Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Timeshare Resale Resource Center Helps Owners Navigate Secondary Market

The American Resort Development Association’s Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) launched the Timeshare Resale Resource Center, an online information resource for timeshare owners who desire to better understand how to safely maneuver the uneven timeshare secondary market.

As a result of a growing need to create more clarity and transparency for timeshare owners who wish to sell their timeshare interest, the Resale Resource Center was born to provide objective information on the resale process, tips on selling, and consumer advisories on the various resale scams currently being investigated by state authorities.

While regulation of the timeshare industry has developed and matured over the past 30 years, specific regulation of the secondary market is still in its infancy. The current economic environment has led to a rise in disreputable resale companies trying to profit from vulnerable timeshare owners and as a result the resale process has become confusing to many consumers.

“With the rise in fraudulent resale practices and the far too many dishonest resellers preying on consumers, it is necessary to establish legitimate guidelines to help safeguard consumers and ensure a safe resale experience with reputable companies,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of the not-for-profit ARDA.

Over the past eighteen months, ARDA and its member task force have worked diligently to propose model legislation for the secondary resale market as part of an effort to standardize and legitimize timeshare resellers and the resale process. The Model Resale Act calls for specific guidelines related to resellers, including standards for sales and marketing practices and more stringent penalties for fraudulent behavior.

“Leaders in our industry - developers, managers, homeowners’ associations and resellers - have tirelessly worked together to develop new business models for the secondary market as a way to address basic problems rather than treat symptoms,” said Ken McKelvey, Chairman of ARDA-ROC.

“Existing owners are just as concerned as would-be consumers about the misinformation regarding resales and have supported efforts to educate owners about the process to buy or sell a vacation product from the secondary market,” said McKelvey.

The ARDA-Resort Owners’ Coalition (ARDA-ROC) is an alliance of one million-plus timeshare owners, developers and managers who advocate for public policy positions that protect the interests of individual timeshare owners, preserve the integrity of vacation products, and enhance the vacation purchase.

For more information, visit www.arda-roc.org.

Source: ARDA


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: Balboa Park San Diego

Balboa Park, Botanical Gardens Koi Pond -
San Diego, California




This photo was submitted by RedWeek member Marie W. of San Diego, California. She tells us that her family loves to play tourist in her own town and they often visit Balboa Park, where you can find a beautiful botanical garden and peaceful koi pond as you enter. This attraction is free to stroll through. You will often find musical entertainment just in front of the pond as well, throughout the day.

To submit your photo to #Travel Tuesday, just email us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name and where the photo was taken.

View San Diego timeshares available now.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Aulani: Disney Timeshare Resort and Spa in Hawaii Holds Grand Opening Today

Welcome to the Happiest Place on Earth – in Hawaii. Aulani - A Disney Resort and Spa in Ko' Olina is holding its grand opening today – Monday, August 29, 2011.

Disney’s first resort in Hawaii, Aulani is beachside on Oahu’s Waianae coast. Its construction has been followed with eager anticipation since a blessing of the earth ground-breaking ceremony was held in November, 2008. Located on 22 acres in Ko’Olina, the resort is in the least developed area of Oahu, which is also home to a high percentage of native Hawaiian residents.

Native Hawaiians were brought into the planning process at the very beginning. Even the very name of the resort indicates the reverence that Disney intends to show for traditional Hawaii. Aulani is a Hawaiian phrase that means “the place that speaks for the great ones” or “the place that speaks with deep messages.”

Disney Imagineers have worked closely with native Hawaiian consultants to create mouse-inspired Disney magic while at the same time showcasing the fascinating, and beautiful, Hawaiian culture. “We’re a storytelling company,” said Disney spokesman John McClintock, “and when we came to Hawaii, we didn’t come to tell our own stories. We came to tell the stories that already exist here.”

Aulani is a departure for Disney, created as an independent resort thousands of miles from any of Disney’s world-famous theme parks. That means this resort must stand on its own, and compete with every other beach resort in Hawaii. But Disney’s famous attention to detail and service is sure to place the Aulani at the top of dream destinations for Disney fans the world over. As Disney’s first mixed-use resort, it features both hotel rooms and Disney Vacation Club timeshare villas.

The Aulani experience of course includes plenty of Disney fun. On-site are two restaurants, an 18,000-square-foot spa, a wedding lawn, and a conference center. The Waikolohe Valley is an 8,200-square-foot water-play complex. Extensive water activities include a large central swimming pool, a 900-foot two-channel lazy river tube floating watercourse, a wading pool, body slides, sunset-facing hot tubs, a quiet adult pool, a snorkel lagoon, and a conservation pool.

Guests will be able to enjoy unique Hawaiian experiences such as creating poi in the resort’s taro gardens, learning traditional dances, practicing the Hawaiian language on the resorts workers (cast members), and joining in Hawaiian story telling around the fire pit in the evenings.

There are mouse-inspired design elements, including hidden Mickeys, and Hawaiian designed magic such as the Menehuni Bridge. Mickey and Minnie, dressed for an island vacation, will make appearances, but not as hosts – rather as guests, just like you.

"Aulani celebrates the best of Hawaii and represents a new way to enjoy a family vacation with Disney," said Tom Staggs, chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. "We believe the tremendous beauty of Ko Olina provides the perfect opportunity to create a uniquely Disney experience for our guests in a way that is true to Hawaii."

To learn more about the Aulani Disney timeshare resort click here to see a previous post.

