Own (Part of) Paradise

Should You Do It?

If you're in the habit of pulling out next year's calendar to plan your vacation, you could be a perfect timeshare candidate. "Timeshares are awesome if you know how to use them," says Jason Tremblay, CEO of the SellMyTimeshareNow.com. But, he says, "you have to be willing to plan." To exchange timeshares, stay in a hot resort, or get the best week in a floating timeshare, you may have to call a year or more in advance.

But for young families, a timeshare can be a sanity-saver. "Eating out 21 meals in seven days with small children is no vacation," says ARDA president Howard Nusbaum. With a timeshare that has a kitchen, parents can stop worrying about restaurant spills, tantrums, snooty looks from other diners, and the high cost of family dining.

A timeshare vacation can also be a great choice for singles—forget about costly single supplements—and people who like to travel with friends and family. Most timeshares have multiple rooms, so instead of taking several rooms at the same hotel, everyone can stay in one place, and come and go as they please, much like renting a condo at Winter Park Ski Resort or a beach house on the Outer Banks.

Either way, it's crucial to determine if the timeshare fits your budget before you buy. "The timeshare, financially, should never decrease the quality of your life," says Schreier, author of Timeshare Vacations for Dummies. Along with the purchase price, timeshares come with yearly maintenance fees that go toward property upkeep; in 2004, the average U.S. maintenance fee for a two-bedroom timeshare was $505. Special assessment fees can also pop up for one-time and emergency repairs.

Getting to that timeshare should also fit in to your planning. If you take a holiday to Tahiti and fall in love with a timeshare, on top of the timeshare purchase and maintenance fees, you'll be shelling out for international airfare each year.

Published: 1 Mar 2006 | Last Updated: 8 Nov 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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