Monday, December 29, 2014

Take a New Year's Resolution Trip!

We've all been there - we start off every new year with an earnest proclamation of our resolution. You're really going to do it this time! As great as our intentions might be, however, it's often not too long before something goes awry and we slip up, our resolution abandoned in suit. The trick is staying focused, delving in with a plan. Believe it or not, travel can be a fantastic way to help mentally reinforce your resolution and to immerse yourself in the mindset. We've taken some of the most common New Year's resolutions and matched them to an environment that can foster your intention.

Get Healthier in Palm Springs!

Palm Springs is home to dozens of hiking trails!
Looking to clean up your diet or get a little more active in 2015? Look no further than Palm Springs, California! With perennially warm temperatures and clear skies, this sun-soaked destination is ideal for keeping active. Hiking, rock-climbing, cycling, golfing and even more traditional sports like tennis, baseball and soccer can be enjoyed - just be sure to stay hydrated under that desert sun! Palm Springs' diverse array of international dining options allows for healthier options to be embraced as well. Many establishments even boast organic, preservative-free or vegetarian/vegan options if that's what you're looking for. Finally, Palm Springs is home to twenty different spas. Book a reservation and enjoy the pampering you'll receive - you'll be all the more motivated to take care of your body if you're feeling great!

Spend More Time with Family in Stowe!

Picturesque with a warm and welcoming atmosphere, this mountain town is the perfect place to reconnect with your entire family. Stowe, Vermont is often revered for its ski scene but has plenty to offer families regardless of the season. Summer offers gorgeous biking trails, zip-lining opportunities and the much-beloved Gondola SkyRide for breathtaking aerial views. In addition to skiing, winter activities include dogsledding, snowshoeing and sleigh rides. Regardless of the season, families can also learn how cider is mad at Cold Hollow Cider Mill, enjoy a factory tour (and samples!) of ice cream giant Ben & Jerry's, sip malts in the 50's-themed Depot Street Malt Shoppe and learn a little something new at the family-oriented Appletree Learning Centers.


Be More Green in Maui!

The Hawaii Nature center is
geared towards all ages!
If you're hoping to make your life a little more green and learn how to be environmentally friendly, Maui, Hawaii is a great place to start. Maui has a long history of preserving its beautiful environment while also allowing others to experience it. The Hawaii Nature Center offers programs where you can not only learn about Maui's unique environment but also play a direct role in its preservation. The Sierra Club also offers two Maui volunteer vacations where you can help with dedicated projects while also experiencing local attractions. Even many of the area's timeshares are in on the effort to stay environmentally friendly - The Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resort Villas details its green efforts while the Hyatt Ka'anapali Beach was awarded LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification!

De-stress in the Florida Keys!

The Florida Keys are very much the epitome of relaxation and time seems to slow down just a bit as you unwind. The Keys' slogan "come as you are" speaks of the destination's laid-back and easygoing manner, no matter whether you choose Key West, Key Largo, Islamorada, Big Pine Key or Marathon. Whatever your idea of relaxation is - boating, fishing, golfing, a spa treatment or even just lounging on the beach - you'll find boundless opportunities. The Keys certainly epitomize the "lazy summer days" atmosphere, but don't let that fool you. There's still plenty of high-adrenaline activities to be found - it's hard to remember your day-to-day stressors when you're parasailing hundreds of feet in the sky!

Get in Touch with Your Spiritual Side in Sedona!

Sedona's red rocks are said to house energy vortexes
with the capability to heal and energize.
Sedona, Arizona has long been considered a spiritual retreat rife with energy and mysticism. If you're hoping to re-energize and reconnect with your spiritual side, you can do no better than the famed red rocks. Sedona's mysterious "vortex sites" are said to be ideal for meditation and inspire a sense of peace and harmony with the world. Sedona is also home to a strong alternative medicine community as well as practitioners of astrology and shamanism willing to pass on their crafts. 

Get a Makeover in New York City!

If you're resolving to reinvent yourself or spruce up your style a bit, New York City is the place to visit. New York will always be a shopping wonderland - SoHo and Union Square are the places for all your favorite brands, while Madison Avenue is home to the ultra-stylish and ultra-expensive stores if you're seeking to really treat yourself. New York is also home to countless salons and spas to complete your makeover, as well as plenty of unique dining options to take a break and keep your energy up for even more shopping!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Major Airline Changes Reported for 2015

As vacationers, many of us are all-too-familiar with air travel. Oftentimes, it's a love-hate relationship; we love the speed by which a plane can deliver us to our destination, but few travelers find the journey itself pleasant. Between crowded airports, ever-changing air rates and typically FlyersRights.org, an organization dedicated to protecting consumers of air travel.
uncomfortable seating in the plane, it makes sense that air travel can be a bit of a pain - and things are about to change quite a bit in 2015 according to

This year, both Delta and United Airlines have announced changes to revamp their mileage programs to reward miles based off the amount spent rather than the actual distance flown. For many flyers just taking the average vacation, this can result in a significant devaluation of miles. While no other announcements have surfaced yet, other major airlines can be expected to follow suit. The new consensus seems to be that miles are effectively irrelevant when considering your airline choice - shop by price and consider non-US carriers when possible. 