(Photo credit - resort.disney.go.com)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Can't Take a Timeshare Vacation Abroad? You Can Have the Same Thing at Home

Have you been wishing you could go abroad, but just can’t swing airline expenses for such a long trip? You can still have a great “abroad” experience at a timeshare rental destination closer to home. AAA’s Jamie Coelho offers these suggestions:

  1. Tuscany. Try the California Wine Country. The beautiful rolling hills of Tuscany, with their lovely vineyards, and even Renaissance castles, can all be found in the Napa and Sonoma region of northern California. World renowned for its premium wines, this grape-growing area of California stretches in valleys along the Pacific coast north of San Francisco. In 1975 there were only 25 wineries but with the advent of tourism that number has grown to over 400.

    And you can tour the 107-room Castello di Amorosa (see photo), a winery built in the style of a Tuscan medieval castle. It’s complete with moat and drawbridge, and took over 15 years to build.

    Great Napa timeshare rentals here start at just $107/night.


  2. Swiss Alps. The striking Colorado Rockies certainly give you the feel of the Swiss Alps, complete with towering peaks (there are 55 “fourteeners” – peaks that are over 14.000 feet high), and lots of fresh powder for world-class skiing. The Vail ski resort is built in the style of Swiss chalets, furthering the Swiss Alps ambience. In fact, Vail’s village, complete with car-free cobblestone streets, was modeled after the Swiss village of Zermatt.

    It’s beautiful in the Rocky Mountains during autumn when you can get a Vail timeshare rental for just $51/night. For a top winter season Swiss Alps ski experience, Vail timeshare rentals are still budget-friendly, starting at just $143/night.


  3. Bali. Puerto Rico is certainly closer than flying clear across the Pacific Ocean, and as a territory of the U.S. there are no customs to go through for American citizens. On top of that, Vieques is a perfect stand in for Bali. Isla de Vieques, an island municipality of Puerto Rico, lies just 8 miles off the Puerto Rican mainland, and is rapidly becoming a popular tourist destination, known for it’s quiet, commercially undeveloped, tropical beach experience. The beaches of Vieques are commonly listed among the top beaches in the Caribbean for their azure-colored waters and sugary white sands. It even has a Bioluminescent bay – of which Bali cannot boast – a must-see at night.

    Budget-friendly Puerto Rico timeshare rentals start at just $71/night.



(Photo credits - castellodiamorosa.com, gcpvail.com and ibestbeaches.com)





Thursday, August 25, 2011

Child Safety on the Road When you Travel

More and more families are choosing to forego the increasing expenses and hassles of air travel for the more comfortable option of driving to their timeshare rental vacations. If that’s you, please take a look at the following information on the importance of keeping your child safe in the car.

We’re Their Safety Net
With the CDC reporting that next to falls, automobile accidents are a primary cause of brain injuries, it should compel us to learn why and how. Sixty-three children died of brain injuries in 2009. A 100 percent use of the proper child restraints would have saved their lives. Moreover, brain injury doesn't always result in death, but can result in lifelong disabilities, often requiring around-the-clock care.

Brain injury occurs in high impact with windshields, doorposts, and windows. A seat belt that can't be tightened across a child's entire upper body is virtually useless. These children are at high risk, and parents (and grandparents) need to realize this.

Whether or not our little ones come through an accident safely is the direct choice of how parents use child restraints. The shocker is that the survival rate of babies and toddlers is better than our pre-teens and teens, generally because we are more insistent on the younger children being properly restrained.

Seats are available for children up to the ages of 8 to 12, and it's obvious when they can't fit in the seat that it's time for them to use the seat belts that equip the vehicle.

Well, you know the problem. When a child reaches five or so, they start balking at the idea of being in a "baby" seat and parents need to learn how to fight and win that battle from the get-go!

Arm Yourselves with Determination
A good reminder of this situation can be found on this blog post, summarizing an online video about child safety in vehicles. The video is a great confidence builder when it comes time to make the case to a stubborn pre-teen who's refusing to use a seatbelt. In fact, an effective threat might be to have the child watch the video with you.

The forum panel ended up making a great point: "Safety is not negotiable." Make it stick!

Good to Know
Recommended by the Association of American Pediatricians, April 2011: until they're at least two, babies and toddlers belong in rear-facing seats until they get too large for their first seats.

Older children need to be using belt-positioning booster seats until they reach a height of 4 feet, 9 inches, and are between eight and twelve years old.

Finally, some forum panel members, including the woman who had convened it, mentioned that parents don't seem to read the instructions for using the seats, so let's say it here: READ THE INSTRUCTIONS!

Do whatever needs to be done to insure a safe and fun timeshare vacation for your family, whether you’re driving to the resort, or driving to the airport.

Guest writer Pat Hogan is an advocate for child safety and is associated with FloridaBrainInjuryLaw.com in Tampa, FL.

(Photo credit - healthychildren.org)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kid-Friendly Timeshares

One of the most important points when planning a family vacation is that “it’s all about the kids.” And a budget-friendly timeshare rental at a kid-friendly resort can be the holy grail for many parents.

With over 6,000 timeshare resorts now world-wide, there is a multitude of types of resorts, and you might think that hunting for that perfect kid-friendly one is the needle in a haystack puzzle. Not to worry – RedWeek has a section specifically designed to point you as unerring as a compass to the perfect resort destination where Kid is King.

Here are 2 top-rated kid-friendly resorts listed in RedWeek’s August newsletter, just to help get you started.

  1. Disney's Old Key West Resort , Orlando, FL. Located in the heart of Walt Disney World, this resort offers all sorts of fun, from waterways to woodlands. The timeshare units go up to 3-bedrooms sleeping eight, perfect for larger families.

