The Costs of Timeshares

Timeshares are merely a means of paying for a vacation in advance. By paying the upfront cost averaging $19,000 in 2007 (according to ARDA, the American Resort Development Association), you are permitted to vacation at the resort every year for a week’s time indefinitely.  Broken down among many years, each week of vacation reduces the “per week” rate such that if you came for 19 years, each week would cost only $1,000 for resort lodging for four to six people.

But will you use it 19 times?  If you end up using it once or twice, that $19,000 seems awfully steep for a week or two of decent vacation.  What could you have gotten for $19,000 on one vacation?  You’d have servants, 24-hour care, a butler, a limo driver, a personal chef…you get the idea.

Now, imagine that all the upfront cost disappeared.  What if the only cost of a timeshare was the annual maintenance fee?  In 2007, the average timeshare maintenance fee was approximately $600 for a 1-bedroom suite.  Six-hundred dollars (US) for one week at a luxury resort for 4-6 people.  That’s a deal, isn’t it?

Although $600 a year might sound like a good deal, what if that amount doubled or tripled?  Maintenance fees must be paid annually whether you go to the resort that year or not.  So, by missing a few years, the cost per vacation week increases by $600 for every year missed.  The $600 could easily be higher as maintenance fees continuously rise.  The timeshare bargain before now seems like a long way away.

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