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What is a Timeshare?

Updated on September 23, 2009

A timeshare is a vacation arrangement in which people purchase time at furnished vacation accommodations (usually a week or month) for a much lower cost than purchasing their own vacation home. The difference between a timeshare and traditional vacation rentals is that timeshare owners can do what they want with their vacation property, including renting it out when they are not using it.

Timeshares come in a variety of forms. Resort condominiums are particularly popular, and may be anything from a studio with partial kitchen to a five-bedroom vacation home with kitchen and a wide variety of amenities. Lock-off accommodations can be separated into smaller units through locking internal doors. Hotel rooms, houseboats, and motor homes are other time share options.

Benefits of a timeshare

Timeshares are generally more luxurious than many conventional hotel/motel rooms, and can be more “home-like” to the timeshare owner. They are usually fully furnished, including a full kitchen. Timeshare owners usually have the same time reserved annually at their vacation accommodations, making this a dependable annual vacation option.

Timeshares may usually be purchased by a one-time cost for a pre-set number of years. In this way, you purchase your vacations forever! Also, by “pre-purchasing” your vacations in this way, you pay today’s cost only, saving money in the long run. Also, all owners of a timeshare pay maintenance costs to a management company who oversees property upkeep, which frees owners from the worry and inconveniences associated with owning a vacation home.

Things to consider when buying a timeshare

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether a time share is a good option for you. First, consider that even though timeshares are lower hassle and maintenance than owning a vacation home, there are still costs such as mortgage payments, property taxes, and travel costs that you will pay as a timeshare owner. Will these costs fit in your vacation budget for the number of years you are purchasing the time share for?

Secondly, consider the location of potential timeshares. It is a destination you will want to return to each year? Talk to other timeshare owners in the area, as well as the current owners of the time share, local real estate agents, and the management company to get a comprehensive view of the area.

Thirdly, compare costs of timeshares in different locations, and compare the benefits and special features of different timeshares. Can you change your week or your month if you cannot make it one year? What will your relationship be with other owners?

Consider all these factors to find the timeshare that is right for you.

Image Credit: bryce_Edwards, Flickr


Submit a Comment

  • DynamicS profile image

    Sandria Green-Stewart 

    9 years ago from Toronto, Canada

    Lela, this is a well written hub and the timeshare cooperations will be very happy with you. Several time when my husband and I were on vacation in the Caribbean or Florida, we were approached about time shares. I'm glad that I didn't purchase because several friends are trying to get rid of their's. They will be selling at a lost.

    I think time shares are too restrictive; who wants to go to the same place every year? Some of the time shares offer points that you can use to purchase reduce air fare & vacation accommodations all over the world. I prefer that idea. One however has to do their homework and research reputable companies.

    Personally, I believe t/s are absolete:)


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