No longer can we cram all our luggage, food, and kids into a single hotel room and enjoy the vacation. It's just too cramped. I figured out how to double my space on vacation (and add a jacuzzi) for less than the cost of a hotel room. I'll show you how I did it.
First, a few questions about your vacation: • Do you stay at the best hotel available or the one that is most affordable? • Do you wish the hotel room was larger? Maybe an extra room and Jacuzzi tub? • Does eating out get old when you have to do it for EVERY meal? Especially the cost? Do you sometimes just crave a bowl of your favorite cereal for a quick meal rather than going out?
Here's what we did: We own a timeshare in Hawaii. It's beautiful. It's everything you want in a vacation. Although we love it there, we don't want to go there every single year. So we exchanged our timeshare at that resort with someone that owns another timeshare at another timeshare resort. That's called an exchange. We found other owners (on the internet or through friends) at resorts that we wanted to vacation at.
Would you be willing to vacation in Aruba this year instead of going to your resort again? If so, we can exchange our weeks". If they say "ok", we exchange our timeshare with them for their week. The cost to trade is zero and we get to stay in a gorgeous resort in the destination we wanted to travel to.
We always did our research beforehand so we knew that their resort had everything we wanted: beautiful pool, large rooms, Jacuzzi tub, oceanfront view, kitchen etc. In all honesty, they do have hotel rooms like that but they are called THE PRESIDENTIAL SUITE at $2,000 per night or more. That's slightly out of our budget. Even an average hotel room is $150 per night. That's over $1,000 for the week with all the taxes. Our way is far less expensive and nicer.
Eating out every meal gets expensive not to mention tedious. So once we check-in to the resort we head out to the local market and buy groceries to stock our in-unit fridge (not the mini ones you get in a hotel; a real fridge). We figure we will eat breakfast in the unit most of the time since we prefer having a healthy breakfast in our kitchen over having to rush around in the morning to the fast food drive-thru. That allowed us to have more fun, more time, and save money.
We would choose a couple of the nights to prepare dinner in our kitchen with local fresh food. This was always fun. Somehow cooking in this new kitchen seemed like more fun than our own. We also whipped up a batch or two of frozen margaritas to enjoy while watching the sunset from our balconies overlooking the beach or mountains (when was the last time you did that at a hotel - no way). If you're in wine country, wine is a perfectly suitable substitute.
And sometimes during the week you or the kids will want a quick snack before or after dinner (keep the savages calm) and it's nice to just go to the kitchen rather than room service. Later you can sit the kids down to relax after a long day of sight-seeing or amusement park rides and pop in one of their favorite movies in the in-unit DVD player with some microwave (in-unit) popcorn. And then you can spend some time unwinding in the Jacuzzi tub with a bottle of wine. It's nice to have "space" some times.
One of the things I always appreciated was the knowledge we received from the timeshare owner about the area. It was always spot-on! Where to go; what to do; where to eat; where the discounts were; all great. And that always saved us money and lots of time on vacation. They certainly know the area, they're the experts. They own there.
I know many people use Exchange Clubs like RCI and Interval and pay hundreds of dollars to do an exchange which add to your vacation costs. We used this strategy for years and traveled to amazing places all over the world. Essentially, Timeshare Juice is just what I described but it's all automated for you. We made it so soooo easy to determine which resorts are the best; that's our community rating system. And we made it really simple to find owners and properties that you want to visit and to make offers. We also made it really easy to share information with each other. And we made it fun.
In closing, whether it was the whole family or just the 2 of us, timeshares have allowed us to have luxury vacations all over the world. It cost us less than staying in a hotel room and helped us save money many other ways. It also gave us some much needed space and nice amenities. And with the money you save (from not having exchange fees), you can buy a round of drinks at the pool for everyone.
No matter how you like to vacation; whether you like snow or sun, romance or Las Vegas, timeshare ownership and timeshare exchange offer great vacation options. May your most memorable vacations be this year!