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Somebody needs to pinch me because I must be in a long dream-like state or euphoria

Discussion in 'Vacation Travel Information' started by rickandcindy23, Jan 16, 2019.

  1. rickandcindy23

    rickandcindy23 TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Someone pinch me because here I am, staying in this gorgeous unit at Marriott's Ocean Pointe, about to head to Marriott's Crystal Shores for a second week.

    Our success is the combination of lucky timeshare purchases (resale) and airline miles, mostly built with Chase and American Express credit cards. Our old SPG Amex now sits in a drawer, unused for months because of the changes to Starwood with Marriott's takeover. The Chase Sapphire Reserve is now my go-to card for everything. I get 3X points on travel (including timeshare maintenance fees), restaurants and gas.

    Rick and I were poor as kids. We grew up in North Denver, before it's heyday of today (an average house now rivals the prices in some of the most expensive areas of the country). Rick was at more of a disadvantage, living with a single mom who cleaned houses to make a living. My dad was an upholsterer and barely made ends meet, and he had three little girls and our mom to support.

    Neither one of us had even been to a motel when we married in 1973. I went to Nebraska as a kid to visit my grandparents' farm, which is an experience I wish my kids and grandkids could have. That was the only state I ever visited. Rick had only been to Wyoming to camp once at Yellowstone, before his parents divorced. Camping was his only vacation experience.

    Our first vacation together was in 1976, when Rick decided we needed to drive to Disneyland and see it for our first time. It was June and magical, just as we always thought it would be. We drove different routes going to/ from California and saw several states along the route. We had a brand new 1975 Dodge Charger Special Edition, plus we already bought our first house. We had just turned 21. Rick had been on the fire department for one year, and I was working in customer service at World of Sleep. Life was becoming great.

    We didn't vacation again until we bought timeshares in 1981. We bought near Winter Park, CO, Twin Rivers, and we stayed there every year for five years. In 1985, when Rick said, "Hey, let's take the kids to Disneyland!" There was a deal at the credit union for a stay at The Grand Hotel, car rental, and airfare for four, so we booked it and had a wonderful time.

    Two years later, we wanted to do Disneyland again. We wanted to try for an exchange. We now owned two timeshares, having purchased a gorgeous unit at Val Chatelle in Frisco, CO, so we traded to Lawrence Welk Vacation Villas for one week, then a second week in Washington state on the ocean (Point Brown). It was a drive to Disneyland from Escondido, but we enjoyed the drive each day, anyway.

    After those two trips, we were hooked on timeshare exchanges and didn't really stay in our units again. We bought more to use for exchange, we even got a ski week for free, when owners defaulted on fees.

    When we went to Hawaii for the first time in 2000, we were sure we would never get to Hawaii again. We thought it was a one-time deal. We were celebrating our son's graduation from School of Mines. Now we go twice a year and own a timeshare literally less than 40 feet from the ocean in West Maui, and we now own three weeks.

    I used to envy the girls at school after their summer and school breaks to exotic places like Florida and Hawaii. Now Rick and I are living it up with our airline miles and our timeshares. We haven't paid for airfare in at least four years now, and we traveled first class to Fort Lauderdale. Timeshare maintenance fees and some manufactured spending have built our points to a high level. I remember reading Million Mile Secrets years ago and wondering if I could pull that off, and I have done incredibly well with the tips shared liberally on that site.

    We have made some great decisions for timeshare purchases since our first few, and we honestly do not even own the same weeks we owned before at Val Chatelle and Twin Rivers. We bought off-season weeks from the developer, at ridiculous prices, too.

    Now we own a lot of timeshares, and a lot of them our daughter rents to make a little income for herself and for us. We had some good fortune with cheap conversions of weeks we owned in Hawaii to get us status with Wyndham. That was a total fluke the first time, then a second purchase was purposefully engineered by yours truly. I then bought some weeks at Sheraton Broadway Plantation to use ourselves, and for our daughter to rent. I bought Marriott for trading purposes only (for trips like this one). You cannot beat the value of a Marriott exchange through II (cheap exchange fees).

    What is a girl like me doing in a place like this? I must be dreaming. Pinch me, but not too hard because I bruise easily.

