For every timeshare owner who loves their property (and hands out "Free points" to family and friends like candy), there is another who will tell you how they were burned by their timeshare experience. First, a little on how most timeshares work: you pay a lump sum up front - which varies according to the type of resort you are buying into and the length of time per year - and are responsible for annual maintenance fees.This allows you to stay and average of one to two weeks per year.
Pros and Cons of Timeshare Ownership
One thing we should note is that as the process has evolved with time, most timeshare companies now operate on a point system. So, rather than owning a particular share in a specific facility, you own "Points" which can be used at any facility in their network. Most companies have formed alliances with other timeshare networks, which allows you to use your points with another exchange network. This has made the process more appealing for many former timeshare critics.
Pro: Cheaper Vacations
When you stay at your timeshare, you have a kitchen to make meals and snacks in, your unit is fully furnished (much cheaper than furnishing your own vacation home) and includes free laundry as well. If you are a family, a resort-style atmosphere will cut down on the expenses of attending other outside attractions. You might get away with lounging poolside while the kids play all day "for free".
Con: Long-term Financial Commitment
On the flip side of cheaper vacations is an annual maintenance fee which stretches to eternity. Depending on the company you invest in, you will also have to pay miscellaneous fees/taxes when you switch locations, extend your stay, etc.
Pro: You can travel anywhere
With more than 5000 timeshare resorts, spanning 100 countries, you can have a home-away-from-home almost anywhere you would ever want to travel. Because timeshares are pretty consistent, you are guaranteed a certain level of accommodation and customer service.
Con: Good luck getting out.
They are hard to get out of. Once you are in, it is difficult to sell your share because there are so many other companies and offers out there. You could potentially be stuck with infinite annual maintenance fees and bye-bye original investment.
Pro: You're guaranteed an annual vacation
Timeshare investments can serve as the means of forced vacation time so you aren't tempted to just "skip this year". Vacations are good for the mind, the body, and the soul.
Overall, timeshare resorts are becoming more flexible in order to increase memberships, which makes them a wonderful option for those who love to travel.