Friday, July 29, 2011

Tips on Renting a Timeshare: Webinar Recap (Part 1)

Lisa Ann Schreier is the Timeshare Crusader, and writes the Timeshare Crusader Column in the RedWeek Newsletter. A webinar on timeshare rentals, hosted by RedWeek and featuring Lisa Ann, was held last month. Lisa Ann’s purpose in presenting the webinar was “to take a little bit of the fear away from “newbies” about renting a timeshare.”

The webinar booked up quickly and if you were one of the people who did not get to attend the webinar live, we are posting Lisa Ann’s highlights in a 2-Part series.

Tips on Renting a Timeshare:
  1. Listings. You can find a lot of listings on RedWeek – and here’s a helpful hint – shop around. In most geographical locations you’re going to find a lot of listings, so see what’s out there, do some research, find information about the resort online, such as the resort’s own web site, Tripadvisor ratings, and be sure to read the reviews posted on RedWeek.

  2. Negotiate. Once you find what you’re looking for – don’t be afraid to negotiate the price with the owner. We typically don’t negotiate very often – not when we go to the grocery store, for example, so for some it can be a little scary. All the owner can say is no. Make a reasonable offer. Nothing bad will happen, and you might get a better deal. Especially if time is short, and the owner is well-motivated to rent.

  3. Verify. Once you settle on a price, verify the resort and unit details. You want to make sure you’re getting what you think you’re getting. For example, if you are under the impression that it’s an ocean front unit or has a pool view, be certain. Verify the number of bedrooms, etc. Verify with the owner, and with the resort itself.

  4. Sign a contract. The safest thing to do at this stage is to go through an escrow service. RedWeek makes First American Title, one of the most reputable escrow businesses in the country, available for your use. Timeshare rental escrow works this way: The owner or renter initiates the escrow. Both parties pay a $125 fee. The contract is sent out by the escrow company for both parties sign. At that time the renter pays either half or the full amount of the rent, and that money is held by the escrow service until after the renter’s vacation stay. The escrow company will get confirmation from resort that the reservation is in your name (however, you should still call the resort yourself and verify).

    After the vacation stay, if the renter files no complaints the money is released to the owner. This keeps scammers from renting out non-existent timeshares. (A red flag is if the “owner” asks for money via wire service.) The security of escrow does a great service for both parties. After all, the owner doesn’t know you, and you don’t know owner.

  5. Confirm. Confirm the reservation yourself by calling the resort directly. You need to make sure that they know you have the owner’s permission to be staying there. Otherwise, since you are not the owner, the resort will have no record of your name. Send the contract to the resort by FAX. When you arrive at the resort for your vacation, make sure you have their confirmation and a copy of the your contract with the owner.
This might all sound to newbies like a little bit of work, but honestly ask yourself would you not do all of this if you went to a hotel? And the extra step of using the escrow service is simple and easy.

Tips on Renting a Timeshare: Webinar Recap (Part 2)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Before Heading to Your Favorite Foreign Timeshare, Check Your Wallet

It is vacation season once again -- time to get away from everything domestic, to find a pleasant beachside accommodation for you and your family, and, last but not least, to be sure to get the most from your hard earned bucks when you do travel abroad.

For many experienced travelers, the best path toward saving money and having a good time for all is to find a good luxury timeshare rental. The savings in room rates can be formidable when compared to the nearest hotel, and there are quite a few great deals in some of the most popular locations, especially south of the border in Mexico and the Caribbean, where the Dollar goes a lot further and amenities abound. Before you take off for sandy beaches and sun-drenched shores, however, you should take as much time packing your wallet as you do your various travel bags.

No, we are not talking about carrying a wad of cash or travelers’ checks. Now is the time to check the fine print in your plastic cardholder agreements, down under the section entitled “Currency Conversion Fees”. One of the great innovations in convenience that banks brought to us over the past few decades is the ability to access our bank accounts or credit lines from anywhere on the planet, within seconds if you find an ATM that supports international withdrawals.

The result is that travelers’ checks are no longer necessary, and you need not rush to the forex exchange window at the airport before you leave home either. For both of these “antiquated” cash access methods, you would have paid dearly in fees and currency markups that reflect an overall consumer retail rate of from 5% to as high as 15% in some cases. These fees are “hidden” and not fully disclosed, but you realize that you have less money than you thought would be the case. Currency exchangers have a lot of overhead and labor costs to cover, not to mention the cost of maintaining large inventories of foreign cash reserves.

Banks never do anything for free. Their costs for supporting your card while you are overseas are much higher than for domestic transactions. For this reason and their need for profits, banks also charge currency conversion fees that are disclosed in your cardholder agreement.

