Are there benefits to buying a timeshare in this day and age?
(BPT) - Once upon a time, if you said you owned a timeshare, you might get a side eye from a well-meaning friend who was concerned you caved to a hard sell for a vacation option. But times have changed, and a quiet revolution in the industry now shows that timeshares can be a savvy vacation strategy.
According to Consumer Reports, timeshare is an increasingly attractive travel option that has evolved since its start in the 1970s.
But do people buy timeshares anymore? According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the short answer is yes. Approximately 7.1% of U.S. households, or 9.6 million families, own one or more types of vacation ownership products.
If current trends continue, young families could soon lead the way in the world of vacation ownership. In fact, despite stereotypical images of timeshare owners as empty nesters headed to the same destination to stay in the same unit every year, owners are trending younger. The average age is 44, thanks in large part to the evolving flexibility of timeshares and growing lists of destinations to visit.
For Kassi and Keith Parker, who bought a timeshare in their late 20s, the decision was a no-brainer.
“When we first sat down with the sales rep, we felt a bit guilty for wasting his time,” explained Kassi, who, along with her husband, invested in vacation ownership with Hilton Grand Vacations. “But not long into our conversation, it dawned on us that we could spend less on travel and continue to explore the world with all of HGV’s properties and experiences. And still being south of 30, we saw so many amazing trips in our future at such a better price.”
Hilton Grand Vacations is one of a handful of timeshare companies affiliated with well-known, reputable hotel brands.
“We’re Hilton Honors members and when I travel for work, I always want to stay with Hilton, because I appreciate the consistency of the brand. Nevertheless, we went into the sales presentation as complete skeptics,” explained Kassi. “Having the Hilton name behind the company gave me real peace of mind. I might not have taken the leap otherwise. We know exactly what we get with their hotels and knew it would be the same with the vacation properties.”
Kassi isn’t alone. According to the State of Shared Vacation Ownership Industry study from ARDA, a timeshare company’s credibility is just one consideration consumers have when deciding to buy a timeshare.
Other reasons listed include:
“We found that we traveled too much to not invest in vacation ownership. We know we’re going to travel for the rest of our lives, and the fact that we can travel on a budget is one of the top reasons why we love vacation ownership,” explained Kassi. “It makes us actively think about travel and ensures we take time off to travel. Even if our year is crazy busy, we’re still going to take advantage of our vacation — even if we need to do a staycation at our home resort in Orlando. We know that we will be owners for life and the flexibility of Hilton Grand Vacations was a big decider for us.”
According to the ARDA study, timeshare owners travel better and more often:
“We know we are younger than the traditional timeshare owner, but this doesn’t feel like a traditional timeshare — or at least the stereotype of what people think timeshare is,” said Kassi. “When we think about the value we get back from our investment, we think about it in terms of the time we spend together, the memories we make, and the investment we make to each other and our relationship. It’s our vacation plan.”
Family vacations are a great way to bond and take a step back from the hectic schedules that accompany everyday life, but sometimes time or money (or both) make planning an elaborate trip a non-starter. However, a staycation — a vacation you take right in your hometown (or nearby) — can be much less expensive and fit into nearly any amount of available time with the added bonus of skipping out on potentially stressful travel. Read the full Medium article here on how to make a staycation a great choice for you!
If your fondest dreams are more about the journey than the destination, a trip on a legendary four-masted windjammer in the Caribbean may be just the adventure you're looking for. This article provides info on how to make your sailing dreams come true!
(BPT) - If your fondest dreams are more about the journey than the destination, a trip on a legendary four-masted windjammer in the Caribbean may be just the adventure you're looking for.
Finding an authentic sailing ship for your nautical adventure is not out of reach. Sea Cloud Cruises sail the traditional way — by hand. The yacht is designed for up to 64 passengers, with a crew of about 60. You can watch the ship’s sailing crew climb the rigging and work the sails as you journey to smaller ports and destinations — and you can even volunteer to help work the ropes, if you like.
A 360-foot windjammer with 29 sails and a main mast towering to 184 feet, the tall ship was built in 1931 as a private yacht for heiress and founder of General Foods Marjorie Merriweather Post and husband Edward F. Hutton. Shipboard guests included the rich and famous, such as author James Michener. The ship was restored in 2011 by a group of German businessmen seeking to retain its opulence and beauty.
