Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Egypt

Great Pyramid of Giza, Egypt, submitted by Shirley V of California.

Oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, originally the Great Pyramid was covered by casing stones that formed a smooth outer surface; what is seen today is the underlying core structure.

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, July 30, 2012

Top 7 “City Apps” for Your Big-City Timeshare Travel

A fun way to enjoy a summer timeshare vacation “outside the box” is to actually stay in the middle of a big city. While others rush to the beach or mega theme parks, you can find amazing events, activities and sightseeing within just a few blocks of your city timeshare.

Are you one, though, who finds staying in a big city a bit daunting,especially if you don’t have friends or family to show you around, or at least offer some suggestions? If you let that stop you you’ll miss some wonderful memory-making vacation opportunities.

Enter “City Apps.” This list of the Top 7 U.S. city-themed apps (well, 6 big cities and 1 wine country) – all designed to make your visit as easy as being a local – has been compiled by CNN.

1) Nashville Live Music Guide. Music City is known for being a place where you can discover the Next Big Thing in the music world on any given night, at any number of venues. This helps you find them. Compatible with: iOS; Android Market. Cost: Free

Check out Nashville timeshare rentals.

2) CabSense New York. By rating every street corner in the city, the GPS-based CabSense eliminates the guesswork involved in hailing a cab, and "makes you look good in the process, even if you can’t whistle like a Manhattan doorman." Compatible with: iOS; Android Market. Cost: Free

Check out timeshare rentals in downtown New York City.

3) Visit Napa Valley. Put out by Napa Valley Tourism, this official guide helps vineyard-goers soak in the best of wine country, and includes choice spa and tasting information. Compatible with: iOS. Cost: Free

Check out Napa Valley timeshare rentals and near-by San Francisco timeshare rentals.

4) Beat The Traffic. Made with cities like Los Angeles in mind, this features real-time accident and construction reports, plus traffic camera images from more than 30 cities. The “speed dot” option allows drivers to gauge how fast cars are moving in a given location. Compatible with: iOSCost: Free

Check out California timeshare rentals.

5) Ness Dining Guide. An alternative to more popular options such as Urbanspoon and Open Table, Ness is the Pandora of restaurant apps. It builds up your “taste” for a place based on your likes, but it can also incorporate friend recommendations. Compatible with: iOS. Cost: Free

6) Scoutmob. Join the mob to avoid the mob. Consider this the ultimate bargain-finder -- not only for exclusive deals at local retail businesses and restaurants, but also can’t-miss city happenings. Compatible with: iOS; Android Market; Blackberry. Cost: Free *Available in: Atlanta, Austin, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Nashville, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington D.C.

Check out Boston timeshare rentals.

7) What’s Next? “Tourists don’t know where they've been,” writes Paul Theroux, “travelers don’t know where they’re going.” This app uses local expertise to provide you with dining, activity, or lodging suggestions but does so in a way that encourages spontaneity. Compatible with: iOS. Cost: Free

Check out Washington, DC area timeshare rentals.

Source: CNN.Go

Photo Credit: cnn.go.com

Friday, July 27, 2012

”London Olympics 2012” Start Today!

From around the world 10,500 Olympic athletes, 200 Olympic horses, and visitors galore have been pouring into Great Britain for the London Olympics 2012 Summer Games. 

And it all starts tonight with the eagerly anticipated Opening Ceremonies. Traditionally an Olympics opening ceremony is the most popular event of the games. It’s not only a chance for the host country to welcome the rest of the world to its doorstep, but the ceremony also plays on the euphoria and excitement and heady anticipation of international competition.

Tonight’s Opening Ceremony will feature one of the largest sets ever built as the Olympic Stadium (see photo below left) is transformed to reflect “the rolling British countryside,” when 10,000 volunteers step in to recreate country scenes, complete with meadows, fields and rivers.

The set will feature families on picnics, sports being played on the village green and farmers tilling the soil while real farmyard animals graze – including 12 horses, 3 cows, 2 goats, 10 chickens, 10 ducks, 9 geese, 70 sheep, and 3 sheep dogs, all orchestrated by Artistic Director Danny Boyle.

Each of the four nations that make up Great Britain will be represented by their national flower – the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales, and flax from Northern Ireland.

Pop star Sir Paul McCartney and soccer star David Beckham are both confirmed in the line-up of participants.

Approximately 8.8 million people in 34 venues over 17 days are expected to attend the Games. VisitBritain hopes the Games will attract 4 million extra visitors to London, spending £2.3bn over the next four years. 

“The Olympics will have a global audience of billions.” explains Christopher Rodrigues, chairman of VisitBritain. “We are working hard with international broadcasters from all our key source markets to make sure they capture all that is great about Britain and broadcast it around the world to inspire travel.”

After the 2012 summer games have ended, London will continue to be a great destination for your timeshare vacation. The Olympic Games have been a catalyst for the physical transformation of a huge area of east London, much of which had been used by industry and landfill for centuries, and suffered years of contamination and neglect.