These fees typically range from 2% to 3%, much less than at exchange windows, but some banks have fee rates higher than these. The average American has roughly five plastic cards in his wallet. Now is the time to find out which one has the lowest fee for international travel. A few percentage points on your total spending overseas can amount to more than you might think.

This information is presented by guest blogger Tom Cleveland who is a writer for ForexTraders, an online resource for the foreign exchange market and currency pair charts like the EUR USD. For families on a budget Tom also suggests checking out The One Income Dollar.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Timeshare Travel: One Year Until London Olympics

The Olympics are on their way! Today (Wednesday, July 27, 2011) marks the One-Year Countdown to the opening ceremonies for the 2011 Summer Olympics, to be held in London, England. You just have a year to get your timeshare rental ducks in a row, and make your travel plans.

London Mayor Boris Johnson is proud to announce that the venue construction is largely completed.

The London Olympics will feature 32 venues covering 26 different sports. Over 10,500 athletes from more than 20 countries will be competing. Coming with them will be 5,000 coaches and team officials, not to mention 20,000 media personnel. And that doesn’t count the hundreds of thousands of visitors.

The London 2012 Games are the catalyst for transforming 2.5sq km of land in east London, and area that was once industrial, contaminated land, into the beautiful Olympic Park. The Olympic Park will create a green backdrop for the Games and a new green space after 2012, for people and wildlife to enjoy.

During the Games (July 27 – August 12, 2011) 12,000 police officers will be on duty each day, working with a budget of 475 million pounds ($770 million).

"We're very good at policing in a friendly and a discrete way," organizing committee leader Sebastian Coe told AP Sports Writer Stephen Wilson. "The real challenge is to maintain security to protect the athletes, protect people, protect assets, but at the same time having people leaving your city feeling they haven't been pushed from pillar to post."

So what remains to be done before the Games begin? Not much. The stadium track will be installed, the landscaping and other finishing touches will be made to the Olympic Village, on the edge of Olympic Park, and last-minute “dressing” of the venues will be completed.

While over 3.5 million tickets have already been sold, tickets are still available for wrestling, volleyball, and even soccer.

London is kicking off the One-Year Countdown on Wednesday with a ceremony in Trafalgar Square where IOC President Jacques Rogge will formally invite the world’s athletes to the Games. During this ceremony the organizers will also unveil the design of the 2011 Summer Olympics medals. Over in Olympic Park diver Tom Dailey, who represented Great Britain at the 2008 Summer Olympics when he was only 14, will take the ceremonial first dive into the Olympic pool.

Mayor Johnson, excited about the London Olympics’ opening ceremony, which is being created by "Slumdog Millionaire" director Danny Boyle, says, “Wait till you see that opening ceremony. I think you will be weeping tears of joy after that opening ceremony. That's my confident prediction."

Take a look at timeshare rentals in England, and timeshare rentals in nearby Paris (only 2 hours to the London Olympics by EuroStar).

(Photo credit - signonsandiego.com)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tueday: Wisconsin


Baraboo, Wisconsin

This photo was provided by RedWeek Member Michael R. (shown) who was visiting the International Crane Foundation in Baraboo, WI.

If you'd like to see your timeshare vacation photo featured, just email it to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Just tell us where it was taken, your name and whether or not you are a RedWeek member. That's it!

See Wisconsin timeshares available for your vacation here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Timeshare Spotlight: Big Cedar Wilderness Club

One of the magical things about summer as a kid is going to summer camp. The swimming, the boating, the rustic log cabins, starry nights, hiking through the “wilderness.” What if you could have all of that and a timeshare rental to boot?

The Big Cedar Wilderness Club is a wilderness experience at a luxury resort. Nestled in the Ozark Mountains of Ridgedale, MO, it’s close to the exciting entertainment and shopping of Branson, but tucked away enough (by ten miles) to be surrounded by the peace and quiet of nature.

There is boating, swimming, and fishing right outside your door on Table Rock Lake, where there is a full-service marina. Or hit the links on the Jack Nicklaus signature golf course. Or tour Dogwood Canyon Nature Park by hiking, biking, jeep, or horseback.

Timeshare rentals come in all shapes and sizes, including lodges, cozy cottages, and “rustic” log cabins, include a fireplace and a hot tub, and some have views of Table Rock Lake (see photo below).

