Guest Post: Timeshare Rental Tips for Families

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With some regularity I get comments or emails related to time shares and how they are a great option for families.  I have a small family of three, so we fit pretty well in a hotel room, but I absolutely think that timeshare rentals can be great options in some situations…it’s just not something I can speak to personally with a lot of experience.  However, I was contacted by a reader who does have experience in time shares and was willing to share her thoughts via this guest post.  Thanks to her for sharing her thoughts, and feel free to chime in on the comments section with some suggestions of your own!

A few days ago, I read a FlyerTalk thread about someone who was using 540,000 HHonors points for a week at the Hilton Kings Land.  I thought “Wow, I need to get the word out to FlyerTalkers that sometimes a timeshare rental is a better deal than points!”

So here are the top four situations when a timeshare rental makes more sense than booking a hotel room with points or money.

1.  They’re great for families!

I have three kids, aged 14, 12, and 9, and all of us sharing a single hotel room on a vacation sounds like…not a vacation.

Getting two hotel rooms sounds like a hassle and a huge expense.

When my husband and I travel alone, a hotel is perfect.  But when we travel with the kids, renting a timeshare provides more space and extra amenities which make the trip more enjoyable.

Smaller families will do fine with a studio (comparable to a hotel room but with a partial or full kitchen), or a one bedroom (similar to a hotel suite but with a full kitchen).  For our family of five, a 2-bedroom timeshare villa is a perfect solution.  Most 2 bedroom timeshare villas have:

  • Beds for 6-8
  • Two bathrooms
  • A full kitchen
  • Washer / dryer
  • A living room
  • A balcony or patio

I remember a pre-timeshare trip where my husband and I put the kids to bed in the hotel room, then retreated to the bathroom to have a glass of wine and read.  I was sitting in the bathtub, and he perched on the toilet.  The kids didn’t fall asleep until late because they weren’t used to sleeping in the same room.  It was…not fun.

The biggest benefit of a timeshare rental for families, especially those who don’t have elite status, is that you can eat as many meals as you want in your villa.  Eating out with young kids can be stressful, and eating 3 meals a day out for an entire vacation is stressful and expensive!  Having breakfast, lunch and simple snacks in your room (and maybe the occasional dinner if you’re not in a foodie paradise location) can save lots of money in addition to hours a day of getting cleaned up to go out, and waiting to get seated and served.

2.  You can get great last minute deals

Timeshare ownership is quite rigid.  You must book 12-18 months in advance, your location is locked in, and you cannot change dates or location without significant losses.  This frustration for owners can lead to great last minute bargains for renters!

If you have a cancellable hotel reservation, it is worth checking 45 days out for a deal to your destination.  Here are some examples of current last minute deals:

Grand Pacific Palisades, Mar 17-23, 2 bedroom

Royal Mayan, Mar 2-9, studio

But be aware:  Just as the owner could not change or cancel the reservation, neither can you as a renter.

3.  You can get great deals in overbuilt areas

Orlando, Williamsburg, VA, Branson, MO, and Las Vegas are dense with timeshares.  It is especially easy in these cities to get a large, luxurious rental for a price lower than a hotel room.

Wyndham Bonnet Creek, Orlando (highly valued for its great access to the Disney parks)

  • Two bedroom, 2 bathroom villa at Wyndham Bonnet Creek, $699 for the week.  It would be hard to beat that rate, even for a cheap single room hotel!  (Redweek Listing R552720.  Requires guest registration to browse.)
  • FOUR bedroom Presidential at Wyndham Bonnet Creek,  $2,600 for a week.  Yes, it is $371 a night, but if you need two or three rooms, it is a great deal.  (Redweek Listing R552883.)

4.  You can beat the hotel’s price on very high end properties, or find space when they’re fully booked.   

Big Cedar Lodge in Ridgedale, Missouri is a five star luxury family resort on Table Rock Lake which shares property and amenities with the timeshare Wilderness Club at Big Cedar.  Perhaps you read about it in Conde Nast or Travel and Leisure, and would love to stay in one of the private 2 bedroom cabins.

How about Thanksgiving at the Westin Ka’anapali Ocean Resort Villas in Maui?  For a 2 bedroom ocean-view:

  • Starwood, Ocean View Villa:   $7,057 per week (Nov 23 – 30)
  • Timeshare Rental, Ocean Front Villa:   $4,200 per week (Nov 23 – 30)

My family is traveling to Aruba after Christmas this year.  Hotel rooms, when I can find availability, are $600-800 a night.  (Hyatt and Radisson are both unavailable for my dates on points bookings.)  For two rooms, I’m looking at $7,200 – $9,600 for the six nights.

A two-bedroom condo at the Marriott Ocean Club, while still very pricy at $6,000 for the week, gets me more space, everyone in the same unit, a full kitchen, and an extra night!  (Redweek:  several listings).

What to be aware of if you rent a timeshare

  • You will not receive daily maid service.  If you stay a full week, you’ll get a mid-week cleaning.
  • You won’t be able to change or cancel your reservation.
  • Elite status and benefits will not be recognized, and you will not accrue points or stays.
  • Be sure to check reviews!  The very best source for timeshare reviews is Timeshare Users’ Group (TUG).  TUG reviews are available to members only but can be well worth the $15 membership fee!
  • You are not required to attend a timeshare pitch if you rent from an owner.  Skip it!  (And if you take one and are tempted to buy, contact me first!)

