Travel the world

What My Friends and Family Think of Timeshares

In the next article, I’m going to talk about Carrie’s and my experiences at the El Cid Vacation Club, in Cancun, Mexico, where my parents have a timeshare.

But for now, I’d like to share some of my family’s experiences with other timeshares (not the El Cid) that they have purchased.

Before I go into this, I should say that most of my family’s experiences have been negative, but there are some bright sides too.

One of my aunts had the following to say (she has not been pleased with the time share she purchased):

Why are timeshares good?

If you have time to travel and are creative in using computers, they’re good. The problem is — many time-shares are owned by us older guys and computer use is difficult. There’s always a problem! It’s best if you like going to the same place on the same week every year. You see your maintenance fee working (hopefully). Every once in a while you get into a good room. . . but you could have paid for that room with the maintenance fees you paid throughout the year and had more choices of dates.

Why are timeshares bad?

You have to pay your yearly maintenance fees — which are steep! And they keep going up. And you can’t sell your time share — maybe you can get $500 on your investment of thousands. And availability is horrible if you’re trying to trade. And you don’t really get to see lots of other places because of the availability issue. And there are fees once you get to your timeshare: nightly maintenance fees, check-in fees, resort fees, parking fees to name a few. You have to stay the whole week. We often waste a couple days.

Who should definitely not buy a time share?

The young – the old.

What are the most interesting things you’ve learned about the way a time share works?

You have to make decisions quickly or the property is no longer available.

Neither the “point system” or the “week system” works.

So that was what my aunt thought.

One of my uncles said the following:

Why are timeshares good?

You get to have a nice place available in some great locations and you don’t need to eat out all the time

Why are timeshares bad?

They’re a “money pit” with tons of “un-mentioned” fees per year (ie. huge maintenance fees, membership dues, reservation fees, etc. In addition to the purchase price, we pay between $1000 to $1100 a year to use our “free week for life”). Also, we very seldom get what we actually want–they’re always booked up.

Who should definitely buy a time share

Anybody who has tons of discretionary income and doesn’t mind jumping through umpteen hoops (you need a high tolerance for frustration to deal with our time share company–RCI). Anyone who doesn’t have a clear grasp of elementary school math.

Who should definitely not buy a time share?

Opposites of #3. If you want to be treated fairly and get good value for your money.

What are the most interesting things you’ve learned about the way a time share works?

We were idiots for signing up!! You can find just as good as places on the regular internet without all the extra fees.

Plus they almost never allow pets!!

The whole process reminds me of the :”Wizard of OZ”–“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain”!


One of my brothers said that his answers are all related to time shares that are based on points systems…”since that is my experience…not the “2 weeks at location x every year” variety.”

Why are timeshares good?

Prepaid time shares usually have bigger units with kitchens. This can be especially nice if you want to save money by making your own food.

Why are timeshares bad?

Scheduling time shares can be difficult. Homeowners fees are often just as much per year as what you would otherwise spend on a hotel room. So if you had just put your homeowners fees in a bank account, you’d have more flexibility and no upfront cost. Our fees are about $50/month ($600/year ~ 3-4 nights of a nice hotel room somewhere). If we didn’t do the timeshare, we’d have that money plus the initial money we put in [which was quite expensive].

Who should definitely buy a time share?

People who go places with a family and want to spend time in their hotel room (as opposed to sightseeing). [A timeshare could be great] for a ski weekend maybe…not so great if you are going somewhere that you are probably only going to use the room [as a place] to sleep.

Who should definitely not buy a time share?

People who don’t care much about the size of their accommodations and want more flexibility.

What are the most interesting things you’ve learned about the way a time share works?

The expense of the homeowners fees […] was definitely an expensive learning lesson for us. If you’re buying a timeshare, don’t buy it in Vegas, unless you want to go to Vegas every year. Buy your timeshare for a place (and in a place) you know you could/would go every year. We bought ours because they had “all these places we could go,” but it turns out [that] we didn’t much want to go those places either, or it’s difficult to do so. I think [our parents’ time share] is a better deal for them because they would actually go to Mexico every year. [They] like the resort they bought it at, plus they have other optional resorts to try to mix it up a bit.

We’ve looked into options for getting out of our time share. We can probably sell our points for 1/5 of what we originally bought them for. This makes [our time share] a good learning lesson. We’ll be selling our time share in the next few months.

Providing a dissenting voice, but a similar opinion, my mom had this to say about my parents’ time share experience.

Our time share is a little different than most. It is a time share in that our points will convert to RCI and Wyndam points, but it’s more like an ownership. We own a part of El Cid and can rent our points back out to others to use.

The biggest advantage to owning a time share is that it makes you take advantage of vacation time. You know exactly what you’re going to get when you get there, otherwise why would you have invested?

The biggest disadvantage is that it is pretty expensive when you compare it with the latest on-line deals.

We’ve found it difficult to figure out the best way to make our time share work except just to flat-out go back to the same place.

We’ve come to like that because it feels like a home away from home!

The general consensus seems to be that if you know you like a specific place, and you like going to the same place over and over, a timeshare for that location can be a great thing.

Otherwise, it’s likely hard to justify the expense, especially with so many amazing deals to be had online.

Lots of people seem to end up with time shares that they don’t really like or enjoy, simply because their points don’t allow them to do what they thought they would allow.

In the wake of this, there are lots of web sites and options which have sprung up which have made it possible to rent or buy other peoples’ time shares.

While this may not be to the financial gain of the time share owner, it can work to everyone’s benefit if a time share owner wants out of their homeowners fees.

In the next post, I’m going to be talking about the El Cid near Cancun, where my parents have their time share.

Go on to Part 3: the El Cid Vacation Club: Returning to El Cid, Cancun, detailing my experience in staying for a week at the Riviera Maya El Cid Vacation Club, through the help of my parents’ time share points.

Part 1: Are Time Shares A Good Way To Travel?
Part 2: What My Friends and Family Think of Timeshares
Part 3: El Cid Vacation Club: Returning to El Cid, Cancun

2 thoughts on “What My Friends and Family Think of Timeshares

  1. Lisa

    Good article! We need to explore the trading options more, but just love knowing we have a couple of weeks a year to be right by the ocean and to reunite with the familiar faces that take care of our place while we’re gone!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *