Vacation Rentals vs. Timeshares–What’s the Difference?

Going on vacation can be expensive when you stop to consider the costs of a hotel. This is what makes the idea of renting or owning a vacation place somewhere so desirable. The basic difference is that a vacation rental belongs to an owner who rents it out to guests, and a timeshare is a property with shared ownership that is divided up between the owners. Beyond these, here are some of the major differences that you’ll need to take into account if you’re deciding between a vacation rental or a timeshare.

Vacation Rentals vs Timeshares - Vacation Rentals vs. Timeshares–What’s the Difference?

Association Fees

A timeshare has association fees that are due on a yearly basis. This is what covers the maintenance and staffing of the resort in which your timeshare is located. As costs go up, so too does this amount. In order to remain in good standing with your account, you have to pay these fees on time. If you don’t pay them before the deadline, you risk incurring additional penalties and not being able to use your timeshare until you’ve taken care of them. In contrast, a rental property does not have association fees, but you do not have ownership and may have difficulty communicating with the owner if they don’t live nearby.

Location, Location, Location

Rental properties can be found almost everywhere, from the busiest of cities to the most remote locations. Timeshares, on the other hand, are usually located within popular resort areas. Timeshares are held to a specific standard to care and cleanliness, while rental properties may differ. In the end, your preference might depend on whether your ideal vacation is somewhere unique and further from the bustle or in a desirable resort with many amenities and entertainment options.

Lifetime Commitment

Another thing that many people don’t think about is that when you sign on with a timeshare, you’re making a lifetime commitment to them. This means that even if your financial situation changes, you still have to continue to make the annual association payments. Many companies will make it difficult for you to sell back your portion of the timeshare if there isn’t a demand for your particular resort. While timeshare selling can be difficult, there are companies that can help you to find a buyer for your timeshare if the association is unwilling to work with you.

A rental, on the other hand, has no commitment beyond the time you agree to rent it for, though this means that you may not get to stay at the exact time or place you want. Both options have merits depending on how you want to use them. Consider your budget, how much you want convenience over adventure, and if you want to relax in a specific place or have a variety or places to choose from. Whichever you choose, as long as you are aware of the benefits and drawbacks of each, you will be on your way to having a fantastic and memorable vacation.

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