Reviewers rave about Big Cedar Wilderness Club:
"Loved it! The room was great, the beds were incredible (couldn't get them in my car), the view beautiful! Highly recommend it."
"I've stayed in a lot of condos/timeshares and this is the BEST ONE I've ever stayed in. It's like being in a rustic lodge and the units are clean. My husband and I got to watch the sunset over the lake from the hot tub while the kids played in the pool. We're going back in August!"
"Big Cedar is the epitome of an Ozark getaway! No where in the Ozarks will you find a resort of this luxury. The attention to detail can be seen from the moment you drive onto the resort property right down to the warm homemade cookie placed on your pillow each night. The staff is among the friendliest I have encountered. If you have the opportunity to visit, grab it while you can!"
"This is a fabulous resort. We have been going to Big Cedar Lodge for years and when they started the Wilderness Club we jumped at the chance and bought right away. Johnny Morris of Bass Pro is the developer, and, just as at Big Cedar Lodge, the attention to detail makes this place special. The log cabins have hardwood floors, stained glass windows, floor to ceiling river rock fireplaces, jacuzzi tub, large deck with gas grill. There is so much to do that in the 6+ years we have been going here, we have never once gone into Branson because we don't want to leave the resort. If you get a chance to go here take it – you’ll be glad you did!"
Timeshare rentals at Big Cedar Wilderness Club start at just $57/night.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Puerto Vallarta Passes US Agency´s Safety Assessment

Have you been considering a timeshare rental vacation to Puerto Vallarta, but are concerned about the U.S. State Department’s continued warnings about travel to Mexico?

The Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board appointed the U.S. firm of Thomas Dale & Associates (TDA) to study the safety standards found in Puerto Vallarta. The report, which was published last month, concludes that Puerto Vallarta continues to be among the safest beach vacation destinations in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta is an annual vacation destination for millions of visitors from around the world. TDA is a leading global investigative and security firm that lists several Fortune 100 companies among its clients.

The international security company visited the destination to conduct interviews and a through security and safety risk assessment on the ground. It has now published a comprehensive report in relation to all aspects of tourist security in the destination. In it, the firm concludes that Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest tourist destinations for international and national tourists.

TDA individually interviewed domestic as well as international tourists, American and Canadian Consuls, retired ex-patriots, timeshare members, part-time residents, seasonal boaters, business owners, hospital administrators, gay community business representatives, health insurance professionals, cabbies, conventioneers, and honeymooners.

These interviews were followed up by requests to local law enforcement sources for crime data and department deployment. The Civil Protection Department (FIMA) was also consulted regarding natural disasters.

The interviews focused on the following three areas; safety in Puerto Vallarta and the perception of its visitors; personal experiences and the US Travel Warning on Mexico.

The study found that the number of negative events involving foreigners or non-foreigners is fractional compared to the large ex-patriot resident population and the millions of visitors that come to vacation each year in Puerto Vallarta.

Overall the study found that visitors to the destination feel safe and continue to visit Puerto Vallarta numerous times through their lifetime and that the destination’s support services are well above the average standards and dedicated to serving the visiting public. In relation to the drug wars, TDA found that the limited land transit makes the smuggling of guns and drugs through Puerto Vallarta very difficult and thus basically a non-issue in the destination.

There are many great Puerto Vallarta timeshare rentals where you can vacation at beautiful resorts. For example, check out the beachfront Club Velas Vallarta (see top photo) with its beautiful palm-laced gardens. You can rent an all-inclusive program timeshare here starting at just $114/night.
Or you can choose Club Regina Puerto Vallarta at Westin (see photo to right) which currently has timeshare rentals for as low as $100/night. This beachfront resort is located on an old coconut plantation, and is just 15 minutes from downtown. You can enjoy free-form swimming pools, and planned activities including watersports.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Travel Planning Goes 3-D: Website Plans to Virtualize Destinations

Will wonders never cease! Soon, when you are planning your timeshare vacation, you’ll be able to take virtual 3-D video tours of your vacation destination.

The following article was written by Karen Rubin and is reprinted by permission.

3-D technology could be on the verge of changing the way travelers prepare for trips. A new travel website, 3rd Planet, is in the process of creating an interface that will not only provide information about a given place, but give travelers the ability to fly around a detailed 3-D model of their destination.

The 3-D technology will give provide a realistic look at the most popular sites in a country with built-to-scale reconstructions of actual places within famous destinations.

The site "maximizes their time at the destination, as they know which historically significant attractions to focus on, where the sites are located relative to one another, and where to explore next," said Singaporean entrepreneur Terence Mak, Chief Executive of 3rd Planet and the creative mind behind the website. "It will give travelers a chance to preview a city and make their plans on what they will do and where they will go once they get there.

"We live in a 3-D world," he said.

