Vacationing on a budget this year? Here are some tips on how to stretch your dollar, while still being able to relax, unwind and enjoy your timeshare trip. With a little foresight and planning, your travel plans do not have to put you in the poor house. Check out the list below to find out how you can be successful at timesharing on a budget.
The Basics of Low Cost Timeshare Travel
- Put a request in to your timeshare exchange company for a resort location closer to home. Instead of flying across the country to visit Disney World like you have done every other summer, explore a resort closer to home. Vacationing within driving distance within a few hours of your house will not only save you gas money, but will also alleviate much of the stress and extra costs involved with long-distance vacations, including car rentals and using public transportation.
- Invite friends and family to join your trip. If you are using a timeshare property, you may have whole rooms or beds not being used. Extend the invitation to travel to friends/family and you can not only spend more quality time together, but it will also help to offset some of the costs. When people travel in large groups they are often able to get discounts on rooms, events and even meals at some restaurants.
- Use your kitchen. Almost every timeshare property has some type of kitchenette within the unit. Even eating just breakfast at home can easily save a family of four $40 per day/$280 for the week. Use the kitchen to your advantage, keep snacks in the room instead of using vending machines or convenience stores, and try to eat at least one to two meals cooked at the house each day. Invite everyone to get in on the fun, maybe have one night where the kids can prepare a meal for the adults, or allow one family member to pick the dish for each day. The kitchen is your greatest money saving asset with a timeshare, be sure to use it to its fullest potential.
- Use guidebook coupons. Every major travel destination in the country will publish a visitor’s guide containing valuable coupons to be used for everything from souvenirs and miniature golf to restaurant tabs and banana splits. Try to have an open mind with the events and attractions you are considering, and use the visitor’s guidebook to determine what places are the best value.
- Pre-purchase tickets. Buying tickets before you leave for your vacation can be a great way to save money on attractions you know will be included in your travel plans. The best place to purchase discount tickets is either online, or through your local AAA office (as long as you are a triple-A member). Be sure to ask if there are any additional student, elderly, business, military or other applicable discounts you may qualify for.
- Be an early-bird. Many restaurants offer early bird specials for patrons seated before 5 or 6 pm. For true blue money savers, a light lunch and early dinner is a great way to enjoy a night out without going for broke. When eating out it is also budget friendly to share entrees or just order an appetizer if you are dying to try out the newest, hippest eatery for less.
- Talk to locals. These people will know where the best deals in the area are, and it will give you a good chance to explore places that are “off the beaten path”. Some of the best adventures can be had for free, and the only way to find these kinds of places is to ask around. A good example of this is with museums, many museums have one day per week that they offer reduced or free admission, this is the kind of information only a local would know, as these sorts of places are not too quick to publish days they are open for free when they can get you to buy a ticket.
- Take public transportation. Many resorts offer shuttle service to local attractions, and all major cities have their own public transportation network of trains, buses and subways. The money spent utilizing public transportation are well worth the money spent, and you can save big by buying an all-access pass for the time you are visiting.
- Avoid the ATM as much as possible. Even if your bank swears it does not charge ATM fees for using another bank’s machine, odds are that bank will charge you at least a few dollars. If you have the unfortunate circumstance of being with a bank that happily charges fees for using non-native ATM’s, you can expect to pay between $4-$8 for each transaction. If you feel comfortable carrying a large sum of money with you to the hotel upon arrival and storing it in the safe, be my guest, but I would recommend just using your debit card for transactions at the grocery store or drug store and asking for a bit of cash back during every purchase.
- Take the timeshare upgrade tour that is offered. If you are already a time share owner, odds are you know what goes on during these types of presentations. A timeshare salesperson will try to convince you that their newest resort is the latest and greatest, or that you need to upgrade your current unit for the best of the best. Be polite, listen, go through the motions, keep saying “no thank you” and be sure to collect your handsome reward at the conclusion of the session. Some resorts will offer show tickets, others cash, whatever it is, it is sure to make your vacation a little more pleasant. For tips on how to make it through a timeshare presentation without buying be sure to read the post – Tips for Surviving a Timeshare Presentation