FlyersRights also announced that American Airlines plans to spend nearly two billion dollars put towards product improvements on planes. These improvements are intended to improve the flight experience of first and business class passengers, including the implementation of fully lie-flat seats. Some fear, however, that these changes will come at the expense of standard flyers in the rest of plane. To be fair, however, American Airlines also announced changes that will benefit the entire plane, such as improved Wi-Fi and power outlets in every row.

Free bags are also becoming a relic of the past. JetBlue recently quit offering free checked bags, leaving Southwest as the lone carrier that still does. At first blush, many might be inclined to choose Southwest under the assumption that the free checked bag represents a better deal. Compare fees before purchasing tickets; even with that free bag, Southwest's fees might be the same or more than a competitor with lower ticket prices and a separate bag charge.

Flyers of American carriers are also advised to keep their eyes out for holiday surcharges. While many European airlines are notorious for seasonal surcharges, it's a trend that's largely been absent in the states until Spirit announced $2.00 surcharges for each bag checked on Christmas or New Year's day. Whether other carriers intend to follow suit is not yet known.

If planes already felt a bit claustrophobic for you, get ready for an even tighter squeeze. Many of the big-name carriers are overhauling planes and pulling out the big, bulky seats in favor of newer "slimline" models. These models and their slighter profiles would allow for planes to house an extra five to six seats from front to back. Unfortunately, this comes at the expense of consumer legroom.

Finally, Delta announced the debut of a new class - Basic Economy. Basic Economy is a bare-bones class choice that sacrifices flexibility to lower prices. Basic Economy will not allow for ticket changes, seat assignments or upgrades. This represents an interesting change - will consumers be willing to accept the limitations of Basic Economy to secure a lower price?

What do these changes mean for you? Will you alter your travel plans in light of these changes? Let us know! For more up-to-date information on goings-on in the air travel industry, we recommending checking out FlyersRights directly!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Get Ready for Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows!

Artist's rendering of the new Bungalow accommodations. 
Disney Vacation Club has quite the reputation in the realm of timeshares - and for good reason! These resorts are beloved by millions of vacationers and consistently rank among RedWeek members' favorite timeshare resorts. So, when Disney Vacation Club announces a new resort, it's big news! While rumored for a few months prior to official announcement, the notion of a new DVC resort in Walt Disney World had vacationers chomping at the bit - what would follow up the success of Disney's Bay Lake Tower in 2009?

The official announcement in September of 2013 had DVC owners elated. A portion of the ever-popular Polynesian Resort would be receiving a DVC renovation with an unannounced opening. Little else was known, but speculation was rampart nonetheless. Fast forward more than a year later, and just now most of the details have come to light, and the newly titled Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows seeks to stand out.

In addition to the batch of existing Polynesian rooms that are being converted into DVC units, Disney is also testing the new Disney Vacation Club Bungalows. This concept borrows a page from the vacation home concept and allows travelers the full "home-away-from-home" - their own private bungalow instead of a sectioned-off room. These bungalows can sleep up to eight individuals, and sound undeniably lavish. The Polynesian's famed South Seas vibe resonates loud and clear, and touches like the private plunge pools and Seven Seas Lagoon view seek to elevate the experience. While only twenty bungalows are planned for opening, it's certainly possible that Disney will integrate the concept into future DVC developments if it proves to be a hit.

The bungalows aren't the only interesting concept to be we'll see upon opening. New Deluxe Studios will also make their debut. These units can connect to another Deluxe Studio and sleep five each, making it an affordable alternative to multiple bedroom units for large groups. The addition of a kitchenette and expanded storage help alleviate the crowded feeling that studios can run the risk of.

With the DVC developments also come a refreshment of the Polynesian's Great Ceremonial House, where guests will first experience the resort. We'll see updated and expanded pools on property, as well as new dining options. Pineapple Lanai will provide guests with the much-beloved Dole Whip treat, and Trader Sam's Grog Grotto will offer plenty of cocktails and Polynesian-themed appetizers and small plates.

There's still a bit of unclarity regarding the opening or sale of Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows. All we know is that the doors are scheduled to open at some time during 2015, with many predicting spring. However, this is just speculation, and it's best to hear from Disney first. We recommend keeping an eye on the Disney Parks Blog for more information as it's released. Disney's Polynesian Villas and Bungalows is sure to delight both DVC owners and family vacationers come its much anticipated debut!


Photo Credit:  http://disneyparks.disney.go.com/blog/2014/12/new-details-announced-for-disneys-polynesian-villas-and-bungalows/

Monday, December 08, 2014

New Year's Weeks Are Going Quickly!

Westin Princeville Ocean Resort Villas
New Year's week is an ever-popular time to travel and for good reason - there's something exciting about ringing in the year somewhere out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, the popularity comes with some downsides. Resort rates soar in response to the demand, and many travelers are left out of options unless their trip was planned months - or sometimes years! - in advance.

Timeshare rentals to the rescue! Many travelers don't consider the option of renting, and so there are still savvy owners with these coveted weeks on the market and eager to rent. Better yet, prices run for only a fraction of the resort's direct rate. This January, celebrate somewhere extra-special and check out our secret stash of New Year's weeks!

(prices listed in $USD for a full week unless otherwise noted)


Florida


Arizona


Hawaii

California


Colorado


Nevada


Mexico


The Caribbean



Please be aware: all availability and prices were verified on December 7th, 2014. These weeks are bound to go quickly, so be sure to contact the owner as soon as possible to lock in the week!


