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I'm a huge fan of Park City, Utah. It has some tremendous skiing available and the ride to the mountains is a quick 30 minute trip.
I stumbled across this deal where RCI, through its Extra Vacations, is offering a 4 Bedroom unit (Yes, 4 BEDROOMS), at the Raintree's Miners Club in Park City, Utah for only $869.99 for the week.
This is for a prime ski week of January 13 - 20, 2018. I really wish that I could use this week as I would grab it immediately.
If you are interested, grab it soon as this will not last.
The Timeshare Guru has been active for about a year now. The blog is growing but still needs the support of my readers.
A lot of good material was written when The Timeshare Guru was just started and most new readers probably never read it. In an effort to get some of this information out to my current readers, I thought I would re-post some of these articles.
For the first one, here is a post on my opinion on who should own a timeshare. Timeshares are not for everyone for for some, they can be a fantastic way to travel very affordably.
In an effort to get sightings out to my readers faster and more often, I will start posting "Guru Deals" in the regular blog feed.
In using my Hyatt timeshare to search Interval International, I came across some great weeks for the Big Island, Hawaii for Summer 2018. As you can see below, weeks for the entire month of June was available at the Kona Coast Resort. This is a Shell Vacation Club property.
I don't talk about Shell Vacation Club properties often but in the future will explore their offerings. There are a few good ones including this one. Here is their reviews as found on Trip Advisor.
Like all exchanges, if you see something that you can use, grab it now as great weeks will not last long. Make sure to use E-Plus to give you the most flexibility.
First Ever Timeshare Guru Giveaway - Sign up for our Newsletter and Be Registered to Win a Brand New Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet (Retail Value $79.99)
I am a definitely a gadget guy. Traveling without our technology gear has become impossible and is definitely a "must have" for all of our trips.
One of the newest gadgets that I received is the Fire HD 8 Tablet. This is great tablet in that it has tons of apps and access to the Amazon Eco system which just keeps getting better and better with Amazon Prime Videos, Amazon Music and access to the newest movies.
Blogging is hard and time consuming so hearing positive feedback is welcomed and appreciated. I wanted to give back to my readers for their ongoing support!
For the first ever Timeshare Guru Giveaway, I am offering the chance to win one Fire HD 8 Tablet absolutely for free! (Retail value $79.99)
Details are below in case you are not familiar this Fire HD tablet.
All you have to do is sign up for the newsletter and you will be automatically entered to win!
I will randomly choose a winner by their e-mail address once there are 300 new subscribers (existing subscribers will be eligible).
Enter now and share through your social media channels.
I appreciate all the support and hope that you will participate. Good luck and make sure to sign up below!
Unfortunately, this has been a very active hurricane season for the Caribbean. First, Irma came in and destroyed the island paradises of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Martin and Barbuda only to be followed up by Maria which has caused a great amount of devastation in Puerto Rico and other island paradises.
Natural disasters seem to be on the rise with Harvey doing a tremendous amount of destruction in Houston and now Mexico City is digging out from a earthquake.
A lot of people have lost everything and it is truly sad.
Impact to Timeshare Owners
For timeshare owners, the issue that comes with these natural disasters are what are known as "special assessments". Special assessments are charges for unanticipated or non-budgeted items. Natural disasters are a key reason for special assessments.
Most timeshare owners have deeded weeks which are considered real property interests. A timeshare interest is actually a deeded real property interest and like a home, requires maintenance, insurance and constant upkeep.
As real property owners, timeshare owners are responsible for the maintenance of the property and improvements but can also be held accountable for other economic items that are not budgeted.
In almost all governing documents concerning timeshare ownership, the resort will have the authority to issue special assessment(s) to the owners for any unplanned expenses. This allows the resort to obtain funds required for the continual operation of the resort.
Natural disasters are probably the number one cause of special assessments. Natural disasters are unplanned and can wreak havoc on the resort.
With the vast amount of destruction in the Caribbean, I believe that a lot of timeshare owners will be getting a special assessment.
The special assessment will be an additional amount of money required to be paid by the timeshare owner in excess of their annual maintenance fees.
