Timeshare marketers like to send travel offers promising to whisk you away to a mountain resort or fancy condo near a major city or theme park. Your room will be either free or heavily discounted if you "tour the property," which means a few hours of high-pressure selling. You are not required to purchase anything at these events—instead, turn the offer into a cheap family vacation.
Negotiate for the Best Perks Possible
Most timeshare promotions come with a list of perks you receive in exchange for your time. For example, a company might offer you discounts at highly desired vacation spots for attending their sales pitch.
The standard packages usually include a specific number of nights, resort amenities, and travel credits depending on the destination. Companies will often throw in extras if you ask. You’ll never know what you can get unless you ask for it.
Consider Other Travel Expenses
While scoring a few free hotel nights for next to nothing can seem like a cheap weekend getaway, don’t forget to budget for the other aspects of your trip. If you’re driving to your destination, you need to factor in the cost of gas and a meal or two. If you're flying, there's airfare, airport parking, and snacks. If you fail to account for these expenses, your cheap trip could turn into a money pit quickly.
Something you might consider asking for is travel cost reimbursement. This could significantly reduce the costs to you, allowing you to extend your finances toward other activities that might interest you.
Put Your Best “No” Face On
The goal of these timeshare companies is to lure you in, wow you with all of their amenities, and close on a sale. Unfortunately, salespeople who work in the timeshare field are ruthless when it comes to applying pressure and achieving a sale.
Note of the amount of time you’re expected to sit in a presentation, say no as many times as required, thank them and walk out the door once your time is up. They may still be talking and asking you questions while you are walking out, but that is part of the sales tactic. You will not be the first or last to walk out on them while they are talking.
It might be awkward, but that’s all part of the game. Salespeople want to get you excited about their product and make you feel a sense of urgency, so you’ll be more inclined to buy.
Read the Fine Print
Don’t forget to read the fine print before you agree to attend a timeshare presentation in exchange for a discounted getaway. Some companies put limits on their deal dates, and may not book your visit during peak travel times.
Find out exactly what is and isn’t covered in the price of your trip, including transportation to and from the resort. Check for tickets to attractions, resort food, and beverage credits. Be wary of attempts to upsell you on upgraded rooms or additional nights.
Timeshares as an Investment
Timeshares are often seen as a poor deal for consumers because they come with unpredictable annual maintenance fees. And worse yet, they’re often difficult to sell. This makes them a poor investment—unless you happen to own a company that sells timeshares.