Where to look for a rental

Check this link for my list of timeshare rental sites run by individuals.  Also check the big dogs:   Redweek, eBay, VRBO and vacationtimesharerentals.  Or you can post the dates and location you want in the comments on this Timeshare Rental Wish List post, and if any of my timeshare-owning readers have what you need, they’ll respond.

Thanks again for the info on renting time shares!  The author of this guest post has recently started blogging on the site Weeks + Miles in order to help bring the world of miles to timeshare owners, so feel free to find her over there if you want more info on how timeshare rentals can benefit your family!

The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.


  1. $6,000 for a week in Aruba? That’s $858 per night. That’s a grande more than my wife’s car cost for a WEEK of travel or almost 6 months rent for us. People really blow this kind of money on only a week long vacation?

  2. When I was traveling with 3 kids I often did timeshare rentals (AA offered them with their vacations packages) and always got fantastic rates! Fire codes in many places do not permit more than 4 in a room so these were bargains. Beach destinations with a washer/dryer are an extra perk and 2 TVs are a must.

  3. Timeshares have spoiled our family. We love Bonnet Creek! We’ve stayed there four times and we’re booked for a fifth stay this summer!! We’re a little less in love with Bonnet Creek now that they’ve added a $12 a night parking/transportation fee, but it’s still a great place to stay.

    We own a Wyndham contract and a Disney Vacation Club contract (we got both resale–never ever buy from the developer. ALWAYS check resale first!!)

    If you want to rent Disney Vacation club accommodations has a forum where you can rent reservations from owners. You have to be registered and logged in to see it. Before we owned we rented from owners there twice with great results!

  4. Wyndham Bonnet Creek has rescinded the mandatory shuttle charge – not only shuttle users will be charged.

    “Dear Guest:

    As a result of recent feedback, the Bonnet Creek Home Owners Association has reversed the recently communicated $12 per unit / per day transportation fee at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort. Beginning March 1, 2013, transportation fees will only be applied to individuals who use the Walt Disney World® Resort shuttles at the resort.

    We remain committed to delivering exceptional Count On Me! service and creating vacation memories for you and your family and friends.

    Thank you for your continued feedback and ongoing support. We look forward to your stay at the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort.

    Richard Scinta, Resort Manager
    Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort”

  5. And let me put in a word for non-Timeshare apartment rentals too. Many of the advantages of timeshares plus great center-city locations. We rented in Barcelona a few years ago, half the price of a hotel with a separate bedroom for the kids, a terrace, and a fantastic location. We liked it so much we turned the garden apartment of our Manhattan brownstone into a vacation rental.

  6. If you want to rent a 2 BDRM at the Marriott Surf Club in Aruba in the off season (from Mid May-Mid December, let me know. Ours is for rent for $2100. Marriott’s charge for the same thing is double. For families, I would highly recommend the Surf Club over the Ocean Club because of the lazy river at the Surf Club.

  7. Thanks, DeniseM! That’s wonderful news. Our family will certainly be able to put that $84 to use!! They sure did make that change fast!

  8. Sorry if this is a duplicate: Unfortunately, most timeshares have little or no resale value, but you may be able to give it away if it’s paid off. The TUG website has a forum called Bargain Deals where you can give away your timeshare. At the top of the Bargain Deals forum, there is a post about how to give it away. I tried to post the link, but my post didn’t go live, so I’m guessing it isn’t permitted here.

  9. Matt,

    I’m glad Craigslist has worked so well for you! It can be a great resource but it is a little more “Wild West” than the other sites.

    Many timeshare owners I know are reluctant to post on Craigslist because they get so many spam / scam responses.


  10. Denise, feel free to try posting the link again – if it didn’t go through it was just a technical glitch somewhere. Certainly wasn’t moderated on my end. 😉

  11. We found a great deal on a 2 br penthouse thru Craigslist at the last minute over the New Year’s at Marriott Beach Club in Oahu. We were very lucky. We had free parking, got to do lots of activities on site, and enjoyed the discounts and perks that timeshare owners receives. It was awesome! I do it again!

  12. Luxury villa rental in Aruba are luxurious and expensive. More luxury facilities like private pool, gym, spa, and many more.
    You can avail the maid and chef service for cleaning and cooking respectively. You can go anywhere without any tension as these are safe with security locks and cameras and alarms.

  13. Renting a timeshare is an option that you might consider if you don’t want to use your timeshare weeks anymore. Owning a timeshare can be a headache! With all the fees you have the responsibility to pay and the constant phone calls coming from the resort, it becomes almost necessary to think on a solution, especially if your debts are getting deeper.

  14. After a timeshare is purchased, you usually have a rescission period to change your mind. A rescission period, also known as cooling-off period, refers to a certain time after a timeshare purchase is made, where you have the right to cancel the contract agreement without any penalties, and you can also get your total deposit back. In Mexico, you have five business days to cancel the contract, in the US; this period varies depending on the state where the purchase was made, which usually goes from 5 to 15 days.

  15. Not all time shares are bad, actually, a time share can be a good purchase for someone who does enjoy revisiting the same destination each year. However, vacation properties are not for most people, being that they only seem to work for people with very specific vacation desires.

  16. The timeshare industry has been into the lion’s mouth for the last couple of years, and it has generated lots of controversy and discussions in many forums and blogs on the web. However, since we’re living an economic downturn, anyone would expect that the timeshare sales collapse, but instead of that the sales seem to be increasing… but this comes with a trap: timeshare scams are increasing too. That leads us to the question: then, why keep people investing on timeshares?

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