    I wish I had known all of this sooner, but with good health we should be good for at least another 20 years of travel. Sure, things can change, we don't know what the future holds for us, but for now, we feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate.

    Please share your story, TUGgers!
     
    Helaine, SteelerGal, dgalati and 36 others like this.
  2. TUGBrian

    TUGBrian Administrator

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    timeshare success stories are few and far between, but they are always fantastic to read!
     
  3. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    So much of your youth parallels with mine. All my friends and their families traveled and if I got to go to upstate NY to a relatives home that was considered a grand vacation. I didn’t start traveling until after I was married.

    For all that complain about the negatives of Timesharing I am living in a parallel dream like yours. Timesharing has allowed me to live the travel life of the wealthy which I am not yet everyone thinks I am. Timesharing done right makes dreams come true at an affordable price.

    I hope to have 20 years of fabulous timeshare travel left like you my friend. One day hopefully we will go to the same place, same time, and share the real dream that we created for ourselves. I love Timesharing!
     
  4. Luanne

    Luanne TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    We did take family vacations when I was growing up. My dad sat behind a desk 50 weeks of the year so he wanted to be on the move the two weeks of our summer vacations. We took a lot of road trips. I also wished that we could rent a house at the beach and just stay put for a week or two. So, after dh and I got married and bought our timeshare on Maui, that is just what we've done. I was finally able to live out MY childhood vacation dream.
     
    Sunshine10, mpumilia, silentg and 4 others like this.
  5. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride TUG Member

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    Cindy and all, your stories all ring very true with me and my memories of growing up with "vacations" that were basically driving to Texas or Florida to visit my grandparents (my dad's parents) during the first 2 weeks of July when the textile mill my father worked in closed for vacation. My wife's family, although more financially able, just didn't vacation at all, other than to visit relatives in Philadelphia, Delaware and Maryland.

    I'm sure that these humble beginnings is what gave my wife and I the drive to experience vacations in different ways then we did as kids. Over the years we have built up our timeshare and points ownership (Chairman's Club) with Marriott and experienced many vacations of all types. This year our timeshare ownership will be taking us to Paris (using MR points for hotel and airfare), Aruba Surf Club (annual family trip), Orlando (our first timeshare ownership) and Israel on a Collette Tour using Points. We have raised our kids taking these types of vacations and now bring them, their spouses and our grandchildren with us on many of our travels. Yes, we do feel fortunate as well to have discovered this great way to travel and do things that we could not have imagined when we were growing up.

    BTW Cindy, enjoy Ocean Pointe...our favorite US timeshare where we own a 3 bedroom week, purchased for exactly the reason to "some day travel with our kids and grandkids" a dream that has come true!
     
  6. rapmarks

    rapmarks TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    I enjoyed your story Cindy. I too never went on a vacation. Once after I started teaching we went overnight and stayed with my father’s friends in their cottage. My first real trip was my honeymoon, and that was to the Boundary Waters Canoe area and around Lake Superior.
    You will be near us when you go to Marco, but I imagine you are taking alligator alley.
     
    silentg and Fredflintstone like this.
  7. bbodb1

    bbodb1 TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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  8. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    It's funny, after reading the OP, my first reaction was that I didn't travel much growing up either. But as I reflected, I realized that we really traveled quite a bit, it just seems less when looked at through today's lens.

    As a very young child, I recall annual summer trips to Myrtle Beach, my first plane flight to visit relatives in Houston in 1964, and my mom and I tagging along on one of my dad's business trips to New York to see the city and go to the 1965 New York World's Fair. I remember driving to Florida a few times, including 1969 to see the launch of Apollo 11 and again in 1971 for the launch of Apollo 15. Washington, DC in 1972; Oshkosh, Wisconsin for the big airshow in 1974; and San Juan, tagging along on another of my dad's business trips in 1978 when I was in college. Once I graduated and got a job for a large bank, I traveled extensively on business myself, and started accumulating frequent flyer miles. I met my future wife, and we were able to enjoy traveling to the Bahamas, San Juan/St. Thomas, and several Space Shuttle launches.

