To me, timeshares have always meant black and white televisions.
When I was little, my parents went to lots of time share presentations.
Well, it probably was more like *a few* presentations, but what I remember is black and white televisions.
And I also remember one time share presentation distinctly.
It was somewhere in the mountains.
Brian (my older brother) and I played outside next to a river.
We were probably throwing rocks or something.
The air was crisp but not cold. It was late afternoon.
Looking down at the river, there was white plastic somewhat buried by the dirt.
In my young brain, the plastic in the river looked like a skeleton.
And I remember being both scared and fascinated by it.
I wondered if it was maybe a PIRATE skeleton… and maybe there was some kind of buried treasure there.
I know… I know… pirate skeleton… in the mountains… in the river…
But I was very young.
I don’t know if it was at this particular timeshare presentation, or at another one, but my parents came home with a 13″ black and white television.
Maybe this was also the timeshare presentation where they got the original PONG console.
The pong console let you play this.
It’s hard to believe that it took that whole console, to have the ability to play something that you can now download to your iPhone as a free app (but never would because you’d be bored to tears playing it).
But it was the early 80’s, and that was such a cool thing to have.
At another timeshare presentation, my parents got a *portable* black and white television.
It had a 7 inch screen, was about the size of a large computer printer, took D batteries (8 of them) to run, and also came with a cigarette lighter plug so you could watch TV while in the car.
I presume this television was thought of for camping, but it also entertained the kids (i.e. me and my brothers) in our little flat-nosed Toyota Minivan.
This was one of the early minivans, where you could smell the catalytic converter because the engine was actually INSIDE the vehicle.
(Who thought THAT was a good idea?)
But I’m digressing.
The point is, I’ve really only ever thought of time shares as places to get free stuff, not as a way to buy a property, or buy time at a property.
While in Las Vegas especially, but also in our travels, Carrie has persuaded me to avoid time share presentations.
Presumably she has done this because (when lured by the mystique of a black and white television or some other *equally awesome* freebie,) I’d be likely to say yes to the high pressure, hard-close environment often associated with a time share presentation.
I don’t know if I ever thought owning a time share would be for me, but for where I’m at now in life, being interested in traveling to lots of different places in the world and knowing how to use the Internet really well to do comparison shopping, I haven’t really understood the appeal of a time share (outside of the free black and white television) for me personally.
But lots of people in my family have bought time shares, and many people I know have considered buying them.
Are time shares a good way to travel, or save money on travel, or a good way to invest your money?
I wanted to know.
So I decided to ask people with some experience (i.e. not me), what they think about their time share purchases past and present.
I also, in the middle of writing this article, had the opportunity to spend a week at my parents’ time share at the El Cid resort in the Riviera Maya, near Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Mexico.
So this article became three parts.