Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – New York City

The beautiful architectural designs of the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City. Taken by Joe Gosha of North Carolina.

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, January 30, 2012

BBB Lists Timeshare Scams in Top 10 + Some Good News From Florida

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) investigates thousands of scams every year, from the latest gimmicks to schemes as old as the hills. As the New Year begins, the BBB looked at the most prevalent problems in 2011. And once again “Timeshare Scams” is in the Top Ten.

While timeshare owners continue to be frustrated with not being able to sell their properties, they are, thankfully, becoming more savvy. The media focus on timeshare scams has alerted many people to the perils of accepting any offer over the telephone that requires an up-front fee. But that means the scammers are also becoming more sophisticated.

In 2011, the BBB reports, many consumers fell victim to a very specific timeshare scam. Victims received a call out of the blue offering a generous price for their Mexican timeshare property. The buyer offered to handle the transaction for no money up front and made the process simple and easy for the consumer, emailing all necessary documents and providing a supposed independent escrow account to act as a secure third party.

In time, various international taxes and other ambiguous fees were assessed to victims, while the timeshare company promised reimbursement at the time of sale. Thousands of dollars later, both the buyer and escrow company disappeared, taking with them the consumers' money and trust.

Another example is a California-based company named Transfer Smart that mailed too-good-to-be-true timeshare resale offers to people across the United States. In the letter, Transfer Smart promised to “get you out of your Timeshare Forever!”

A response led to a meeting with the company where they then pressured the victims to write a check on the spot to sell their timeshare.

And then there’s the timeshare scam that hits you twice.

Good news for beleaguered timeshare owners who want to sell is that Pam Bondi, Florida’s Attorney General, has announced her support of the “Timeshare Resale Accountability Act,” which passed the business and consumer affairs subcommittee of Florida last week.

Timeshare fraud is a top complaint in Florida, and with this bill, state rules and regulations will be tightened. The new bill requires companies to disclose the names and addresses of potential buyers.

The Timeshare Crusader, Lisa Ann Schreier, has these 5 simple tips for anyone wanting to sell their timeshare:
1. YOU should make the first contact (be it telephone, mail, or email).
2. YOU should maintain as much control as possible over the dealings.
3. YOU should get everything in writing.
4. YOU should check the company’s name with the BBB, and with the Real Estate Commission in the state where the company is based.
5. YOU should NEVER pay any money up front no matter what plausible-sounding reason you are given by the company.

If you're wanting to sell your timeshare list it as a timeshare resale on RedWeek.com. You remain completely in control of the transaction.

Photo Credit: impactlab.net

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flying to Your Timeshare Vacation? Take a Look at These New Passenger Rights

The sun continues to rise on passenger rights – good news for timeshare vacationers.

Last May the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) announced a new series of passenger rights. "It's the biggest change in airline passenger protection since deregulation in 1978," said Charlie Leocha, Director of the advocacy group Consumer Travel Alliance.

It’s hoped that the new consumer protections for airline passengers will make flying more convenient and hassle-free for air travelers nationwide. “The Obama Administration believes consumers have the right to be treated fairly when they fly,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said.

“The Department of Transportation's new passenger protections will help ensure that air travelers receive the respect they deserve before, during and after their flight,” said LaHood.

Most of the regulations went into effect in August, 2011, and addressed such issues as getting bumped, time spent on the tarmac, and lost luggage. Read Travel News – New Airline Travelers Rights for more information.

On January 24, 2012 the following additional measures also went into effect:
1. Requiring all taxes and fees to be included in advertised fares.

2. Banning post-purchase price increases.

3. Allowing passengers to hold a reservation without payment, or to cancel it without penalty, for 24 hours after the reservation is made, if the reservation is made one week or more prior to a flight’s departure date.

4. Requiring disclosure of baggage fees when passengers book a flight.

5. Requiring that the same baggage allowances and fees apply throughout a passenger’s journey.

6. Requiring disclosure of baggage fee information on e-ticket confirmations.

7. Requiring prompt notification of delays of over 30 minutes, as well as cancellations and diversions.

You can read the final rules, proposed rules and comments here. Enter docket DOT-OST-2010-0140.

Ready to test these rules out? Plan a budget-friendly, family-friendly timeshare rental vacation now!

Photo Credit: airport-int.com

Thursday, January 26, 2012

5 Fun Special Effects to Watch Out for at Orlando’s Theme Parks

Anytime of the year is a great time to visit Orlando and its myriad theme parks, but winter is an especially good getaway time – warm weather, fewer crowds, and great deals on timeshare rentals.

Orlando’s theme parks are packed full of stunning attractions, which can transport guests to fairytale lands, scenes from famous movies or even into space in an instant. Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando have invested billions of dollars to ensure that the experiences are as authentic as possible – but have you ever wondered how some of those incredible moments are created? Here are five amazing special effects to watch out for during your next visit.

1. The Haunted Mansion at Disney’s Magic Kingdom

One of Disneyland’s biggest secrets, the Haunted Mansion’s ballroom scene, was cloned when the Magic Kingdom’s version opened in 1971. It is the world’s largest version of the Pepper’s Ghost illusion, a trick that has been in use since the 1860s. Guests view the scene from above, looking down on an (empty) room through a 30-foot sheet of glass. The dancing ghosts that appear in the ballroom are actually located in hidden rooms above and below the mezzanine that holds the ride vehicles, with a light source used to reflect their movements onto the glass.