Have you decided on your perfect New Year's destination yet? Or perhaps you snagged a week at an amazing price with just as amazing plans in the works! Let us know in the comments, or share your experience on our Facebook page!

Monday, December 01, 2014

Seven Gift Ideas for the Travelers in Your Life

Every year, it feels like the holiday season creeps a bit closer without us even realizing it! For most of us, there's still plenty of gift shopping to get squared away. If you're on the hunt for the perfect present for the travelers in your life, let us recommend these seven ideas...

1. Noise-canceling headphones
The noises of travel can get pretty stressful very quickly. Between roaring engines, bumpy roads and - of course - noisy seatmates. On trips like these, the absolute silence granted by noise-canceling headphones can be a blissful reprieve, and zoning out to their favorite music can make the long trip a bit more bearable.

2. Headrest Pillow
Be it by plane, train or car, traveling isn't always the most comfortable endeavor. A simple headrest pillow can help its recipient stay a little more comfortable. There's a handful of options out there - inflatable headrests that can easily be deflated and stored away to take up very little room or fully plush pillows that encircle the back of the neck and provide ultimate comfort. 

3. E-reader or tablet
While not just intended for traveling, the benefits of e-readers and tablets for those always on the go cannot be overstated. E-readers are slim and low-profile, and much easier to pack than bulky, heavy books. Tablets are also remarkably easy to take on the go and can oftentimes altogether replace a laptop or computer for most individuals.

4. Dining gift card
Most of us finding ourselves eating out quite a bit more than normal when on vacation or traveling. Help pare down the a bill a bit with a gift card to their favorite restaurant. Many gift cards to chain restaurants can be purchased in major stores like Target or Walmart. If your recipient prefers to explore local fare on their own when traveling, consider giving a Restaurant.com gift card.

5. International plug converter
While the United States and Canada use 110 volt electricity, most countries beyond North America use 220 volt electricity. If your recipient is traveling abroad, a plug converter is perhaps one of the most practical and useful gifts you can give - it's a necessity to use any electronics or electrical appliances from home!

6. Self-filtering water bottle
Quickly becoming more mainstream, these standard reusable water bottles are also outfitted with a filter that processes and cleans the water before it goes into your mouth. Whether they prefer the crisper taste of filtered water or are concerned about health risks with international, unfiltered tap water, a filtered water bottle is convenient and more affordable than buying bottled water at every turn.

7. A timeshare rental
Travel can be a great gift in and of itself! Since many timeshare rentals are just a fraction of the cost compared against direct resort rates, they're often more affordable than you'd think. When working with the owner, just mention that you're purchasing the rental as a gift - most owners are more than willing to go ahead and accommodate the request and put the reservation in the recipient's name. 

Monday, November 24, 2014

November Resort Spotlight - Hyatt Main Street Statio

For many of us, November begins to feel like the onset of winter. Some will dread the chillier temperatures, but others embrace the freshly fallen snow and instead take to the slopes - ski season is upon us! If you find yourself bundling up and braving the cold for the promise of thrill, November's resort spotlight is for you! Hyatt Main Street Station is located in the heart of Breckenridge, Colorado  and is perfectly positioned so guests have easy access to the area's best slopes as well as the shopping, dining and entertainment to found on Main Street.

Hyatt Main Street Station embodies the spirit of the town of Breckenridge - full of alpine charm, cozy and quaint but with plenty of opportunities for adventure. The property's central location only adds to its versatility. Main Street - Breck's eight-block mecca of dining and shopping - is just a few minutes' walk away. Just beyond Main Street lie the peaks overlooking this mountain town, an easy trip by car.

A central location provides quick access to all of Breckenridge.
Hyatt's Breckenridge property feels like a mountain lodge as soon as you walk in the door. The lobby is decked out in warm redwoods and rustic touches, including a stone fireplace. The studio units as well as the two and three bedroom suites are built to match with overwhelming cozy and warm decor.  Rooms are outfitted with all the necessities for your Breckenridge location including a gas fireplace, jetted spa bathtub, television, DVD player and high speed internet access Studio units include a kitchenette and small dining area, while the two and three bedroom units hold a full kitchen, separate seating area and in-suite washer and dryer.

Warm and cozy - your suite feels just like home!
The main allure of Breckenridge will always be skiing, but there's plenty of other outdoor fun to be had in the area. Dog sledding, sleigh rides, snowmobiling and snowboarding are all possible in Breckenridge and sure to get you into that wintery, holiday spirit. If you're looking for a more low key stay, don't rule out Breckenridge yet! The town is host to several spas and has a wealth of art, museum and theater experiences, as well as casino and ample nightlife.

Main Street against the mountains is a sight to behold.
As a Hyatt resort, Hyatt Main Street Station enjoys moderate activity on RedWeek, boasting about an equal number of rentals and resales. There's still a handful of November and December weeks available, and even more in January, when Colorado's winter is in full swing. For your winter escape, retreat into the heart of the Rocky Mountains at Hyatt Main Street Station!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Travel Apps You Never Knew You Needed

Whether we like it or not, many of us tend to rely on our smartphones for day to day use. Travel is no exception, and our phones see a lot of use when we're far from home. Flight times, maps, packing lists... Smartphones make everything a bit more streamlined, and there's quite a number of apps out there targeted towards individuals who travel. Which ones should you download before your next vacation?

