Vacation clubs are great for families and those with itchy feet, who don’t want to keep going to the same spot every year. It’s also for those who are wary about investing in a vacation home because finding tenants and repairing dodgy toilets can be stressful.
If you’re unsure about vacation clubs and whether they’re a good fit for your lifestyle, we’ve got your back. Here are the pros and cons of joining a vacation club.
What Is a Vacation Club?
Vacation clubs are like timeshares in the sense that they offer vacation stays in accommodation within your price range. Also, like timeshares, you buy into a program for an initial price. This can range from $5000 to 1 million, and then you decide which resort to stay in and pay for.
Further, there is no base interval location or time with a vacation club. The location and duration depend on how much occupancy you buy and you can even stay for as little as two nights. The best vacation clubs even let you sell or transfer your membership so you can buy one of these club memberships as a resale.
The Various Types of Vacation Clubs
Vacation clubs come in all shapes and sizes. The main three are:
Major Hotel or Resort Chain
Some of the biggest hotel names operate vacation clubs such as Disney, Four Seasons, Marriott and The Ritz-Carlton. This vacation club is limited to the locations that belong to the chain but they offer these awesome benefits like award-winning customer service.
Condo or Resort Chains
Other vacation clubs have their own vacation facilities that aren’t involved with a large hotel chain. You can choose from a condo to stay in your own villa for higher-end programs. You’ll find vacation clubs in major resort areas or large cities.
High-end Ownership Programs
There are several programs that operate as associations of individuals. These people have their own expensive properties around the world. Members can buy into an equity position where they share ownership of specific properties. We know these operations as “Destination Clubs” where initial buy-in starts at around $100,000 and can be as high as $1 million.
Pros of Vacation Clubs
There are many benefits to vacation clubs such as:
You Can Enjoy a Variety of Vacation Destinations
Let’s face it: visiting the same place every year loses its magic. Yet with a vacation club membership, you can enjoy a holiday home without dealing with the burdens of homeownership. One year, enjoy a ski holiday in the Rocky Mountains and the next, wind down on a beach in Costa Rica.
No Repair Costs
Maintenance cost is always a bummer especially when your vacation home is hundreds of miles away. With a vacation club, you can properly relax without worrying whether your plumbing is acting up or if your lawn is overgrown.
Travel During Peak Vacation Times
Traveling during peak vacation times can be expensive especially if you have a big family. You either have to rent out your vacation home to afford to pay the bills or rent it out during peak times when you should enjoy it. But the vacation club memberships let you travel whenever and to wherever you like.
Vacation clubs offer larger accommodations than hotel or resorts. Many are in excellent locations and an annual occupancy is less expensive. There’s also reassurance as you know you can return to your favorite resort with minimal hassle.
Enjoy Concierge-Style Service
You no longer have to worry about cleaning or doing chores. Instead, many vacation clubs provide comforts such as a fully stocked fridge, someone to clean your room and make reservations on your behalf.
Don't Have to Worry about Depreciation
One reason many of us don’t want to fork out for real estate is the possibility of depreciation. Your vacation home may be in a hotspot now things but things may take a turn. With vacation homes, however, you can pay the membership fees and go on vacation as little or how much as you want.
If you're asking yourself "are vacation clubs worth it?", you should also consider the disadvantages of the best vacation clubs.
Read the Fine Print
Even though vacation clubs are flexible, you can’t recover the initial buy-in price so they may make you book certain types of locations. It can be difficult finding your perfect accommodation in your dream location and operators can increase fees on the whim.
Also, the vacation clubs you can access depends on your number of points and you’re tied-in to paying yearly maintenance fees. In a normal vacation situation, you could save up to afford a luxurious vacation but as a vacation club member, you must take the same vacation each year.
High-Pressure Sale Tactics
Some of the biggest names can be guilty of high-pressure sales techniques and too-good-to-be-true promises. Be wary when discussing your membership before signing anything and always read the vacation club reviews.
Your Investment Becomes Less Desirable Over Time
Hotels and resorts are desirable when they’re first built and their amenities are brand new. But, over the years, more guests will stay and they will become less desirable. You may visit a hotel or a resort a lot over twenty years but when you want to sell your membership, you won’t get much in return. There’s also no cap on annual maintenance fees so what you’re expected to pay every year will increase.
Vacation Clubs Are Great for New Experiences, Are You in?
Vacation clubs are great if you want to try something new. Even though vacation homes have their benefits, it feels monotonous visiting the same location especially when you have children who want to try new things. Vacation clubs are great for this and you have a variety of vacations at your fingertips without having to break the bank.
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