While there are a number of financial and organisational differences between a traditional package holiday and a timeshare, you’d think that once you were on the holiday, things would be pretty much the same. At the end of a day, a holiday is holiday, right?
Actually, this is far from the truth. There are a number of different costs, obligations and restrictions, all of which make a timeshare far from the perfect holiday.
The process of investing in a timeshare is initially a straightforward one, you pay an upfront fee in order to own part of the timeshare, then you pay annual maintenance fees for the upkeep of the building.
The idea behind this is that even though it’s initially expensive, the longer you keep the timeshare, the cheaper your holiday’s will become as the only thing you pay are the maintenance fees and the flight to get you there and back.
However, maintenance fees can surprise people, as they can be much more expensive than many expect them to be, especially when you only spend one or two weeks in the property each year.
According to USA News, the average maintenance fees are $600 or £463. However, this can rise depending on how well all of the other shareholders treat the property during their stay, or if it needs any renovations.
Some deals might also have some seemingly hidden fees like ‘occupancy tax or ‘resort tax’ which are essentially annual fees for owning a property within a particular resort.
All this means that your initial assumption that, “This timeshare will pay for itself” will take much longer to do so than you initially thought. You can read more about this in this ‘10 Financial Myths About Timeshares’ from One Cent at a Time.
Flights and Transfers
The handy thing about a package holiday is that all of the necessary travel arrangements are made for you. This means you can get from your local airport to your hotel without doing anything other than booking and carrying a passport and ticket, unless you fly with Ryan Air of course…
The tricky thing about owning a timeshare is that you have to sort all of this yourselves, booking individual flights and transfers from the airport to your property.
Depending how far your property is from the nearest airport, this might mean you need to hire a car or pay for an expensive taxi, all of which bumps up your initial spending substantially.
While it is true that over time, a timeshare holiday can become cheaper than a package holiday, the time in which you can actually visit your timeshare can be much more restrictive.
You’ve got to appreciate that there are lots of other people invested in the same property as you, and there’s a good chance the majority of you will want to visit it in the summer months.
This means that despite the money each of you pays, there may only be one week per year free in the calendar for each of you to visit. With the money you pay each year, you’d probably feel as if you should be inclined to slightly longer than this, however, it sim[ply might not be possible.
Depending on your particular resort or timeshare dealer, you may be asked to attend timeshare sales meetings during your holiday, something which will be part of your initial contract. We spoke to experts in the field, Timeshare Consumer Association for more information on this.
They told us, “Once the salespeople have already sold you a timeshare, they try to get a little more from you. This can come in the form of a seemingly good deal on holiday club points, a timeshare upgrade or an apparently reduced price on a second timeshare.”
“Regardless of whether you are interested or whether the deals are genuinely good value, you have to sacrifice an hour or two of the holiday you’ve spent you hard earned money on to listen to a sales pitch.”
Arguably the greatest thing about going on holiday is experiencing a new country or culture. The issue with a timeshare holiday is that you will be visiting the same location time and time again each summer.
There’s no doubt that this works for some but not all. So, if you enjoy experiencing something different each year, the chances are, a timeshare holiday probably isn’t for you.