Olympic Park (see photo right) – to be renamed the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park after the Games - will become a new focal point for the capital where visitors will enjoy beautiful new parklands and a wildlife spot in the middle of the city.

You’ll find great timeshare rentals and timeshare exchanges throughout Great Britain, including England, Scotland, and Wales.

Photo Credit (top): mirror.co.uk
Photo Credit (center): london2012.net 
Photo Credit (bottom): magazine.fourseasons.com

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Timeshare Travel - The National Parks of the UK

Whether you’re planning your timeshare vacation to England during the next two weeks for the London Olympics, or later after all the hoopla when you can visit a quieter and more serene England, touring the National Parks is a way to get to know this country in a wonderfully intimate way.

Known as ‘Britain’s breathing spaces’, currently 15 areas make up the National Parks of the UK, each looked after by Members, staff and volunteers. They incorporate mountains, meadows, moorland, woodland, coasts and wetlands. In England 10 areas have been designated as national parks, with 2 in Scotland and 3 in Wales. 

The Peak District (see photo above) was the first area designated as a National Park in 1951. Covering mainly North Derbyshire and South Pennines, it’s visited by almost 22 million people each year, making it the second most visited National Park in the world. 

Known as Britain’s magical waterland, the Broads take in Norfolk and Suffolk. It’s the largest protected wetland in the UK and supports a wide range of wildlife in its shallow rivers and lakes. 

Dartmoor, at 368 square miles, is the wildest open area, with 450 miles of walking and cycling trails. Established in 1951, it was recently used as the setting for the blockbuster film, Warhorse. 

Exmoor (see photo left) in the south west of England covers 267 square miles of moorland and woodland with imposing cliffs that plunge into the Bristol Channel. It’s an area of green valleys and farmland with cozy pubs and tearooms. 

England’s most tranquil place, Northumberland with its dramatic hills and sheltered valleys became a National Park in 1956. From Hadrian’s Wall to the Scottish borders it is a land of ancient hill forts and Roman ruins. 

North Yorkshire Moors cover a vast area of open moorland, with stunning landscapes and honey-coloured sandstone villages, historic abbeys and ancient castles. This area has been enthralling visitors since 1952. 

South Downs is the latest addition, designated in 2010. It has a biodiverse landscape with a mixture of bustling towns and villages and Winchester Cathedral as its focal point. 

Back in 1954, Yorkshire Dales joined the list of areas of outstanding beauty. With the backbone of England, the Pennines running straight through it, it is an area known for its spectacular waterfalls. 

Scotland’s Cairngorms is Britain’s largest park and includes 5 out of the 6 highest mountains in Scotland as well as the valleys of the Spey, Dee and Don. 

With rolling lowlands in the South and high mountains in the North, Loch Lomond and the Trossachs (see photo right) joined the National Parks in 2002. Ben More is the highest peak at 1,174 metres (3,850 ft.). 

Whichever part of the country you find yourself in, you will never be far from the beautiful National Parks of the UK. 

Take a look at the England timeshare rentals and Scotland timeshare exchanges available, and plan a National Park tour now. They make a great day trip from your timeshare.

Our guest author, Sue Wright, is an avid traveler and writer and has spent many years working with travel companies. For the past eight years she has been living and working in Cyprus. 

Photo Credit (top): europe.travelcontent.com 
Photo Credit (center): exmoor.co.uk
Photo Credit (bottom): aberfoyle.co.uk

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Timeshare Travel - 3 Must-See Places for Kids

Nicole Frehsee of Budget-Travel has listed a number of places she says kids should see before they are fifteen. The following three are great destinations for kids of all ages, and the bonus is that they are where budget-friendly timeshare rentals are available.

1. Monticello, Virginia. Located just outside Charlottesville, Monticello (pronounced “Mon-ti-CHELL-o”), Thomas Jefferson’s beloved estate, is a fascinating look at the day-to-day life of one of America’s most celebrated forefathers.

For kids, the Griffin Discovery Room, which opened on the grounds in 2009, is the way through the magical door, allowing kids to get in touch with not only Jefferson himself and his many fantastic inventions, but learn how children of his time lived as well.

 Here everything is fun hands-on, such as Jefferson’s invention - the polygraph copying machine (see photo above). Even his closet is fair game: Kids can try on clothes modeled after his 18th-century wardrobe. In addition kids can learn how to weave, work with a facsimile blacksmith hammer, and even create secret codes on Jefferson’s wheel cipher design.

 Monticello is a fun day trip from your Washington, DC timeshare rental.

2. Ellis Island, NY. Kids, even the teens, are naturally interested in how the connect to other family members. Between 1892 and 1924, more than 17 million immigrants passed through Ellis Island; today, their descendants account for 40 percent of Americans.

Here kids can go on a hunt for their ancestors at the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, where for $5 you can search through the records to find the exact date your relatives sailed into the Port of New York, as well as which ship they were on and whether they traveled with other family members.