2. The Amazing Adventures of Spiderman at Islands of Adventure

Spiderman’s stunning finale sees bad-guy Doctor Octopus use an anti-gravity device to lift riders hundreds feet into the air, before sending their vehicles plummeting down to the ground below. In reality, the effect is achieved using a combination of convincing movements of the ride vehicle, a “rushing air” effect produced by giant fans, and a collapsible building façade.

3. Mission: SPACE at Epcot

Riders on Mission: SPACE can live their dream of becoming an astronaut, being blasted into space as part of a virtual mission to Mars. The attraction’s most notorious feature is the launch itself, which sees guests being pinned back into their seats as the craft leaves the earth’s atmosphere. Of course, they never really leave the ground: a multi-arm centrifuge spins and tilts the capsules, creating forces of up to 2.5G. The experience is so intense that Disney began offering a centrifuge-free version in 2006.

4. Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Islands of Adventure

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter’s headline attraction is the most technologically advanced ride in the world. One of its effects truly takes riders’ breath away: the moment a Dementor begins to “suck” their soul right out of their body. In real life, the Dementors are physical models, with a quickly-snapped photo of guests’ faces being projected onto a screen of fog to create the soul-stealing illusion.

5. Twilight Zone Tower of Terror at Disney’s Hollywood Studios

The scene in which the Tower of Terror’s elevator ride vehicles glide down one of the Hollywood Tower Hotel’s corridors is incredibly creepy and atmospheric. Most assume that the elevator rides on a track, but in fact it runs on battery power and is guided by wires in the floor. This makes it more prone to breakdowns that the versions at other Disney parks, in which the corridor scene was sadly removed.

Check out Orlando timeshare rentals and start planning your winter theme park vacation, now that you know some of the tricks to the trade to look for.

Today's guest author, Nick Sim, is a lifelong fan of Orlando’s resorts, and can be found writing about theme parks in the UK and all over the world for Theme Park Tourist.

Photo Credit (Haunted Mansion): butterfunk.com
Photo Credit (Harry Potter): fearnet.com

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Timeshare Industry Says Wellness Trend Is Here To Stay in 2012

Is the resolve to become more mindful of one’s health just a passing New Year’s Resolution? Not according to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), who says the wellness trend is here to stay throughout the year as consumers want their vacations to reflect a healthier lifestyle.

While the timeshare industry has long advocated the healthful benefits of regular time away to rejuvenate and relax, resort developers continue to expand their vacation products with more options and access to healthful programs and activities.

“Health and wellness amenities are growing in popularity among timeshare owners and resorts are now using these programs to attract new timeshare consumers unfamiliar that such vacation products exist,” says Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.

Many timeshare resorts have expanded their offerings to include health and wellness components such as fitness programs, enhanced spa services, cuisine packages, weight-loss regimens and concierge services to customize a specific healthy vacation experience.

“It makes good business sense to offer wellness programs at our resorts, for they complement the active lifestyles of our owners and guests,” said Ed Kinney, vice president, corporate affairs and communications, Marriott Vacations Worldwide. “Since 1984, we’ve been committed to offering relevant activities for all ages that balance our owners’ desires for relaxation and fun with staying active and maintaining a healthy lifestyle during their vacation.”

For example, The Wellness Center at Marriott’s Desert Springs Villas (see photos) offers classes ranging from yoga and Tai Chi to water fitness and shoulder and back strengthening. Timeshare rentals here start at just $73/night.

Timeshare exchange companies RCI and Interval International enable owners to experience new resorts and vacations through access to their resort member network, particularly access to international resorts where wellness programs have been offered for a while.

“Many of our clients’ properties in the Americas and the Caribbean have fitness centers and full-service spas,” said David Gilbert, executive vice president of Interval International resort sales and marketing, Americas, “and those with restaurants are presenting healthier menu options.

This increased consciousness of wellness is reflected in Interval’s most recent U.S. member profile. Reporting on their preferred vacation activities, nearly half of those surveyed include working out and exercising while close to 40 percent cite spa services.

“Timeshare developers are always innovating to meet the changing demands of consumers and to offer products to make vacations more memorable,” added Nusbaum. “That is why our owners have repeatedly given the products an 85 percent satisfaction rating for the past five years, recognizing the value of an annual vacation.”

Source: ARDA

Photo Credits: marriott.com

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Hawaii

An almost deserted beach on Oahu. Submitted by Carol S. of Pennsylvania

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, January 23, 2012

3 Top Places to Celebrate Chinese New Year with a Timeshare Vacation

Today is the Lunar New Year, also known in China as the Spring Festival, and as Chinese New Year to the rest of the world.

According to the web site ChineseNewYear2012.net, the Chinese celebrate their new year as a time to “welcome longevity, wealth and prosperity and to eliminate any negative chi from the past.”

The year 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. This year’s celebrations will be particularly dramatic since the Dragon is the most powerful and auspicious of all the 12 Chinese Zodiac animal signs.

“The Dragon represents excitement, unpredictability, exhilaration and intensity, and people respond to the spirit of the Dragon with a year of energy, vitality and unbridled enthusiasm.”

Outside of the Asian cities of Beijing, Hong Kong, and Singapore as the obvious top places in the world to attend a Chinese New Year celebration, there are 3 other spots that offer as much fun, excitement, color and pageantry, with the added bonus of having convenient and budget-friendly timeshare rentals available.