Unfortunately, these special assessment fees are non-negotiable and timeshare owners are required to pay them when assessed. If timeshare owners fail to pay them, they will be in default and subject to penalties and potential foreclosure.
While most resorts should have insurance, some resorts may not have adequate insurance to cover all the damage that occurred. Like homeowners, some resorts directly on the beach may not have flood insurance or may not be able to secure adequate insurance on the property to cover the complete replacement value.
If the resort did not have adequate insurance or insurance that did not cover some types of damage, timeshare owners will generally be on the hook for the difference. The amount will be pro-rated between all owners but the amount of the bill can be a lot and can even be many times the amount of the annual maintenance fees.
Comparison to Maintenance Fees
Timeshare owners are very familiar with maintenance fees which are the annual assessments that must be paid. These include all the costs and expenses of running and operating the resort. These fees are pro-rated to all the owners and generally include maintenance, management, insurance, capital improvements and other items that allow the resort to operate.
Unfortunately, sometimes that amount budgeted for these items is greater than the amount of money that the resort has. When this occurs, the HOA or governing body of the resort can assess additional fees to owners which are the special assessments.
Most HOA's and resorts try not to do special assessments because it is unplanned, unappreciated and generally results in a lot of disgruntled owners. Due to this, most resorts try to always have adequate capital reserves in order to have extra funds available to do any maintenance or capital improvements that may not have been foreseen.
If you look at your annual maintenance fee statement, there are usually a item budgeted for "reserves". This is extra money that the resorts hold for the "just in case" situation.
Most times, for well run resorts, these reserves should be adequate to cover some unplanned expenses but for those true disasters, special assessments are available for the resorts to get the extra required money.
Timeshare Owners in Points Based Systems
Many timeshare owners no longer own deeded weeks and instead own "points". The actual properties are owned in a land trust and owners of points are granted the ability to use resorts based on the exchange charts and use of their points.
For these types of timeshare owners, special assessments may still be done but the likely result for these timeshare owners will be an increase in maintenance fees. All costs and expenses of the properties in the land trust are passed through to owners.
Since there are many more properties and many more owners, the benefit of these land trusts are that expenses are widely spread out so if one resort is underfunded, the land trust still should have adequate funds from other resorts which were over-funded.
The disadvantage to a land trust is that when something major occurs to one or more properties in the land trust, all timeshare owners in a land trust will likely see an increase in their annual dues even if you never travel to the destination that is causing the increase.
For example, Marriott is a points based system and the Marriott Frenchman's Cove's property on St. Thomas suffered some significant damage. The amount is unknown but all Marriott points owners in the land trust will essentially be required to pay their pro-rata portion to fix that property. Since the pool is large, the amount per owner will likely be relatively small but I would anticipate some increase increase in maintenance fees for the following year for Marriott owners.
Special assessments are a way for the resort to charge owners for any unforeseen or unexpected costs incurred. Natural disasters are one of the major reasons that the resorts have this taxing ability. If you own at a resort that got damaged by the hurricanes, earthquakes or flooding, we hope that the resort was adequately insured. If not, the next place to look is to the owners.
Special assessments are part of timeshare ownership and are very unpopular to say the least.
Special assessments are one of the major downsides to timeshare ownership. While they tend to not happen often, if they do, owners may be subject to additional unplanned expenses simply by being an owner.
Do you own at a timeshare property that has given a special assessment? Please leave your comments below.
It should come as no surprise that I absolutely love traveling. I personally got the travel bug during college and spent a full year studying overseas in Florence, Italy, Prague, Czech Republic and London, England. I traveled all over Europe and it was spectacular and had some truly unforgettable experiences.
Since then, I have tried to travel all over the world as often as possible while still having a day job and now a family.
Thanks to timeshares, frequent flyer miles, hotel points and credit card perks, I can do it often and surprisingly affordably! You can too!
Now, with small kids, we may have changed the type of travel but we still travel all of the world with 2 little ones in tow. I hope that they will have the same enthusiasm for travel as they get older and I hope that the experiences that we are providing make them more understanding of the world and different cultures.
With the guest post from the Fit Well Traveler, I thought that I would show my readers why I travel in photos!