    I first discovered Hawaii in 1987, when a long-time friend from college and I went with my then recently-retired parents to the islands. My wife and I returned to Hawaii for our honeymoon in 1992, thus beginning our own love affair with the islands. We would wind up returning to Hawaii again and again, and that was the impetus for our first timeshare purchase, a 2BR at Kaanapali Beach Club in 1999. Thanks to that first timeshare, our kids were able to grow up going to Hawaii every 2-3 years and to Orlando for Disney/Universal almost every year until they got old enough to be a little bored with family trips. We also found time for non-timeshare trips - a Disney Caribbean cruise and almost annual summer trips to Litchfield-By-the-Sea on the S.C. coast. Once the kids outgrew the Mouse and wanted to go on trips where they could take their friends, we sold the Kaanapali Beach Club in 2014 and bought into the Marriott Vacation Club because of their great, high quality resorts in Hilton Head, Hawaii, Florida, and the Caribbean (and elsewhere).

    Within the last year, with our own retirement not far away, we bought a week in HGVC and added an EOY week at Marriott's Maui Ocean Club (that we'll be using for the first time in just 45 days!). We've also just recently re-discovered cruising with our September small-ship Azamara Quest Mediterranean cruise and will be cruising again in June in French Polynesia, this time on the even smaller M/S Paul Gauguin. But even though not all of our travel will now be timeshare-based, it was our timeshare ownership that really allowed us to bring our kids up traveling, and they now love travel as much as we do. They've both studied abroad in Europe during the summer while in college, and our son spent a month traveling around Europe after his college graduation before starting into his first full-time job. Hopefully we all have a lot of travel adventures yet to enjoy!
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2019
  9. Fredflintstone

    Fredflintstone TUG Member

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    All I can say is what a lovely story. I too hope you have many more healthy, wonderful vacations! It’s always nice to see someone appreciate and feel blessed.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
    taffy19 likes this.
  10. slip

    slip TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Growing up in the sixty’s and seventy’s my mother and father always took us on an annual two week trip to Wisconsin. We lived in Chicago and always went to the same place but we loved it. I remember talking to my mother when we were older and she said looking back she don’t know how they did it. It was a lot of work with four kids.

    We stayed in cottages, no A/C and had to walk about a mile and a half to get to a lake that we stayed at all day. We all have great memories from all those trips. Then in 1973, my parents bought what turned out to be their retirement home in the city close to the cottages we always went to. They stayed in that house, my father until his death and my mother until she had to move to assisted living.

    As I grew up and had a Family, we only went on a few vacations, Northern Wisconsin and Minnesota. When our kids grew up and moved out. We all had more income and we started to really travel. After our first trip to Hawaii, I started to look into timeshares. I found TUG and the resale market and then our vacations really took a step up with great accommodations.

    We just bought our retirement condo on Molokai. We will still keep some timeshare weeks on Maui and Kauai. Like Cindy I do look back and see how blessed we are to be able to travel at these beautiful places in great condos. Timeshares made it possible for us and I do wish we would have found them sooner.
     
  11. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    Cindy, you've been a great source of knowledge and inspiration to me since I found Tug over a dozen years ago. I always read your posts, because the tips and tricks you mention are invaluable for a newbie trying to figure out how this whole timeshare shell game works. I sincerely appreciate your input.

    As to your amazement at where you're staying, and how you got there, be honest - you can't really be THAT surprised. You've worked your tail off to make the most of what you own, and how to leverage that into something better. You've done one heck of a great job. If anything, you should give yourselves a great pat on the back for the hard work and a job very well done. Enjoy your vacations. You absolutely rock. :)

    Dave
     
  12. BJRSanDiego

    BJRSanDiego TUG Member

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    My own background is similar to Rick and Cindy. My Dad was a "blue collar worker" (who wore a white cook's uniform}. My Mom cleaned houses and baby sat. I guess that I was the beneficiary of white privilege (a sarcastic joke) because my Dad got me a job working with him washing pots and pans and thousands of dishes in the summers and every Saturday during the school season. In the summer I typically worked 48 hours a week and enjoyed the time-and-a-half for the last 8 hours. Occasionally I would be asked to work a double shift. I didn't complain because that meant that those extra hours were at double time. The only negative aspect was getting home around midnight and having to get up at 5 am. :)

    An aside: In the summers when I was dishwashing, the temperature at my workstation would peak around 110 F. and was close to 100 percent humidity. My employer bought us salt pills so that we wouldn't badly screw up our electrolytes due to perspiration. But I enjoyed working for my Dad and found that most of the co-workers were "salt-of-the-earth" type of hard working people. Also, that work provided me with make the money that I needed to pay for my college tuition and books.