Orbitz Flights, Hotels, Cars

Orbitz's app compiles the best travels and makes it easy to book them. Even if most us prefer timeshare accommodations to standard "hotel" lodging, the option to look into affordable hotel availability can be a lifesaver in some cases. And of course, a reliable source of comparing flight and car rentals is always appreciated! Best of all, Orbitz offers a price guarantee if another user books the same as you for a lower price. 
Available for: iOS, Android, Kindle Fire

GateGuru

How often have you been stuck in an airport reading the same old newspaper or wandering the gate aimlessly? GateGuru helps find better ways to occupy you, and clues you into the secrets of whichever airport you're in. Did you know the San Francisco International Airport houses a yoga room where you can stretch and unwind? GateGuru is packed with plenty of secrets just like this!
Available for: iOS, Android, Windows Phone

City Guides, Offline Maps

Sure the name might be a little jarring, but this app created by those at Stay.com offers two distinct functions. First, there's plenty of plenty of maps built into the app, all of them offline which is perfect for those moments you find yourself without cell coverage or wifi. You can also create loose itineraries of what you want to do, where you want to eat and what you want to see. If you already use Stay.com, you can import your itineraries right over to your phone as well.
Available for: iOS, Android

Gogobot

Gogobot is one of the best ways to pull up things to do while on the go. Whether you consider yourself an outdoorsy type or a shopping addict, Gogobot recommends activities suited to what "type" of traveller you are. These activities can be then be collected into an itinerary to save for later. If you're already out and about, Gogobot can locate nearby points of interest in the area for new opportunities to experience.
Available for: iOS, Android

Viator

Most of us are looking to save money, and Viator is perfectly designed to help out. The app pulls up discounts and deals either nearby or in your destination of choice. The amount of discounts as well as the quality varies quite a bit, but it's still definitely worth checking out before setting off and committing to standard prices.
Available for: iOS, Android

Packing Pro

If you ever find yourself double and triple-checking to make sure everything you need is packed, Packing Pro is the app for you. You can create your own lists of things to pack, or use one of Packing Pro's built-in list options to guide you. If that wasn't enough, Packing Pro also has some general reminders that are easy to overlook set up - water the plants and double-check your reservations!
Available for: iOS

TripIt

TripIt is an incredibly handy app for travelers. Instead of frantically combing through your email for whichever reservation you might need, let TripIt take care of it! The app searches your email automatically and pulls out travel information, including confirmations numbers for flights, hotel bookings, rental car confirmations and even restaurant reservations. If you ever find yourself the slightest bit disorganized, TripIt deserves a download!
Available for: iOS, Android


As smartphones continue to grow and evolve as integral parts of our life, no doubt we'll see more travel-oriented apps pop up. What apps are you "go-to" when hitting the road?



Monday, November 10, 2014

Capture Your Trip's Every Moment With These Ten Photography Tips!

When we travel, our cameras are invariably at our sides. Whether we're rocking the newest DSLR camera or just a smartphone camera, we all want to capture every memorable moment of our vacation. These ten photography tips will help you manage your equipment, setting and subjects in pursuit of that perfect shot!


  1. No matter where you're traveling, cameras - especially the more technical, expensive models - and their owners are prime targets for thieves. If you're traveling with a pricy camera model or accessories (think lenses, tripods and battery packs), consider packing your gear in a plain or even ratty-looking backpack as opposed to a fancier camera bag - you're far less likely to catch the eye of thieves!
  2. It's very easy to underestimate just how photos many you'll return home with. If you're guilty of going a little overboard snapping pictures, travel with a portable hard drive and card adapter.  You don't want to get stuck with a full memory card and no way to preserve all the photos you've taken!
  3. When photographing family and friends, you'll want to strike a good balance between the subject and environment (unless you're specifically aiming for portraits!). You want your subject to be clear and recognizable, but you also want to show off the background or landscape.
  4. Shoot candids when you can! Posed pictures can look nice, but they rarely show off the true spirit of your vacation - shoot when no one is aware to capture emotion.
  5. If you're flying to your destination, transfer any essentials to your camera bag and bring that along as your carry-on. Baggage handlers can be notoriously rough, which doesn't bode well for the delicate structure of cameras and lenses. If possible, you'll also want to tuck your camera bag safely under the seat instead of sliding freely around in the overhead compartments.
  6. If you haven't already, invest in a lightweight, sturdy and foldable tripod. You don't need to lug it around all the time, but it will make landing those stable shots in low-light or difficult conditions much easier!
  7. Deviate from eye-level shots and try photographing your subjects from different angles. Shooting a bit above or below eye level will lend an all-new attitude to your shot.
  8. We all love sunset photos, but for a truly striking shot, shoot with trees, buildings or a person in silhouette - the contrast creates for a much more intense picture!
  9. Try photographing in the rule of thirds, setting your subject along imaginary lines dividing the image into vertical and horizontal thirds. This creates a naturally pleasing and dynamic image and, best of all, most cameras have an overlay function that allows these third lines to be superimposed over your composition when looking through the lens. 
  10. Use your flash carefully. Flash can be great for capturing a brief moment in low light, but it does produce very "flat" or washed-out photos. As an alternative, try increasing ambient lighting, opening your lens aperture or reducing shutter speed. These techniques will create a more full and "natural" image.
Do you have any tried and true photography tricks that you employ on vacation? Let us know below!

Monday, November 03, 2014

RedWeek's Casting Calls Are a Success!