1. San Francisco. Here you’ll find the largest Chinese New Year festivities outside Asia, including one of the top 10 parades in the world, and also one of the few remaining illuminated nighttime parades in the country.

Carrying on a tradition that began shortly after the California Gold Rush, when many Chinese immigrants settled in San Francisco, the parade, sponsored by Southwest Airlines, will have over 100 units - Gorgeous floats, elaborate costumes, ferocious lions, exploding firecrackers , and of course the newly crowned Miss Chinatown U.S.A. and her court.

A crowd favorite is the spectacular 250' Golden Dragon ("Gum Lung"). It takes a team of over 100 men and women from the martial arts group, White Crane, to carry this dragon throughout the streets of San Francisco.

Browse San Francisco timeshare rentals.

2. London. The London parade, festival in Trafalgar Square, and Chinatown celebrations, traditionally take place on the first Sunday following the New Year – in this case, January 29th, with more events taking place throughout London well into February.

Festivities begin in the morning with a parade of colorful floats, and, of course, the Dragon. At noon Chinatown’s president officially opens the Dotting of the Eye ceremony, kickstarting an afternoon of performances featuring music, dance, Chinese dragons, lions and acrobatics. The show culminates in a fireworks display after dark. Chinatown will be filled with cultural and food stalls and displays all day.

Browse England timeshare rentals.

3. Disneyland. The iconic Disney playground in Anaheim, CA, offers a fun version of the Chinese New Year celebration. Called “The Happy Lunar New Year Celebration!” it pays tribute to the traditions and family celebrations observed within the Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese cultures, observing “the time when the sun and moon begin their journeys for another year.”

In addition to enjoying performances by Chinese, Korean and Vietnamese musicians and dancers, Disneyland park guests will be able to visit with Mulan, Mushu and other Disney characters.

Disneyland celebrates the Lunar New Year January 20-29, 2012.

Browse Southern California timeshare rentals.

Photo Credit: http://www.travelbite.co.uk

Friday, January 20, 2012

Turn Your Timeshare Vacation into a Game

Have you heard of “Theme” vacations? As the January RedWeek Newsletter explained: Travel can be more than airports and luggage carousels by turning it into a game!

1. Travel by night to see a city in an entirely different light. (Las Vegas is great for this.)

The Jockey Club, Las Vegas, NV, sits right on The Strip, perfect for experiencing the night lights of “The Party Capital of the World.” Timeshare rentals start at just $79/night. Resales start at $2500.

Browse other Nevada timeshare rentals.

2. Choose a slower method of travel. (Some cruise lines offer service between Boston, Florida, and other U.S. port cities.

Marriott’s Custom House, Boston, MA overlooks the Boston Harbor and is the perfect destination if you are traveling via cruise ship. Timeshare rentals start at $171/night. Resales start at $1500.

Browse other Massachusetts timeshare rentals.

3. Ditch the car and rent a bike to tour the city. (San Francisco is the perfect city for this, and you’ll get a great workout!)

The Suites at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, CA, is just a short stroll to Bay City Bike rentals who also offer guided bike tours, the perfect way to experience the city. Timeshare rentals here start at $177/night. Resales start at $1250.

Browse other California timeshare rentals.

Photo Credit (Las Vegas): wildnatureimages.com
Photo Credit (Boston): redweek.com
Photo Credit (San Francisco): baycitybikes.com

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Make Your Oahu Timeshare Vacation Local-Style - Part 2

In Part 2 of our 2-Part series of how to go “local” on your Hawaii timeshare vacation on Oahu, we continue to follow our local guide, Karl, as he shows us several more ways to enjoy the island as the locals do.

Visit downtown Honolulu: Oahu has a large immigrant population that is a significant influence on the local culture. In downtown Honolulu, there are many authentic restaurants to visit in Chinatown along with museums and other cultural attractions nearby. Don’t miss Iolani Palace where the monarchs of Hawaii once ruled. There are also several beautiful Buddhist temples that welcome visitors – just follow the scent of incense in the air.

Eat local: Hawaiian residents love two things: Poke and plate lunches. Poke is essentially a Hawaiian version of sushi. Small shops abound around the island – “Ono’s” on Kapahulu Boulevard just outside Waikiki is one of the best – where Ahi Tuna, Octopus and many other varieties can be found at relatively inexpensive prices. There are also a number of shops – such as the L&L – that serve the uber-Hawaiian plate lunch.

The plate lunch is a “take away kind of eating.” Standard plate lunches consist of two scoops of white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad or fried noodles, and a main entrée. Popular entrees include Asian: chicken katsu, teriyaki beef, kalbi; American: hamburger steak (top with a fried sunny-side-up egg and it’s Loco Moco); and for a true Hawaiian influence: kalua pork and lau lau, along with sides of lomi lomi salmon and haupai.

Hula Dancing: You don’t have to pay $50 or more for a luau to see Hula dancing on Oahu. There are frequent sunset performances along Kalakaua Avenue in Waikiki and once a week the Royal Hawaiian hotel offers a paid luau on the beach. Since all beaches are public in Hawaii, there is nothing to stop you from taking a seat on the beach and catching the performance free-of-charge.

The best way to experience a truly “local” experience on Oahu is to get out and meet a few of the island’s residents. Most are extremely friendly and insanely proud of their island. Treat them with respect and they will reveal many more of the treasures Oahu contains.

Many wonderful Oahu timeshare rentals await you - at great budget-friendly prices.