If your family immigrated from the colonial period up to 1892 when Ellis Island opened, or after 1955, (when Ellis Island closed), the Peopling of America Center is made just for you. Phase I, the time before Ellis Island was built, has opened this year. Phase II – covering the time of 1955 to the present, is slated to open by the end of 2013. 

You can find a number of budget-friendly timeshare rentals in New York City

3. Yellowstone National Park. One of the most famous National Parks in the country, Yellowstone covers 3472 square miles and is home to more geothermal features – geysers (including the granddaddy of them all, Old Faithful), hot springs, and mud spots – than any other place on the planet. 

Kids ages 5 through teens will have fun becoming a Young Scientist at the Park. They’ll do age-specific investigations of the many mysteries of the Yellowstone region. 

While pursuing their scientific investigations at Old Faithful they can borrow a Young Scientist Toolkit stocked with all sorts of fun things such as a magnifying glass, rock samples, a stopwatch to time Old Faithful, and even an infrared thermometer gun that takes reading of the thermal pools when pointed at the water. 

West Yellowstone, Montana, offers a number of great timeshare rentals

Read the entire Budget-Travel article

Photo Credit (Monticello): flickr.com 
Photo Credit (Ellis Island): colraindctrip2010.blogspot.com 
Photo Credit (Yellowstone): bing.com

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Myrtle Beach

The Sky Wheel at Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Submitted by Joe Gosha, Concord, North Carolina.

Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand hosts over 14.6 million visitors annually, and is home to an array of attractions which include its beaches and many golf courses, as well as a number of amusement parks, an aquarium, and an astounding 1,900 restaurants.

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, July 23, 2012

ARDA July “Timeshare Fan of the Month” – Shell Vacations Club Members

For July the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is featuring four members from Shell Vacations Club (SVC) in its ongoing Timeshare Fan series. This is part of an industry initiative to showcase real timeshare owners talking about the reasons they love their vacations with timeshare.

Each of the SVC members cite a variety of reasons they’ve chosen timeshare as their preferred way to vacation—including more space, adventurous locations, and resorts around the globe—they all say that timeshare makes their vacation better.

“I brought three girlfriends with me on a recent getaway and they were in awe,” said Shell Vacations Club member Jayne Carney. “They couldn’t believe we had two bedrooms and bathrooms, and I said, ‘yes, I have this all the time!’”  
The Shell Vacations Club profile is the ninth in a monthly series showcasing the passion of timeshare owners.

With more than 8 million owners, a satisfaction rate of 85 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. Take the time to find out why. Visit www.VacationBetter.org for more information. 

Next month, look for vacation memories from Starwood Vacation owners who are passionate about their timeshare. All timeshare fans are invited to tell their story here.

About Timeshare
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. 

About ARDA
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 today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate. The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC).

Friday, July 20, 2012

Timeshare Travel - When is Versailles More Than Gold?

A timeshare vacation in Paris is an immersion in a different world. The City of Light is certainly modern enough, but much of what visitors see hearken back to a different era. One where the kings and queens of France lived lavishly, whether in the city or in the country.

A quick 20-minute drive from Paris is the royal “country” estate called Château de Versailles – the Palace of Versailles. While the concept began in the mid 1600s, through the 18th century Kings Louis 14, 15 and 16 created what we see today.

These kings effectively moved the political power of France from Paris to Versailles, which at the time was a couple of days’ ride from Paris, out in the country where the monarchs could enjoy peace and tranquility between the chores of governing and lavishly entertaining the aristocracy.

The most well-known tenants of Versailles are King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette. With their famous excesses in living they are the ones who put the final touches on the palace that gives it the extravagant glamour it has today.

Versailles is synonymous with sumptuous opulence on a royal scale. From its gilded Hall of Mirrors, to its King's Apartments laid out in gleaming marble, to the Queen's all-gold Bed Chamber (see top photo), Versailles is an opportunity for visitors to experience over-the-top wealth, at least for a few hours.

But "rustic?" That's hardly a term to be associated with Versailles, or is it? What many people don't know is that Marie Antoinette yearned for a retreat from the Palace, and built what is known as her "rustic" Haneau de la Reine (The Queen's Hamlet).

At the time (1783) it was fashionable among the French aristocracy to support "Model Farms," based on the "Physiocracy" theory that the wealth of nations came from the value of "land agriculture." Twelve rustic cottages were built for Haneau de la Reine. One was the Queen's personal cottage, 4 were reserved for her use, and the remaining seven were functional farm houses, used for the agriculture.

But, Marie Antoinette being Marie Antoinette, "rustic" can go just so far. In addition to the cottages her Haneau de la Reine also included  botanical gardens, lakes, streams, a grotto with a flowing waterfall, and even a Temple of Love on its own island.

Plan to rent budget-friendly timeshare in Paris, and visit Versailles - it's two sides of a fascinating coin.

If you’ll be renting a timeshare in London you can still visit Versailles by taking the quick 2-hour ride to Paris on EuroStar through the Chunnel.

