I have always said, never buy a timeshare in a resort that you wouldn’t want to visit every year. That’s because there is no guarantee you can trade it for something you want more. The ability to trade is one of the ways they try to sell you on the purchase. “Look at all of the other wonderful places you can trade into.”
Having said that, we have gotten some wonderful trades, some not so wonderful trades, and worse yet, no trade at all. If you want to go somewhere at a popular time, your ability to trade is even more limited.
All that said, I’d like to tell you about our success story in the timeshare world. We had been going to Lake Tahoe for Christmas/New Year’s week starting when our kids started school. If it were up to us, we would never plan to ski during the most crowded time of year, but we couldn’t always take the kids out of school. For a few years in a row, we had wound up in bad houses or condos that were super expensive. The last straw was renting a house that was full of dog hair and uncomfortable beds. So I announced, “we are never doing this again.” Panicked, Mike started looking for better alternatives for the holiday week. One day, he announced that he had bought a 1 bedroom timeshare in Tahoe sight unseen for $500 and we could use it at Christmas time.
Being a Supportive Partner
Being the supportive partner that I am, I said “ok, I’ll play along”. So, we packed up the car, added some inflatable mattresses for the kids and set out with no expectations what-so-ever. Well, the place turned out to be pretty nice, I was pleasantly surprised (far better than the dog house) with a short shuttle ride to the lift. But, as the kids got bigger, we decided we needed a 2 bedroom. So, again, Mike sold the 1 bedroom to a friend and bought a 2 bedroom in the building next door with all of the same amenities. The best part is that we are always able to reserve Christmas/New Year’s week because Mike reserves two years in advance. Now, every year when we all return, it is like coming home and we never have to pay outrageous holiday week rental rates. We have even planned for the future when our children have spouses and children of their own, we have purchased a second 2 bedroom unit in the same building so we can all be together over the holidays.
Another advantage of this particular place is that they offer owners discounted condo rates throughout the year, so our weekends in Tahoe are costing us less, too.