The company's future plans include incorporating flight routes and real weather patterns into a virtual globe along with interior views of buildings. "It's a whole new era," Mak said. 3rd Planet is expected to launch later this year and will feature Nepal as its first destination. Multi-dimensional maps of 6 or 7 other countries are in the works.

The company works with national tourism organizations to build 3-D replicas of destinations. 3rd Planet is also working with tourism boards, hotels, shopping malls, airlines, and other attractions to make 3-D reconstructions.

The site is free to the users; partners who wish to have their location "virtualized" on the site are charged a fee depending on the structure's complexity and the amount of complementary content to be included.

"Using our platform, users can navigate through an overview scene to get a big picture of where is what relative to a location and decide on how to bhttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifest use the time they have to explore the location. We also have an explorer capability which will allow the user to explore through some parts of the location in high detail," Mak said.


3rdplanet.com is set to launch 3-D technology that will give travelers a virtual tour of the destination they want to visit. (photo provided by 3rd Planet).

Karen Rubin is a travel writer who has been spanning the globe for more than 30 years . She publishes Travel Features Syndicate at Travel Writers Magazine, and blogs at Places Near and Far.

Original article published on examiner.com.

© 2011 Travel Features Syndicate, a division of Workstyles, Inc. All rights reserved

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

4 Timeshare Rental Vacation Destinations for Exciting Space Exploration

With the last shuttle, Atlantis, on its final journey into space, there’s a lot of talk about the next generation of space travel – for tourists. While it may be a few years before timeshare resorts orbit throughout the solar system, there are plenty of earth-bound places where you can get your space fix while you’re waiting.

Lonely Planet has put together a list, and the following four are where you can not only immerse yourself in space exploration, but enjoy a great timeshare rental vacation while you’re at it.
  1. Palomar Observatory, San Diego, CA (see top photo). An easy hour’s drive from your San Diego timeshare rental, the Palomar Observatory has been making exciting discoveries since 1949. The 200-inch Hale Telescope, the largest in the world at that time, was the first to discover direct evidence of stars in distant galaxies, and the distant objects at the edges of the known universe we now call quasars.

    The spectacular observatory building, as large as Rome’s Pantheon, is open daily for public tours.

  2. Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, FL. Rent a timeshare in nearby Orlando or Daytona Beach, and enjoy your exploration of the “granddaddy of all space facilities.” This is where all of the launches for the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs were conducted, as well as the space shuttles.

    You’ll have an adventure here about as close as you need to get before blasting into space yourself one of these years. From “going ballistic” on your own shuttle launch experience to meeting a veteran astronaut, this is a must-do for any space aficionado.

  3. Arecibo Radio Telescope, Puerto Rico. Who knew? When you rent a timeshare in beautiful Puerto Rico, and enjoy tropical beaches and wild Salsa nightlife, you can also indulge in a bit of space worship. The Arecibo Observatory houses the world’s largest radio telescope, composed of 40,000 perforated aluminum panels embedded into the surrounding jungle.

    This telescope was featured in the films "GoldenEye" and "Contact." The observation platform is open to the public, for a view of this “out-of-this-world” structure that is considered a work of art by many.

  4. Spaceport America, New Mexico (see photo below). Outside Las Cruces, this is where the true beginning of space travel’s next phase will be launched. This is the headquarters for Virgin Galactic, and where its spaceflights will blast tourists into orbit (planned to start in just a couple of years).
Meanwhile, you can rent a timeshare in Riodoso, and take a drive (just under an hour and a half) to Spaceport America, where you can take a fun and educational 3-hour tour. And while you’re at it, be sure to jump over to Roswell, just an hour from Riodoso – could this be where we earthlings really began our fascination with space travel? You decide.

Read Lonely Planet’s article in its entirety.

(Photo credit (top) - friendsoftheobservatory.org, (center) - virgingalactic.com)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: San Diego, California


La Jolla Shores - San Diego, California

Family Vacation at La Jolla Shores, one of San Diego County's twenty awesome beaches. Submitted by Alice P from Wyoming.

Do you have a favorite vacation photo (or several!) to share on our new #Travel Tuesday picture blog? Email them to learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com.

See San Diego Timeshares.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Time to Start Planning Your Labor Day Timeshare Vacation

Can you believe that we’re past the Fourth of July already? As fast as time is flying, you’d better get started on your Labor Day vacation plans. The RedWeek Newsletter suggests these three timeshare resorts – all with good rental deals to help end your summer on a budgetary high note.