Photo Credit (top): en.wikepedia.org
Photo Credit (bottom): Mike Swenson

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Make the Most of Your Hawaii Timeshare Experience

Hawaii is a land of volcanoes, world-class snorkeling, spectacular weather and beautiful beaches. Hawaiian timeshares are the best way for visitors to experience everything the islands have to offer while sharing the opportunity with friends and family.

Anyone who has flown to Honolulu remembers the experience of touching down on the edge of a tropical island that is lined with palm trees and pristine beaches. With a timeshare property, anyone can relive this experience year after year.

Start Your Hawaiian Vacation on Oahu
Oahu is a wonderful place to begin your tropical vacation. Oahu is home to Honolulu, 80 percent of Hawaii's residents and some of the state's most popular attractions. Take a swim on Waikiki Beach while viewing the craggy outline of Diamond Head. Visit Pearl Harbor and the USS Arizona Memorial before heading over to the Dole Pineapple Plantation. 

The Polynesian Cultural Center (see photo top) is another must-see attraction. It’s on the opposite side of the island from Honolulu, and the drive is spectacular. 

Essential Activities for Your Hawaiian Vacation 
If you're relaxing at a timeshare unit, it's easy to schedule activities. Try sea kayaking, go snorkeling or drive to the top of a volcanic peak on an organized tour. If you prefer making your own plans and operating on your own schedule, there are plenty of things to do on all of the beautiful Hawaiian Islands. 

Snorkeling is the number-one must-do activity for anyone visiting Hawaii. You can immortalize your memories with a disposable underwater camera or a dry bag that converts any camera into a waterproof device. See docile sea turtles up-close, mingle with vibrant tropical fish and discover the marine life that thrives under the sea. 

Hawaii is a land of extremes and a place where sightseeing opportunities appear around every corner. On an island, everything is accessible. Spend a day driving along the coast to see dramatic black sand beaches, white sand beaches, volcanoes, lava fields (see photo above), tropical rainforests, waterfalls and dramatic canyons that are covered with lush foliage. 

Whether you're seeking a romantic hideaway or a quintessential tropical vacation, the Hawaiian Islands have something to offer everyone. If you ever wish to vacation in another area, exchanges are easy to come by because everyone wants to visit Hawaii. 

Live the tropical life with a Hawaiian timeshare. Check out the many Hawaiian timeshares listed for rent, exchange, and resale.

Our guest author, Nick Simpson, is the social media coordinator for Hawaii-Aloha.com, a Hawaiian travel agency that specializes in Hawaiian weddings

Photo Credit (top): polynesianculturalcenter.com 
Photo Credit (bottom): nps.gov

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

3 Great Deals for Your Summer Timeshare Vacation Budget

The July RedWeek newsletter reports that in 2012 travelers are expecting to pay up to $1180 per person for their summer vacation (based on a survey by American Express). A big portion of the vacation budget goes to accommodations, a big portion goes to food, and a big portion goes to activities.

What if all of those three portions could come in together at a low ball number? Then you’d have plenty of the budget left over – for fun now, or for saving for next year’s budget-friendly vacation. It’s easy to do when you rent a timeshare. The cost is up to 50% less than a hotel, the fully-equipped kitchen saves on the cost of meals, and many of the resorts amenities and activities are included in the low rental price. Voila.

Here are 3 great deals offered by RedWeek members:

1. Marriott’s Ocean Pointe, Palm Beach Shores, FL. Perfect for a family vacation, this resort offers four swimming pools and a children’s playground. Other family-friendly amenities include daily family entertainment, and a host of activities just for the kids. 

Currently timeshare rentals at Marriott's Ocean Pointe can be had for as low as $89/night. Resales start at $2750. 

2. Wyndham at National Harbor, Washington, DC. Officially located in Fort Washington, MD, this DC area resort is just minutes from the major sights in our Nation’s Capital. This 300-acre development is beautifully situation along the banks of the Potomac River. Among the on-site amenities are both an indoor and an outdoor pool, and a kiddies’ pool. 
Wyndham at National Harbor timeshare rentals start at just $128/night. Resales begin at $1597. 

3. Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resorts Villas, Lahaina, Maui. Perched on 26 lush acres with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean, and of the Hawaiian islands of Lania and Molokai, this resort offers something for each member of the family. You can enjoy an afternoon of relaxation beside any of the several lagoon-style pools, while your children are encouraged to open their minds to new worlds of culture, crafts and fun at the The Westin Discover Center, and the Pirate Ship Pool. 
Timeshare rentals at the Westin Ka'anapali Ocean Resorts Villas start at just $150/night. Resales begin at $4000. 

Just about anywhere you want to vacation you’ll find a great deal on a timeshare rental.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Ecuador

Taking a break from volunteering on an eco-farm in the Finca Verde region of Ecuador. Submitted by Marlayna P of Gunnison, CO.
At a latitude of 2 degrees N, Ecuador lies almost right on the Equator. The name literally translates to “Republic of the Equator.” In 2000 Ecuador changed its coinage from the sucre to the US Dollar.
The Galapagos Islands are owned by Ecuador.
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, July 16, 2012

Timeshare Rentals are the Best Kept Secret for Amazing Vacation Deals

Do you want to know one of the best kept secrets for a great Vacation Deal? Rent a timeshare for your family vacation.