About our guest author:
Karl N. is an avid traveler, and someone who loves an adventure. Karl also enjoys spending his time writing. As you can see, he is an enthusiastic fan of Hawaii. For this very reason he decided to write up a guide for would be Hawaii travelers. Be sure to visit the Hawaii Travel Guide to learn about the Hawaiian Islands.

Photo Credit (plate lunch): hawaiianbarbecue.com/l&l

For more great ideas read Part 1 of Make Your Oahu Timeshare Vacation Local-Style

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Year Resolutions and Timeshare Vacations - Part 2

What do New Year Resolutions and timeshare vacations have in common? They can work together perfectly to help you have your Best Year Yet! In our 2-part series we’re looking at how timeshare vacations help you stay on track with those resolutions.

Part 2 has three more ideas:

4. Resolution: Allot more time for yourself.

Destination – Cancun, Mexico

There are so many great places in Cancun – “Mexico’s Caribbean Jewel” – where you can relax on the beach in the morning, indulge in a spa treatment in the afternoon, and let your hair down for some great night life after dark.

But if you really want to get away from it all for a week of true self-indulgence, check out the Aventura Spa Palace. Besides having just about the least expensive timeshare rentals in the greater Cancun area – they start at just $29/night – this is an adults-only, all-inclusive, resort.

Sitting on 85 acres the architecture that resembles beautiful old Mexican Haciendas is nestled among verdant jungle landscaping. The resort offers numerous fitness facilities that even includes an obstacle course through the jungle. The 95-treatment-room spa is where you can enjoy a couple’s massage in rooms with ocean views.

Find other timeshare rentals in Cancun.

5. Resolution: Eat better

Destination – Hawaii

Polynesian food is considered some of the healthiest on the planet, and is also some of the most flavorful. Fresh food is everywhere on the islands of Hawaii, and it’s easy to enjoy these delicious, healthy foods by utilizing your timeshare kitchen. Each island offers farmer’s markets where you can get local produce such as papayas, bananas, tomatoes, ginger, avocados , sweet potatoes, oranges, lemons, jack fruit, bread fruit, pineapple, coffee, coconuts, macadamia nuts - just for starters!

Fresh fish and seafood are also easily available. For more information see Enjoy Fresh Fish on Your Hawaii Timeshare Vacation.

Even tender grass-fed beef (raised locally on the Big Island) is available, offering you lean red meat rich in Omega 3.

Check out Hawaii timeshare rentals that can start as low as $47/night.

7. Resolution: Save money

Destination - The World

This is one of the most common New Year Resolutions made, and generally one of the hardest to keep.

Here’s a tip on how you can beat the odds and keep that resolution – It’s easy to save money on your vacations with a timeshare rental. For up to 50% less than the cost of a typical hotel room you can vacation at luxury resorts with spacious accommodations, save even more money on meals by having your own kitchen, and even save money on activities since so many of the resort’s amenities will be included.

Go out and have a great year, now that you’re armed with knowledge on how to keep those New Year Resolutions humming right along – with the bonus of having a great timeshare vacation in the bargain!

Photo Credit (Aventura Spa Palace): palacetravelprofessionals.com
Photo Credit (Hawaii): luaufood.blogspot.com

New Year Resolutions and Timeshare Vacations Part 1

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Italy

The famous Fontana de Trevi at Rome, Italy submitted by Donnah Fe Opelac

Submit your photo to #TravelTuesday! Just send it via email to us at: learnmore (at) redweek (dot) com. Let us know your name, where you are from, and where the photo was taken.

Monday, January 16, 2012

New Year Resolutions and Timeshare Vacations

Did you start the New Year with all good intentions and a list of resolutions? Don’t throw in the towel yet – it’s timeshare vacations to the rescue. In a 2-part series we’ll look at a list of six New Year’s Resolutions – at least one of which you undoubtedly have on your list – and how timeshare vacations can help you keep them on track.

1. Resolution: Stress less.

Destination: The Caribbean

The definition of relaxation is “The state of being free from tension and anxiety, obtained by recreation or rest.” What better dream vacation spot epitomizes this better than the Caribbean? With the Caribbean’s blissful shimmering turquoise waters and white sugar-sand beaches, stress melts away of its own accord.

An example of a timeshare rental is the Divi Aruba Phoenix Beach Resort on Palm Beach in Aruba, where you can get beauty and privacy, and relaxation, starting at just $107/night. Check out other great Caribbean timeshare rentals.

2. Resolution: Spend more time with family.

Destination: Smugglers’ Notch Resort, Vermont

Described as one of the preeminent Family Resorts in the country, Smugglers’ Notch is a perfect 4-season family getaway, and as it has continued to expand and improve its family offerings it has become the standard by which other family resorts are measured.

For example, the winter snow offers families such activities as the I-Did-Sled family to family competition, the Snowshoe Cider Walk, and the Torchlight Parade with its Fireworks finale. During the summer family activities include the Funmeister Family Tubing Party, the Discovery Cookie Race, and the Hawaiian Hula Party.

Smugglers’ Notch timeshare rentals start at just $64/night.

3. Resolution: Exercise more.

Destination: Colorado

Colorado is consistently ranked as the #1 state for a fit population, and it’s no wonder. Ski Country U.S.A. - that's Colorado. With the spectacular Rocky Mountains as its central spine, Colorado offers the best skiing in the country, where you can enjoy the slopes that are the envy of the skiing world. Other winter activities include backcountry snowboarding and ice climbing, as well as ice skating and winter fly fishing.