1. Avenue Plaza, New Orleans, LA. Staying here you’ll be in the heart of the Big Easy, and it’s just a fun hop onto one of the Crescent City’s iconic streetcars that passes right in front of your door, to explore all that this wonderful city has to offer.

And what are the things that New Orleans is most noted for? There’s also a walking tour to help you explore every one of them. The beautiful and historic French Quarter? Take the Le Monde Creole Tours. Jazz? The New Orleans Music Tour is for you. Food? Check out the New Orleans Oyster Crawl. And, of course, ghosts and haunted crypts – you don’t want to miss the Ghosts, Haunts, & Voodoo Tour!

You can stay at the Avenue Plaza for Labor Day for just $104/night. Or enjoy another time for as low as $70/night.

2. Beach Quarters Resort, Virginia Beach, VA. If you want to combine a Labor Day beach vacation with the sounds of rock, jazz, country, blues, and R&B, then this is your place. This resort is so close to the American Music Festival (September 3 – 5, 2011), that you can hear the soaring notes from your timeshare rental balcony!

Virginia Beach is noted for its large expanses of sand and surf – the perfect beach getaway. Add that to the largest outdoor music event on the East coast, and you have the makings of unforgettable Labor Day fun!

A Labor Day timeshare rental at the Beach Quarters Resort can be had for $186/night. For other times the cost starts at just $136/night.

3. Eagle Crest Resort, Redmond, OR. For pure outdoor fun, this is the perfect place to plan your Labor Day vacation. There’s plenty to do on the sprawling 2500 acres of this resort, including swimming, horseback riding, hiking along 7 miles of trails, and golfing on 3 different courses.

Up for white water rafting? The Deschutes River can give you an exciting ride. Interested in a little calmer pursuits? There’s fine trout and steelhead fishing along 2 miles of the Deschutes. When you want a break from the outdoors, you can head to the million-dollar indoor recreational facility, where you’ll find tennis and racquetball courts.

A Labor Day timeshare rental at the Eagle Crest Resort is only $120/night. At other times you can rent a timeshare here for as low as $86/night.

Labor Day may be the summer’s last hurrah, but as you can see from these three ideas, it can be the best time you’ve had all summer! Book your timeshare rental now.

Friday, July 15, 2011

London Timeshare Travel: Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour & Locations

Just in time for the opening today (July 15, 2011) of the hugely anticipated final installment of the Harry Potter movies, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2,” comes the announcement by Warner Bros. Studios of “Studio Tour London – The Making of Harry Potter.”

This unique 3-hour walking tour gives you not only the chance to go behind the scenes of the filming of one of the most successful movie series of all time, but also another good excuse to rent a timeshare and head to London.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London - The Making of Harry Potter will open in the Spring of 2012 at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden, the production home of the Harry Potter films for over ten years.

Leavesden, just 25 miles north of London, is where you’ll be able to walk onto some of the most incredible sets of the Harry Potter films, including the magnificent Great Hall and Dumbledore’s office. You’ll be interacting with the authentic sets, costumes, animatronics, props and effects from all eight movies.

Karen Clarkson, VP North America VisitBritain said, “The Harry Potter series has captured imaginations around the globe for almost a decade now and we’re thrilled that the magic will live on with the Warner Bros. tour.”

The Warner Bros. 3 hour tour is sure to wet your appetite for all things Harry Potter, and Great Britain has more places where you can check out scenes that were filmed on location around the country.

For example, London’s steel suspension Millennium Bridge was the setting for the dramatic opening scene of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. And the enchanted Platform 9-3/4 is at King’s Cross Station, London (see above photo), where you can actually attempt to enter this secret portal to Harry Potter’s wizarding world, by trying your hand at pushing a trolley through the brick wall between platforms 9 and 10.

Taking the train is an easy way to see other Harry Potter film locations, such as Christchurch College, Oxford, just 55 miles from London. This famous university hosted some scenes for Hogwart’s moving staircases and Dining Hall. Hogwarts hospital can be found in Oxford’s Divinity School, and the university’s circular Bodleian Library is another location used in the films.

A fun full-day train trip from London (don’t worry – you’ll be home in time for dinner) will take you to northern England and a tour of the Ainwick Castle in Northumberland (see photo at left). Here both interior and exterior shots for Hogwarts were filmed for the first two Harry Potter movies (including the flying broomstick scenes). This historic castle is worthy of a tour in its own right. The dramatic fortress is the second largest inhabited castle in England, and has been the home of the Earls and Dukes of Northumberland since 1309. How’s that for a fantastic London timeshare vacation?