Many people are unaware of the advantages of renting a timeshare for a budget-friendly family vacation. Timeshare rentals typically cost up to 50% less than hotel rooms, especially when rented directly from the owner.

When owners are unable to use their timeshare weeks, renting out the timeshare becomes a win/win for both the owner and families who are looking for vacation accommodations that are a bargain. And with a timeshare rental you can stay at luxury resorts that you might not otherwise be able to afford.

Instead of an expensive and cramped hotel room, how luxurious would it be to stay in accommodations that are open and spacious and relaxing? A timeshare is like a real home-away-from-home. You have separate bedrooms, a dining area, a living room, a patio or balcony, and a kitchen. And best of all – maid service will clean it, keep it supplied with fresh towels and linens, and even carry out the garbage. 

Even more budget-friendly is being able to save money on meals. Most timeshare rentals come with a full-sized, fully-equipped kitchen. That makes it easy to prepare meals so you don’t have to pay high restaurant prices three times a day. And talk about convenience – now you can sleep in, and fix breakfast right there – no more trying to get everyone up, showered, dressed and out the door just to get something to eat. And the kitchen makes it easy to prepare inexpensive, nutritious snacks for those constantly hungry kids.

You can stay in a hotel with the use of one small pool (often for an extra fee), or stay in a timeshare rental where many of the resort’s amenities are included in the rental price. Most resorts will have swimming pools, often with waterpark features, hot-tubs, kiddie pools and children’s playgrounds, as well as tennis courts, and arcade game rooms.

Additional resort activities often include such things as miniature golf, volleyball, and even bocci ball tournaments. You can find arts and craft classes, ice cream socials, and BBQ get-togethers. Depending on the location, you’ll also have direct access to beaches, mountain biking trails, skiing, or theme parks right out your front door. All this, and often for much, much less than what a hotel room costs.

Timeshare rentals offer families the opportunity to vacation at luxury resorts for less – and that’s a great Vacation Deal!

Check out the many timeshare rentals that are listed by RedWeek’s members. You’ll find them all around the world, in the center of big cities, and even in secluded hideaways off the beaten path. There’s something for everyone, and best of all they’re all budget-friendly.

Photo Credit (top): Festiva.com
Photo Credit (center): Marriott.com
Photo Credit (bottom): disney.go.com

Friday, July 13, 2012

What’s the Story on All of These Timeshare Exchange Companies?

July's "Ask The Timeshare Crusader" question to Lisa Ann Schreier comes from Tiffany:

I bought my timeshare from what I thought was an Interval International resort but I keep reading about a company called RCI and other people have told me about other exchange companies. What's the story? 

Lisa Ann’s Answer: 
The vast majority of resorts are affiliated with either Interval International (II) or Resort Condominiums International (RCI). That means that owners can trade or exchange within a network of resorts. Roughly, II has about 2,200 member resorts and RCI has about 4,100. Neither company owns the resort, they simply provide exchange services. In most cases, these are mutually exclusive companies, meaning that you can only trade/exchange within the network, not between.

There are also a number of smaller exchange companies that try to fill specific needs. Some of those companies are Dial An Exchange, SFX Preferred Resorts, Trading Places, and Crown Vacation Exchange. Unfortunately, this is where it can get tricky. Based on what you own, some of these secondary exchange companies may work for you, while others won't.

Each has their own rules and while most can compete with II and RCI on price, it's important to get a good understanding of the pros and cons of each company. For instance, owners of RCI Points repeatedly find themselves blocked from using anyone but RCI due to internal RCI rules. 

Timesharing Today magazine published a terrific chart in their July/Aug issue of all the current exchange companies, which is a helpful reference to have. Also be sure to check the RedWeek.com forums which are written by people with first-hand experience on exchanging.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Plan a Timeshare Vacation in France for Bastille Day and Fireworks

Bastille Day, July 14, is the premier public holiday in France, the equivalent of the 4th of July in the United States. If you have often heard the name, but don’t know the story behind it, then don’t worry, all will be explained.

If you are looking for a short break to Paris, then travelling during Bastille Day will mean you get to be part of an exciting street festival, with majestic fireworks. Think New Year’s Eve, but with the warm sunny weather of mid-July. It all sounds pretty tempting. 

Make sure you learn the history behind it before you go, and you will be able to party like a local. Bastille Day commemorates the storming of the Bastille on the 14 July 1789. That much most people know. 

However, fewer people know that this was one of the most important events of the French Revolution, and the point at which the Parisian mob stopped being a bunch of badly organized looters, and started to be an organized uprising. For King Louis XVI, this was the beginning of the end, and within three years, he had a date with Madame Guillotine. 