You should be able to get some idea of why I do it after taking a look at some (out of thousands) of the photos that I have amassed over the years. All of these photos (with the exception of the one on top (courtesy of Pixabay) was taken by me personally over the years.
I hope that this inspires you to book you next trip!
Be like me and always have a vacation planned - you will always have something to look forward to even while you are working away in your day job.
Did this inspire you to travel?? Can you name some of these places? Leave your comments below!
Hurricane Irma packed quite a punch this past week and left behind tremendous amounts of damage. There is still little information concerning the well being of a lot of places around the Caribbean and for those islands who suffered from the biggest impact.
The Caribbean is one of my favorite destinations to travel as the water is gorgeous, the beaches are lovely and you can really get away from it all. Additionally, there are a lot of great timeshares that you can exchange into in the Caribbean.
I do not think that the extent of the damage is known yet as many areas still have not opened airports and roads. The devastation was just massive.
The islands of Barbuda, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. John and Key West appeared to have been hit the hardest. My thoughts go out to all the locals experiencing this horrible weather event.
Hyatt Beach House in Key West
As an owner of the Hyatt Beach House in Key West, I was sent the following e-mail today:
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, we would like to update you on the status of your Key West resort. Most importantly, all our associates, owners and guests are safe. Due to the advance notice we received, we were able to evacuate everyone prior to Irma's arrival.
As a result of Irma’s impact, County officials have restricted access to the area until the Department of Transportation determines that all bridges and conditions are safe. Once our staff is able to access the resort and assess the situation, we will provide another update.
We would like to thank our team, who worked diligently to prepare for the storm and assisted our owners and guests to safely evacuate the area.
We appreciate your patience and understanding during this time.
Hyatt Residence Club Key West, Beach House
Apparently, there is not much to report but my gut is telling me that the resort experienced a tremendous amount of damage.
Marriott's Frenchmen's Cove Vacation Club in St. Thomas
St. Thomas was hard hit but damage reports have not come in. This was apparently taken from the resort with a second photo showing a flyover of the resort. You can see the boat crashed on the beach in both photos!
Westin St. John Resort and Villas
Like St. Thomas, St. John got hit hard and is a very tiny island. According to the website, they have posted the following message:
Important Notice about Hurricane Irma
Due to Hurricane Irma, both The Henry E. Rohlsen Airport on St. Croix and The Cyril E. King Airport on St. Thomas are closed. The US Coast Guard has also closed all ports in the USVI until further notice. Additionally, as the resort focuses on the aftermath of the storm, all near-term inbound reservations are being suspended at this time. We will continue to provide updates on both the reopening of the ports, airports and reservations as information becomes available.
St. Martin is home to a ton of timeshare properties. Here is a map of the RCI properties on St. Martin.
Here is a list of all the timeshare properties on St. Martin associated with Interval International.
As you can see, there are a lot of timeshare properties on St. Martin and a vast majority of these likely received some significant damage.
What does all this mean for timeshare owners of these properties? The answer is unclear at the moment as it will take time to assess all the damage, have insurance adjusters come out and figure out a final tally of the loss and cost to rebuilt and/or repair.
One thing that it can mean is special assessments. What are special assessments?
I'll do a larger post on this in the near future but essentially, if there is a shortage of funds, the HOA or governing body of the timeshare can require its owners to pay their pro-rata portion of any funding shortfall required for the operation of the timeshare.
Basically, it means that, as "owners", we may be require to pay additional amounts, in excess of our maintenance fees, in order to fund whatever is necessary to rebuilt the timeshare.
Special assessments do not happen often, but they can happen, and when they do, no one is thrilled.
What can you do?
In the near term, there are a lot of people that have lost everything. Even if they didn't lose everything, tourism on these islands accounts for the vast amount of jobs and well being of the people. With many resorts and timeshares being destroyed, it will take months, if not years to reconstruct these island paradises and get these people back to being gainfully employed.
If you can, donate to the Red Cross below. It is a good cause and will immediately help people throughout the Caribbean, Florida and Texas.
Longer term, my recommendation is to actually start planning your vacation to the Caribbean and to some of these islands who got hit the hardest. This may be counter-intuitive but these islands completely rely on tourism. Not many people are going to be racing back to these islands as it is going to take a long, long time to rebuild the infrastructure, hotels, restaurants, activities, and so on.
