Are Timeshares Worth It?

Have you ever thought about buying a timeshare? Are timeshares worth it and is it a good investment for you? I am not an expert on timeshares but I am the owner of four timeshares. One is in Utah and three are in the islands of Hawaii: Kauai, Maui, and Kona. We bought our first timeshare about 20 years ago in Kauai and have used it repeatedly.

We often use our Hawaii timeshares and then deposit our week for our Utah timeshare into a company called RCI and then travel to other areas. This year I visited Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta as a result of that deposit and loved it. Mexico is the destination I usually pick when I use a deposited timeshare.

Lobby of a timeshare in Mexico
Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta

My Timeshares

We paid $7,000 for our first timeshare and can use it every other year. It is in Princeville, Kauai. Additionally, we pay approximately $1,300 a year for maintenance to use it the years we have it. It is a two-bedroom unit and so that is worth the maintenance cost to me. We bought this during a timeshare presentation, something I wouldn’t do now.

Our next timeshare is in Utah at Snowbird Ski and Summer Resort. I paid $6,000 for a week every year. It is a large unit that sleeps 10. We love to go up there for Thanksgiving occasionally but usually exchange it for a resort in Mexico. In fact, I can go for two weeks in Mexico for this one deposit.

We have really enjoyed the first two timeshares and honestly, if we hadn’t bought them, I wouldn’t have been able to travel as much as I like. My husband has never been as into traveling as me but because we needed to use our timeshares, we traveled! To me, these timeshares were worth it just for that, because I love to travel.

I got wiser with my last two timeshares though. After hearing about eBay timeshare sales, I checked it out. A friend had bought one on eBay for a few hundred dollars so I decided to try it out. It worked great and closed without problems. I would never again buy through a presentation! If you are interested in a timeshare, I would buy through eBay or a resale seller. That being said, I would do your research and make sure the seller has good reviews and the timeshare is through a reputable company.

I bought my timeshare in Maui for $600 and the one in Kona for $1. Yep, that is right! One dollar! My timeshare in Maui is a one-bedroom unit and I get it every other year. The Kona timeshare is a 2 bedroom unit that I get each year and the maintenance fee is only $700! That’s $100 a night for a 2-bedroom condo in Hawaii!

The Pros and Cons of Timeshares

The real advantage of timeshares is always knowing where you are traveling. It feels like home when you return because you get to know the area so well. It is also easier to take the family along as the condos are much bigger than a standard hotel room.

The cons are you have to pay maintenance fees and may feel tied to go there instead of exploring the world. Airbnb’s or VRBO’s are also available now and often a good deal. I am grateful we bought our timeshares so many years ago because they gave me the love of travel, but I would never buy one now unless I got it as cheap as my last two.

Snowbird Cliff Lodge
The Cliff Lodge, Snowbird


Timeshare Presentations: 5 Things To Know Before You Go

What about timeshare presentations – should you go to them? I say an emphatic yes! Especially if you are in Mexico. I have received enough money to attend that our food was almost paid for during the week, free massages, and free golf. These are the things you need to know if you go:

  1. It will take 90 minutes of your time. Keep track and keep the presenter to the prescribed amount of time.
  2. Know that they will start out with the unit costing a LOT! As you say no, they will keep reducing it until it seems like such a good deal that you feel it would be stupid to not accept it. Be stupid (well actually really smart). Do not accept it. It is NOT a good deal to buy at their prices and often their deals sound way better than they are in reality.
  3. Know ahead of time what you want in gifts before you go. You can even research on the internet what others get or ask people at the resort what they are getting. I will usually go if I can get $200-$250 in resort credit and a free massage. Bargain with them before you accept the invitation to go.
  4. Try to attend early in the morning so that you have the rest of the day for fun. Timeshare presentations are not fun but I still find them worth the hassle.
  5. To save time, let them know right away you don’t plan to buy. You are there for the incentives. It’s a numbers game for them and I’ve only had one rude salesperson in about 15 presentations.

Last year we went to Maui and paid $500 for four nights at a Westin by listening to a timeshare presentation. We also got a free rental car and Hawaiian Airline Points. Totally worth it to me. I get repeated calls from companies like Marriott, Hilton, and other vacation companies to do this and will probably do it again in the future.

Alex is going to Newport in a few months to attend one. They are staying for three nights in a 2 bedroom condo. The cost is $299 and they will receive a $50 Marriott gift card for 90 minutes of their time.

Bottom Line

Remember: You are a travel hacker or learning to be one. I bought my timeshares before I started all of this. If I had known all I know now, I probably wouldn’t have bought timeshares or would have just stuck to buying them on eBay. On the other hand, our family has enjoyed years of family travel to our timeshares and continues to do so. But I think timeshare presentations if you are offered the right incentives, are totally worth going to.

Bahli Hai Villa in Princeville, Kauai

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