Who wants a great family vacation? The recession is still affecting a lot of families, and added vacation expenses such as high gas prices and increasing airline ticket costs, not to mention all of those newly added airline fees, can certainly make many of you wonder if you'll ever get to take a really great family vacation again.
And the answer, of course, is yes - there is a way of not only having a family vacation, but of actually taking it at a luxury, family-friendly resort, and save hundreds of dollars while doing it.
The Best Kept Secret is - rent a timeshare from an owner. With other vacation expenses eating into your pocket, you'll be excited to learn that accommodations themselves can be reasonable, if not downright cheap.
When you rent a timeshare for your family's vacation you're getting budget accommodations at a luxury resort; you're getting the many amenities and activities that the resort has to offer; you're getting spaciousness including real bedrooms, a living room and a dining area; and, you're getting a fully-equipped kitchen so the family doesn't have to eat out at every meal, but you can prepare meals and snacks in your timeshare - another huge savings.
With some help from Redweek.com, we've listed some timeshare resorts and current rental prices that are available at some wonderful family vacation destinations. Compare these costs with renting a hotel room (cramped, crowded and uncomfortable), and think of the space, resort activities that are part of the hotel, and extras like the kitchen and even a washer and a dryer, that you'll get at a much lower price.
Hilton Hawaiian Village: Set on the soft sand beach of Waikiki it's a destination unto itself and is the top family resort along Waikiki Beach. Rentals start at $114/night.
Marriott's Ko 'Olina Beach Club: Situated on the spectacular Western shore of Oahu this beach front resort is secluded and peaceful but just 30 minutes from Honolulu. Rentals start at $85/night.
Westin Kannapali Ocean Club: Perched on 26 lush acres with a breathtaking view of the Pacific Ocean. Rentals start at $114/night.
Marriott's Maui Ocean Club: A beautiful tropical paradise with an excellent location - it's just a short walk on the beach or the boardwalk to Whaler's Village. Rentals start at $125/night.
Sheraton Vistana: An astounding 135 acres of pure fun for the entire family. Rentals start at $71/night.
Marriott's Grande Vista: Luxury accommodations, spectacular views, world-class golf, and loads of activities. Rentals start at $71/night.
Wyndham Oceanside Pier: This Mediterranean-style resort is a terrific place to enjoy one of the most beautiful beaches in San Diego County. Rentals start at $163/night.
Four Seasons Residence Club Aviara: On a hilltop amidst rolling valleys and a protected wildlife sanctuary this resort offers magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean and stunning sunsets. Rentals start at $150/night.
Worldmark Anaheim: Within walking distance of Disneyland and also provides shuttle service; rooftop views of Disneyland's nightly fireworks. Rentals start at $190/night.
Marriott Aruba Ocean Club: An ideal retreat in a sublime Caribbean destination, surrounded by sugary white beaches and sparkling turquoise waters. Rates start at $71/night.
Marriott Aruba Surf Club: Located at the northern end of popular Palm Beach, this resort offers picturesque views of the island surrounded by emerald-blue seas. Rentals start at $100/night.
St. John (USVI):
Westin St. John: This US Virgin Islands resort is a 47-acre tropical paradise on the shores of Great Cruz Bay adjacent to the Virgin Islands National Park. Rentals start at $214/night.
St. Thomas (USVI):
Marriott's Frenchman's Cove: Perfectly situated on a secluded beach with amazing views of Pacquereau Bay and the St. Thomas harbor. Rentals start at $139/night.
Harborside Resort Atlantis: Stunning tropical beauty combines with the world's hottest travel destination where you'll rub elbows with celebrities. Rentals start at $136/night.
Los Cabos, Mexico
Pueblo Bonito Sunset Beach: Situated on the western side of the tip of Baja overlooking the Pacific, the resort's 50-acre site and magnificent private beach provide guests with a uniquely tranquil setting. Rentals start at $71/night.
These are just a few examples of the many timeshares for rent that are listed by their owners on redweek.com, the largest online timeshare marketplace. Renting directly from the owner is a great vacation tip on how to get a real travel bargain for a great - and affordable - family vacation.
When you Go…
1. How to know what timeshare rental is best for you: Timeshare rentals are available just about anywhere in the world; during any time of year; and in a variety of room sizes (sleeping up to eight people). Before you start your search, decide where you would like to vacation (the U.S., the Caribbean, Europe?), what type of vacation (beach, ski, theme park?), and what time of year you'd like to go.
2. How to select a timeshare rental: For the largest selection, browse rental listings online. Do your research on the listing you are interested in so there are no surprises. Examine the resort photos detailing the property both inside and out; read detailed descriptions of the rooms and amenities available at the resort; study reviews provided by timeshare owners and former renters.
3. How to rent: Make sure you rent from a legitimate timeshare rental web site that is BBB rated and protects your interests. Always make sure you know who you are dealing with and take steps to ensure a safe, secure transaction, like using an Escrow Service to handle the collection and transfer of rental funds to ensure both parties' interests are protected. The listing site should give you step-by-step instructions on how to rent, and offer FAQs and direct contact with a Customer Service agent to make sure all of your questions are answered and you know what you are getting.
And now… Have fun saving money on your fantastic affordable family vacation!