    For fun at this resort (not counting all of Walt Disney World!) there are four heated pools and a kiddie pool, as well as paddle boats on a pretty lake that winds through the resort. When you’re ready to head into WDW, you can take the fun free water taxi!

    If you choose to have a meal out, dinner is served family-style at the popular on-sight restaurant, Olivia’s Café.

    And a bonus for mom and dad – this resort offers several childcare services to keep the kids entertained and give parents a break.

    A couple of reviews:
    “We stayed with our grandchildren, had an excellent stay. The boat ride to Downtown Disney made it also fun for the children.”
    “These aren't rooms, they're apartment villas!”
    Read more reviews of Disney’s Old Key West Resort. Rentals start at $128/night. Resales start at $10,640.


  2. Harborside Resort at Atlantis, The Bahamas. A vacation in the Bahamas might not be your first thought when contemplating a kid-friendly venue, but this resort offers a unique children’s program. In conjunction with the Discovery Channel kids become explorers for a day. The fun activities include finding buried treasure, looking at stars, and learning about sharks. "Base Camp" is a replica of a Spanish galleon ship.

    Staying here is even affordable. Rentals start at $100/night. Resales start at $1,100.

    A couple of reviews:
    “We have vacationed here for the past 4 years - it is awesome for families (our kids can't wait to go every year) with the water activities, Kids Club, and the beach.”
    “We have been owners here for over 7 years, and we are still amazed at how wonderful the place is. Our kids’ eyes light up whenever we say we’re going back.”
    Read more reviews of Harborside Resort at Atlantis.


See More Kid Friendly Timeshare Rentals

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: India

Houseboat in Alleppey, India



This photo was submitted by Cijo M. an avid traveler. You can find him at: facebook.com/visitkerala.

If you have a travel photo you'd like to share, please email it to learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com.

See all India Timeshares.

Monday, August 22, 2011

New Airport Security Measure to be Tested at Boston’s Logan Airport

Heading for your timeshare vacation? Here is a new TSA program of which you might want to take note, called the “chatdown.”

Ever since the public outcry when the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) upped the ante and began doing pat downs during airport security checks, the TSA has been looking at alternatives. Charged with preventing terrorist attacks and keeping the public safe, the TSA has found itself walking a fine line between strict security measures and personal rights.

Critics have been quick to point to other countries, which, in their opinion do a better job at both. One such country often cited is Israel. Although that comparison is also controversial. Experts say Americans face differing challenges including a greater sensitivity in the U.S. to racial and ethnic profiling, and the fact that American airports process a great deal more travelers.

However, this week it was announced that the TSA will begin a pilot program at Boston’s Logan Airport with a new security layer, the “chatdown.” Essentially a brief conversation with a specially trained agent, the measure has been adopted from Israeli security forces as a way of rooting out potentially dangerous passengers before they board aircraft.

As explained in a TSA news release, passengers will be asked a series of questions by a Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) as they have their identification verified at the security checkpoint.

Based on physical cues or answers to questions during the dialogue, specially trained officers are able to detect suspicious behavior, a TSA spokesman explained. This analysis will help identify “potentially high-risk travelers.”

“Security officers are screening travelers for involuntary physical and physiological reactions that people exhibit in response to a fear of being discovered,” explained the TSA.

"We are looking for behaviors that are out of the norm - some kind of indicators of intent to cause a problem," says George Nacarra, federal security director for the TSA at Logan.

However, looking nervous and averting eye contact are not considered to be giveaway signs, according to the TSA. “We recognize an individual exhibiting some of these behaviors does not automatically mean a person has terrorist or criminal intent,” noted the TSA statement.

The TSA won’t discuss what BDO officers will be looking for, but Nicarra points to some hints “that a bad guy might be planning to do bad things” such as "the movement of the eyes, perspiring in a cool environment, and the Adam's apple movement.”

“Most of the behaviors the BDO officers are looking for,” says Nicarra, “are involuntary physiological reactions that a human being would not be able to repress.” Individuals exhibiting specific observable behaviors will be referred for additional screening.

Every passenger transiting Boston’s Logan Airport will be required to go through the “chatdown” during the pilot program’s 60-day run.

(Photo credit - Josh Reynolds/AP via NPR.org)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Take a Timeshare Vacation to See the New Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial

Did you know that there’s a new memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.? The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial is being dedicated on Sunday, August 28, 2011. On your next timeshare rental vacation to our Nation’s Capital you can add this beautiful memorial to your list of must-sees.

According to the memorial's official web site, “Dr. King was a profound teacher, whose lessons were anchored in the primacy of human dignity. He enacted irreversible social change and led our country forward, relying exclusively on non-violent means. The Memorial will be a lasting tribute to Dr. King’s legacy and will forever serve as a monument to the freedom, opportunity and justice for which he stood.”

The Martin Luther King, Jr., National Memorial lays along the Tidal Basin, with the main entrance through a crescent-shaped inscription wall aligned along the axis of the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials. “This places the memorial directly in line with the larger democratic ideals that form the context for King's words and deeds,” explains a spokesperson. “It’s fitting that the memorial is situated not far from where Dr. King made his famous ‘I Have a Dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.”

“The Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial is conceived of as an engaging landscape experience tied to other landscapes and monuments, not as a single object or memorial dominating the site,” states a spokesperson for the San Francisco-based firm, ROMA Design Group, creators the memorial. “The composition of the memorial utilizes landscape elements to powerfully convey three fundamental and recurring themes of Dr. King's life: justice, democracy and hope. The circular geometry of the memorial, juxtaposed within the triangular configuration of the site, engages the Tidal Basin and frames views to the water.”