    As a family we didn't do very much vacationing. The trips that I remember included two one-week trips to Lake Kandiyohi (Minnesota) in a 15 x 15 cabin, a trip to Mille Lacs Lake, one trip to Ely, Mn. and a day-trip to the Wisconsin Dells. We also took a lot of one-day fishing trips that I fondly remember. That was about all my folks could afford. And I felt that I was lucky to have gone on those trips. They were, in my mind, great trips.

    About ten years ago, when I retired I bought the first of four timeshares (resale). Now we take 8 to 10 one-week vacations a year. A common conversation that my wife and I have when vacationing is how we could not have imagined in our wildest dreams (when we were growing up and still with our parents) staying in the high-end timeshares that we enjoy today. Like Rick and Cindy, we feel that someone should pinch us to make sure that all of this is real and part of our life.
     
    Helaine, deniseh, Krteczech and 3 others like this.
  13. Steve Fatula

    Steve Fatula TUG Member

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    Sounds a lot like us, we grew up quite poor, though never lacking. And we have had incredible success with our ownerships. The negative timeshare crowd drowns out those with success stories, so, always good to read. if we could go back 21 years and do things over, we certainly would have bought the same unit from the developer at the same price, have gotten nothing but success and enjoyment from that purchase, and all later ones as well.

    We said the same thing, our trip in 2001 to Australia I thought we'd never do again, we've gone 3 times now and going again in May along with Fiji and Thailand.

    I agree with the pinch me thing, though, to some degree, I would say it was planned as well. But there was some luck too, i.e. accidental success! I think we have about 15 more years, and then we'll likely get rid of most (if not all) of it. We'll see, as you say, no one can predict. Thanks for the stories.
     
  14. Panina

    Panina TUG Review Crew: Elite TUG Member

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    It always makes me sad when I hear the negativity on timeshares. Like anything else an educated timeshare consumer gets the best use of timeshares and great they can be.

    One has to understand how they work to get what works and to use them best in order to appreciate them. I would also do it all again, knowing I purchased my first from a developer. Never could I travel the way I do, for the cost I do, without owning timeshares.
     
  15. Icc5

    Icc5 TUG Member

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    As a kid we too didn't vacation much. We didn't vacation for a few different reasons. My Dad worked 2 jobs to make ends meet in raising 5 kids. He had a full time job and then a part time. Between the two it was about 70 hours a week. My Mother was at home which was common in the 50's and 60's.
    Luckily for me I was a fairly good athlete and usually made all stars during summer baseball so that too limited our vacation time.
    We did do 2 major trips though. When there were 4 kids we took a train trip from California to Illinois and stayed 2 weeks visiting relatives. My parents were from Chicago. The other trip a few years later was to Los Angeles from Santa Clara and again we visited relatives and went to Disney and Knox Berry Farm. I grew up a happy kid since I was able to spend my time playing sports so didn't miss going on vacations.
    Things changed when I married at age 38 and we had 2 kids. We started cruising and then added timeshares. Since that time my kids (now adults) both have been on a few cruises, been to Hawaii 3-4 times each and have stayed in about 35 states. I enjoy the travel and now it's on my retired schedule as we go several times a year and now adding Europe to our travels.
     
    Luvtoride, mpumilia and Panina like this.
  16. heathpack

    heathpack Tug Review Crew: Rookie TUG Member

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    Cindy, I get that feeling sometimes too, when I’m staying at the Grand Californian and I think how much it costs and how I’d never pay that if I were paying cash.

    We mostly visited my grandparents and cousins in upstate NY. Otherwise we took exactly three trips in my childhood: cabin rental in Vermont, road trip to Niagra Falls, and the blowout “once-in-a-lifetime” trip to Disney World. We went over Thanksgiving and stayed at the Polynesian. I still remember it vividly- Thanksgiving dinner at what is now Ohana, renting mini speed boats, fun day at River Country, watching the Electrical water pageant from the beach, going to Circus World where I got my picture taken with a parrot. It was a great trip.

