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Timeshares vs. Vacation Clubs vs. Travel Clubs - Is There A Difference?
Time and again, you've heard the terms timeshares, vacation clubs and travel clubs being used interchangeably. Are they all the same or do they represent different things? Let's unpack each one and see.
A timeshare refers to a shared ownership model of vacation properties whereby the timeshare owners get to vacation there, usually for a week or two per year.
This timeshare model can be applied to various kinds of properties such as condos, apartments and private vacation resorts.
With more unconventional vacation properties coming into the real estate market, the timeshare industry is slowly expanding.
Vacation clubs are entities that were originally designed to provide their members with access to a variety of resorts and vacation properties where they can book for their future vacation(s).
To attain vacation club membership, one is usually required to pay an initial membership fee after which, you continue paying monthly or yearly membership and maintenance fees.
Vacation club members can get access to any vacation property that is under the vacation club's inventory.
Travel clubs are basically a type of vacation club.
In travel clubs, the membership programs that are provided to members allow them to have access to discounted travel related services such as accommodation, airfare, discounts to visit nearby tourist attractions and discounts to car rentals.
As much as travel club memberships can still be offered by vacation club programs, the two concepts still remain to be slightly different.
Are Timeshares, Vacation Clubs & Travel Clubs Worth It?
For people who enjoy traveling, timeshare ownership, vacation clubs and travel clubs might be a more convenient way to vacation.
To sign up for a club membership or not? Here are a few pros and cons to consider if you're on the fence about these concepts.
1. You are guaranteed quality vacations
As a timeshare and vacation club member, you are guaranteed a holiday each year. This of course depends on the nature of your contract or vacation periods as agreed with your respective entity(ies).
Whether you purchase a fixed-week, point based, floating week or fractional timeshare, vacation ownership guarantees you an excellent vacation experience. The specifics of your vacation are guided by the nature of your contract.
That means that you no longer have to worry about affording yearly vacations as the annual fees that you pay will cater for that.
2. You are not obligated to take care of the property
If you're among the timeshare owners of a property or are a member of a vacation club, you are not directly responsible for handling maintenance or making improvements to any property that you have access to.
You will of course contribute financially to the general maintenance of the home through the annual fees paid, but the major maintenance of the property will be handled by the respective owner(s).
3. The concepts can be more affordable than purchasing your own vacation home
Buying a home can be very expensive. Most of us already know that.
According to the American Resort Development Association, or ARDA, the average cost of a timeshare in 2022 is $22,180. For travel clubs, they can cost you anywhere between $2,500–20,000 annually.
Compared to the price of buying a vacation condo and maintaining it, it might just be more cost effective to buy a timeshare or join a vacation club.
4. You have the ability to buy a secondhand timeshare for less
Timeshare owners at times want to opt out of this arrangement because they can no longer afford it or maybe just because they don't use it.
It is possible for you to buy a secondhand timeshare which typically goes for 0% to 10% of the retail price, according to Timeshare Users Group. Purchasing it this way means that you may not have to pay the upfront fees of the timeshare.
A thing to note however is that, in case the current timeshare owner is behind on annual maintenance fees, this cost also transfers to you as the new owner.
5. Greater affordability as compared to one-off annual vacations
Planning a one-off vacation can be quite costly especially if you're making bookings during peak seasons or if you're traveling with your entire family.
With vacation ownership, you don't have to worry about this. You are assured of going to the holiday of your dreams as scheduled as long as you're up to date with the payment of your maintenance fees.
1. Restricted Destinations
Timeshares can restrict you as you only get to visit the same place every single year.
With travel clubs and vacation clubs, you might only have access to resorts and properties that are club-owned. If the vacation club doesn't own the property, you won't be able to spend your holiday at that destination unless you make your own separate arrangements. Of which, what's the point when you're part of a travel or vacation club?
2. Limited travel dates
With a timeshare, the different owners can only use the property on specific dates as allocated. That means that you won't have access to the property whenever you want.
On the other hand, you might think that since vacation clubs have access to several resorts, you have more holiday spots to choose from, right? Wrong.
Club members still face restrictions as a result of blackout dates. These are basically dates where the resorts won't allow club members to vacation because they contain holidays. The way out of it is to basically pay more money, which beats the whole purpose.
3. The Fees May Become Unaffordable
Based on historical data, annual dues paid to vacation clubs are set to rise each year. A great example is the Disney Vacation Club (DVC). In 2010, annual dues per vacation cost roughly $4 to $7. In 2022, the annual dues per vacation cost roughly $8.
The same case also applies to timeshares. Timeshare owners of a vacation home might be required to pay a special assessment when the property needs to be upgraded, since these costs can't be covered by the reserve funds.
Such factors might lead to these memberships becoming unaffordable.
4. Restricted Family Access
With a timeshare, you can travel with whoever you want to the vacation home. Just as long as it's within your allocated time slot.
For vacation clubs, this isn't the case because club membership is usually given to only the person who pays for it.
This means that you might not be able to bring your whole family on your next vacation, depending on the type of membership that you bought.
5. Price For Initial Purchase
To join a vacation club, you have to pay an initial membership fee which can be expensive. Membership fees can range anywhere between $5,000 to $30,000. For a luxury membership, it can range anywhere between $100,000 to $1 million.
On the contrary, an American vacation cost an average of $2,037. Much cheaper than most deals that vacation clubs would offer you.
Can you find better vacation deals without having to break a bank?
Yes you can! Here’s an amazing luxury vacation rental that’s worth checking out.
With a group of luxury vacation rentals like Resthaven, anyone can rent the available properties or even become a member by paying the traditional way or using NFTs. With the first home being located in Venice, California, it is the perfect spot for people looking to experience luxury travel, on company retreats, on their honeymoon or simply looking for a new adventure.
This home sits on 3,400 sq. ft., has 4 beds and 4.5 baths. It's close proximity to popular tourist attractions such as Muscle Beach, Ocean Front Walk and the Venice Fishing Pier makes it the perfect home for tourists looking to explore the city.
Overall, Resthaven is a luxurious, safe and private vacation rental where you can relax, unwind and just breathe. For more information on the property, contact us today!
The Bottom Line
Before you opt into any sort of club membership or buy timeshares, do an analysis and see how a vacation ownership program can be of benefit to you and or your family.
We all deserve some vacation time to desirable destinations every so often. Just make sure that holiday is within your budget and that you're getting your money's worth.
Bay Street Capital Holdings
Bay Street Capital Holdings is an independent investment advisory, wealth management, and financial planning firm headquartered in Palo Alto, CA. They manage portfolios with the goal of maintaining and increasing total assets and income with a high priority on managing total risk and volatility. Although many advisors may focus on maximizing returns, they place a higher priority on managing total risk and volatility.
Our founder, William Huston founded Bay Street after 13 years of supporting the United States' largest retirement plan ($650B) Thrift Savings Plan. He is recognized as Investopedia’s Top 100 Financial Advisors for 2021. In California, only two black-owned firms out of nineteen firms received this recognition. In Scottsdale Arizona, Ekenna Anya-Gafu CFP, AAMS is recognized among the Best Financial Advisors for his responsiveness, friendliness, helpfulness, and detail. Bay Street was founded to advocate for diverse and emerging fund managers and entrepreneurs. In 2021, Bay Street was selected as a finalist out of over 900 firms across the US in the category of Asset Manager for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).
For more information about Safehaven, get in touch with us today!