Contact theSOPAbout theSOPSupport theSOPWritersEditorsManaging Editors
theSOP logo
Published:January 19th, 2006 15:52 EST
Time to Share

Time to Share

By Judyth Piazza CEO (Editor)

Whether you long for the crashing sound of ocean waves rolling in on the fabulous sandy beaches of Florida or the soothing sounds of nature on a starry summer night in a romantic log cabin in the mountains of Tennessee, timeshares offer a wonderful opportunity to forge timeless memories to cherish forever.

According to ARDA, The American Resort Development Association, timeshares became a popular alternative for vacationers in Europe in the 1960`s as a result of escalating property prices that made it nearly impossible for most people to afford a full-time vacation home. By creating a shared ownership, developers were able to reduce the costs for each owner, allowing them to successfully market and sell properties to a greater number of clients.

The timeshare industry is the fastest growing market in the travel industry worldwide. More than three million households own vacation intervals at nearly 4,500 resorts located in 81 countries.

Timeshares are marketed in a variety of ways. You can purchase time on cruises, recreational vehicles, campgrounds, and many other types of properties. However, the most popular type of time-share is condominiums.

How to choose a timeshare

There are several types of timeshares to choose from. A fixed week timeshare means that buyers of timeshares usually own the rights to a property for a specific amount of time each year. A fixed timeshare provides the owner with the same unit and the same week, year in year out, for as long as the conditions of the contract remain consistent.

The second type of timeshare is a floating timeshare, which allows the owner to reserve the time of his choice during a given period of the year. The drawback of having this freedom is that eager shareholders grab up many of the prime vacation times very quickly, and the market thus becomes very competitive. One must act very quickly in order to reserve the best vacation time.

The third type of timeshare is the right-to-use timeshare where buyers arrange to lease the property for a given amount of time each year, for a set amount of years. However, under such a plan, the developer maintains ownership of the property.

The final type of timeshare is referred to as a vacation club and sometimes called a points club, which is very similar to the floating timeshare program. This latest form of ownership enables buyers to travel to a variety of locations and various sized lodgings, based on the amount of points they have acquired, which can then be used in the same way that currency can. However, it works on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Benefits

Timeshares are financially appealing for several reasons. Instead of purchasing a condominium and using it for vacation purposes only, the program allows you to participate on a pay per stay basis.Participants in the pay per stay program believe that you get more for your money simply because you don`t have to deal with any upkeep or worry about a property`s security amid the 50 weeks that you are not utilizing the timeshare.

Timeshares are truly a home away from home. Vacation ownership provides the space and flexibility to suit the needs of any size family or group. While most vacation ownership condominiums have two bedrooms and two baths, unit sizes range from studios to three or more bedrooms. Unlike hotel rooms, there are no charges for additional guests. In addition, unlike hotels, most units include a fully equipped kitchen with dining area, washer and dryer, linens, stereo, televisions, DVD players and more.

Timeshare resort amenities rival those of other top-rated resort properties; in addition, they also offer amenities such as swimming pools, tennis, Jacuzzi, golf, bicycles, and exercise facilities. Others feature boating, ski lifts, restaurants and equestrian facilities.

Location Perks

Most timeshare resorts offer a full schedule of on-site or nearby sporting, recreational, and social activities for adults and children. The resorts are staffed with well-trained hospitality professionals, with many resorts offering concierge services for assistance with visiting area attractions.

Purchasing Choices

The choices for purchasing a timeshare are unlimited so when choosing a timeshare location you should choose one that fits all of your individual needs.

Alternatives

An alternative to timesharing is home swapping. This is where home swappers trade their homes, condominiums or apartments at a time that is convenient to both parties, but these are not the only types of accommodations that one gets to choose from. For example, one exchanger traded his home for a 40-foot yacht. Another couple swapped their villa in Italy for an RV in Oregon because they had always wanted to tour the USA in true nomadic style. Often, home exchangers will include their automobiles as part of the package.

Hospitality exchangers, on the other hand, host each other in their homes at designated times. Your home exchange partners stay with you as guests and then you go and stay with them as their guests. There is a social aspect to this kind of exchange that some exchangers particularly enjoy. Conceivably, you also get a built-in tour guide with this mode of exchange.

Whether your individual taste leads you to timeshare or home swapping you are sure to find something that will allow you to forge those timeless memories that will last a lifetime.

To find out more information about house swapping check out HomeExchange.com, they will answer all of your home exchange questions or you can call them at (310) 798-3864.