Every journey provides an “Open House” cocktail hour where guests can view all the staterooms, including the luxurious cabins created for the heiress and her husband. Other cabins have more modern furnishings, most with picture windows, and some with doors opening to Caribbean breezes on the Promenade Deck. Travelers enjoy personal service, with many crew members staying with the line for over 10 years, and some even more than 30 years.
While the settings may be luxurious, the on-board experience is informal, with no assigned seating at meals, a casual dress code and an intimate atmosphere. American and European guests mingle and relax while enjoying Michelin-star quality meals out on the deck or inside the dining room, featuring fresh seafood and produce obtained during the voyage at Caribbean ports like St. Barts, the British Virgin Islands or Bequia Island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Caribbean has been the ship’s destination since the beginning, so the long-lasting contacts between the company and local suppliers provide the best quality products for unforgettable meals. The smaller size of the ship allows her to visit lesser-known ports of call, far from typical tourist destinations. Often small Zodiac boats are used to let passengers visit quiet island beaches or indulge in a little snorkeling. The Caribbean offers ideal sailing due to the east-to-west prevailing trade winds, making it the perfect destination for the yachts.
On most of the 7- to 14-day Caribbean itineraries, half the day is spent sailing, allowing guests to enjoy the beauty of the sailing ship and revel in the journey. For those who love to sail, it’s a dream come true. Passengers can visit the ship’s deck any time, stopping at the bridge to speak to the captain or the officer on duty, 24/7. The engines only run when needed, using low-sulfur diesel, so the trip is an example of sustainable tourism. Travelers seeking a longer voyage can travel the crossing from Europe to the Caribbean, a two-and-a-half-week trip.
The ship spends summers sailing the Mediterranean, but winters are prime for some of the best sailing in the world — following in the wake of buccaneers throughout the islands of Lesser Antilles and other unique Caribbean destinations.
A second ship, Sea Cloud II, is more modern but still sailed the traditional way, by hand, with 23 sails and a 188-foot main mast. This ship carries up to 94 guests, with a crew of about 65. The company will christen a third ship in summer 2020.
Learn more, find stunning videos or take a virtual onboard visit, at SeaCloud.com.
(Family Features) Recreation vehicles, or RVs, are increasingly popular. Sleek new models and high-tech innovations are attracting younger and more diverse people to the RV lifestyle.
Whether it’s a permanent way of life or a practical way to satisfy your wanderlust, you may be surprised by how easily an RV provides the perfect solution for your lifestyle. It’s something automotive expert and TV host Rutledge Wood has enjoyed for years.
“So much of my life has been on the road that it was natural for me to fall in love with the RV lifestyle,” Wood said. “Whether it’s covering NASCAR or traveling with my family, I can’t think of a better way to enjoy life on the road than in an RV.”
Consider these tips from Wood if you’re thinking about giving an RV lifestyle a try:
Start with a rental. Owning an RV offers an affordable alternative to traditional vacations, and renting can let you try before you buy. Renting an RV allows you to do a practical, hands-on test drive to learn more about the features and characteristics you need. You might find you need more or less space than you originally imagined, or you may discover a motorhome suits your family better than the towable styles. Renting lets you experiment so you can be confident you’re getting the RV that’s right for you when you decide to buy.
Check out the latest innovations and models. At the first-ever RVX: The RV Experience show, RV manufacturers unveiled an array of new models, concept vehicles and prototypes that will transform the future of RVing. Cutting-edge features and technologies, including advances in safety and livability, may appeal to all types of RV users from families to tailgaters to luxury travelers. Learn more about new RV models and innovations at RVX.org.
Make your RV a home away from home. If you keep your RV stocked with basic supplies, nonperishable foods, linens and clothes, you’ll be ready to go nearly anytime, anywhere. From items like toiletries to accessories for your favorite activities, an RV lets you keep the essentials on board at all times so when the open road calls, you’re ready to answer.
Talk with other owners. Visit a local RV campground and you’ll most likely find a friendly community willing to share information and advice. Ask what you should know about owning an RV and seek out answers to questions you may have about features, care and ownership. Find out what lessons owners learned the hard way and what pleasant surprises they’ve discovered. You can also find RV owner forums and groups online to learn more about RV ownership, such as the Go RVing Facebook page.
Create a bucket list. The RV lifestyle offers nearly unparalleled freedom and flexibility. The options for places you can go, and the things you can see and do, are virtually endless. Start a list of all the destinations you’d like to conquer and experiences you’d like to collect then start mapping out how to make each journey a reality.
Learn more about how to begin your RV adventure at GoRVing.com.
Photo caption (man): Rutledge WoodSOURCE:
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