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How Not to Get Suckered on Vacation with Timeshares

I’m excited you are here today, but I also hate to have to share this story. I want to share my experience with timeshare sharks to help you not get suckered on your next vacation. Keep reading to hear all about my story and how not to get suckered on vacation with timeshares.

There’s one thing I don’t want for you on vacation—to get suckered! With the pandemic halting travel and things picking back up again, timeshare salesmen are chomping at the bit. I have my own experience with them before Covid was a thing, so I can’t imagine how desperate they are now. My experience was less than favorable. In fact, the people were incredibly rude and dismissive, but more on that in a bit. Now more than ever, we all need a lesson in how not to get suckered on vacation with timeshares.

So, what is a timeshare? In terms of my industry, travel and resorts, they are pitched as a means of saving money and getting to travel every year. However, if you fully research, you’ll find that you aren’t saving at all. Not only that, most of the time you are locked into one brand and the brands they partner with, meaning you won’t have much opportunity to explore other parts of the world within your timeshare.

You pay annual fees, upwards of hundreds of thousands of dollars, which can rise year after year. Dates are often not flexible, and they are difficult to escape once you’ve joined. Ramsey Solutions says, “With timeshares, you’re just pre-paying your hotel bill for the next 20 years whether or not you use it.”

Well, you may be wondering, why people buy into them? The answer is simple and deceptive. You are promised the world in the form of free excursions, massages, or even free stays. But the truth is, it’s a waste of time to spend 5 hours on a timeshare sales pitch to lock you into years and years of payments with very little to no return on your investment until you’re 100. And, well, you likely won’t be able to enjoy it at that point. Don’t get suckered!

Unfortunately, these days most resorts also have timeshare salespeople on staff. They may be disguised as a VIP Vacation Club, Legendary Club, etc. There is a good chance they will hound you to attend welcome meeting. JUST SAY NO. Trust me…that 90 minutes turns into 3 hours and a HARD sales pitch. The next thing you know you’ve lost half a day of vacation AND they’re presenting you with a contract for $50,000 (yes, really). 

As I mentioned, my experience was horrendous. As an experiment for my clients, I went to one of these pitch meetings, after the staff asked me just not tell them I was a travel agent (first red flag). Timeshare folks don’t like travel agents, and, honestly, we don’t like them. I feel they are deceptive, pushy, and rude. I may be in “sales,” but I will never, ever push you into buying/purchasing/agreeing to something you are not comfortable with. That is not my jam.

Ok, on with the story. We were promised a day at a nearby, brand new resort and $300 in spa coupons, each, just for attending the meeting! They put us in a taxi, not private transportation, but a public taxi, and sent us to the resort. We were greeted by a lower-level saleswoman who toured us around the resort, took us to lunch, then escorted us to a meeting room full of other suckered travelers.

The pitch started out with another woman who was soft and kind, but the price tag outrageous. With every “no,” “no thank you,” “we can’t afford it,” the push back grew harder and harder. As a different method to sway us, a “higher up” offered us a sweet deal, a lower monthly payment! But, when you read the fine print, the overall cost and term grew larger. Still, I stood my ground, my mom taking me in proudly.

At one last attempt to sucker us in, the lady returned and asked very, very rude questions like, “What do you do with your tax return?” or “Well, if you can’t afford this, then how did you afford to come here?” “I beg your pardon,” I responded. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I know this story sounds short and sweet, but this was a several hour ordeal.  We never got our day at the other resort, we had to demand the spa coupons, AND demand to be sent back to our “home” resort.

I knew going into the pitch that it would be a lot. But I never dreamed they would be so incredibly pushy. I don’t share this experience to completely bash timeshare people. I know this is what they are taught, and this is their livelihood. However, their methods are dishonest, pushy, and, quite frankly, feel icky.

Are there people out there that timeshares work for? Sure, there are. But odds are, you aren’t one of them. And if you take the time to breakdown the numbers, you’ll likely find that you can get a lot more bang for your buck by purchasing a vacation the good ole fashioned way, aka contacting me to plan your vacation! Hopefully, my experience shows you how not to get suckered on vacation with timeshares.

  1. Cheryl Landrum says:

    Wow i just purchased a trip involving timeshare meeting agreement through Hilton Honors solicitation and Hilton Grand Vacations ? it was less than 200$ 4 days 3 nights Las Vegas meeting attendance required? Know anything on Hilton’s history? or reputation?

    • Dana Lewis says:

      Cheryl, sounds like you are not locked into anything yet, except being required to attend the timeshare meetings. I would just be sure to read everything incredibly carefully before signing anything, and consult an attorney before agreeing to any contracts. Good luck!

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