Timeshare travels and travails

Timeshare travels and travails

It’s vacation time but expenses are daunting. A Dyuti comes up with tips on timeshare holidays that help do away with hiring a place and other hassles.

The mini-vacation season is fast approaching! Planning a jolly trip during the holidays? Or groaning at the hassles and expenses of booking hotels or resorts? Seek to do away with the repeated inconvenience? Considered buying timeshare? Intrigued? Let’s clear the haze.

To begin with, what’s timeshare? Put in simple terms, it means you, as a regular traveller, can buy vacation property – say, a suite in a hotel or resort or a condominium owned by a timeshare company to occupy for a set period each year. Whether it’s for a fixed number of years or on a permanent basis depends on the terms of the agreement you’ve entered into. The former is ‘right-to-use’ that’s similar to a lease agreement while the latter is a ‘deeded purchase’ allowing perpetual ownership over the timeshare property, whereby you can let out, bequeath or even sell the property. Either way, it’s a legal agreement.

But why timeshare? It’s for folks who can’t bear the headache of planning their holidays each season. It’s bound to get boring; you’re yawning trying to figure out where to go and where to stay. Sure, it will! That’s precisely why some timeshare companies who have hotels or resorts at multiple locations offer the option of exchanging the one you’ve booked for another at a different location.

There are several advantages of buying timeshare. First, vacation timeshare accommodation is usually superior in quality than traditional hotel rooms. Say, a more spacious accommodation (ranging from studio units to three or more bedroom suites) and more luxurious features (multiple rooms including a living area with entertainment and relaxation amenities and fully-equipped kitchen or kitchenette) Plus, today, timeshare resorts offer a package of conveniences, comforts and facilities to such travellers like adventure sports, golf courses, equestrian centres, water complexes, fitness facilities, spas and five-star restaurants. This translates into expelling multiple research efforts, bargaining and booking.

For the cost-conscious traveller, the low-cost of a timeshare compared to a vacation home proves to be a major attraction. In the long-term, timeshares also turn out to be more cost-effective than staying at different expensive hotels every year. Insulation from inflation (since the accommodation is prepaid for) is another advantage. Of course, you’ll have to shell out maintenance fees, but, since it’ll be divided amongst the many owners, it won’t be that burdensome. Moreover, you’re freed from taking personal responsibility of maintaining your property! And then, relatively certain advance knowledge of vacation costs to be borne makes budgeting that much easier.

There’s also the hidden benefit of having to desert the workplace and de-stress, something you wouldn’t probably be motivated to do if the element of compulsion didn’t exist! Anyway, you can ask your kin or friends to spend their time there when you can’t make the time for your vacation! Incidentally, did you know that the option of gifting the timeshare to parents, relatives and friends is getting increasingly popular? And, if you had thought that the timeshare concept is resorted to by only the frugal middle-class, bid goodbye to such notions. Today, more and more CEOs of MNCs, large local corporate and business entrepreneurs go for such holidays.

So, what’s the catch? One, it’s not wonderful real estate investment. Unlike as in the case of houses or plots, its value doesn’t appreciate over time. Two, it’s expensive when directly purchased from a developer rather than from a current timeshare owner as a resale. Timeshares are also mostly overpriced. So, beware! You might be taken for a ride! Three, resale is difficult and you tend to lose out on your original investment in an attempt to find a buyer instantly. Four, poor scheduling may result in clash of occupancy dates with other owners of your timeshare.

Now that you’ve considered the pros and cons, what factors should you consider when buying a timeshare? First, deliberate over whether it’s suitable for you. If it is, then which type? Determine the size and features that are in tandem with your taste and budget. Traditional timeshare ownership is buying a particular timeshare unit for a specific period of the year while fractional ownership implies purchase for a larger increment of time.
Points-based ownership, that’s also called vacation club membership, involves allotment of a particular number of points to owners per year which can then be exchanged for accommodations at a variety of in-network resorts. Remember, circumstances can change. Illness or personal problems rendering travel impossible will leave you with a vacation property you can’t use. So, think twice before you leap.

Choosing a resort with multiple units in different locations and offering the exchange option is a good idea as boredom is bound to set in sooner or later. The next decision is the agreement type – deeded purchase or ‘right-to-use’. Pick the time you would love for travel. Settle for the best price possible. Paying upfront helps avert interest payment. Are you okay with the maintenance fee charged? Are there any other concealed costs? Investigate thoroughly.

When you’re carrying out the formalities, check the legalities in detail, preferably with the aid of a qualified professional. Read the fine print carefully. Are you granted the ‘right of rescission’ or the option to cancel the timeshare purchase? If yes, what’s the time limit offered for the same? How to gain timeshare availability information? Browse online. Scan newspaper classified ads. Enquire at the tourist bureau. Or, seek the help of an agent.