    Now timeshares are my greatest travel hack. We’ve settled into a pattern that includes locales where I can either road or mountain bike: Carmel CA, Tahoe, Park City, Sedona. People who don’t travel with timeshares imagine I spend a fortune annually on travel, when in reality I probably spend annually what they spend on a single trip. It’s awesome.

    Timeshares are not for everyone but they work great for us. Love em.
     
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  17. geist1223

    geist1223 Guest

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    Without timeshares I know that Patti and I would not have traveled to Ireland, Wales, Scotland, Normandy, Paris, Fiji, New Zealand (twice), Australia (twice to include Tasmania), Cancun, Cabo (many times), Hawaii (many times and 5 Islands), etc. We have 2020 plans for Ireland and Tasmania (3 weeks this time instead of 1).
     
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  18. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    My childhood was pretty much hand-to-mouth, as well. The only memories of traveling for vacation I have was a trip to Disneyland when I was five. The rest of the traveling we did was moving from one house, town, or state to another, because of my Dad’s military career. Vacations were something other families took. As an adult, I’ve tried to change that. :)

    Dave
     
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  19. mpumilia

    mpumilia TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    Great thread! I can relate. When I was a kid we rarely went anywhere. My dad owned a business and actually went through a few bankruptcies. He and my mom were hard workers. Once we went on a road trip upstate NY and another time my mom and me (and my girlfriend)went to Puerto Rico for a week and attended a wedding there, staying in a friend's home- first time for us on a plane. I was 17 years old at the time. Dad stayed home to work. Another time we went to the Jersey Shore for a few days in a cottage rental with my mom and aunts (her sisters) and cousins. The men all stayed home because they had to work.

    Other than that, no vacations when I was young. I worked all the time from age 16- full time on all school breaks and all summer. So did my brother. Everyone else was doing trips to Florida and so forth

    BUT- when my grandma died- she left my mom some money. Amazing since she was essentially dirt poor living above a bodega in the Bronx with my alcoholic grandpa who barely worked sometimes as a painter. She was a seamstress. My mom immediately used it to buy a timeshare in Connecticut just 2 hours from home. On the Long Island Sound. She and dad were in heaven and thus our introduction to timeshares. We spent many summers there- I was already married.

    Mom and dad did take some non timeshare vacations in their 50's and early 60's- but we were, of course, out of the house then. My mom's sister was a travel agent and always helped arrange these- as she did for our honeymoon.

    Although we married young (21), we had a big Italian wedding of 300 people that my parents amazingly paid for and we used the gift proceeds to pay for a 2 week honeymoon to San Francisco, Hawaii and Las Vegas. And- even though we had purchased a handyman special home to live in which required a lot of money and sweat to renovate, we still were able to carve out some money and time to take a cruise, a vacation to WDW, and some staycations with day trips. Also a week long vacation to a resort in PA that we could drive to once.

    We used my parent's timeshare once to trade into St. Lucia. The vacation bug was deep inside me at that point. (not so much in my husband).

    At 40 years old my dream was always to go to Alaska and I had been diligently saving for it for years and we went with our son that same year on a safari tour. Then we got a postcard from Smugglers Notch with a nice deal to stay there for a week. We loved it and the rest is history. We have exchanged all over the country and I, too, always pinch myself and thank God for our blessings when we are in these amazing places- even at our home resorts.

    Our 31 year old single son has had it made. I always tell him how lucky he has been to travel with us everywhere (and he still visits with us when we are in Vermont as he can drive there). We cut him off starting in 2017 with our trip to Colorado- though he did mention how he would have liked to go. I told him- if you have money for airfare- fine. Never heard from him about it. LOL!
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2019
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  20. JIMinNC