During the summer you can hike, backpack, and bike. Biking in Colorado is such a big deal, as a matter of fact, that there are many web sites dedicated to this one Rocky Mountain activity, and bike trails crisscross the entire state, from Pikes Peak to the Santa Fe Trail to stunning Rocky Mountain National Park.

Use your Colorado timeshare rental as a hub and get out and enjoy exercising that is really play. You can find timeshare rentals as low as $70/night.

Photo Credit (Caribbean) http://triptourism.com/
Photo Credit (Smugglers’ Notch) smuggs.com
Photo Credit (Colorado) coloradotrail.org

Thank you to Reuters for this fun idea, which we’ve adapted for our RedWeek members.

Friday, January 13, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again….

From the January RedWeek Newsletter, the "Ask The Timeshare Crusader" question comes from Darren: I am getting hit with resort bills that include a significant special assessment fee. With my annual maintenance fee due as well, there is no way I can pay both. Do you have any advice?

Lisa Ann Schreier’s Answer:

It's that time of year again… annual maintenance fees and special assessments are being mailed out and many timeshare owners are getting a very nasty surprise in the form of huge increases and huge unexpected assessments.

If you own at a Diamond, Wyndham or older resort, you know what I mean. I've been hearing from owners who plead for help with a $3,000 assessment that was levied, or increases in annual fees well over 30 percent year over year.

If you are faced with a huge bill, here are some things you need to do, and the sooner the better:

1. Connect with other owners through the RedWeek Forums to share information and learn what other owners are doing
2. Contact the resort directly and request a copy of the full annual budget if you haven't received it already, then familiarize yourself with it
3. If you are unable to pay the entire amount due, contact the resort as soon as possible to work out a payment plan

Another way of tackling these fees is to rent out your timeshare and use the proceeds to pay, or at least partially pay, for the fees. RedWeek.com is a great place to rent out your timeshare. With more than 1.7 million registered users, you're more than likely to find someone who wants exactly what your home resort offers.

It also bears repeating that you should only be renting your home property, not exchanging it and then attempting to rent that. Both RCI and II have policies against renting out weeks obtained via exchange, and there are many cases where the renter was turned away at check-in and the owners' exchange rights were suspended.

As I've said before, there are a few key questions that all potential owners need to ask before buying any timeshare. This is not a comprehensive list, but a good place to start:

1. What are all the annual fees and what do they cover?
2. What is the "cap" on how much the fees can be increased year over year?
3. What is the five (5) year history on these fees?
4. When was the last time a special assessment was levied?
5. How much was that special assessment?
6. How much of the resort is sold out?
7. Is there a stipulation that in the event of a fund shortage, the developer is required to make up the difference?
8. What is the current delinquency rate at this resort?

Maintenance fees and sometimes special assessments are part of timeshare ownership and are part of the "vacation experience". Whether you own timeshare or rent a hotel room, you're paying one way or another.

Share Your Thoughts:
Care to comment on Lisa Ann's answer? Join the conversation on our Ask the Timeshare Crusader forum. Have questions for the Timeshare Crusader? Please post them on her forums page, or e-mail them to us at support@redweek(dot)com.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Make Your Oahu Timeshare Vacation Local-Style

There is a lot to see and do on Oahu where Hawaii’s capital and largest city – Honolulu – is located, and we’re going to take a look with our guest author, Karl, in a 2-Part series.

Oahu has much to offer from distinctly local activities and attractions to those that incorporate deep cultural influences from Asia and other parts of the world.

While Hawaii has a deeply entrenched reputation for being an expensive to visit and lacking in substantive experiences that give visitors a true “island experience,” that is usually only true for people without insider knowledge who fail to leave the tourist-centric and superficial confines of Waikiki.

To help you get the most out of your timeshare rental trip to Oahu, here are some great insider tips to get you started:

Snorkeling: No trip to Oahu is complete without a snorkeling excursion. Many tourists pile into Hanauma Bay, but the experience there can be overwhelming (and not in a good way). Don’t buy into the hype. Nearly every beach on Oahu has a wealth of undersea life to explore. For the best experience on the island, take a trip to Sharks Cove on the North Shore. There are no sharks at the cove, but just about every other form of marine life is present. Downside: The water is too rough to snorkel in winter.

Off-the-beaten path beaches: Waikiki has some wonderful beaches, but there are also un-crowded gems surrounding the island. Try Sandy’s on the southeastern tip of Oahu – it’s a world-class body surfing spot. Or, travel up the east side to Lanikai and Kailua beaches for gorgeous views and don’t miss Mokule’ia on the northwest corner of the North Shore – it’s where the television show “Lost” was shot. The North Shore also hosts Lanikea Beach – also known as Turtle Beach – where giant green sea turtles sun bathe en mass and swim just off-shore.

Go hiking: There are many trails around Oahu that take hikers into the rainforest or to panoramic vistas. One of the most accessible hikes is to the top of Diamond Head crater. For $1 you can sweat it out on a moderately difficult hike from the inside the crater to the top for sweeping and majestic views of the city of Honolulu and Waikiki.

