Help Me Hack a Timeshare
May 27, 2014 7:21 PM Subscribe
My family owns a timeshare (yeah, I know) through Interval International
. We haven't booked any travel through the timeshare in at least 8 years. I've been put in charge of figuring out how to use it, and I have no idea where to start.
My parents bought a timeshare in my hometown in Southern California back in the 90's, mostly because it granted us rights to use the pool, spa, hiking trails, and tennis courts whenever we wanted. It probably wasn't a great investment, but at this point it's completely paid off and the fees are fairly nominal (~$400/year). My mom would like to start using it again, and has asked me to figure out how it works. Due to the economy my parents have put off retirement, so I think being able to take an annual vacation would be a big boost to their morale.
In the past, we've successfully booked getaways to a beachfront resort in Galveston and to a houseboat in Lake Havasu. Ideally, we'd be able to use it for vacations not too far away from the San Francisco Bay Area, where my family is currently based. I'm thinking places like Tahoe or other ski resorts, as well as locations where we could do outdoorsy type things such as hiking, bird watching, sailing, and swimming. Of course, I'd love to be able to take a great vacation to the French Riviera, but realistically I'm assuming this will be best for domestic travel (and possibly Mexico/Central America/the Caribbean/Canada).
I'm mostly looking for help with understanding how this whole timeshare thing works. At this point, I only know that we own a place for a week at a time, we can trade that week, and the timeshare provides benefits such as "getaways" (what does that mean?) and potential discounts (seemingly to limited locations at limited times). Informational resources would be appreciated. I'd also appreciate personal anecdotes. I'm aware that many people have not been happy with their timeshares, and I wouldn't mind hearing about any type of experience, be it positive, negative, or neutral.
Assume that we've got open minds, flexible schedules, and that money is only somewhat of an object. Also assume that we're not interested in selling the timeshare at this point in time.