For the amateur traveler, the idea of having a timeshare is exciting and new. You are promised great prices for accommodation at top rated resorts every time you go on vacation, as well as a gift for just listening to the pitch. If you are smart, you would sit through the pitch, take your gift and head in the opposite direction. If you want to be fair and yet even smarter, walk away from anyone who offers you anything for free, there is usually a catch that you don’t want to be a part of.
I was a victim of this earlier this year when I went to the Bahamas on vacation for only 3 days and 2 nights. There I was, relaxing on the beach with my cousin on the first day, and approached by a man who was selling tonnes of services. He offered us a free breakfast and dinner, all we had to do was show up at a resort. We spent close to three hours just sitting and talking to someone before we got our breakfast, only to realize they were trying to sell us a timeshare package. Imagine how annoyed we were to waste half the day and our time was already limited. They didn’t even want us to leave, we had to fight our way to get out of there. If someone offers you something like this, be aware, it may be someone who is pitching timeshares and you don’t want to waste your vacation listening to what they have to offer, no matter how good the free gift may seem.
Timeshares are pitched as a dream vacation and a once in a lifetime opportunity that you don’t want to miss. While the majority of offers are legitimate and you do have genuine deals, in the long run, you would realize that owning a timeshare is not worth it and by the time you get back home from your vacation, it would be too late to stop the transaction. A timeshare allows you to use property for a certain part of the year, and the length depends on how much shares you own. So, for instance, if you own 2 shares out of 52, then you can stay at the property for 2 weeks in the year (a year has 52 sometimes 53 weeks). Whoever is selling you the timeshare may inform you of the cost to purchase the share but they may fail to tell you about all the other fees and charges or they may have a clause in the contract where fees are subject to change.
Usually, with timeshares, you are charged a yearly maintenance fee, property tax, utilities and other fees. Sometimes you may think it is affordable because you pay an initial deposit and maybe a small monthly fee. However, did you consider the hidden costs such as airfare travel to get to the resort every year? It also limits where you spend your vacation and you may have to book your slot months in advance. What if you decide to cancel your vacation or visit a different country? You would still be stuck paying for your share year after year. Trust me, you would rather use that money on an exotic vacation somewhere else. If you do sit through one of these pitches, never give them your credit card information.