The Bastille was a notorious prison in Paris, as well as an armory. By storming the Bastille, the rebels were able to free a number of political prisoners, as well as get their hands on some weapons. Unsurprisingly given the French suspicion of authority, this is a national holiday. 

Because Bastille Day is a national holiday, when it falls on or near a weekend, as it does in 2012, 2013 and 2014, the French take a long weekend, and party, French style. Those who live near enough to the coast often head there for a long weekend at the beach. The Bastille weekend is generally avoided if you are planning a beach holiday in France. 

However, because of this exodus to the coast, the cities become relatively empty, and for the prospective tourist, this can make all the difference. Paris in particular has a festival atmosphere, and the fireworks in the evening have to be seen to be believed. 

So, if you are planning on joining your French comrades for Bastille Day, check out Paris timeshare rentals, and even timeshare rentals in London which is just a quick two hours away by EuroStar and the Chunnel. 

With some good research you might also find a good bargain when booking a flight. Although Paris is accessible by car and train, the busy roads, and for simple ease of access will mean that booking a flight is usually the best option. You’ll be enjoying some of the best partying that France has to offer. 

Our guest author, Jamie Monteath, is a writer who takes an interest in travelling after living in many places around Britain including Fife, Edinburgh, London and Norwich. He ranges from a number topics like finding a traditional afternoon tea cafe in London to a great independent restaurant in north of Scotland.

Photo Credit (top): kidculture.wordpress.com
Photo Credit (bottom): thefrenchsampler.com

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Timeshare Travel - California's Hearst Castle, Showy and Sumptuous

While it’s true that Europe offers a plethora of palaces and castles which trace royal origins back many centuries, the U.S. has a “castle” that can rival the opulence of any in Europe – and visiting it is perfect for a timeshare vacation right here in this country.

Publishing magnet William Randolph Hearst built what was to become one of the world’s most extravagant showcases, Hearst Castle, on Mexican ranchero land bought in the 1800s by his father, a successful miner.

With its 165 rooms and 127 surrounding acres of landscaped gardens, terraces, pools and meandering walkways, along with a grand view from a hilltop that overlooks the sparkling Pacific Ocean, this estate is one-of-a-kind.

It took almost 25 years to build the entire estate. The twin-towered main house, “Casa Grande,” exceeds 60,000 square feet. It has 56 bedrooms, 61 bathrooms, 19 sitting rooms, and an amazing 41 fireplaces. Also included on the estate are three guest cottages, the largest of which is over 5800 square feet. And if all that weren’t enough, there are also tennis courts, a movie theater, an airfield, and a zoo.

One of the best ways to see the “Castle,” especially for first-timers, is with the “Grand Rooms Museum Tour. “ This allows you to experience what it would have been like to be one of Hearst’s favored weekend guests. Among the rooms in the main house that you’ll see are the Assembly Room, where guests gathered for cocktails; the Refectory, or monastery-like dining hall; the Billiard Room; and the private movie theater. 

The “Cottages and Kitchen” tour will get you into the richly-designed guesthouses, as well as Hearst’s world-famous wine cellar where there are three thousand bottles still stored. 

The “Evening Museum Tour,” is available seasonally, and will give you a sense of actually staying at La Cuestra Encantada – “The Enchanted Hill” – as Hearst himself called the estate. It truly is enchanted when you see a spectacular sunset over the ocean, and watch the evening stars lay a brilliant carpet across the sky. 

You also will have fun as Hearst Castle becomes a living history museum, with “guests” wandering about, and “staff” intent on their duties, all dressed in period 1930’s costumes. 

To make your trip to California’s Hearst Castle a budget-friendly one, be sure to check out timeshare rentals that are available across the Golden State, where you can find vacation accommodations for up to 50% less than the cost of staying in hotels.

Photo Credit (top): bestbuddieschallange.org
Photo Credit (bottom): exoticexcesses.com

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – Versailles

Marie Antoinette cottage at Versailles, France. Submitted by Mike Swenson, Utah. 

This is one of 12 cottages commissioned by Marie Antoinette in 1783 for her rustic Haneau de la Reine (The Queen's Hamlet) built in the park of Versailles. This particular cottage is surrounded by vineyards.

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, July 09, 2012

Are You Up-To-Date on Your Vaccinations for Your Summer Timeshare Vacation?

With timeshare rentals available all around the world, you might find yourself planning a summer timeshare vacation in a country where you’ll need to also plan for vaccinations. Dr. Vivien Brown, international speaker on health prevention and wellness, offers this timely information:

1. Up to date tetanus and pertussis (whooping cough). A national survey found less than 47% of adults were properly immunize for tetanus.

2. Consider hepatitis risks. The hepatitis A vaccine is given in two doses 6 months apart. Hepatitis B vaccine is given through 3 injections over months, or can be accelerated over 3 weeks. Hepatitis affects millions of North Americans and is a serious health problem in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Caribbean.

3. Check to determine if certain vaccines are required such as Yellow Fever for travel to sub-Saharan Africa or South America.