This past July, RedWeek debuted The Great Family Vacation Casting Call to undisputed success! The casting call offered vacationing families the chance to enjoy professional photography and RedWeek fame.

Colleen, Shane and their two two teenagers were our first applicants to be selected. Hailing from Arizona, the family chose Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club in Oahu for their summer vacation. Long-time RedWeek members, Colleen and Shane use RedWeek to book their annual vacations and have made some fantastic memories. Their gorgeous photography was the work of Oahu-based photographer Kim Ebert.

Colleen and Shane's summer Oahu vacation!

RedWeek's second casting call featured Mark and Vickie from Portland, Oregon. RedWeek members and owners at Marriott's Maui Ocean Club, the couple visited the resort to celebrate a family wedding and added on a second week for themselves at the end once the rest of family had gone home. Wendy Laurel captured Mark, Vickie and the family enjoying the Maui sun.

Mark and Vickie's Maui vacation!

There's one more casting call underway - and we want you to be a part of it! If your family has vacation plans at timeshare resort in the US, you can apply here to receive a free professional photo shoot, all digital copies of the photos, a $50.00 photo printing certificate and your face on RedWeek! Ideal applicants are RedWeek members who have booked their trip through RedWeek, and a photo and testimonial about your RedWeek experience will improve your chances of being selected. 

Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more updates on our casting calls!

Monday, October 27, 2014

The Revival of Grand Palisades

Grand Palisades prior construction beginning anew.
After six years of dormancy, development of the timeshare resort Grand Palisades has resumed once more under Westport Capital Partners. Trouble for the resort began in 2009 when the recession was in full swing and the project's lead developer declared bankruptcy and fled the country, leaving thousands of investors furious and filing lawsuits while the resort itself laid unfinished and vacant behind a chain-link fence with a decidedly uncertain future. Grand Palisades had foreclosed for a hefty $150 million.

Westport Capital Developers has a history of acquiring and breathing new life into distressed and vacant properties and has very high hopes for Grand Palisades; Orlando is a consistently strong bet for development. The exact details and structure of the resort remain unclear - Westport is open to all possibilities and haven't decided whether the renewed Grand Palisades will be a fractional timeshare, straight condos or a combination of condos and a hotel.

One thing that is certain is that the project is receiving quite a bit of love and will take some time to get back up on its feet - Westport estimates that development could take up to eighteen months. Big things are planned for the property, and a spa, gym and restaurant are just some of the ideas brainstormed for Grand Palisades.

The revival of Grand Palisades isn't only a good thing for Orlando vacationers - it represents the renewed vigor of timeshares. Much like other "luxury" industries, the timeshare industry experienced its fair share of struggles during the recession, with many independent resorts closing their doors and even the big resort management companies working to turn a profit. Even so, many vacationers could see the value in timeshares and this popularity has been a boon to the timeshare industry - investors are willing to step up and take a chance on timeshares and there's no doubt that vacationers will be the ones to benefit.

Photo Credit: James Hobart, Macbeth Photography

Monday, October 20, 2014

Should You Consider Travel Insurance?

With Cabo just recovering from the hurricane that caused widespread damage and another crop of storms threatening tropical locations, many travelers are wondering if travel insurance is a worthwhile investment. Even if there is no looming natural disaster, travel insurance can be an excellent safeguard in the case of unforeseen circumstances or peace of mind at the very least.
However, it does come with a cost, and it's up to you to decide if insurance fits your needs.

Travel insurance is one of those things that varies quite a bit between companies; there's a plethora of different plans and add-ons that have the potential to cause confusion. On top of that, not all travel insurance providers or plans cover rentals from private owners. While RedWeek doesn't recommend any one provider in particular, many RedWeek members have had success with the services of Travel Guard and others swear by VacationGuard, both of whom offer protection for timeshare rentals. VacationGuard also offers a specialized plan for owners of timeshares as well. If you're looking into dealing with another company, be sure to check up front if they insure timeshare rentals from individual owners.

As mentioned, plans do vary but most "base level" insurance plans tend to cover the most common and large-scale risks, such as a medical emergency (sickness or accident), emergency evacuation, trip cancellation, trip interruption, visitor health insurance, repatriation, damaged or missing baggage/property, delayed baggage, missing a flight due to airline's schedule and travel delays due to weather. Occasionally, some providers might offer extra coverage for an additional fee for additions such as pre-existing condition coverage, accidental unit damage, cancellation due to job loss, coverage for sports with an element of risk and travel to high risk companies. Some providers also allow you to "build your own" plan, where you choose the protection you desire.

Of course, travel insurance does not come cheap. Like any insurance, the costs in the case of disaster will almost invariably far exceed the initial purchase price, but dropping a couple hundred dollars on the extra protection can deter travelers. If traveling during a high-risk time - such as hurricane season - a base plan can be invaluable. Otherwise, it becomes a much more personal consideration - is the peace of mind worth the extra cost? Have you had experience with travel insurance or a situation where it might have been invaluable? Share your story in the comments!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Christmas Timeshare Rentals are Going Fast!

Have you finalized your Christmas vacation plans yet? Okay, we know what you're thinking - it's not even Halloween yet! It's too early to be thinking about Christmas, right? Holiday travel, however, often requires months and even a year of forethought - resorts book up fast, and the week of Christmas is often very in demand. Luckily for you, enterprising owners are still renting out their Christmas weeks, but they are renting quickly. Whether you're planning a tropical vacation, a ski retreat or just looking to give your family the best present ever, we've compiled a list of dozens resorts with Christmas inventory left. 