My recommendation would be to do the opposite and travel to these islands when it becomes safe. Spend your money there and help those economies regain their traction.
Hurricanes happen but this one was a big one. It is going to take a long time to rebuild and these island oasis's will need your support.
Does anyone have any information on the status of their timeshares? Please post below and help the community.
Message from The Timeshare Guru: As much as I try to get out great content about a wide variety of subjects that my readers may find interesting, I simply cannot be an expert in everything. I have been lucky enough to have readers that are engaging and offer to write interesting posts about timeshares and other travel relating topics. I highly encourage you to reach out if you would like to have a guest post featured.
For this post, The Fit Well Traveler, has provided us with some great information on why traveling is important for your mental and physical health. I completely agree with this article as simply getting away from your day to day activities can be very healthy.
Unfortunately, most Americans do not travel much and the amount of vacation time not being used and going to waste is horrible.
My rule is to always have a trip planned so even when one is over, another one is already on the horizon. It keeps me motivated in my day job and keeps me excited for the next adventure!
I hope that you find this article interesting and you take his advice. Make sure to check out his blog -FitWellTraveler and show your support. Thank you!
This one change in your lifestyle will help you break your bad habits
The benefits of travel for mental health and addiction
Are you struggling with an unhealthy habit? Or are you fighting with an old addiction? You should consider traveling. Don’t overlook the healing power of changing scenery. Breaking out of your rut can work wonders, and science has found tremendous benefits in packing your bags and hitting the road.
Shake up the routine
Facing the same old things, day in and day out, leaves us vulnerable to our bad habits. Unless we can get away from our “triggers,” those things or people that might spur our bad decisions, we can have more trouble winning our daily battles against addictions.
Triggers may be certain people who encourage unhealthy choices or they may be circumstances that make us feel bad. Poor self-esteem, depression, anxiety - all things that may weaken your resolve - can be helped with travel. A little wanderlust can go a long way toward leaving behind triggers and helping you feel good.
Explore and feel better
Studies show that traveling helps you achieve better mental health. Taking a trip can help you:
Travel is such a boon that you will feel better before you even go; just anticipating a vacation makes you feel happier. Vacations with partners even help make relationships stronger, which means you will feel better longer. Having a healthier partnership with your significant other means better future mental well-being.
Traveling abroad has the added benefit of leaving behind your entire culture. Several studies show that stepping out into what is literally foreign territory has the bonus of making you think in more flexible ways.
Get away from it all
When planning your trip, consider a retreat into nature. Science has found that our bodies generate less stress hormones when we are in green space. Your brain also has better blood flow when you spend time in nature, and you can feel soothed. Getting sunshine and vitamin D can boost your mood and help regulate your body cycle, improving sleep so you feel refreshed. The clean air of the great outdoors also helps lower your blood pressure and will calm and clear your mind.
Don’t forget Fido or Fifi
Consider bringing a pet along if planning an outdoor adventure, especially if you have a dog. The American Hiking Society notes that “hiking with dogs provides health benefits to both the pets and the owners, as well as deepening their bond through shared experiences.” They also offer some great tips to get you started.
Pets in general are great for our physical and mental well-being. Stroking a familiar, friendly pet lowers blood pressure, slows heart rate, and relaxes you. Research even shows the effects are faster than many drugs that are taken for stress. Bonding with a pet relieves depression and anxiety, too. Having a pet on your trip will provide companionship and will require that you be responsible, too. These are valuable tools in fighting depression.
End the cycle
Old habits are hard to break, but travel may be just the ticket to helping you with your struggles and addictions. Generating better mental and physical health, getting away can be good for what ails you. It can reduce or eliminate triggers, help you feel better, and a trip into nature will have bonus health benefits from fresh air and sunshine. Adding a pet to the equation or traveling to another country can help you even more. Grab your suitcase and leave those bad habits behind!
Thank you again to the FitWellTraveler! Whether you travel in timeshares, hotels, motels, resorts, camping or RV's, traveling is wonderful and can provide some great mental and physical health benefits!
What are your thoughts? Do you experience euphoria when you travel?