About our guest author:
Karl N. is an avid traveler, and someone who loves an adventure. Karl also enjoys spending his time writing. As you can see, he is an enthusiastic fan of Hawaii. For this very reason he decided to write up a guide for would-be Hawaii travelers. Be sure to visit the Hawaii Travel Guide to learn about the Hawaiian Islands or visit the Oahu Travel Guide for more information on Oahu.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Owners Cite Reasons for Traveling With Timeshare in ARDA’s 3rd Video Series

Crossing things off a bucket list. Seeing new places. Pride of ownership. These are a few reasons given for the satisfaction level among “Timeshare Fans” from Wyndham Vacation Resorts.

This month’s video, blog and photo compilation represents the third in American Resort Development Association’s (ARDA) “Timeshare Fans” owner series, showcasing the passion of owners about why they love timeshare vacations.

“This is a rich man’s vacation on a normal man’s salary,” says Ron Riley, Club Windham™ owner since 1998 in describing why he enjoys vacationing with timeshare. In addition to Riley and his wife, more than a dozen owners participated in the video.

One family, Club Windham owners Sharon and Tom Grupe of Orlando, Fla., recently celebrated Thanksgiving at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort with 38 family members spanning four generations. “I still get emotional when I think about the special celebration we had this past Thanksgiving”, explains Sharon. “Being able to bring everyone together in such a beautiful and accommodating resort made it a holiday to remember.”

With more than 8 million owners, a satisfaction rate of 86 percent and an occupancy rate that outpaced hotel occupancy by more than 20 percent, it is clear that this segment of the travel industry is faring well. Find out why - visit ARDA’s consumer website VacationBetter.org for more information.

Timeshare and vacation ownership are often used as interchangeable terms. Timeshare may be purchased through deeded property ownership, right-to-use or a points-based program. Owners purchase a villa, usually in one-week increments, within a fixed (same week each year) or “floating” system. Floating time allows the owner to schedule each year’s vacation for the desired week within a specified season

The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries. Established in 1969, ARDA membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Next month, look for happy owners from Marriott Vacation Club who are passionate about their timeshare. All timeshare fans are invited to tell their story here.

Photo and Video Credits: vacationbetter.org

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Denver, Colorado

Airliners being "de-iced" at Denver International Airport, three days before Christmas. Submitted by Alice P of Wyoming.

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Monday, January 09, 2012

Timeshare Destinations on the Rise for 2012 - Part 3

In Part 3 of our 3-Part series on Tripadvisor’s list of Destinations on the Rise for 2012, we look at two more destinations that have great timeshare rentals, exchanges and resales available.

5. Branson, MO. This Ozark town offers 200 miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and biking, and three lakes for fishing and water sports, not to mention The Strip – 7 miles of live music and comedy shows, restaurants, theme parks, and shopping outlets.

Legends in Concert is rated by Tripadvisor contributors as the best show in Branson. Says one reviewer, “They have Elvis, the Blues brothers and many more top performers that blow you away with how much they sound like the real singers,” and you’ll enjoy it all with a live band.

Silver Dollar City is called "The Friendliest Theme Park in the U.S.A." The park's 1880s-themed experience fits Branson's vision as a family-friendly vacation destination with down-home charm, albeit as a world-class theme park with over 30 rides and attractions (see top photo).

Silver Dollar City offers plenty for the little tykes to enjoy, as well, including the Animal Barnyard petting zoo, getting wet in Geyser Gulch, and riding the Frisco Silver Dollar Line steam train.

The Titanic Museum, along with its sister museum in Pigeon Forge, TN, is a unique way of letting you experience what it must have been like to stroll the hallways, relax in the parlors and first-class cabins, descend the Grand Staircase, and walk through the third-class passageways of the HMS Titanic. You’ll also be able to view over 400 authentic artifacts. The year 2012 is the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and the museum plans numerous events to mark the occasion.

Check out the timeshare rentals, exchanges, and resales available in the Branson area.

6. Park City, UT. Home to world-class skiing in the winter, this area is also full of activities to be enjoyed in the summer, including open air concerts, festivals, plays, and film screenings.

Utah Olympic Park is where some of the 2002 Winter Games were held. Learn how to ski jump the way the athletes do, by being suited up and doing dives and twists into the “big pool,” and “gliding” on a carpeted ramp. This one-day FLY camp is open to ages 8 years to adults. The park also has a zip line, an alpine slide, and a 2002 Winter Olympics Museum.

Red Pine Adventures offers guided snowmobiling on privately owned land in the Red Pine Canyon in Park City, next to Canyons Resorts. During the summer take horseback rides guided by professional wranglers across hundreds of acres of beautiful mountainland.

The Park City Museum (see photo) details the area’s history from a silver mining town to ski resort to Olympic host. You’ll learn how early settlers found their way to Park City by way of the Kimball Stagecoach, and you’ll be able to climb aboard a re-created railcar. Look out the train’s window and back through time as you watch a film about Park City’s place in the frontier West. On the platform outside you’ll enter the 1880s where you’ll meet new arrivals and learn about their history.

Check out the timeshare rentals, exchanges and resales available in Park City.

Photo Credit (Top): destination360.com
Photo Credit (Bottom): tripadvisor.com

Part 1: Nashville, TN and Fort Meyers, FL
Part 2: Phoenix, AZ and Pigeon Forge, TN

See Tripadvisor's entire list: "15 Destinations on the Rise."

Friday, January 06, 2012

Timeshare Destinations on the Rise for 2012 – Part 2

TripAdvisor has come out with its list of the top 15 "destinations on the rise" for 2012. Six of these destinations are where RedWeek members have timeshares listed for rent, exchange, or resale. We’ll look at these great vacation spots in a 3-Part series.