“The memorial is envisioned as a quiet and receptive space, yet at the same time, powerful and emotionally evocative, reflecting the spirit of the message that Dr. King delivered and the role he played in society. “

The King Memorial is intended to be personally transformative for visitors, building a sense of commitment to the promise of positive change and active citizenship.

Great timeshare rentals are available in the Washington, D.C., area, and include Wyndham Old Town Alexandria where timeshare rentals start at just $88/night, and Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor with timeshare rentals for only $120/night. Both resorts have easy access to The Metro for a quick ride to the National Mall.

Photo Credit: mlkmemorial.org

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Choosing the Right Hiking Boots for your Timeshare Vacation

Going for a hike is a great way to relax and enjoy the outdoors. It's also the perfect way to explore the area around a timeshare – when you travel by road alone there is so much you'll just never see.

You don't need much to take a hike. A light backpack, a sandwich and water bottle, and of course, a good pair of boots. The right boots will feel lighter and support your feet more, but on the other hand, nothing can ruin a day out in the woods or the mountains faster than a poorly-fitting pair.

Fit is by far the most important consideration. When you put hiking boots on, you should be able to slide one finger down the back of the heel. If you can't, they are almost certainly too small and you risk blisters at the heel.

If the pair you are trying on pass that test, the next thing to do is lace them up and walk down a slope. Most good hiking boot retailers have a short slope in store for this purpose, but if you've ordered boots online, try walking down the stairs. Do your toes hit the front of the boot? If so, they aren't the ones for you, and will bruise your toes.

The material hiking boots are made of also affects how comfortable and supportive they will be. Fabric boots are lighter, but they usually have a waterproof liner built in, and this can make them feel hotter than all-leather boots. A leather hiking boot can be kept completely waterproof by regular waxing, and this will make them last longer too.

Sole stiffness varies widely. For gentle walks over even terrain, a soft sole is fine, but if you're going up into the mountains or walking a long way with a heavy backpack, your feet will need more support and a stiffer sole. Hard soles are also better for rocky scrambles.

If you are planning a long hike as part of a vacation, make sure you buy boots well in advance. That way there will be time to sort out any problems before the big day. Remember- a boot that feels uncomfortable after an hour could really hurt after three, so always try a new pair of boots on around the house for at least a couple of hours before taking them outside. If they don't fit perfectly, return them straight away and try another style or size.

About Our Guest Blogger:
Jess Spate spent many years working in the outdoor industry and is a keen hiker. She is now is editor of a British outdoor gear website.

There are many timeshare rentals where great hiking is a popular activity and a great way to put Jess’s information to good use. Head to Redmond, Oregon, and the Eagle Crest Resort, where you have seven miles of hiking trails, some of them along the beautiful Deschutes River. A timeshare rental at the Wyndham Pagosa Resort in Pagosa Springs, Colorado, will give you over 1200 acres in the valley of the gorgeous San Juan Mountains, to try out your new hiking boots. Or rent a Gatlinburg timeshare and check out the 800 miles of hiking trails in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

5 Ways Walt Disney World Offers Recreation on Vacation

When is a theme park not a theme park? When Disney is involved, of course. Walt Disney World is arguably the most famous theme park in the world. But did you know that there’s more to do at WDW than theme rides and more to see than theme characters? Rent an Orlando timeshare and really check this place out. Odds are you’re in for a surprise.
  1. Horseback riding
    Sure you’ve ridden the prancing steads on the carousel, and have watched the horses flounce their beautiful manes and tails in the parades as they bear Cinderella’s golden carriage along. If those have given you the itch to climb aboard your own horse, then head to Fort Wilderness. Here guided horseback rides (see photo) at the Tri-Circle-D Ranch take you through the idyllic setting of Disney's Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. This area is also home to the majestic horses seen on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom Park. Now’s your chance to see them up close and personal.

  2. Water Sports
    Fun for kids is the Wakeboarding, Kneeboarding, and Tubing, all available from Disney’s Contemporary Resort Marina, as part of the Seven Seas Lagoon experience. You’re pulled behind a speed boat driven by a professional instructor and driver. Recreational water skiing and parasailing are there for the more adventurous. Scuba diving lessons and surfing lessons are also available.

  3. Fishing
    Two- and four-hour bass fishing trips depart from several of WDW’s marinas, including Fort Wilderness, Grand Floridian, and Caribbean Beach. You have your choice of daylight, or night fishing excursions. Didn’t bring your rod and reel? No worries – Disney will outfit you with all the fishing equipment you’ll need, including rod, reel, bait, shiners, and even a beverage for refreshments.

  4. NASCAR Driving
    Feeling the need for speed? Drive a race car, or ride shotgun with a professional driving instructor, at WDW’s Speedway. Zooming along the mile-long tri-oval racetrack in a race car at blistering speeds will give you the thrill of a lifetime. You’ll be experiencing just what it takes to compete in a NASCAR race as you reach speeds up to 140mph!

  5. Golf
    You’d just know that Disney would have its own PGA instructors, and a number of different golf courses, each offering a different level of expertise. For a family-friendly time out on the links, the 9-hole, Par 36, Oak Trail Golf Course near the Grand Floridian is just the ticket.
    For you duffers who want a real challenge, see how you handle the Osprey Ridge Golf Course near Fort Wilderness. With its dramatic fairways running through live oak trees, pine and palmetto, you’re in for a treat.
Besides the many great, and budget-friendly, Orlando timeshare rentals available, you can also find rentals at a number of the Disney resorts, including Wild Animal Kingdom, Disney’s Beach Club Villas, and Disney’s original Orlando resort, Disney’s Saratoga Springs Resort and Spa. Take a look at the reviews of these and other timeshare rentals available for your WDW vacation.

