Basic Timeshare Questions to Ask

Are you having trouble deciding whether or not you are interested in purchasing a timeshare? It can be an overwhelming process, especially for those who are unfamiliar with timeshares to begin with. The following list is a basic set of questions to ask yourself if you are in the very beginning phase of considering a timeshare. Your answers to these questions will help you hone in on exactly what you want and need and, hopefully, help you determine if purchasing a timeshare is the right option for you.

basic timeshare questions

1. Do you prefer cold or warm climates for your vacations?

2. Where do you want your home resort to be?

3. Do you want to visit your home resort at least half the time, or do you want to trade more than half the time?

4. What are some other destinations you would be willing to trade for?

5. How many people do you usually travel with?

6. Will you be traveling with children?

7. Will you be traveling with pets?

8. Can you travel any time or are you locked into a set schedule?

9. Are you able to be flexible? Can you make firm plans at least 1 year in advance?

10. Can you vacation for a full week at a time?

11. What level of accommodations do you prefer on a scale of 1 to 5 stars?

12. How much can you afford to spend upfront, without financing?

13. How much can you afford to spend every year for maintenance fees that will usually be due right after Christmas, and increase each year?

14. Are you a detail-oriented planner?

15. Do you understand that once you buy a timeshare, it may be very difficult to sell or give away, and that you are responsible for all fees until you do?

If you do in fact decide to purchase a timeshare, see this list of more detailed questions to ask yourself as you move forward in the process. Good luck!

Westgate Lakes Experience

We received the following submission from one of our users about their experience with Westgate Lakes Resort & Spa in Florida:

westgate lakes“I have been fooled by false promises that I could sell my weeks or getaways and make some money with it, so myself and wife purchased a ‘property’ in October 2015 looking forward to that possibility, besides of course enjoying the weeks we were entitled to.

The bad surprise came when I started to look into Westgate’s website in order to understand how everything worked, how I could book my weeks, how I could resell those weeks and getaways, etc. For my surprise, I would be able to issue a “guest certificate” if I wanted someone else other than my family to enjoy a week in their amenities, but those guest certificates could by no means be exchanged for money. In other words, they could not be sold.

So Westgate literally lied to me by the time I purchased a ‘property’ with them. Now I have hired an attorney to take care of my case with them.”

Have you been told by a timeshare company that you could sell your weeks for a little extra cash? Was it true? Share your experience with us!

Zika Virus and Travel

By now you have probably heard about the Zika virus outbreaks in the past year. Prior to 2015, Zika virus outbreaks occurred mostly in areas of Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific Islands. In May 2015, the first confirmed Zika infections occurred in Brazil and have since spread to areas in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America. On February 1, 2016, the World Health Organization declared Zika virus a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). Because many timeshare resorts are located in areas where Zika outbreaks are actively occurring, we wanted to give you the latest information about the virus and how to travel safely.

The Basics

Zika virus disease is an illness caused by the Zika virus that is spread to people primarily through the bite of an infected mosquito. The most common symptoms include a fever, rash, joint pain, and red eyes, although in many cases there are no symptoms at all. The illness is usually mild, with symptoms lasting for several days to a week after being bitten by an infected mosquito. One major area of concern for some people is how Zika may affect a fetus if its pregnant mother is exposed to the virus. While many questions still remain, there is increasing evidence of a link between Zika and some serious birth defects.

zika virus

The following information is current as of March 18, 2016 according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Active mosquito-borne transmission of the Zika virus is occurring in the following areas:

  • Cape Verde
  • Mexico
  • The Caribbean: Aruba, Barbados, Bonaire, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Jamaica, Martinique, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sint Maarten, Trinidad and Tobago, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
  • Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama
  • The Pacific Islands: American Samoa, Marshall Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, and Tonga
  • South America: Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Suriname, and Venezuela

Prevention

There is no existing vaccine that prevents Zika virus disease, so the best way to protect yourself is to avoid mosquito bites. If you plan on traveling to one of the above territories, take the following precautions:

  • Expose as little skin as possible. Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants.
  • Sleep under a mosquito bed net.
  • Use insect repellent that contains 20% or more DEET. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-registered repellents are proven safe and effective, even for pregnant or breast-feeding women.
  • Treat clothing and gear with permethrin (a pesticide used to kill mosquitoes and ticks) or purchase already treated items. Treated clothing remains protective after multiple washings.

For more information on how to best prevent mosquito bites, see this helpful document. Be aware that all current travel notices are Level 2 (out of 3), which means to practice enhanced precautions, such as those listed above. As long as you are responsible and take the suggested precautionary measures, you should be able to safely enjoy your vacation.