract in the near future as WDW is a location we know we'll visit annually (or every other year at least). Now I'm beginning to research the wider world of timeshares and I'm a bit skeptical.

    From a cost/accommodations perspective with 2 children and occasional extended family that tag along on trips, it definitely makes sense to buy a resale timeshare (probably point-based/non-fixed week); especially for traveling within the US or to a specific location we plan to frequent every year or so. But as an international traveler, I worry that timeshare locations will be more limited and lacking in the local/cultural immersion experience, which are big priorities for us.

    For those of you that do travel internationally, do you reserve your timeshare time for domestic or "all inclusive" beach vacation type travel and go the hotel route when you want the cultural immersion when traveling internationally? Are there specific timeshares that are better for a combination of international travel and domestic, or would we be better off a) not purchasing a timeshare (except DVC ;-D), or b) purchasing a smaller timeshare contract to use primarily in the US for one week annually or every other year for a larger unit?

    Hubby and I both have a good amount of vacation time and plan to spend a solid week or two traveling internationally every year and another week or two domestically. We are limited in when we can travel based on the academic calendar (I get about a month "off" from early/mid Dec to early/mid Jan, spring break week, and 3.5 months over the summer), and school year will matter for the children when they're older as well. But that still leaves quite a bit of flexibility in when we travel.

    Thank you!
     
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  2. mpumilia

    mpumilia Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    I own a fixed and floating week timeshare that we drive to every year in Vermont, as well as another fixed week in New Hampshire that we drive to from the Vermont timeshare. We used to exchange extensively our floater week to travel all over the USA, but now we just use that one also at our home resort, only occasionally exchanging domestically and within driving distance for the most part. The only time we exchanged outside of the US was for St. Lucia.

    A few years ago we rented a timeshare unit from a TUG member. Would either do that again if we decide to travel overseas, or maybe do a rental from Home Away or another on line site. Then again, we would consider a tour as well.

    This all said, for extra vacations we also have rented timeshares domestically from other owners through Redweek, and also through our home resort owner network, and this June we are renting a timeshare unit directly from the resort itself.
     
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  3. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    I would make that decision on a case by case basis depending on where I was going. Some places have nice timeshare options (Thailand, coastal Spain, Costa rica) some do not. I probably wouldn't buy anything that I planned to use mostly for international (outside of N. America/Carribean ) as selection is much more limited and often not the cultural destinations you would be interested in.
     
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  4. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    Thank you! Very helpful. I think we'll try renting first and see how it goes. Some resale timeshares are just SO cheap (probably for good reason), that it's tempting to dive right in on some "free" points.
     
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  5. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    Thank you! I assumed that was probably the case. We'll stick to local hotels for most of our international travel then.

    Is there a particular timeshare program you would recommend for an annual (or every other year) beach vacation in North America/Caribbean? (Assuming we would go to a different place almost every trip and with our home resort probably in FL). Just wondering if one (e.g. Marriott, Wyndham, etc.) is particularly Caribbean oriented or has better/wider selection. I realize there are larger exchanges (II and RCI), but the more I read, the more concerned I am with how overly complicated they can be to utilize regularly and reliably. I love the simplicity of the DVC point system for booking DVC resorts.
     
  6. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Your dates will be tough to get as trades for anything you don't have home resort priority for. Marriott has the biggest/nicest variety of resorts in the carribean/FL, and some combination of destination points and weeks might work nicely. For Christmas/new year you'd need a fixed week, while spring break could be a float week.

    Vistana (formerly Starwood) has a few FL locations, as well as St John, Atlantis in the Bahamas, and Cancun. Trading for peak dates to st John or Atlantis will be impossible, so you would need to buy there if that's what you wanted.
     
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  7. mpumilia

    mpumilia Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    O

    Oh- I also meant to say that one of the timeshares we rented through another TUG member was in Scotland.
     
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  8. silentg

    silentg TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    We own a week at Fitzpatrick's Castle Holiday Homes in Dublin Ireland. Love going there!
     
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  9. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    Thank you for your response. How is the resale market for Marriott? I read through the sticky, so I have a pretty good sense of the point system, membership tiers, MFs, booking, etc. I believe I read there's a $3,000 minimum fee when buying resale. How does that all work?
     
  10. bizaro86

    bizaro86 TUG Member

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    Better to ask that question on the Marriott forum. I don't know all the details, but the Marriott folks will.
     
  11. stmartinfan

    stmartinfan TUG Member

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    We have only 1 timeshare week and use it almost exclusively for our annual week in the Caribbean, although we did stay for 1 week in the Costa del Sol area of Spain and found lots to do there. We traveled to many cities in Europe as a family of four and found renting apartments gave us a great way to stay in local neighborhoods while still the comfort of more space than a hotel room. Often the apartment would be less expensive than 2 hotel rooms, since it can be harder to find hotel rooms for 4. We usually wanted to be in the center city area of major metro cities, not places where timeshares are very available.
     
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  12. dominidude

    dominidude TUG Member

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    I've traveled internationally both with hotels and with timeshares. With timeshares, I've traveled through exchanges.
    This is my take:
    Hotels and sites such as Airbnb are everywhere, and so, it's pretty easy to see why one would choose a hotel. Also, I think most people here in TUG would agree that timeshares and "all inclusives" DO NOT go together. Again, I think most of us here in TUG would agree that if you want an all inclusive, the most economical route is to go through a regular travel agent. The fee that timeshare owners would pay per day per person at "all inclusives" are usually in the order of 2 to 10 times as much as a regular travel agent charges. Ouch.
    Which brings us to timeshares:
    When travelling, I choose timeshares only when they make economic sense. The two biggest timeshare exchanges are RCI and Interval Int. (II). RCI advertises that it has 7240 resorts, while II says it has over 3000. There is some overlap between those two exchanges, with some resorts belonging to both exchanges. Needless to say, even if one were to say that there are 10k resorts in both exchanges combined, that number of resorts is tiny to the millions of hotels bookable through regular travel agents.
    However, when you are interested in a particular area (whether internationally or domestically) where there is availability in both regular hotels and timeshare resorts, it really is worth taking a look at the timeshares because timeshares can be just as cheap or cheaper than a hotel room, but include many amenities such as whole apartments instead of just rooms, including kitchens, extra parking space, bigger pools, activities, etc. Timeshares can be just as cheap or cheaper than hotel rooms even when you include costs such as exchange company annual fees and exchange fees.

    So, my view is that timeshares are another tool you can use to comparison shop when you are making travel plans. But you have to have a timeshare in order to join an exchange company. Lots of Tuggers, including myself, will tell you to get a RESALE timeshare close to where you live so that you can make use of your timeshare as it is intended. In that vein, I'd suggest getting a small contract of WORLDMARK points because they trade both with RCI and II, and you can also just use the Worldmark points by themselves without RCI or II to go to Orlando. The nice thing about Worldmark points is that if it doesnt work out for you, it is easier than most to sell a Worldmark contract.

    Once you've had a sip of the Timeshare juice, it is not uncommon to buy too many timeshares (it's just too easy, since so many people dont use theirs and want to desperately get rid of them). If you buy a timeshare, make sure you have an timeshare exit strategy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2017
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  13. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    That sounds like our style of traveling as well! Very helpful. Thanks! What timeshare do you have for your week in the Caribbean? Is it a fixed/floating week or points-based? What exchange do you use? Just trying to get a sense of what has worked well for others :)
     
  14. MommyErin

    MommyErin Guest

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    Very helpful information! Thank you.
     

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