    JIMinNC TUG Member

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    It's wonderful when one of your kids finally says THEY are willing to pay for their plane ticket! A year ago we made plans for our first trip to Hawaii since 2011, and set it up so that one of our 3+ weeks would be over our daughter's spring break from college, the first week of March (we'll be at our home resort at Marriott's Maui Ocean Club). As a poor college student still living on our buck, we knew we would be paying for her travel, so we expected our 24-yr-old son to probably expect the same (because that's what we had always done, of course, as they were growing up.) Since he now has a great-paying job as a software engineer, we were wondering how we were going to break the news that Mom and Dad can't be the "payor" forever. Boy, were we pleasantly surprised when he pre-empted us and said he was going to buy his own plane ticket and own rental car for he and his sister to be mobile on their own in Maui. He'll be flying from Atlanta and our daughter from Orlando (closest major airport to University of Florida), but we set it all up where they both connect in Phoenix to the same flight to meet us in Maui, so they get there at the same time. As long as both incoming flights are on time (and they don't miss their flights!), all should work great.
     
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  21. Luvtoride

    Luvtoride TUG Member

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    Wow, I can’t imagine that happening with us. I guess because we’ve always paid for the tickets and continue to “invite” our kids, their spouses and our grandkids who now also require plane tickets, it never even enters their mind to offer.

    In fairness though, as young families with a lot of expenses raising their kids (gymnastics, dance, college savings etc) paying for plane tickets is a relatively low price to pay to be able to spend a relaxing week with our family without all of the pressures of school, gymnastics etc.
    As I’ve said in another thread about measuring the “break even cost of our timeshare ownership” the experiences we create with these trips is priceless!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  22. klpca

    klpca TUG Review Crew: Veteran TUG Member

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    We also grew up poor - as in really poor, food stamps etc - so obviously we never went on a vacation. I don't remember friends or neighbors taking vacations either, but I was probably just blissfully unaware. I read about families who went on vacation, but I thought that was just made up, not reality.

    Prior to timesharing, we took one week of vacation a year - almost always camping with the kids - and had a great time. This was due to school schedules and the cost of getting two hotel rooms. We took the occasional non-camping vacation (usually Hawaii), but still just one week per year. Our other vacation week was usually spent at home, working on some project in the house. Timesharing has changed the way we travel because the cost is lower than renting, especially if you throw an AC week in there. I agree with the "just pinch me" description, we have stayed in some very nice locations, in some very nice accommodations. I have read this before on this site - people assume that we are "rich" because of the trips that we take. If they only knew! I have friends who spend as much on a one week cruise as we spend on four weeks of vacationing using timeshares. Another friend will stay a week at some fancy resort in the Caribbean, again spending nearly the same as our annual travel budget. (In both cases, their husbands have shared the amount spent. I don't ask and I don't tell, but in both cases I had to pick my jaw up from the floor.)

    I am also glad to read this thread. There are a lot of negative opinions about timesharing out there, but when it works for you, it's one of the best way to travel.
     
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  23. LannyPC

    LannyPC TUG Member

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    Definitely. It is quite sad when people go on social media and other platforms totally lambasting the TS industry just because they had bad experiences with TSs. Unfortunately, the sales people and certain TS companies give the industry a black eye.

    I, for one, have had both negative experiences (buying a mud week at a sales presentation) and positive ones such as staying there a couple of times, exchanging a few times, and renting a few times after we sold ours.
     
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  24. DeeCee

    DeeCee TUG Member

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    Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s as well, vacations weren’t really part of our lifestyle. My dad was an electrician and mom worked part time in a bank so she could be home for us kids after school.

    The extent of fancy vacations for us was a two week trip to Montana, with a visit to Glacier National Park and the state of Washington, where my dad had an old war buddy. We flew to Montana and drove all over the place. I was 13. It was amazing and I remember it fondly.

    The rest of our “vacations” were a long weekend away once a year to cabins upstate NY or PA. Those trips were with 16 other families and their kids. AWESOME! We are all still friends today.

    So not much travel experience for this guy and gal. Until.....married, husband who didn’t want to fly anywhere ever. Then twins, driving trips up and down the East Coast. And then Disney in 95. We were all hooked. The kids were little the first time we took them. It was for their 6th birthday. I wanted DVC from that second. We went back 2 more times before my husband would buy in 2000. And that was it....we did and still do Disney and Disney cruises. My grandbabe was with us last year. Next year both grandbabies and our children will be joining us. We’ve traded out for Aruba, Hilton Head, Sedona. We took a couple of days and went to the Grand Canyon in that trip....a lifelong dream of mine. It was unbelievable. Charleston, Cape Cod, and more to come. Now we also own a legacy week with Marriott in Hilton Heads Surfwatch and OMG what a resort. We have hopes of going to St. Thomas, Vegas, San Diego, Newport Coast, and back to Aruba. Maybe Paris one day, although I’m a close to home kind of person.

