These days, it never seems to be a bad time to go on vacation. There always seems to be a local event, sale, or promotion to usher you away on a tropical getaway and live in the moment.
But there are times our vacations are plagued by obstacles, like exorbitant resort fees and hotel markups. Then, there are the problems of getting through security, shuffling through long lines, and dealing with the hassle of travel itself.
So, what’s the alternative to a traditional trip? There’s always a timeshare to consider or a travel club that offers the convenience of being a member. Read on to learn the differences between timeshares and travel clubs.
How Timeshares and Clubs Work
Timeshares and travel clubs can offer similar benefits to consumers but differ in the way they operate. Timeshares are an ownership program that allows the buyer to purchase a portion of a property and use it for a certain amount of time each year.
Conversely, travel clubs, also known as vacation clubs, are memberships that allow consumers to share in travel-related discounts. When researching these programs, it is important to know what type of contract is being signed and understand the drawbacks associated with each.
Additionally, contracts are hard to get out of and cancellation fees may apply. It’s important to read the fine print and understand the consequences of signing a contract. You may also learn more here to get a grasp of how a timeshare works.
With a timeshare purchase, you’ll have to pay the development cost and a maintenance fee, which is usually paid annually or biannually. With a travel club, there are no upfront costs. Instead, you’ll pay a one-time membership fee and monthly dues that are about the same as what you’d pay for the maintenance fee for a timeshare.
This membership fee allows you to access the club’s large network of hotels, resorts, and vacation packages from across the globe, usually at discounted rates. As such, the primary difference between these cost structures lies in the long-term savings you can enjoy with a travel club due to its cheaper membership fee and discounted rates.
When you join a timeshare or travel club, you’ll be given a certain number of points that can be used toward certain bookings and accommodations. Points can usually be pooled to cover multi-night stays and even whole-season sailings.
With timeshares, you can use your points to purchase fractional ownership of a particular resort or property. Travel clubs are advantageous in that they offer more flexibility. While timeshares are great for those who are already set on a particular resort or destination.
Restricted Travel Dates
Timeshare owners typically offer a much more rigid timeline for when you can use your timeshare, and some annual contracts come with weeks of access each year. Travel clubs are generally much more flexible and allow you to choose when you can take advantage of your membership.
This can be especially beneficial if you’re looking to travel with different family or friends throughout the year. Travel clubs offer more freedom. They can also come with certain restrictions such as certain blackout dates where you may not be able to book a vacation.
Restricted Family Access
A timeshare vs travel club comparison can be important to consider when deciding on a vacation experience. With a timeshare, access to a resort or vacation home is restricted to the family who owns it. This means that family members are limited to the same or a similar unit each year.
On the other hand, travel clubs provide flexible and expansive access to resorts and amenities all over the world. This type of membership typically gives members access to a multitude of resorts at various price points. Clubs often provide exclusive access to amenities and discounts.
With a timeshare, restricted family access is a common issue but with a travel club, the family has access to many resorts and a variety of experiences. Global access offers an added dimension of exploration and adventure for the entire family.
Financing for timeshares vs travel clubs can be done through either a loan or credit card. Loans for timeshares can be taken through a bank, credit union, or lending company, often with lower interest rates than credit cards. Credit cards used to finance a timeshare usually carry a higher interest rate than a loan, but they can also offer reward points.
Travel clubs can often be financed by credit card or through a bank or independent lender if they offer a loan product. Travel clubs have more flexibility and no maintenance fees but usually have an annual fee. Knowing your financing options can help you make the right choices when it comes to timeshares vs travel clubs.
Timeshare fees are often steep and non-refundable, regardless of whether or not you use them. Travel clubs, on the other hand, often come with no upfront costs, allowing you to pay for trips as you go. The downside is that travel clubs may hit you with hidden fees when booking a trip, such as taxes and markups on plane tickets and hotel rooms.
Travel clubs may have annual membership fees which can add up over time. Every option has its pros and cons; when comparing timeshares and travel clubs, it is important to pay close attention to their transaction fees.
Understand How Timeshares vs. Travel Clubs Differs
Overall, timeshares and travel clubs each have their pros and cons that must be weighed carefully. While timeshares may appear to be a great upfront investment, the maintenance fees can be difficult to manage.
However, travel clubs offer ongoing flexibility with minimal commitment and fees. Consider doing your research to find the option that fits your budget and travel goals.
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