(Photo credit - disneyworld.disney.go)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: Carlsbad Flower Fields

Carlsbad Flower Fields - San Diego, California


This photo was taken by RedWeek member Shirley V., from California. The Flower Fields comprise nearly fifty acres of Giant Tecolote Ranunculus flowers and are in a full bloom for approximately six to eight weeks each year - from early March through early May.

If you have a travel photo you'd like to share, please email it to learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com.

See all Carlsbad timeshares.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Timeshare Spotlight: Marriott’s Playa Andaluza

The Costa del Sol region of Spain’s Mediterranean coast is splashed with sunshine 345 days a year. If you are looking for a truly luxurious timeshare rental vacation destination, head to the town of Estepona and Marriott’s Playa Andaluza beach resort.

As Marriott describes this 5-star resort: “A Spanish coastal flair speaks softly throughout each villa, with handsome era furnishings and the most modern conveniences making your stay one of pure paradise. The Playa Andaluza offers a Mediterranean seaside experience that truly says your ship has come in.”

Marriott’s Playa Andaluza resort features units with a master suite and oversized soaking tub, full kitchen, separate living & dining areas, and washer and dryer for all the conveniences of home, all with breathtaking views of the Sea or the resort's stunning garden. Here you’ll enjoy an array of on-sight resort amenities including fine dining, pristine beaches, and relaxing pools.

Estepona offers daily auctions of fresh-caught fish, and several open-air markets, which makes preparing your own meals in your timeshare kitchen a fun, and affordable, way to try many of the local foods and dishes.

The nearby marinas tucked in along Estepona’s 14-mile long beach welcome some of the world’s most impressive yachts. Area attractions include “Millionaire’s Paradise” - Puerto Banus, an upscale community about 30 minutes drive from Estepona Port with a large number of designer stores, including Versace and Armani; Selwo Safari Park, which houses 2000 animals in semi-wild conditions, and Palacio de Exposiciones y Cngresos de Estepona – home to nearly all of Estepona's cultural events including product presentations, fairs, commercial exhibitions, and concerts.

And the good news is that even with all of this luxury, a stay at Marriott’s Playa Andaluza can be quite affordable by renting a timeshare, which start at an unbelievable $43/night.

Reviewers say this:
"Absolutely Perfect in every way. Only wish we could make it home. We are owners there and are so glad to look forward to visiting each year, only trouble is the time passes too fast. Sad to leave every time. Perfect for families or couples of all ages."
"Undoubtedly one of the best resorts in Spain. True to the Marriott tradition. Units are spotless and well equipped with everything you could possibly need while you are on vacation. We cooked many meals because we had all our grandchildren with us. But we also frequented the snack bar and nearby restaurants. Very worthwhile to explore all that Andalusia has to offer. People at the desk were very helpful and polite. We'll go there again. Not enough time to see everything that part of Spain has to offer. So much to see. So little time."

Read more Marriott’s Playa Andaluza resort reviews by RedWeek members.

(Photo Credit - marriott.com)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Timeshare Travel: Top 5 Ice Cream Cities

We’re deep in the middle of the “Dog Days of Summer” and you know what that means – you now have permission to indulge and do just about whatever it takes to get through the sweltering heat. Here are two suggestions: rent a timeshare at a great resort with swimming pools, or waterparks, or splashing waves on the beach, and – eat Ice Cream!

Just in time, Food & Wine has put together a list of “America’s Best Ice Cream Cities.” We’re listing 5 here where you can also rent a budget-friendly timeshare.
  1. Scottsdale, AZ. Sweet Republic. "This two-year-old shop prides itself on using exceptional ingredients, from local dairy to single-origin, and fair-trade coffee beans for its espresso flavor."

    Check out Scottsdale timeshare rentals. For example, you can get one right now at the Scottsdale Villa Mirage for just $54/night.

  2. Cambridge, MA. Toscanini's. "In contention with Christina's for best local ice cream, this cult parlor wins for its burnt caramel flavor. The floor-to-ceiling windows are superb for people watching."

    Many Massachusetts timeshare rentals are within a short drive of Boston and Cambridge. Stay in the heart of Boston at the Marriott Customs House for just $149/night, or less than an hour away on Cape Cod at the Sea Mist Resort for only $85/night.

  3. Honolulu, HI. Bubbie's Ice Cream. "One fan of Keith Robbins' bite-size mochi (ice cream wrapped in a sweetened rice confection – see photo right) is superchef Nobu Matsuhisa. A classic flavor is green tea."

    It can be very affordable to visit Honolulu when you rent an Oahu timeshare. For example, a timeshare rental at the Kuhio Banyan Club is just $82/night.

  4. New Orleans, LA. The Creole Creamery. "Alongside fountain-shop classics like banana splits and sundaes, this local favorite features rotating ice creams in flavors like Creole Cream Cheese - made with a curdled cream cheese local to New Orleans."

    Stay in the heart of New Orleans in an affordable timeshare rental. The Avenue Plaza is just $78/night.

  5. San Francisco, CA. Bi-Rite Creamery. "Almost everything at this excellent ice cream shop is made from scratch, including the marshmallows for the Rocky Road."

