Tenerife on a Timeshare!
I’m writing to you from Reina Sofia airport, in the south of Tenerife, Spain. We just finished a wonderful relaxing week at the CLC Sunningdale Village resort here. Charley and I normally don’t need high levels of luxury and are just as happy staying in a small studio in a city center as we are at a resort. In this case, though, spending the week here at CLCSV turned out to be our most economical choice.
I spend a lot of time working with airline and hotel points to save money. Thanks to them, a lot of our flights and lodging this trip will be free. (In fact, we’re at the airport to head to London for a very brief weekend visit, to celebrate Pride there and see their Pride parade, and our lodging will be free courtesy of hotel points.)
There’s one huge underappreciated housing option for travel that a lot of people don’t consider: timeshares. I know what you’re thinking, and it turns out you’re mostly right. Timeshares can turn out to be giant wastes of money and time. You first pay to actually purchase your timeshare at a resort of your choosing, and then you find out that you have to pay huge monthly upkeep and maintenance charges. It seems crazy to pay so much money just to pin yourself down and have no flexibility, at such a huge and personal expense. You have to go to the same place at the same time every year!
There’s one factor that can change all the calculations though: timeshare exchanges. Most modern timeshares belong to exchange organizations, and understanding them is really the key to everything. For the most part, you can only exchange your unit for a comparable unit (and the way the exchanges define “comparable” can vary a lot). For our organization, though, any remaining available units less than two months out are completely up for grabs! That means if we have the ability to go somewhere on less than two months of notice, we can head straight to the exchange website and see what’s available. Technically, we own a timeshare for a small studio in Florida; we’ve never seen it, though. In February of 2015, we hit up the exchange to get a three-bedroom townhouse in South Africa. Now in June of 2016, we exchanged it for a week in a two bedroom apartment in Tenerife, Spain.
All in all, it’s not bad for $20 per month in upkeep and maintenance charges and a $179 exchange fee. If you want to learn more, you can check out one online guide on timeshare exchange here.