Timeshare Verses Travel Club – Which is the Real Deal?

Until recently, timeshares have been the way to go when someone wanted to get a good deal on yearly vacationing, but with the recent rise in discount travel clubs is it still a a smart move? I will compare the two vacation plans and show how discount travel clubs are the better choice for people who want to save on their vacations.

1) Initial costs- Purchase a timeshare at a resort or second hand from the original owner and you will pay anywhere from say $6,500 to $20,000 depending on where your unit is and how good you are at haggling when they try to close on you. Paid either in a lump sum or over time, you now own a week of time at a resort that you can exchange with others looking for something in your area. Let’s go midrange for a buying price of $13,250.

If you joined a discount travel club, you paid somewhere between $199 and $500 to get access to vacations around the world… Gotta give that win to the vacation club for a more affordable initial price.

2) Recurring costs- According to memorable-beach-vacations.com, ownership has its privileges because you now are responsible for ongoing maintenance fees, upkeep, furniture and appliances, roof and pool replacement, and of course insurance and property taxes. We’ll use their figures for time share resorts in Virginia Beach, which they found range from $390-$550 a year, and use a midrange figure of $475 a year. This annual fee would be adjusted for inflation and probably increase over time. Your total annual timeshare costs over 10 years, barring any roof or pool rework, is $4,750. If you trade for other units around the world, there are other costs involved that vary from group to group, so it would be hard to determine the exact costs other than to say they would be at least several hundred dollars more expensive a year.

Monthly fees vary between vacation clubs, so we will use World Ventures number for accuracy. Lets say you liked the presentation and went with the most expensive package that makes you a representative. You would pay $59.93 a month for an annual rate of $719.16, but there is a way to not have any monthly fee by bringing in four people who buy any package that is offered. So if you know four friends who like to travel and join the club, you’ve just erased your annual costs! That is something to consider, but let’s pay the monthly fee for the sake of the exercise.

Over 10 years, club costs are $7,191.60. There are no additional costs for staying at resorts or hotels around the world, but vacation packages are bought in bulk and offered to the members at cost. Other advantages with travel clubs include discounted rates for air travel, hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, and travel insurance that can be used any time of year as many times as you need. There is even concierge service which you can use anywhere and anytime to get information on just about anything you need while home or abroad. I’ll give this one to the timeshare with an asterisk just using the base numbers, but there is more value built into the vacation club membership.

3) Variety of vacation experience- Timeshares give you the same vacation every year staying in the same unit or a similar one every time and swapping is only available at participating resorts in their network.

Travel clubs offer you many different experiences all over the world- you don’t have to repeat the same trip twice (unless you want to). Over 60,000 vacation and rental properties available in over 160 destinations. World Ventures even has a program called DreamTrips where all the reservations and planning are taken care of for you. You have your choice of event, cruise, sport, or theme packages at deeply discounted prices- examples from 2009 include a Cozumel cruise, 5 day/4 night for $179 per person including taxes and fees, trip to Madrid, Spain for $150 per person taxes included, and so on. Get lodging and tickets to the Masters, the final four, even the World Cup in South Africa for hundreds less than you can find online. The vacation club gets this vote easily.

So while the timeshare won the recurring cost section with a handicap, the best overall bargain is the travel club membership for its low initial cost, variety of vacation experiences offered, and the abilities to save on all travel expenses and make money by becoming a representative. The numbers aren’t exact, but do represent a fair comparison between the two vacation choices.

The Benefits of Becoming a Travel Agent

There are many different benefits of being a Travel Agent. First off being a Travel Agent means that you are now in the industry, which means you automatically qualify to receive travel and vacation benefits. There is a great way you can get these benefits and much more that I will be discussing below without having to get a license or qualifications or anything of such. But the question is, how can you benefit from being a travel agent. And yes you do need a license to be a Certified Travel Agent, but I’m going to honestly show you a way where you can become a travel agent without having a license and still receive all the benefits I’m going to share with you.