    A San Francisco timeshare rental will put you near Union Square and the fun cable cars. Rent a timeshare at Powell Place for just $107/night.
Check out Food & Wine’s entire list.
(Bubbie’s photo credit - travel.yahoo.com/foodandwine)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Five Favorite Caribbean Beaches

The Caribbean’s pristine coasts are sought-after destinations year round. Whether young or old, the restorative powers of the salty sea, bright sun and balmy air make for a happy, unforgettable vacation. When you take a timeshare vacation and head out to see the landscape up close with your own car rental in the Caribbean, you will have a plethora of destinations from which to choose.

I head to the Caribbean whenever I can, to get away from Maine winters, and have had the good fortune of traveling throughout the area. Here are five of my favorite beaches:
  1. Trunk Bay, St. John

    Trunk Bay (see photo) is part of a massive plot of land that Laurence Rockefeller donated to the US as a National Park in the 1950s and therefore is an unrivaled picture of marine preservation. Over 30 species of tropical fish can be noted if you swim the marked snorkel trail and hundreds of colorful coral formations will greet you underwater as well. This small stretch of fine sand has adjacent basic amenities.

  2. Shoal Bay, Anguilla

    Here the pure white sand is straight from a postcard, the water is clear as crystal and the atmosphere is serene. Shoal Bay is somewhat unique in that it has both east and west facing shores. While the sunrises are pretty, the amazing sunsets are not to be missed. Whether you spent your day at the beach sunning, or snorkeling within the reef protected bay, take a moment and revel in the fiery color show. For a singular treat, order a snack at nearby Eloida’s. A fun day trip, Anguilla is just a 20-minute ferry ride from Saint Martin.

  3. Seven Mile Beach, Jamaica

    For a wilder beach experience, head to Seven Mile Beach. This golden hued expanse of sand boasts a historic light house at one end, and scenic cliffs further up the shore. This is where you will find fun clubs, hip restaurant patios and vibrant atmosphere abounding. This is where you’ll want to try jet-skiing or a pleasure cruise into the Caribbean.

  4. Crane Beach, Barbados

    With powder pink sand eroded from coral and dramatic cliff side scenery, Crane Beach is certainly an exceptional stretch. The waves here make it a coveted surfing destination but if you aren’t experienced at ‘hanging-ten’ there are boogie boards available for those who still want to get splashed in the surf.

  5. The Baths, Virgin Gorda (BVI)

    Make your way to the British Virgin Isles for a truly unique beach destination. Devil’s Bay National Park (The Baths), is a region of the island’s coast that is littered with huge granite boulders, some up to 40 feet tall! These striking monoliths form eerie grottoes, caves, pools and tunnels to explore. Scramble among the wave worn rocks or float in the calm and clear coves.
Noella Schink writes from Portland, Maine but she loves to get away from winter snow to the tropical climes of the Caribbean. She recommends Auto Europe the next time you are looking to rent a car while staying at your Caribbean timeshare.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Travel to Disney's Animal Kingdom for Wildlife Wednesdays

Disney’s Animal Kingdom celebrates “Wildlife Wednesdays” so it’s only appropriate that we explore this remarkable place today. Walt Disney World’s Animal Kingdom is a unique blend of a theme park and real-life interaction with wild animals, all put together as only the magic of Disney can. Rent a timeshare and check this incredible place out yourself.

Besides offering guests the exciting opportunity to go on “safari” and witness many of Africa’s beautiful animals in a natural-type setting, the Disney Corporation is also involved in world-wide conservation. And this summer Disney achieved an elephant conservation milestone.

Happy Birthday to baby elephant, Luna, who celebrated her first birthday in May. Being a typical kid, it’s reported that Luna’s favorite things to do are play with the other elephant youngsters in the mud wallow on the Kilimanjaro Safaris, and chase the native birds.

The births of 5 baby elephants at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since 2003 represent a conservation milestone since the number of elephants in North American zoological facilities and wildlife centers has been dwindling. Disney’s Animal Kingdom participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Elephant Species Survival Plan.

“Research has shown that when people see elephants and other wildlife face-to-face, they feel a strong connection and are motivated to take action to protect wildlife and nature,” states a Disney official. “And having elephant babies at the Animal Kingdom enables the elephants to live in herds with moms, “aunties” and other youngsters, as they would in the wild.”

On your trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, you’ll not only get to see baby Luna (see photo) and her friends romping through the savanna on the Kilamanjaro Safari, but you can also take a Backstage Safari Tour. This special 3-hour tour gives you an insider's look at the innovative ways that Disney cares for its animal inhabitants – 1700 animals representing over 250 species. You’ll see how Disney's wildlife specialists meet the unique challenges of animal care and behavior - all while running a lushly landscaped Disney Theme Park and promoting wildlife conservation.

And when you’re ready for some just plain fun, head to Expedition Everest, a high-altitude, high-speed roller coaster that is widely considered one of the best rides and one of the most exciting attractions in Walt Disney World.

Check out the great Disney timeshares and Orlando timeshare rentals available.

(Photo Credit - disneyparks.disney.go.com)

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: Africa

Morocco, Africa - Marrakesh



Ait Benhaddou Kasbah


Thank you Brahim A. for sending these beautiful photos from your trips to Morocco.

If you have a travel photo you'd like to share, please email it to learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com.

See all Africa timeshares.

Monday, August 08, 2011

Disney Timeshares: Aulani Resort on Schedule for Fall 2011 Opening

Aulani, a Disney Resort and Spa in Ko’Olina, on Hawaii’s island of Oahu, is on schedule for its planned opening in the Fall of 2011. Sure to become a favorite timeshare vacation destination, Aulani is a unique blend of the culture of the Hawaiian Islands, and Disney magic.