If you see something you like, you'll want to contact the owner as soon as possible to lock in the rental. These weeks are notorious for renting mere days within posting.

All prices are in $USD for one full week.


Florida

Disney's Saratoga Springs Resort & Spa


Arizona


Hawaii

Kaanapali Beach Club


South Carolina


California

Marriott's Newport Coast Villas

Colorado


Mexico

Grand Luxxe Nuevo Vallarta

Aruba



Saint Martin/Sint Maarten

Oyster Bay Beach Resort

Please be aware: all availability and prices were verified on October 13th, 2014. All weeks are limited in quantity and will go very quickly!

The bulk of Christmas and holiday weeks have already been posted, but owners are adding new inventory every day, and so there's still a chance of seeing more rentals pop up. If you're on the hunt for a specific week, be sure to sign up for RedWeek posting alerts by visiting the resort page you're looking at, and then selecting "receive posting alerts" in the upper right corner of the page!

Friday, October 10, 2014

October Resort Spotlight - Smugglers' Notch Resort

Vacationing in fall brings to mind brilliant autumn leaves, hikes in the crisp air with loved ones and sipping apple cider while snuggled up in front of the fireplace. If this is your idea of a perfect October vacation, then this month's Resort Spotlight will be right up your alley! With a picturesque location
and plenty of activities both onsite and in the area to satisfy the entire family, a trip to Smugglers' Notch Resort will be the best autumn trip yet!

Smugglers' Notch Resort is located in its namesake of Smugglers' Notch, Vermont. While the resort is often touted as a ski destination, the sheer beauty of Smugglers' Notch in the fall should not be overlooked. Tucked away in the Green Mountains, the resort boasts a beautiful view of the surrounding peaks as well as blazing fall foliage in these autumn months. Five separate "communities" make up the resort, each with a handful of studio to four-bedroom units. The particular room layouts are all given names to reflect the natural surroundings, such as Evergreen, Owls and Sycamores. 

Mountains and forests make for an amazing backdrop!

Each and every unit is designed to immerse guests in the alpine spirit of Smugglers' Notch. Units are outfitted with red wooden furniture and draped with classic prints. Rooms are equipped with the necessities as well as extra touches to make the stay even more comfortable, such as sizable decks and even sunrooms in certain unit layouts. The majority of units also include a fireplace - perfect to help add to that cozy fall vibe!

Warm colors, woods and stone speak "autumn".
Smugglers' Notch Resort is renowned for offering incredible amounts of activities and entertainment right onsite. Kids especially have plenty of options to keep busy - arts and crafts are scheduled routinely, there's a video game room packed with electronic fun and the family favorite FunZone (packed with bounce houses, slides and table games) lets kids burn off some extra energy. Dining options are diverse with nine separate restaurants and lounges serving everything from casual ice cream cones to fine dining by candlelight. If the fall air is a tad too chilly for swimming, consider dropping by the heated indoor pool for a dip or relaxing in one of many hot tubs.

Kids won't know where to start at the FunZone!
With the mountains nearby, there's no shortage of outdoor activities perfectly suited to fall vacationing. Hiking and biking among the breathtaking foliage are popular choices, and horseback riding and gold are less than ten miles away. Nearby Jeffersonville and Cambridge offer fantastic shopping opportunities with art galleries, homemade crafts and antiques while historic Stowe is packed with history, fine dining and specialty shops.

Fall is an absolutely gorgeous time in Vermont!
Smugglers' Notch Resort isn't the most popular resort on RedWeek, but it does boast a healthy number of postings throughout the year, as well as quite a few prime rental weeks in the coming months. If you're on the hunt for a fall destination that embraces that warm and cozy "lodge-y" feel, you can't go wrong with Smugglers' Notch Resort!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Resort Progress in the Wake of Hurricane Odile

On the night of September 15th, Hurricane Odile slammed the Baja California peninsula, wreaking havoc on the entire southern half of the peninsula. Cabo San Lucas - a traditional vacation hotspot - was caught right in the trajectory of the storm. While the hurricane has long passed and the dust has settled, Cabo is still caught in a frenzy to pick up the pieces and get business running as usual. Progress has been remarkable, but still some resorts are undergoing maintenance. If a vacation in Cabo is on your calendar, be sure to get the scoop on how your resort is faring.

Resorts sustaining significant damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered significant damage and will require extensive repair before reopening their doors to guests.

Resorts sustaining moderate damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered moderate damage. A fair amount of repair is still needed, and reopening dates are still awhile off. 

Resorts sustaining minor damage

The following resorts are reported to have suffered minor damage. Resorts are mostly intact, but cosmetic or small-scale repairs are needed. Most plan to open within the month.

Of course, some resorts have managed to escape the worst of the storm and are already up and running; among them, Villa del Arco Beach Resort & Spa, Villa del Palmar Cabo San Lucas and WorldMark Coral Baja. Additionally, most major airlines have dubbed the area safe to fly to and will also be accepting bookings on October 8th.

RedWeek is continuing to update our resort pages as we obtain new information, but if you don't see your resort listed, we highly encourage you to contact the resort directly. Many are more than willing to let you know the current status, as well as eager to help make your vacation enjoyable.