(1st Photo credit - plumgreen.com. 2nd Photo credit - fodors.com)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Timeshare Vacation Travel with Baby

Many people are under the wrong impression that having a family means the end of fun, timeshare vacations, and anything relaxing until the kids are all grown up. Kids make life more exciting, but you can still go on vacations and have a great time with them. Traveling with babies just requires a little extra planning and organization for a picture perfect trip. Contrary to what many believe, sometimes it’s easier to travel with a baby as opposed to a toddler or an older child. Usually, once a baby’s needs are taken care of, he has no problem sitting in a stroller all day, taking in the sites.

Invest in a Carrier or Lightweight Stroller
Before traveling it is a worthwhile investment to purchase a baby carrier and/or a lightweight stroller. A carrier is great for hikes or walking through unpaved and rocky terrain. They are also convenient if you have to carry the baby through customs due to regulations. A lightweight stroller is also useful because it doesn’t take up much room in lines, it’s easy to lift and store on a plane, and when you’re carrying suitcases and luggage, it makes the load that much lighter. Lightweight strollers are extremely affordable, and an investment in the future if you’re a frequent traveler.

Consider Auto Transport
Auto transport is an excellent service for long trips or a move. It’s often nice to have the convenience of your own car, with the car seat already installed, on an extended trip, but a long drive with a crying baby can be a nightmare. Research auto transport rates, and book with a professional company, and fly to your destination with a much happier baby and parents.

Food
If your baby is bottle fed, bring along enough formula and bottled water for the first few days. The same goes for spit up diapers and clothes. Before you go, make sure that you will be able to obtain your baby’s formula wherever you will be staying. Although they’re more expensive, pre-made bottles can be a lifesaver on a crowded plane, rather than trying to pour water into the bottle during a turbulent stretch, with a crying baby on your lap, and formula coating everyone around you. Just remember that airlines do not allow liquids over 100 ml through security, so buy small individual bottles.

Try to Take a Night Flight
Babies usually have an easier time settling down and sleeping during night flights when they are naturally sleepy. It may also help them get over their jet lag. The one thing you don’t want is to touch down with a cranky baby who is off the schedule that you worked so hard to establish.

Our Guest Blogger’s Bio:
Amy Trip is a travel expert who has become so based on some great, and some not so wonderful experiences, with her own baby. She recommends auto transport for long trips.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Exotic Timeshare Vacation: Marriott Marbella Beach Resort

Have you “Been There, Done That” with exotic summer vacation spots such as Hawaii and the Caribbean? If you’re looking for another exotic timeshare rental vacation destination that’s a bit different, head to the Costa del Sol, and Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort.

“A masterpiece in elegant design,” says Marriott, “our Marbella Beach Resort is bordered by miles of golden beaches, exotic architecture, and luxurious style. Here you can indulge in beach front dining, rejuvenating spa treatments, and extravagant nightlife.”

The Marbella Beach Resort is located at the heart of the Costa del Sol, and reflects the age-old traditions and enduring romance of Southern Spain and the Mediterranean seaside.

This beachfront resort boasts one-, two-, and three-bedroom timeshare units, combining Andalucian mood and color with modern convenience. As a guest you’ll enjoy the excellent facilities, including a private terrace, air conditioning, satellite television, DVD player and stereo, whirlpool tub, fully equipped kitchen, and utility room. On-site there are 5 swimming pools, saunas, a gymnasium, a kids club, a fun court, steam rooms, restaurants and bars, together with a range of other leisure pursuits, including golf.

The Costa del Sol is all about the mystique of Southern Spain, a world of flashing flamenco dancers, and golden beaches splashed by the sunny Mediterranean Sea. You’ll find plenty to do to keep everyone in the family happily busy.

The sunny, mild climate makes it a pleasure to pursue outdoor activities. Day trips into the Spanish countryside include hiking, horseback riding, and even a river adventure. For the golfers in your family there are numerous courses, ranging from easy to world-class, some the finest in Europe.

You’ll be humming Spanish tunes when you take sightseeing tours that include the grandeur of Alhambra in Granada, a “true architectural beauty” that has inspired composers and artists over the ages, and charming Seville, the financial capital and cultural center of southern Spain, where you can tour one of the largest cathedrals in the world.

Timeshare rentals at Marriott’s Marbella Beach Resort currently start at just $182/night – pretty good for an exotic vacation on the Mediterranean. If you’re interested in more permanent Costa del Sol vacation plans, Marbella timeshare resales start at just $2,800.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tueday: Big Bear Lake

Big Bear Lake, California


Our new Tuesday blog posts will be travel photo images submitted by RedWeek.com members. This one comes from Joann W. from California.