When you stay at Aulani you are immersed in “the adventure, stories, and wonders of true Hawaii,” all with the typical Disney flare for magic and fun. Beginning with the iconic volcano landmark which is actually part of an adventure of exhilarating waterslides, to thrilling encounters with gentle sting rays in the Conservation Pool and Makai Preserve, every member of the family will find more than enough to keep happily busy.

When it’s time to relax, head to the Wailana Pool, separate from the active main pools, where you can indulge in a tranquil retreat amdist lush tropical landscaping and calming waters.

And it’s no standard kiddie pool and children’s playground for the Aulani. With special pixie dust Disney brings to life the Menehunes. These legendary “little people” are Hawaii’s version of elves, leprechauns, and fairies all rolled into one, and are said to be responsible for mysterious happenings on the islands. At the Aluani, the Menehune Bridge is a 2,200-square-foot, interactive water play area for children that will include slides, a climbing structure, and more. And keep an eye out for the mischievous Menehunes – you never know when you might spot one.

One of the most anticipated activities at the Aulani is Rainbow Reef, the unique interactive snorkeling experience in the Waikolohe Valley recreation space. The 3,000-square-foot lagoon will contain numerous tropical fish found locally around Hawai‘I and available for up-close viewing by snorkelers.

Assistant Curator Marjorie Awai talks about Rainbow Reef in the video above. Notice that an additional feature of the lagoon will be the underwater rock formations which take on some striking shapes when you look at them closely. Enjoy!


Friday, August 05, 2011

Timeshare Travel: Florida Keys

Travel + Leisure Magazine and Yahoo!® Travel have just named U.S.1, the highway leading to and from the Florida Keys, as one of America’s Most Scenic Roads. Plan a vacation at one of the many budget-friendly timeshare rentals in the Keys, and check out this amazing stretch of scenic beauty.

The Florida Keys are actually a coral archipelago that starts just 15 miles south of Miami, with the southernmost tip only 90 miles from Cuba. Defining the Florida Straits, the Keys divide the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico.

Being in the subtropics, the climate of the Keys is closer to that of the Caribbean than mainland U.S. So instead of traveling all the way to the Caribbean, or even Hawaii, for lush tropical landscaping, turquoise waters, and stunning sunsets, you can take an easy – and spectacularly scenic – drive from Miami.

Known as The Overseas Highway, U.S. 1 is 127.5-miles long from start to finish, and is the only main highway through the Florida Keys. Although it opened in 1938, basically the entire roadway was rebuilt in the 1980s, employing advanced safety features of roadwork and bridge construction. The “18-Mile Stretch” is the segment from Florida City to Key Largo.

Except for part of the original Seven Mile Bridge (its access to Pigeon Key), the three original bridges (Seven Mile, Bahia Honda, and Long Key) are no longer open for vehicular traffic. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places they now serve as fishing piers.

The current Seven Mile Bridge (see photo), one of the most famous bridges in the world, finished construction in 1982. It connects Knight's Key in the Middle Keys to Little Duck Key in the Lower Keys, and is actually just shy of 7 miles at 6.79 miles long. On a Saturday in April the annual Seven Mile Bridge Run, with over 1500 participants, closes the bridge for 2 ½ hours. This “fun run” is held in commemoration of the rebuilding of the bridge. The photo shows the full span of the Seven Mile Bridge as seen from the east shore of Ohio Key. The arc over Moser Channel can be seen to the right and Knight's Key can be seen to the extreme right.

Whether you stay in a Miami timeshare rental and take a day trip to the Florida Keys, or enjoy one of the many beautiful timeshare rentals available throughout the Keys, the drive up and down the Keys on U.S.1 will be one of the most amazing scenic excursions you and your family will ever experience.

(Photo Credit and explanation: wikepedia.com)

Thursday, August 04, 2011

Travel South Africa: A World of Attractions in Port Elizabeth

Is there any place in the world that you can photograph elephants crossing your path in the morning, ride the waves with professional surfers in the afternoon, and finish your evening with Springbok Carpaccio at a classy restaurant? Only in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa.

Planning a vacation to the Port Elizabeth area can be a bit overwhelming for first time tourists. We’ve gathered some of the very best attractions together in one place to help you narrow down your choices.
  • Jeffrey’s Bay
    Consistently perfect waves have made this South African bay one of surfing’s Meccas, according to the book of the same name. As one of the five most famous surfing destinations in the world, they are honored to host the Billabong Pro ASP World Tour every July. If you aren’t interested in braving the waves, there is also an abundance of seashells to collect and at certain times of the year, migrating whales. The seafood, in particular the calamari, is exceptional and fresh here as well. We recommend the seaside café called Kitchen Windows for fresh flavorful food with stunning ocean views.

  • Red Location Museum
    One of the best places to learn about Apartheid and the struggle for freedom is the Red Location Museum. This unique collection of displays makes a break from traditional museums by inviting the visitor to view history as they would have experienced it. The floor space is broken into various “memory boxes” which each tell the story of a single life or particular group that existed during Apartheid. The award-winning building is an exhibit in and of itself; situated in a seemingly difficult location that was an important site during the Struggle.

  • Addo Elephant National Park
    Just a few miles inland from Jeffrey’s Bay you will find one of the largest nature preserves in South Africa. This park is home to many native African species including: elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, and one of the rarest sub-species of black rhinos. Tourists can travel the roadways on their own, or take guided horseback tours deeper into the sanctuary. Be sure to bring your camera, however, because you never know when the lions will be laying on the side of the road, or a crocodile will snatch prey from the riverside right before your eyes. The South African National Parks even have a monthly contest for the best public sighting photograph submitted at their website sanparks.org.
And now that we’ve whet your appetite for an exotic vacation (or honeymoon!), check out the many South Africa timeshare exchanges available across this amazing country.