3. Scottsdale, AZ. For an amazing winter getaway, you can’t beat this destination where near perfect temperatures and splendid natural scenery reign supreme. Here there are more than 200 golf courses, plus spas, galleries, and amazing cultural attractions.

Taliesin West (see top photo) is the winter home of Frank Lloyd Wright, which he and his wife turned into an accredited architectural university. Here you can take the 90-minute Insights Tour of the highlights of this working school campus, including the office in a small building made of stone walls and a stretched canvas roof.

You’ll also see Frank Lloyd Wright’s private residence, the Kiva used for entertainment and meetings, the Music Pavilion, and the Cabaret which is partially underground, and it's known for its acoustic qualities.

The Musical Instrument Museum (the MIM) is just 15 minutes from Scottsdale, and is “The Most Incredible Museum You’ll Ever Hear!” The MIM showcases musical instruments from around the world, as well as historical insights into the development of musical instruments. You’ll wear a wireless headset and as you approach each display audio and video clips familiarize you with the unique sounds of each musical culture. Videos playing on high-resolution flat screens allow you to see instruments performed, such as Japanese taiko drummers, Somalian seed gourd dancers, and a hurdy-gurdy man.

The McCormick-Stillman Railroad Park is a 40-acre railroad park that features a 15" gauge railroad, a Magma Arizona Railroad locomotive, a railroad museum, three model railroad clubs and a 7.5" gauge live steam railroad. A popular exhibit is the plush Roald Amundsen Pullman Car that was constructed in 1928 at a cost of $205,000 and was used by Presidents Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, and Dwight Eisenhower.

Check out timeshare rentals, exchanges and resales available in the Scottsdale area.

4. Pigeon Forge, TN. This destination set beside the misty blue of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is also the home of Dollywood.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the most popular of all National Parks in the U.S. It offers over 800 miles of trails for all levels and all interests, including trails for walking, hiking, biking, and trails for horseback riding.

While it is splendid in autumn, it is so spectacular in the spring that it’s also known as the Wildflower National Park, with its 1660 different species of blooming wildflowers.

Dollywood, started by singer Dolly Parton, is open only 9 months - late March through January. It has won 15 major theme park awards, more than any other theme park in the U.S. The 150-acre park offers more than 40 rides and attractions; live entertainment featuring country, bluegrass, gospel and mountain music; and numerous crafters authentic to the East Tennessee region.

Check out timeshare rentals, exchanges, and resales in the Pigeon Forge area.

Photo Credit (Top): blog.scottsdalecvb.com
Photo Credit (Center): activerain.com
Photo Credit (Bottom): dollywood.com

Part 1: Nashville, TN, and Fort Meyers, FL

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Thinking of a Timeshare Winter Getaway? Think Galveston, Texas!

Galveston, located 50 miles southeast of Houston, is one of Texas's best tourist areas and one of the most beautiful islands in the Gulf of Mexico. It offers an exclusive blend of history, culture, and beaches, where you can plan a great vacation with a Galveston timeshare rental. Galveston offers not only many sights to see, but also many ways to see them. Pick whatever way best suits your time and taste.

From Houston there are several Limousine services that can get you there comfortably and in style. Most of them offer full day "Galveston Limousine excursions" that will cover all the highlights.

Island maps and other helpful materials can be obtained at the Galveston Island Convention and Visitor Bureau Visitor Center, or at the Ashton Villa, which is home to the Galveston Historical Society's Heritage Visitor Center.

The Trail route southwest along Galveston Island offers many Beach access opportunities. All Texas benches are public and may be enjoyed by everyone. You may leave your car and stroll the beach for an occasional glimpse of playful dolphins, a good view of Pelican Island and a survey of the merchant ship activity in the Port of Galveston

Moody Gardens is known on Galveston Island as “the pyramid place” and is our kids’ favorite. It is lushly landscaped recreational and educational complex, with three striking 10 story pyramids (see photo). There are so many fun things to do! Aquarium Pyramid offers a close up view of the diverse marine life found in the Caribbean, Pacific and Atlantic waters.

Colonel Paddlewheel Boat is an 800-passenger reproduction of an 1800s paddlewheeler. Hour-long cruises depart several times daily. Discovery Pyramid focuses on space exploration and includes mock-up of the International Space Station.

Palm Beach draws families with its white sand, water lagoons, relaxation spas, and water slides. Rainforest Pyramid explores the tropical ecosystems of Africa, Asia, and Americas. Here you can see vibrantly colored birds, hundreds of brilliant butterflies, scores of active bats, and mammals such as the ocelot, coatimundis, and cotton-top tamarins.

Galveston’s historic downtown area, known as The Strand, is also a popular area and is adjacent to the cruise terminal. Boutique shopping seems to be the main draw, but there are also some museums, cafes and pubs.

In Galveston Arts Center you can but works of local artist. The center also sponsors the popular Galveston ArtWalks, which are held on Saturday every six weeks. Downtown galleries and studios hold community-wide open house with refreshments, entertainment, and free trolley transport.

With so many things to do in Galveston you can vacation here every year and still find something new to discover. Check out Galveston timeshare rentals, and timeshare resales, too.

Thank you to the folks at River Oaks Limo & Transportation for this fun and informative look at all of the great things to do in Galveston. Whether you plan to tour the Galveston area, or just want a ride from the airport to your timeshare, this premier Houston-based limousine tour company offers the finest limousine and transportation services the area has to offer.