    We would NEVER be able to take our family and ourselves to any of these places, let alone as often as we have, without our awesome timeshares. I have ZERO regrets and love every trip I plan. I use the credit cards that get me the points I can use towards our maintenance fees and fly with points sometimes as well. Timesharing enriched our lives and have given us the opportunity to give our kids more experiences than our parents were able to give us. What could be bad? Keeping on timesharing!
     
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  25. DaveNW

    DaveNW TUG Review Crew: Expert TUG Member

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    People tend to post about negative experiences more than positive ones. It's not just timeshares - they do it with everything. If they have a problem they're trying to solve, or have had a bad experience, they want the world to know. But if things are great, if they had a fantastic experience, or if there is no problem, you rarely hear about it. So public perception of timesharing is skewed to the negative. I think that's just how it works.

    For me, in my "BT" years (that's "Before Tug"), timesharing was always a negative thing. They were too expensive, you couldn't get out of them, yada yada. You went to sales presentations only to garner the free gift. I had no ownership experience because I thought people who bought timeshares were foolish, and I wasn't about to be one of those suckers. So even though I'd only had peripheral experience with the industry, it didn't stop me from having a negative opinion about them.

    Then my brother and his (now-ex) wife got suckered by a gifted free bottle of tequila for touring a timeshare in Cabo San Lucas. They bought full freight. The first time they used it, we were invited to join them. We went, and had a marvelous time. It was a great place, (Hacienda Del Mar), and we had a great vacation. I was able to set aside the negative things that happened that trip (e.g., highly insulting treatment of me by the sales weasel over and over during the "Owner's Update", who kept harassing me for being a cheap American jerk if I wouldn't buy my own unit. After about an hour of his treatment, I finally told him to stop [I used MUCH stronger words] or I'd report him. He did, but it proved some of the sales stories I'd heard over the years were true.) But at the end of our week there, I figured maybe there was some truth to the positive side of the whole timesharing thing, and I decided I wanted to find out.

    After we came home, I started exploring the marketplace. I figured there had to be a better way to enjoy timesharing. Enter Tug, guns blazing, to teach me that Yes, you CAN buy a timeshare without getting ripped off, and here's how to make the most of that ownership. I soaked up everything I could read here, and elsewhere online. I learned what I could, discovered the $1 resale market, and I have never looked back.

    I've bought and sold about a dozen timeshares since then, independents, mini-systems, and affiliated resorts with awesome internal trading options. I've exchanged in and out of RCI, a few of the lesser exchange companies, and most recently, with Interval. My ownerships started as Weeks, and has now settled into only a WorldMark points-based ownership, which best suits how we travel these days. It's been a progression, based on a "learning by owning" concept, where I found the very best way to experience things was from the inside, as an owner.

    I've thoroughly enjoyed myself, and have learned plenty. I am by no means an expert, compared with a lot of Tuggers, but overall, it's been a great ride. I have enjoyed a lot of fine vacations, including a visit with my brother back to the Hacienda Del Mar in Cabo. But that trip we went as Exchangers through SFX, and had our own unit. We got a bigger, better unit than my brother and his (very, very angry now-ex) wife, who complained long and loud all week about how unfair it was that we, as Exchangers, got a better unit than she received, as an Owner. Knowing what I do about timeshares, it proves her anger was based on ignorance of how the whole system works. (Not to mention there was a certain poetic justice to it, and my brother's divorce soon after wasn't a terrible thing at all. :)

    I will always have Tug to thank for my timeshare education. I often think back to how we never took vacations as a family when I was a kid, and of all the traveling I did around the world during my Navy career. I've thoroughly enjoyed the last ~15 years I've been around Tug, because this experience has changed my attitude completely. Timeshares are not the ominous, scary things they used to be. Education about the industry is critical, optional, and vital, to having a positive timeshare experience.

    Dave
     
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2019
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