“DAE has fulfilled nearly every one of our exchange requests including places like Spain, London and Down Under and helped us to achieve bucket list vacations time and again.”
With the advent of AirBnB, HomeAway and VRBO, to name a few, there are many more options available to vacationers these days then when timeshares first hit the market. Our family has enjoyed them all in places all over the world, along with our two timeshare weeks that we have owned for too many years to count. Vacation rentals can be wonderful and we have found many owners to be very accommodating and helpful but what we prefer about timeshares is the level of quality and convenience that comes with staying at a place designed entirely for vacationers.
We are frugal travelers and entering the timeshare market was no different. We bought both of our units (Palm Springs, Hawaii) on the after market at deeply discounted rates. Our maintenance fees are still less than similar accommodations in the same locales and have given us the flexibility to travel affordably all over the world, especially when combined with 2:1 offers when we bank them early enough. We also bought our units with friends. Not only did we save on the purchase price we also take turns paying the dues. For instance, we pay the dues on our Hawaii resort in odd years and get to use it in even years. This way each owner is motivated to pay the dues on time so they can book their unit or exchange it in a timely fashion.
In making the most of our vacation time we look for destinations that will give us the opportunity to get to know a place and its people. We have found timesharing to fit well in that scheme especially since there are so many resorts in locations that are appealing to locals and not just international travelers. For instance, on a recent trip Down Under a travel agent told me that the places we were planning on staying (all timeshares exchanged through DAE), were not the typical hot spots that their international clients wanted to go to and he was concerned we would be disappointed. To the contrary, we loved each town and city and felt like we had a much better sense of the culture and more by the time we had left.
When we want to stay in an iconic destination city (translation tourist hot spot) but aren’t able to get an exchange we will arrive 2-3 days ahead of time — as we recently did in Sydney and Auckland —and stay at a hotel or vacation rental. This way we can leisurely see the prime tourist sites located in the major city and then do more of the off-the-beaten-path-exploring that we love once we get to our timeshare.
Finding the right lodging is key for us. We are both light sleepers so we are picky about mattress quality and noise levels, and I’ll admit to being a bit of a germaphobe so I like to know a place is going to be clean. This is where review sites like TripAdvisor, Google and others come into play. I never look at just one site since fake reviews are becoming (sadly) more prevalent. Instead I will look several, starting with the lowest scoring reviews first since those (tend) to be the most genuine. If there is a consistent issue with a place it will show up in those one and two star reviews.
Many years ago a savvy timeshare friend passed along a tip that has helped us tremendously in making the most use of our timeshare weeks: the traveler insider publication Timesharing Today. It has helped us to find new destinations and reading some of the best reviews I can find about timeshare units. Timesharing Today is also how I found DAE.
Before finding DAE we had ZERO success exchanging through the major exchange companies despite several years of memberships and playing by all of their rules. I was afraid we had made a mistake in buying our timeshares. In contrast, DAE has fulfilled nearly every one of our exchange requests and helped us to achieve bucket list vacations time and again. When we recently stumbled upon a DAE office in Taupo NZ we couldn’t pass up the chance to tell them how much we appreciate their good work. That may sound corny to some but after so much frustration for so long with other companies we really are grateful for the doors DAE has opened since our first exchange way back in 2004.”