Our Guest Blogger’s Bio:
Heather Johnson is a writer for the leading online honeymoon planning resource. Learn all about the best honeymoon destinations today!

(Photo credits: Jeffrey’s Bay – wikitravel.org, Addo – sanparks.org)

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Timeshare Summer Vacation: Washington D.C.

Now that we’re into August, school will be starting soon, and many families would still like to plan a timeshare rental vacation to our Nation’s Capital - a chance for the kids to see America’s history up close and very personal, before heading back to the classroom and the study of history from text books.

Washington, D.C. can actually be very budget-friendly. Bookended by the many free things to see, and by affordable timeshare rentals, the dream of introducing your children to America first-hand can be a done deal.

First the Free Stuff:
  1. The Capitol Building
    The stunning rotunda is worth your time just by itself. Based on the huge Roman Pantheon, this imposing round entranceway (a soaring 180 feet high) is the connecting spot between the House of Representatives on one side and the Senate on the other. The rotunda is filled with busts and statues of America’s Presidents, which your children will find anything but boring. You can also take a fun walk through a tunnel to the Library of Congress.

  2. Ford’s Theater
    A tour of America’s most infamous theater will give the kids an intimate understanding of Abraham Lincoln as never before. On a self-guided tour of the Ford’s Theater Museum they’ll learn about Lincoln’s presidency from his first inauguration to the fateful night when he arrived at Ford’s Theater with his wife, Mary. Unbelievably on display is the actual derringer used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate the 16th President. There are a limited number of free tickets for the tour available on a daily basis. If you miss those, the cost of the tour is only $2.00.

  3. Tidal Basin
    This two-mile loop passes the Reflecting Pool, turns into West Potomac Park, and circles the water. From here you can see beautiful views of the Jefferson, Lincoln and Washington monuments, as well as war memorials. For a small fee you can even rent paddle boats, a fun way for the kids to get a different perspective of our Capital’s most famous structures.

  4. The National Mall
    This rectangular open-air park is an area commonly thought of as being located between the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol Building. Along both sides are the free museums of the Smithsonian, including the amazing Museum of American History, the exciting Air and Space Museum, and the Smithsonian “Castle.” The National Gallery of Art is also located here. Within walking distance are other free museums such as the National Archives.
Affordable Accommodations:
Budget-friendly places to stay for your family’s Washington, D.C., visit can be obtained by renting a timeshare at Wyndham’s Old Town Alexandria, starting at just $88/night, or at Wyndham’s Vacation Resorts at National Harbor, starting at $120/night. It’s easy to get around Washington, D.C., via its award-winning METRO system, which has a station near each of these timeshare resorts.
(Photo credits: Capitol Building - DC SHPO; Ford Theatre - natelcoelectric.com; Tidal Basin - visitingdc.com; National Mall - destination360.com)

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Timeshare #Travel Tuesday: Church Street Inn

Charleston, South Carolina

RedWeek member Gordon R. from North Carolina send us this photo taken in front of the Festiva Church Street Inn in Charleston. "Only in Charleston would you see such sight", Gordon tells us.

See all Charleston timeshares.

Monday, August 01, 2011

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

Lisa Ann Schreier, the Timeshare Crusader, presented some great information on how to rent a timeshare on a webinar hosted by RedWeek.com last month. Lisa Ann’s intent was to help allay the fears of any of you “newbies” to the process, which is really quite simple – and safe as long as you follow some suggested guidelines (see Part 1). Here in Part 2 is a bit of the Q&A session from the webinar.

Q&As

Q: When I rent a timeshare am I obligated to attend the resort’s timeshare sales presentation?

A: No. You absolutely do not have to attend a sales presentation. They will ask, bribe, cajole , but you are free to say yes, and free to say no. It is Not mandatory. You are renting, you are there to enjoy your vacation, you are not there to take a sales presentation, unless you choose to.

Q: Who is responsible for damage to the unit?

A: If you are renting out your timeshare make sure there is a clause in the contract that the renter is held responsible for any damage. You should also contact the resort and confirm that their policy is that whoever is occupying the unit is the responsible party.

For you renters – don’t take offense when this is in the contract. The renter is simply protecting their personal property, just as you would want to do.

Q: What if I only want to rent 2 or 3 days instead of the entire week?

A: That would be something you could negotiate with the owner. Do understand, however, that the owner owns a week, and can’t break it up, so the owner might need to charge you for the full week. If the owner’s timeshare is on the point system, then it’s easier to break up the time, and give you 2 or 3 days now and take the rest of the time later for themselves.

Q: Do I need to be a timeshare owner to rent a timeshare?

A: Absolutely not. Many members of RedWeek do not own timeshares themselves. Renting a timeshare is a great way to experience vacationing with a timeshare and see first-hand what it’s all about. This is a way of enjoying timeshare vacations without ever having to own one. Or, you might find out that this is the way you want to continue vacationing. Besides rentals, RedWeek members also list many timeshare resales, which are astonishingly cheaper than buying from a developer.

And remember, many people tend to think of timeshare resorts in far-flung exotic locations, but don’t overlook resorts within a 2 or 3 hour drive of where you live. With 6,000 timeshare resorts around the world there’s sure to be one near you. Renting a timeshare close by gives you the opportunity of exploring places closer to home, and you don’t have to incur the expense of airline tickets or car rentals to have a really great vacation at a timeshare resort.

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