Photo Credit: http://www.cnn.com/2014/09/15/world/americas/hurricane-odile/


Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrate Halloween in Sunny Florida!

Florida's balmy climate lends itself well to autumn vacations - the hot and heavy summer humidity has abated while still remaining warm enough for shorts and t-shirts. The best benefit of Florida in the fall, however? All of those Halloween celebrations at the theme parks! If you're looking for a spooky fall trip the entire family will enjoy, consider spending a night at one (or a few!) of these park-exclusive celebrations.

Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party

Between September 1st to October 31st, Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom park plays host to one of fans' favorite events - Mickey's Not-So-Scary Halloween Party. Like name suggests, this bash is low on the scary factor but still plenty of fun for all ages. On select nights between 7:00 PM and 12:00 AM, the park shuts down to everyone but partygoers. Guests are encouraged to come in costume and trick or treat around dozens of candy stations set up. Several classic Magic Kingdom attractions remain open, and exclusive seasonal entertainment is abound - Mickey's "Boo-To-You" Halloween Parade is classes Disney parade fun with a spooky twist, while Happy HalloWishes lets the Disney Villains take control of the nightly Wishes firework spectacular! New this year is the Villains Soiree - a delightfully devious dessert party with Disney's infamous villains.

Halloween Horror Nights

If you're looking for more intense thrills and chills, Universal Studios Florida holds their Halloween Horror Nights from September 19th to November 1st. There's eight separate haunted houses, each experience crafted around TV and movie horror hits such as The Walking Dead and Dracula Untold. There's also a full set of six live shows and street experiences to keep you on toes, including shows based off The Purge: Anarchy and The Rocky Picture Horror Show. Several favorite Universal Studios attractions remain open until the early hours of the morning, making this event the ultimate experience for movie buffs with a taste for horror.

Howl-O-Scream

Busch Gardens Tampa returns this year with their annual Howl-O-Scream event held on select nights from September 26th to November 1st. This year, the event bears the theme "Cursed"; where hearing a particular eerie song curses the listener to doom. If they can survive the night with hundreds of roaming creatures, the curse is broken. Eight haunted houses offer plenty of chilling experiences, and Busch Gardens' exciting roller coasters are even more fun in the dark of night. For delightfully demented dining, be sure to book a ticket to Fright Feast, where you can enjoy front-row seats to the "Fiends" show while chowing down on buffet main courses and decadent desserts. If you're in more of a party mood, drop by the Marrakesh Theater for Club Howl-O-Scream - this dance playground comes with a DJ, nonstop music and appearances by horrific personalities.

Halloween Spooktacular

Perhaps the best suited for young children, SeaWorld's Halloween Spooktacular keeps things light and fun on weekends from October 4th through the 26th. Penelope's Party Zone located in the Bayside Stadium, kids have the opportunity to participate in games and crafts all to the sound of fun, spooky music. There's also park-wide trick-or-treating with plenty of candy stations for kids to tackle. The pathways are packed with costumed characters, all happy to interact with the entire family. For an extra-special experience, the Dine With Shamu Halloween Spooktacular Brunch is offered. Guests dine right alongside the whale pool, and this experience includes a complimentary family photo and frame, cookie decorating kit and a bag of trick or treat goodies.


Photo Credit: http://www.halloweenhorrornights.com/orlando/index.html

Monday, September 22, 2014

Get Ready for Ski Season!

It might only be September now, but it won't be long before the snow starts falling in North America's top ski destinations. If you're looking to hit the slopes this holiday season, first be sure that your park of choice is open. The advent of "ski season" is highly variant; some peaks open in late October while others hold off as long as December. We've compiled a list of the expected opening dates of some of North America's favorite ski destinations to help guide your planning!

Colorado

  • Keystone Resort, Keystone: October 31st
  • Breckenridge Ski Resort, Breckenridge: November 7th
  • Wolf Creek Ski Area, Pagosa Springs: November 8th
  • Winter Park Resort, Winter Park: November 13th
  • Vail Mountain Resort, Vail: November 21st
  • Steamboat, Steamboat Springs: November 26th
  • Beaver Creek Resort, Avon: November 26th

Utah

  • Alta Ski Area, Alta: November 21st
  • Park City Mountain Resort, Park City: November 22nd 
  • Canyons, Park City: November 28th
  • Deer Valley,  Park City: December 6th

California

  • Mammoth Mountain Ski Area, Mammoth Lakes: November 13th
  • Heavenly Mountain, South Lake Tahoe: November 21st
  • Kirkwood Mountain Resort, Kirkwood: November 22nd
  • Northstar California, South Lake Tahoe: November 22nd

Oregon

  • Mr. Bachelor, Bend: November 26th
  • Timberline, Timberline Lodge: November 28th

Wyoming

  • Grand Targhee, Alta: November 22nd
  • Jackson Hole, Teton Village: November 27th

Vermont

  • Killington Resort, Killington: November 5th
  • Mount Snow, West Dover: November 15th
  • Jay Peak, Jay: November 22nd
  • Stratton Mountain, South Londonderry: November 23rd
  • Sugarbush, Warren: November 23rd
  • Smuggler's Notch, Cambridge: November 28th

Montana

  • Red Lodge Mountain, Red Lodge: November 23rd
  • Big Sky Resort, Big Sky: November 27th
  • Whitefish Mountain, Whitefish: December 7th

Washington

  • Mt. Baker, Bellingham: November 8th
  • Stevens Pass, Skykomish: November 22nd
  • 49 Degrees North, Chewelah: November 23rd
  • Crystal Mountain, Enumclaw: November 24th

British Columbia

  • Big White, Kelowna: November 27th
  • Whistler Blackcomb, Whistler: November 28th
  • Fernie Alpine, Fernie: November 29th

Keep in mind that while opening dates tend to be very accurate, unexpected weather conditions do run the potential of delaying opening. While uncommon, it is something that we recommend preparing for - be sure to have plenty of activity options lined up just in case Mother Nature is being a little bit uncooperative.

