Does a Timeshare Rental Make Sense?

by Chris on April 14, 2012

Looking for advice on timeshare rentals? Some tips from those who have been there, done that.

Shelling Sanibel Stoop

Last year, I wrote about how my father owns a timeshare on Sanibel Island, Florida, and how he rents it out through Craigslist (which honestly, I would never advise someone to do. He lucked out and found a quality renter, who has been coming back year after year. They’ve even gone out for coffee).

While I’ve rented apartments and vacation homes before, I’ve never gone the timeshare route. I’ve been too afraid that the company would waste my time in a required sales meeting or something. But just like vacation homes, timeshares do offer a cheaper alternative to hotels, with more room for a family or group. Many times they are part of a resort, so you share the same amenities as those paying more.

I asked a few bloggers who write frequently about this mode of travel for their thoughts on timeshare rentals:

Terry Lee, LiveShareTravel:  “Timeshare ownership offers more than just a vacation – it’s a leisure lifestyle – so expect a rental to offer more spacious accommodation with plenty of services and amenities, and resorts are usually home to a really friendly community of owners into which visitors are always welcomed.

There is no overseer of quality for the majority of holiday rental accommodations but most timeshare resorts are affiliated to a vacation exchange company which monitors quality to ensure high standards.

Check the vacation rental websites of exchange companies like RCI or Interval International. If you’re flexible on location, booking close to your departure date can offer up excellent late deals. Look for resort reviews on sites that focus specifically on timeshares, or TripAdvisor.

If you’re a family and want to cook meals in the timeshare, make sure it comes with a full kitchen. Also be aware that a two bedroom timeshare apartment could sleep up to six people comfortably and the majority have sofa beds and pull out beds in spacious living areas.

Although timeshares are largely in resort destinations, hiring a car gives you the chance to really take in the local area and resorts usually have plenty of free parking.

Don’t worry that staying in a timeshare rental means you’ll be sold to. You may be approached by the in-house sales team, but if you’re not interested just say no. If you are interested you’re obviously in the right place.”

Eileen Ludwig, The Freelance Tourist: I have never rented out my timeshare but know others who do. It is becoming harder to recoup cost because maintenance fees have gone up so much.I only use my timeshare, extra vacation weeks, and last call for taking vacation.

Timeshares are like condos with all the dishes, pots, etc that you need to live their for a week. Much preferred to most hotels, although it depends on the Timeshare. Some are terrific and some are just converted hotels and dumps.

Can find places on ebay but be careful. Some Realtors rent. Best reputable place is Timeshare User Group but the prices will be higher because they are knowledgeable.

Read reviews on RCI if a member and Tripadvisor. Many from England or other countries are not as harsh on accomodations as Americans. Timeshares do not do everyday cleaning and that is a complaint written for those not in the know. It’s just trash and towels once a week (midweek). I read twenty or more reviews on questionable places and take some with a grain of salt – experience helps

Even the worse timeshare so far has been better than worse hotel, and I have recourse with my timeshare trade with rci while a renter would not.

Readers: Occasionally on Saturdays, I may run paid posts which help keep my blog running. This post was brought to you by a company that rents timeshares. 

| Chris Gray Faust is a veteran journalist, travel expert, social media butterfly - and editrix of this site. Like what you read? Check out her writing, editing and social media services.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Sophie April 15, 2012 at 6:45 am

I´ve never tried a time-share but my American aunt and uncle have had one in Hawaii for at least 20 years. They hop all about the planet all the time in every kind of way, but absolutely love visiting their time-share once a year.


Chris April 17, 2012 at 1:50 pm

Sophie –

For people who know that they will want to return to a place year after year, a timeshare isn’t necessarily a bad deal. What I’ve seen happen, though, is that people buy into timeshares, thinking it will a good investment, and then their tastes change. My dad has a friend who bought a timeshare in Orlando near Disney when the kids were young. Now the kids are older, and the family has no interest in going there anymore.


Erick Arndt April 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm

We vacationed in our first timeshare over 10 years ago and we feel like we are going backwards whenever we have to stay in a hotel room on vacation. A timeshare offers more space and more amenities and if you shop, you’ll even pay less than a hotel. It really enhances the vacation especially the “extra space”. The days of everyone being cramped in a single hotel room are over for us 🙂 If you want to read more, here’s a blog I wrote on the topic of timeshares and hotel rooms.


Chris April 17, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Erick – I can’t imagine an entire family camped out in one room, especially when there are so many apartment, timeshare and vacation home options out there.


Steph / TravelShark April 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm

We were just talking about this; have you seen Airbnb? Many of our friends put their timeshares there now because it’s so convenient and a bit more secure than Craiglist. Check it out! It’s a great way to look for other places to stay besides hotels and rent out your homes or timeshares.


Chris April 17, 2012 at 1:48 pm

Steph –

Yep, I’ve used Airbnb and written about it several times (for the San Francisco Chronicle and the Dallas Morning News). While it’s a good way to rent out apartments and rooms in your home, timeshare owners are usually interested in getting renters who will take their entire week. Still, a good option if you’re looking for more room while traveling.


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