See all Big Bear Lake timeshares available for rent.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flying to Your Timeshare? New Trusted Traveler Program Announced

Do you generally fly to your timeshare vacation destinations? Long security lines at airports might become a thing of the past.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced it will launch a “trusted traveler” pilot program this fall. The government agency said it will be working with U.S. airline carriers to find some travel volunteers willing to share personal information which will help structure the pilot program. It will mirror similar trusted traveler programs operated by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and is expected to be offered at a handful of airports while in its testing stages.

The creation of such a program was one of the recommendations the U.S. Travel Association suggested in March, when it launched its own plan to reform the TSA air security experience. Director of Domestic Policy at the U.S. Travel Association Erik Hansen said recent data found that frequent business and leisure travelers would be willing to pay up to $150 to enroll in such a program.

The survey asked more than 1,000 adults how likely they would be to enroll in such a program, if it had an annual fee of between $100 and $150. Of that group, 61% of leisure travelers and 75% of business travelers said they would be willing to pay the fee if it meant less security hassle at the airport.

Hansen said the key things that people consider when traveling are mainly cost and hassle.

"We think we can help improve the hassle that exists for travelers. It's a smarter and better way to conduct aviation security," he said.

Although the TSA will have the final say on how the program is rolled out, Hansen said the USTA envisions a program where it is first clearly determined what makes for a "low-risk traveler," and then allows people to apply to become trusted travelers. This would include undergoing a background check, an interview process and a review of criminal and credit history, as well as frequent flier data.

"They will still need to go through security," Hansen said. "There are certain procedures they will forgo, like keeping their laptops in their bags or keeping their shoes on. It will be a different type of screening that reflects their low-risk nature."

The goal of the program is to reach the most frequent fliers, about 25% of the travel population in the U.S., Hansen said. By removing these people from security lines, other travelers will also benefit by having less people being screened.

"This is important from an efficiency standpoint, because it allows the TSA to focus more resources on the travelers they know the least about," Hansen said.

(Photo credit - newsytype.com)

Friday, July 08, 2011

California Timeshares: 4 Castles to Visit for The Royal Summer

The California Travel & Tourism Commission (CTTC) has put out a press release trumpeting the summer of 2011 as “The Royal Summer” in California, in honor of the official visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, July 8-10, 2011.

While the royal couple only gets 3 days to sample the delights of the Golden State, you can rent a California timeshare and indulge in any number of “Royal” offerings from one end of the state to the other.

"We are beyond thrilled that California is the destination of choice for the Duke and Duchess on their first official visit to the United States," said Caroline Beteta, CTTC President and CEO. "Their recent wedding captivated two billion people around the world and their visit inevitably shines a spotlight on California.”

“With heightened interest in travel to California, it is our goal to make the royal experience accessible to all visitors. The best part is you don't have to be royalty to tap into the incredible sense of possibility our state inspires – visitors can make their California dream a reality on any budget,” noted Beteta.

One of the fun “Royal” activities the CTTC suggests is to check out the many Castles that California has to offer.
  1. Castello di Amorosa
    When you rent a Napa Valley timeshare in California’s beautiful wine country north of San Francisco, you can tour the 107-room Castello di Amorosa, a winery built in the style of a Tuscan medieval castle. This one is complete with moat and drawbridge and took over 15 years to build.

  2. Vikingsholm Castle
    Rent a Lake Tahoe timeshare and head to Emerald Bay State Park on the south side of gorgeous Lake Tahoe to see this rare masterpiece of Scandinavian architecture, with details including dragonheads inspired by Viking fortresses. It even has a secret hideaway.

  3. Hearst Castle
    Rent a timeshare in the Monterey Bay area and enjoy a beautiful drive of stunning ocean vistas on your way to San Simeon. Here publishing magnate William Randolph Hearst built one of the largest private residences in the United States. When it was completed in 1922 it comprised 90,000 square feet of interior space spread over three buildings. There are 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 41 fireplaces, 19 sitting rooms, 3 swimming pools, a movie theater, and even a zoo. How’s that for a real California Castle?!

  4. Sleeping Beauty Castle
    And don’t forget California’s most iconic castle – known the world over. Rent an Anaheim timeshare and head to Disneyland! Based on Neuschwanstein, a 19th-century Bavarian castle, it has been the resort’s landmark since the park opened in 1955. It’s surrounded by a moat and topped with turrets, and inside the castle you can climb through narrow stone passageways as you view the unfolding story of Sleeping Beauty.
For more ideas on fun Royal activities in California go to CTTC’s VisitCalifornia.com/RoyalSummer.

