Traveler's Confession - I Own A Timeshare

Recently, I bared a little of my soul by sharing with the world a love affair with the Hard Rock Cafe. To my surprise, the admission didn't earn me a lifetime banishment from the travel blogger community, but instead words of support from fellow lovers of Hard Rock. It felt good to unburden myself of the secret, so I've decided to clean a few more skeletons out of the closet in what I'm calling Traveler's Confession. Here goes...

Hi. I'm Deej. I'm a travel blogger. And I own a timeshare.

Chances are that timeshares are one of the only things travel bloggers despise more than the Hard Rock Cafe. It's easy to understand why. Timeshares promote travel to the same destination year after year - sometimes the same week each year - a concept that flies in the face of a profession that measures success in passport stamps. Although timeshares are definitely not for everyone, our purchase of a microscopic portion of Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort has turned out to be one of the smartest decisions we've ever made.

Disney Vacation Club Mickey Topiary
What can I say? The salesman promised I'd keep my hair if we purchased...

Why Our Timeshare Works For Us

As much as I would love to be a location independent blogger criss-crossing the globe by virtue of my laptop, the fact is, MJ and I lead a pretty grounded life. We have 9-5 jobs, a mortgage, two pets, and yes, a timeshare. And while we are constantly on the go - which keeps this little website up and running - we not only get full use out of our timeshare, but could easily add on to our investment.

The first reason our timeshare works for us is we are basically local to the destination. In case you can't tell by the countless posts I've done here, MJ and I are a couple of Disney nerds. Thankfully, the House of Mouse is just over an hour away, which made it the perfect location for us to purchase a timeshare resale. By committing to a timeshare nearby, we eliminated the other costs that might stand in the way of actually using the property such as flights and a rental car.
Disney Beach Club Resort
One of our favorite DVC resorts - Beach Club Villas

Another reason our timeshare was a good investment is the flexibility that came along with it. Yes, I just used the words "timeshare" and "flexible" in the same sentence. This is possible because instead of selling blocks of time - usually a week - the Disney Vacation Club is a points based system. We receive a set number of points annually, and each night of the year is assigned a point "cost." The points can be used at any time during the year, and for stays as short as just one night. Plus we can choose from any of the ten Disney Vacation Club properties, not just our "home" resort. Since MJ and I are also local, this flexibility allows us to pop down to Disney on short notice for a weekend getaway, as opposed to being locked in to the same week each and every year.

Easily the biggest reason we enjoy our timeshare is the simple fact that we also love the destination. There's an old saying about timeshares that says "own where you want to visit." If you can't see yourself visiting Snowshoe, West Virgina year in and year out, then it's probably not a good idea to buy a timeshare there. Of course, timeshare companies know this, so they offer awesome sounding exchange programs that supposedly allow you to use your vacation at hundreds of properties across the globe. Sounds great in principle, but in practice it's total hogwash. MJ and I own where we want to visit, and as a result, have never once regretted our purchase.
Disney Saratoga Springs
I figure we own 1/10th of one of those tiles.

How A Timeshare Can Work For You

The world has no shortage of smooth talking salesmen that wax lyrical on the money saving merits of owning a timeshare. Their number pales in comparison, however, to the population of timeshare owners that are served a helping of buyer's remorse with with the arrival of each year's bill for annual dues. Why not let their loss be your gain?

Before booking your next trip, give some consideration to a timeshare rental as a way to save some righteous bucks.  The properties themselves often have many of the same amenities as hotels, but because you're renting your accommodations from a desperate timeshare owner they can come at a fraction of the price. For example, Disney Vacation Club points can usually be rented for around $10-$12 a pop, with a week at the Boardwalk Resort costing about 120 points. Compare that to the nightly cash rate of around $400 and it's easy to count the benefits of renting a timeshare as they fall into your back pocket.

Disney Boardwalk Clown Pool
You'd really feel like a clown if you paid full price to stay at the Boardwalk

So there you have it. Not only am I a fan of the Hard Rock Cafe, but in a further blow to my traveler credibility I'm also a proud owner of a timeshare. Although they are not for everyone, under the right set of circumstances there are plenty of advantages to a timeshare, even for us jaded travel bloggers. The key is to make sure that a timeshare is just one portion of your overall "travel portfolio." If investing in a timeshare means that your only travel will be to the same destination year after year, then you should run - not walk - as fast and as far away possible from the smooth talking salesman.

Enjoy Your Stay

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