Lets talk about the benefits of being a travel agent.

cruise lines offer travel industry rates for bona fide travel agents. The rates can vary from $35.00 – $50.00 per person per day. The travel professional is allowed to bring one companion at the same rate.

Hotels and car rental firms offer discounts to travel industry personnel. The discounts can vary from 10% up to 50% off normal rates. These discounts are subject to availability and offered at the discretion of the supplier.

Many escorted tour companies will offer substantial discounts on their tours. These discounts will also vary but are typically 10% – 50% off the retail price.

One of the most appealing benefits to travel agents is the opportunities to go on a FAM Trip! FAM is short for familiarization. Special trips are organized specifically with the travel professional in mind.

They are offered by tour companies, hotels, convention and visitor bureaus, airlines and cruise lines. The purpose of these trips are to familiarize the agent with the products as being a benefit for being in the industry. The great thing about these FAM trips or sometimes called member trips is that they are so easy to use. Once you become a agent you are able to take one of these FAM trips immediately. These trips are extremely discounted, and can save you up to 1,500 per vacation, which is well worth it. Here are some examples of some of the member trips that you can take advantage of.

1.) 4Day Jamaica Vacation for only $234.00
2.) 4Day Cozumel, Mexico only $181.00
3.) 4Day Cancun Mexico Vacation only $230.00
4.) 6 Day Caribbean Cruise for only $285.00
5.) Myrtle Beach golf vacation for 3 nights for only $359.00
6.) Disney World 3 Day/ 4 Nights Only $335.00- oh the kids will love this one…
And there are dozens of others that you can take advantage of as well. These are not single trips these are family vacations.

Other benefits include commissions from booked travel from 70% to 90%, and enhanced commissions, educational programs and events, Corporate and leisure hotel programs, travel insurance vendors, blocked cruise space & exclusive vendor deals, professional familiarization (FAM) rates on luxury cruises, resorts and tours. Travel agent discount on hotels and rental cars, show and theme park discounts and free admission to popular attractions, Take advantage of huge tax breaks available for home-based businesses. You also can do all of this from home because you get your very own customized website ready to go set up just like expedia, orbitz or any other major travel website where your friends and family can book and you can receive your commissions. And you can set your own hours.

3 More Things to Look For in Discount Travel Voucher Programs!

If you’re really looking for honest to goodness discount travel, then discount travel vouchers are one of the best ways to get amazing savings on your next vacation (and every vacation for the rest of your life!) But how can you protect yourself from potential fraud, with all of the “fake” travel schemes? Follow these 3 tips!

1. Watch for “terms and conditions” of use. Good travel vouchers will be redeemable with very few restrictions, usually limiting the discounted rate to two adults (although you can add more for a small fee, much less than the full rate), and having time limits on the length of your stay. But real travel vouchers will not have blackout dates, they will not have age restrictions, and their vouchers will not expire within months of purchase. Real vouchers should be good for at least one year from your purchase date.

2. Beware of ongoing fees! Some clubs require you to pay them a fee every time you book a vacation. Others require monthly or yearly payments to continue to be a “member” of their program. Neither of these are necessary… A good travel club will only charge you once to join, and provide a lifetime of benefits. Don’t be fooled by the slick sales pitch. You shouldn’t have to pay more than once for a half decent travel program!

3. Make sure that your travel club offers more than one type of discount. If they only offer a certain number of nights at certain locations, you’ll probably find rather quickly that you won’t want to use them as often. Good travel clubs will offer discounts at hotels, airlines, resorts, attractions, car rentals, and even offer discounted all inclusive packages. If you want to travel abroad, make sure the vouchers include international locations as well. Many travel programs will offer different lengths of vacation stays, you want to make sure that you’re able to stay for as long as you want without having to pay for the full rate.

There are many discount travel voucher programs available today that will offer you real discounts for real vacations, not just the scams you get by phone. If you want to travel more, without having to pay advertised rates, these clubs are a great way to go!