(Photo credit Vikingsholm - postmarkcalifornia.com, Hearst Castle - hearstcastle.com, Sleeping Beauty - disneyland.com, Castello di Amorosa - winesandvines.com)

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

3 Golf Friendly Timeshares

Summer means outdoor activities, and what better way to get your exercise, have fun, and enjoy pretty scenery all at the same time than to spend time on the links. For all of you golfers who are planning a summer golf trip, here are some timeshare rental suggestions from the RedWeek newsletter.

The following three timeshare resorts were named in GOLF Magazine's 2010 Premier Resorts as Gold Medal Resorts winners, based on accommodations, service, and golf course. These resorts have also been consistently ranked in the list of Top 100 Courses You Can Play by GOLF Magazine.
  1. Four Seasons Residence Club Scottsdale at Troon North
    Scottsdale, AZ, features two 18-hole courses – Pinnacle and Monument – designed by legendary golfer Tom Weiskopf. Rentals start at $164/night. Own for only $695. Sign up to be notified of new postings at this resort.

  2. The Ritz-Carlton Club Kapalua Bay
    Kapalua, HI, strikes the right balance of rural spirit and world-class sophistication. Golfers will rejoice in the Plantation Course's broad fairways and enormous greens, and find the Pacific winds and costal terrain challenging. Not to be forgotten are The Bay and Village courses with their awe-inspiring views and mountainous landscape. Rentals at this luxury resort start at $750/night.

  3. Harborside Resort at Atlantis
    Paradise Island, Bahamas, features Ocean Club Golf Course, another Tom Weiskopf-designed course. Stunningly beautiful, the course offers guests over 7,100 yards of championship golf with amazing views of the Bahamian coastline. Rentals start at $164/night. Own for $1,900.

The RedWeek web site has a special section that lists many golf-friendly timeshare resorts where golf destinations that are highlighted include:

Whistler, British Columbia. Whistler is the site of three notable courses, including Arnold Palmer's first Canadian design, the Whistler Golf Club; the Chateau Whistler Golf Club, sitting at the base of Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains offers breathtaking views.

Myrtle Beach, SC. Often referred to as the "seaside golf capital of the world," Myrtle Beach's more than 100 golf courses include the popular River Oaks Golf Plantation, Belle Terre Golf Course, Myrtlewood Golf Club, Cane Patch Golf Course, and many more. Combined with its location directly on Atlantic Ocean, Myrtle Beach tops any list of Mid-Atlantic destinations.

Many timeshare rentals are available at these and other great golf destinations.

(Harborside photo credit - gogolfandtravel.com)

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

5 Timeshare Rental Tips

We are happy to announce that the webinar that RedWeek co-hosted last month with Timeshare Crusader Lisa Ann Schreier – Timeshare Expert Shares Timeshare Rental Tips – was a resounding success. The webinar was filled to capacity, with a full waiting list as well.

For those of you who were not able to attend the webinar, we’ll recap here the main points that Lisa Ann discussed.

Summer is the time for most families to be planning their family timeshare rental vacations, and with this timely information Lisa Ann helps you negotiate the world of timeshare rentals:
  1. Shop around -- Don't just settle on one posting at one resort. Look at other resorts in the area you wish to travel, and make as many posting inquiries as possible, even if the price exceeds your budget.

  2. Negotiate - If the advertised rental price exceeds your budget, inquire anyway and ask the owner if he/she is willing to negotiate.

  3. Verify unit/resort details - Before entering into a rental agreement,contact the resort directly to verify that the owner actually owns at that resort and has access to the week being advertised. Also verify that the unit details advertised are correct (does the unit really have an ocean view, balcony kitchen, washer/dryer, etc).

  4. Sign a rental contract/use rental escrow - Always have a rental agreement in place, or use a certified rental escrow company such as First American Title. Be sure the unit/resort information is contained in the rental agreement/escrow contract.

  5. Confirm reservation - Be sure to get confirmation from the resort that the reservation has been placed in your name. It is also a good idea to contact the resort directly to make doubly sure you own that reservation.
In addition to these helpful tips you’ll find more information on RedWeek’s Timeshare Resources page to assist you in finding and securing that perfect timeshare rental at the perfect resort for a perfectly wonderful summer family vacation.

About Lisa Ann Schreier: Lisa Ann Schreier, The Timeshare Crusader, is a former timeshare salesperson and the author of both “Surviving A Timeshare Presentation…Confessions From The Sales Table” and “Timeshare Vacations For Dummies.” She is the founder and director of the consumer information site Timeshare Insights and is currently working on her third consumer book, due out later this year.