Photo Credit (Top): onetravelsource.com
Photo Credit (Center): southernliving.com

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Timeshare Destinations on the Rise for 2012

TripAdvisor has come out with its list of the top 15 "destinations on the rise" for 2012. Six of these destinations are where RedWeek members have timeshares listed for rent, exchange, or resale. We’ll look at these great vacation spots in a 3-Part series.

1. Nashville, TN. Country music is the lifeblood of Nashville, where musical attractions include the Grand Old Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame.

The Grand Ole Opry is not just Nashville's number one attraction, but is an American icon. This is where unforgettable moments happen every week with country music's new stars, superstars, and legends. Here you’ll be able to see live performances, theater, and there’s even a Piano Bar.

The Country Music Hall of Fame a great place for everyone. Non-country western fans will find it interesting, and real fans will find it amazing. It is operated by the non-profit Country Music Foundation.

Belle Meade Plantation (see top photo) is a 30-acre historic site just six miles from Nashville. Begun in 1853 as a premier horse-breeding operation, the plantation survived the Civil War with its remarkable Greek Revival mansion intact. On your visit you’ll be able to tour the mansion, and activities are available for older children.

Check the timeshare rentals, exchanges and resales available in Nashville.

2. Fort Myers, FL. Nicknamed “The City of the Palms,” this remarkable vacation destination in southwest Florida is located between the banks of the Caloosahatchee River and the shores of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Edison and Ford Winter Estates are 20 acres of historical buildings and gardens, along with the Edison Botanic Research Lab. Tours can be taken through the Edison Main House, the Guest House, and the Caretaker’s Cottage, and the Ford House. The Estates Museum houses numerous inventions, artifacts, and special exhibits. Authentic 1929 landscaping is maintained throughout the property, including the award-winning Moonlight Garden.

Manatee Park (see photo) is a 17-acre park that allows for viewing of manatees from November through March. This is when the temperatures of the Gulf of Mexico and the rivers drop below 68F degrees, and the endangered manatees seek refuge from the cold waters by swimming into the Florida Power and Light’s warm-water discharge canal. This area creates a non-captive sanctuary that provides a winter haven for the warm-blooded manatees.

Butterfly Estates in downtown Fort Myers is an Eco-Attraction where you can surround yourself with thousands of butterflies. The 3,600 sq. foot Glazed Glass Butterfly Conservatory is where you’ll delight in watching the butterflies dart amidst cascading waterfalls and lush tropical nectar plants.

Check the timeshare rentals, exchanges and resales available in Fort Myers.

Photo Credit (top): tennesseetours.com
Photo Credit (center): my.whiotv.com

Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday - Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas submitted by Nancy L of Reno, NV.

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

Monday, January 02, 2012

Plan a Winter Timeshare Vacation at Kauai's The Point at Poipu

With the holidays behind us, it’s time to start thinking of the next great vacation - the Winter Getaway. There is no other place on the planet that beckons the cold-and-snow-weary more than the Hawaiian Islands. Plan a timeshare rental vacation in Paradise, and winter won’t seem anywhere near as long.

In beautiful Koloa, on the Garden Island of Kauai, you’ll find The Point at Poipu. Nestled in 22 acres of lushc Surrounded by 22 acres of lush tropical gardens with flowing waterfalls and a crystal clear Koi pond, The Point at Poipu overlooks dazzling Keoneloa Bay. And all of the resort’s buildings are “no taller than a coconut tree.”

The Point at Poipu features one- and two-bedroom timeshare accommodations with all the comforts and conveniences of home. Master bedrooms feature a king-size bed and large bathroom with separate soaking tub and shower stall. Kitchens are fully equipped with granite counter tops, range and oven, microwave, refrigerator, dishwasher, utensils, cookware, dishware, and dining area. Living rooms have complete entertainment centers, and private lanais open to lush gardens or the Pacific Ocean.

In the center of The Point at Poipu is the tranquil lagoon-style swimming pool with its own sandy beach and whirlpool spas. In a more remote part of the resort is an adults-only spa for quiet time away from the kids. The resort also offers barbecue areas for that quiet dinner at "home."

You can simply relax and work on that Hawaiian tan, or you can keep as busy as you want to at The Point at Poipu. Take an Introduction to Hawaiian Language course and learn basic words and phrases that will get you conversing with the locals. Work off a few pounds taking hula lessons, exercising in the lagoon pool, participating in the sunrise walk, or learning how to kayak. Additional activities include Koi fish feeding, swimming pool games for the kids, scuba and snorkel lessons, a lei making class, and a golf scramble at the Poipu Bay Golf Course.

Timeshare rentals at The Point at Poipu start at just $111/night, and currently there are 25 resales available.

Reviewers have this to say about The Point at Poipu:

We've been to this resort 5 times since 2000 and now consider it our home away from home. Every time we visit we find it hard to leave.

Much improved since Diamond took over. Rooms and grounds have been greatly upgraded .

We love it here. We come here every year and it is so peaceful and beautiful. The location of the property is Ocean Front and with a Turtle Cove just by the resort, where many turtles reside. We have always been very well taken care of and the front desk has responded with speed to anything we needed including changing room one year. The Point at Poipu is so close to several beaches and trails, so that if you don't want to travel away from the resort, you don't have to. We are looking forward to going back soon!

There are over 20 reviews for this resort. Read more here.