The Truth About Time-Shares and Vacation Clubs
Both timeshares and vacation club memberships limit you in terms of the types of vacation you take—and when you take them. If you are considering a fixed-week timeshare, you need to be willing to commit to the Bahamas the first week of February every year, for example. While vacation club memberships offer more flexibility, you are still restricted by your number of points and are still committed to paying yearly maintenance fees. A normal vacationer might be able to save up over two or three years to afford a particularly luxurious vacation; as a vacation club member, you are tied to the same type of vacation year after year.
Because of the high upfront cost, timeshares and vacation club memberships make the most financial sense in the long term. An example: Let’s say you pay $200 a night for a week in a hotel. Over ten years, you would have shelled out $14,000 to take a one-week vacation each year. A timeshare at the same property might cost $8,000 upfront, with annual maintenance fees of $550. After ten years, you’d have paid $13,500—only $500 less than it would have cost you to pay for normal vacations. Over 30 years, however, the timeshare becomes a much better deal: At the end of that period, you’d have paid only $24,500 for your yearly vacations at a timeshare, as compared to $42,000 if staying at the hotel.