4. Safer sex, consider Hepatitis B and HPV immunization as well as barrier methods of protection.

5. Born after 1970? Check your status regarding measles and mumps as there have been recent outbreaks in Europe in under immunized populations. You need two shots and many people have only had one.

6. Consider quadrivalent meningitis immunization as it is available, safe and will protect you from a deadly, though infrequent, disease.

7. Consider typhoid fever vaccine especially for travel to the Indian subcontinent or prolonged travel off usual tourist routes.

8. For those who want or need additional protection an oral vaccine is available to reduce the risk of travelers' diarrhea.

Check with your doctor, and if you have questions about travel to specific countries you can also check with the State Department. “Some vaccines require a series over time and the best way to protect yourself is to plan ahead," says Dr. Brown.

There are many great timeshare rentals and timeshare exchanges available this summer around the globe.

Read Dr. Brown’s article on travel vaccinations in its entirety.

Image Credit: kidscompassreview.org

Friday, July 06, 2012

3 Top Aquariums for a Cool Summer Timeshare Vacation

Stay cool this summer with a trip to one of the top aquariums in the world. A timeshare vacation and exploring the watery domain of fascinating creatures is one way to chill out and beat the summer heat.

1. Monterey Bay Aquarium. Located on the site of the former Cannery Row sardine factory, the Monetery Bay Aquarium’s tanks are enriched by water directly from Monterey Bay, which lies right outside the aquarium doors. Many exhibits of coastal California marine life include a multi-level tank that showcases a California giant Kelp ecosystem, and the million-gallon Open Seas gallery with huge view windows. 

The Aquarium is especially known for its exhibit of sea otters, and on view now is the newest member, Abby, a 5-year old female who was rescued as a newborn by the Santa Barbara Marine Mammal Rescue Center and hand-raised at Sea World San Diego. All reports are that Abby is happily settling in to her new home. 

A special Summer experience is Evenings by the Bay every Saturday and Sunday, June 30 – September 2. Have a complimentary taste of Estancia wine, munch on hor d’oeuvres and listen to live jazz, all included with your regular Aquarium admission. 

Check out California timeshare rentals

2. Sea Life London Aquarium. There is so much going on in London this year that there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in Merry Old England. Head to the London Eye (you can’t miss it), and right next door is a premier aquarium, where a new glass shark reef walk way will give you a close up look at 16 brown sharks and black-tipped reef sharks. The shark reef, “a celebration of one of nature’s most magnificent and most misunderstood creatures,” spans three floors and is dominated by a selection of imposing Easter Island statues. 

You won’t want to miss the myth-busting Shark Academy, where you’ll learn such things as why coconuts can be more deadly than sharks. 

Check out England timeshare rentals

3. Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Center. British Columbia’s rich coastal waters can be explored at this aquarium which sits inside the city’s famous Stanley Park. “The Treasures of the B.C. Coast” exhibit will introduce you to the astonishing array of cold-water marine life that live in nearby waters, including a Pacific giant octopus, cold-water coral, oozing hagfish, and brightly colored sea stars. 

Another of the aquarium’s big draws is its collection of beautiful white beluga whales, exhibited in the “Canada’s Arctic” gallery. Dolphins and the belugas can be seen in ever-changing shows throughout the day.  

The Aquarium offers a unique experience – the SleepOver. You’ll be able to tour behind the scenes after hours, bed down in one of the main aquarium galleries, and are even given breakfast when you wake up. 

Check out Canada timeshare rentals

Photo Credit (Monterey): en.wikepedia.org 
Photo Credit (London): daysoutguide.co.uk 
Photo Credit (Vancouver): pro.rcip-chin.gc.ca

Thursday, July 05, 2012

8 Simple Tips for Traveling with Kids to your Summer Timeshare Vacation

Traveling with kids is definitely a challenging responsibility. The process of keeping them seated and relaxed can be quite daunting. Keep in mind that if you are prepared for all possibilities then your stress will surely be reduced. Things to consider when traveling with kids:

1. Planning.
Let your kids join in the travel planning. Try to consider some of their suggestions. Ask them if they have any vacation places in mind. By involving them in the decision process this will help them feel more excited and relaxed.

2. Things to occupy your kids.
Bring your kids’ favorite toys, travel games, DVD player, MP3, iPOD and other gadgets that can keep them occupied. Plenty of snacks and drinks can save you money rather than buying in every stop over.

3. Important items.  
Carry enough disposable diapers if you have toddlers and infants. Wipes are always helpful. Use them in cleaning almost everything during travel. Keep your mobile phones, wallets, passports and any valuable items in zip locks to keep them dry when travelling by water.

4. Storytelling and singing.
If you find your kids feeling bored, try telling them stories that could take their attention. You can tell them about your past experiences and vacations when you were a kid. Try to find something interesting about the place where you are going. Keep them engaged. There are also a few interesting books. You can read them in advance or bring them along to read with your kids. If all else fails, sing with your kids. You need not be Celine Dion to do this.

