Admit it—at some point, you wanted to be that girl who’s always chilling at the most luxurious vacation spots in the country and who posts enviable Instagram photos of your stay at high-end beach resorts and clubs. Good news is, you don’t have to be a multi-millionaire or a tycoon’s daughter to gain access to these exclusive places. A little known thing called timesharing can help you with that. But getting a timeshare isn’t just something that you purchase on a whim. Here’s what you need to know before getting one.

Benefits of Timeshares

Timesharing can be very appealing to frequent bakasyonistas because they can always look forward to their next holiday with zero worries about where to go or which hotel to book. This service provides owners a certain security that there will always be a place for them to chill and enjoy a nice vacation. And this benefit often spans a number of years. Depending on the arrangement during purchase, timeshare owners either get a fixed week at the property (e.g. they can visit every first week of February only) or a floating week, which they can avail at any time of the year or at specific times of the year only (e.g. they can visit for a week between March to June only).

The "free week" to use the timeshare property is recurring on a yearly basis, depending on the number of years purchased. The stay duration can also vary depending on what is offered (i.e. it could be longer than a week for some properties).

Another great benefit of timeshares is that if your timeshare company owns several resorts or vacation clubs around the country, you can arrange to stay at a different destination every year. And if the timeshare company has international partners, you can also use your membership to score deals and discounted stays at affiliated hotels and resorts when you travel abroad.

How Much Do They Cost?

When you crunch the numbers, timeshares are by no means cheap. Memberships usually range from P200,000 and up depending on the property, plus a yearly maintenance fee amounting to around P6,000 or more. Some timeshares offer payment schemes wherein you make a down payment (usually a percentage of the membership fee) and pay the balance in monthly instalments. Take note that these fees usually cover just the accommodations part of the timeshare. If you want to avail of the other amenities or activities being offered by the vacation club or resort hotel where you have a timeshare (like golf, jet skiing, or scuba diving), you’ll have to shell out extra cash.

Timeshares are a hefty investment even for those with above-average incomes. If you’re thinking of purchasing one, it’s important to consult your budget first and see if you can really afford all the payments. Also, be realistic about how often you’d spend your vacation in your timeshare property. If you’re totally in love with a holiday destination and you see yourself going there year after year, then a timeshare might be a good idea. But if you’re not maximizing the free stays and other benefits that come with your purchase, then you’re just wasting a huge chunk of money.

If you’re decided on getting a timeshare, here are some things to consider so that you can make the best purchase:

Research, research, research.
Not all timeshares are created equal so before you take the plunge, make sure that you do your homework. Look at all the available options in the market. Ask around if your relatives, friends or colleagues know someone who owns a timeshare or if they’re owners themselves–they can share with you first-hand experiences and give you some useful tips. Canvas for rates and draw up a table of pros and cons of the properties you’re interested in. Keep in mind that there are scams out there, so always take measures to ensure that you’re dealing with a legitimate company.

Consider renting a timeshare instead.

If buying a timeshare is out of your budget, you may want to try renting instead. Inquire with your chosen timeshare property if they have rental options and compare the prices. You could also ask a timeshare owner that you know personally if they would be willing to rent out their membership to you.

Be prepared to deal with hard-sell agents.

Timeshare agents tend to use high-pressure sales tactics to ensure that you’ll bite on their offer. Their walkthroughs could take three to four hours, and they often throw in a ton of freebies just to make you say yes. Don’t get caught up in their alluring sales talk; instead, focus on the facts. Ask questions if things aren’t clear to you and firmly stand your ground once you’ve made a decision.

Enjoy it to the fullest.
If you do decide to take the plunge, then use it to the max! Take advantage of the free stays and all the benefits that your timeshare purchase includes. You paid for it so you better make the most of it!

PHOTOS: Pixabay 1, 2, Ricky Brigante/Flickr Creative Commons

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