When looking for accommodations, also be sure to keep your options open! Many of the bigger ski resorts may offer lodging and accommodations, but often at a steep price! A timeshare rental can save you quite literally hundreds of dollars while still keeping you close to the the slopes with just-as-luxuriant furnishings. 

Photo Credit: http://www.vail.com

Monday, September 15, 2014

Take Advantage of Shoulder Season with a Timeshare Rental

High season and low season are fairly well-known and straightforward terms in the travel industry; high season represents the ideal conditions and draws a heavy crowd at heavy prices, whereas low season is markedly more quiet with less-than-ideal conditions. True travel gurus, however, sing the praises of "shoulder season". If you're not aware of shoulder season, this block of time varies by location and tends to represent the month or two tapering off of high season. Temperatures are often still beautiful, crowds thin out and prices (both accommodation and airfare!) begin to steadily drop.

When renting a timeshare, you're oftentimes already receiving a very substantial discount as opposed to purchasing a week directly through the resort. When taking advantage of shoulder season as well, you can shave yet another substantial chunk of travel expenses. Those familiar with timeshare seasons will know the demand for the prime season weeks, and how quickly these desirable weeks are booked up and rented by owners. While you might see less inventory for shoulder season weeks due to less perceived demand, often times that silver week can had for a fraction of the price that platinum week is going for! Airfare pricing tends to behave similarly - you'll begin to see a sharp decline in price as you approach the non-holiday seasons in the early fall and spring, when many shoulder seasons tend to lie.

Of course, price isn't the only consideration when booking your vacation - everyone will want to have fun too! Luckily, shoulder seasons tend to ride off of ideal weather with far more bearable crowds. Hawaii, for example, is gorgeous in early March - the big waves as well as many winter beach-goes have dissipated. If the mountains are more your choice, the Rocky Mountain ski destinations are perfect in early April. The powder is still prime for skiing, but with fewer competitors on the slopes. Perhaps the Caribbean and Mexico for November - hurricane season has largely abated, and beaches are still devoid of the holiday crowds.

How do you learn more about when shoulder season falls for your favorite destinations? There are several unofficial calendars out there for many resorts that outline the week designations. Different resort management companies use different designation systems, but generally "red" or "platinum" weeks indicate high season periods, while cooler coolers and lesser metals indicate shoulder or low season. Additionally, a quick internet search for your destination's high season will outline the busiest times.

Next time you're looking at planning a vacation, first check to see when shoulder season falls! Your vacation might be more affordable, more relaxing and all the better for it!

Friday, September 12, 2014

Is Donating Your Timeshare a Viable Way "Out"?

While plenty of owners love the flexibility that their timeshare can offer, sometimes it's no longer possible to keep their ownership. This can be due to any number of reasons - the expense, the inability to travel or simply changing interests. When making the decision to let their timeshare go, many owners want out of the ownership as quickly as possible and this can be difficult; oftentimes, it can take some time on the resale market before a sale is made and, even then, closing can be a longer process many owners wish to bear with. Recently, the concept of donating a timeshare has taken off. But is it an efficient and reliable way to escape your timeshare?

In order for a charity to benefit from your timeshare, it must be able to be sold for a profit. This means if you've been struggling to sell your timeshare - or see other resales going for very low prices - the charitable organization of your choice might not accept your donation. Since timeshares typically lose much of their value after the initial investment, the charity is forced to rely upon fair market value in order to determine whether your donation will be accepted and this value tends to far, far lower than the thousands of dollars that might have gone into the initial purchase. Furthermore, keep in mind that most resorts will still have transfer and closing fees that will need to be paid when donating your timeshare. Just because you're relinquishing your timeshare to a charity does not mean that transfer fees will be waived.

Aside from altruism, there is one noticeable upside to donating your timeshare - you can acquire a small tax deduction once the charity has sold your timeshare. This has led some former owners to believe they could report an inflated price in order to reap the benefits of deduction. Upon the sale of your timeshare, the charity is required to file form 8282 with the IRS where the selling price is reported. You will receive a copy of this form as well, and if your reported value greatly exceeds the selling value provided, you might be in for a very unpleasant audit!

So the question remains; if you do choose to donate your timeshare, who should you donate it to? There are a few charity organizations out there on the internet who willingly accept timeshare donations - while we can't speak for any particular organization, doing a quick internet search reveals quite a few options and how they would proceed with accepting such a donation. Our recommendation, however, is to first look within your own community - local schools, religious institutions and the community itself might accept the donation to be auctioned off or sold outright. This way, you know exactly where the proceeds from your timeshare are going.

Donations are best when the intent is truly charity - it isn't the "easy out" many owners pursue. If you're considering stepping away from your timeshare and have an organization you'd love to help, then definitely pursue it! But for a quick fix or to recoup any initial investment, it might prove easier to put your timeshare up for resale.