5. Medical supplies and records.  
Prepare a medical kit for your kids. Accidents may happen during travel so it is important to be prepared. Pertinent medical history should also be included such as allergic reactions to medicines.

6. Seatbelts.  
Always put on their seatbelts during air or land travel for their safety.

7. IDs.
For toddlers create a tiny identification card that includes their name, parent’s name, address and telephone numbers. Pin it in their pockets. This will certainly help should they unintentionally get lost.

8. Remember your camera.
Capture precious moments together with your camera.

Timeshare rentals are an affordable way for creating wonderful vacations and great memories for the entire family.

Our guest author, Amy Fountain, enjoys sharing family tips and advice. She also has a particular interest in home improvements and unique home items. To know more about her interests, check out her websites about Home Décor Art and Tabletop Fountains

Photo Credit: baby-toddler-club.coles.com.au

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Happy Fourth of July! From Washington, DC

Hands down Washington, DC is the best place in all of America to celebrate the Fourth of July. It’s easy to plan a timeshare vacation to our Nation’s Captial for our Nation’s Birthday.

An all-day event, Independence Day sparkles and shines from morning ‘till night. It begins with a Patriotic blow-out of a parade up Constitution Avenue, and ends, after concerts, entertainers, food and fun, with spectacular fireworks displays all around the area. Learn about the terrific activities you can enjoy throughout the day with the fun Washington, DC, Fourth of July festivities.

Just before the fireworks show is A Capital Fourth Concert, which has become a tradition over the years, eagerly awaited by people all across the country, as it’s also broadcast live on PBS. There’s nothing like being there in person, though, so plan to get to the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol Building early (many start showing up by 3pm for the 8pm show).

The National Symphony Orchestra and popular stars from Matthew Broadrick, to Kool and the Gang, to maestro John Williams, will celebrate America’s 236th birthday with patriotic songs guaranteed to stir the heart and soul of every American.

The spectacular 4th of July Fireworks on the National Mall follows the concert. The fireworks will be launched from the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool and light up the sky over the Washington Monument. 

Some of the best places from which to view this awesome display of exploding sky rockets include: anywhere along the National Mall, the U.S. Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, East Potomac Park, and rooftop bars in Washington, DC, all of which are free. Requiring tickets for viewing are the rooftop of the W Hotel, and cruises on the Potomac River.

Great timeshare rentals can be found at the Wyndham Old Town Alexandria and the Wyndham Vacation Resorts at National Harbor. Both have access to the Metro – your best bet for getting safely and easily to the Fourth of July festivities.

Photo Credit: photos-by-amanda-blogspot.com

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Timeshare Travel #TravelTuesday – For the Fourth!

For the Fourth of July – Fireworks in Silverton, CO, in the San Juan Mountains where “behind the fireworks the stars are as big as goose eggs.” Submitted by Malcolm P of Colorado.

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, July 02, 2012

Authentic Independence Day - A Timeshare Vacation at Colonial Williamsburg

To get a real sense of what it was like to be at the beginning of the American Revolution, one of the best places to go for a Fourth of July timeshare vacation is Colonial Williamsburg.

This restored colonial capital of Virginia, Great Britain’s largest and most powerful colony in the New World, was a hub of activity in the years leading up to colonists’ break with Mother England. George Washington frequented Williamsburg as a delegate to the House of Burgesses; Patrick Henry made his fiery speech here; and young Thomas Jefferson daily hurried down the Duke of Gloucester Street as he attended law school at William and Mary College.

So when you and your family go to Williamsburg today, you are quite literally walking in the footsteps of some of America’s most famous and most active forefathers. You can sup at the Raleigh Tavern, a favorite place for the delegates to dine, discuss the politics of the day, and relax with a friendly game of cards. You can visit the wig-maker’s shop where these men would have purchased the latest in style and fashion. You can even tour the Governor’s Palace where the King’s representative lived, governed, and threw lavish parties.

On the Fourth of July, Williamsburg pulls out all the stops, and quite literally transports you back to 1776. Living history interpreters, dressed in the time, and even using like manner of speech, make you feel as if you were truly walking the streets on that momentous day in history when the Declaration of Independence was read for all to hear. Many of the interpreters act one-on-one with visitors, so be ready to be part of the reality scene. 

You’ll thrill to the sounds of the Fife and Drum Corps, and be alert – you could spot a rider from the North as he gallops into town with the news of Concord and Lexington. 

You might even be able to join the Fourth of July party at the Governor’s Palace for a picnic on the grounds and in the magnificent garden, along with costumed interpreters, musicians, jugglers, balladeers and storytellers. 

It all culminates with a stunning display of fireworks that put the buildings of Williamsburg, witnesses to monumental history, in bold relief. 

Timeshare rentals at Colonial Williamsburg start at just $57/night. 

Thank you to Dave Doody, head of photo services for The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, for all of the photos. 

See more of Dave Doody’s photos of a Williamsburg Fourth of July.