Timesharing without the Long Term Commitment

When the timeshare salesperson approached you on your last vacation with promises of free excursions and meals for listening to a pitch, were you reluctant to say yes? Perhaps you said yes to the pitch, but just couldn’t justify the upfront investment or didn’t want to make the long term annual commitment. Maybe you weren’t sure timesharing was for you.

There is a way to enjoy the benefits of a timeshare resort without the commitment. Timeshare owners unable to use their resort week in a particular year will post it for rent on Red Week. The timeshare world uses a color scheme to rate resort week desirability, and red is the color used for the highest sought after time share weeks, meaning they are considered the most desirable time of year for that resort.

Sedona 2

Sedona, Arizona is a great place for hiking, with 12 timeshares listed on www.redweek.com.

Weeks at resorts in areas with high demand are rated as red weeks no matter what time of year. Over 4000 timeshare resorts around the world are listed on redweek.com. Sell My Timeshare provides a helpful glossary of timeshare terminology. Timeshare Users Group has an informative introduction to timesharing and how it works.

Why would you want to stay at a timeshare resort over a traditional resort? The benefits are many. Most timeshare units are more like apartments, with a living area, and 1, 2, or 3 bedrooms, although some one room studios do exist. A full kitchen is the norm.

Hilton Head

There are 48 timeshare listings on Hilton Head Island, SC with rentals available from the owners. Atlantic Beaches, Bike Paths, Golf, Tennis, kayaking and canoeing are just some of the attractions on Hilton Head Island.

A partial kitchen usually means a small refrigerator, a coffee maker and a microwave. Either option is better than what is offered in a standard hotel room, and allows the guest to prepare a light breakfast, pack a lunch for the day’s excursion, or warm something up in the microwave for dinner, all options to help manage the travel budget, and perhaps eat a bit healthier while traveling.

Many resorts offer grills in their common areas, and the smell of the neighbor’s steaks might be pleasing to the carnivore. Throwing your own steak or chops on the grill is certainly less expensive than restaurant dining, and can be an enjoyable way to spend time with loved ones and wind down the day while on vacation.

A washer and dryer in the unit is another perk. Laundry in your unit is beneficial when traveling with a family. It also helps when traveling to the beach or mountains where swimming, hiking, fishing, and skiing are more pleasant when you can wash your clothes at night. Laundry facilities also help if you want to pack light, perhaps just packing three days of clothes for a week long vacation.

Parking is often free, and because timeshare resorts are a bit more self service than fine hotel resorts, there is no tipping required.

Timeshare resorts have an activities staff, and many of the activities are free. Water aerobics classes in the pool or yoga classes in the gym are a nice perk of a timeshare resort. A free guided tour of the area or a free cooking class with the resort chef might also be on the schedule.

Children’s’ activities might include organized games in the pool, a ping pong or foosball tournament, arts and crafts or a make your own ice cream sundae event. Many have small movie theaters, or offer family friendly movies in the activities room. Some activities will have extra fees, but the fees are usually well posted so you can make your decision about what to do and what to spend before you are surprised.

To find out if renting a timeshare week from its owner is a good value for you, do your homework. Red Week allows viewers to sign up temporarily as a guest to view listings, but to actually inquire and complete a transaction, an annual $14.99 membership fee is required.

Search on redweek.com by location or resort name. Determine if the weeks you are able to travel have a rental offer posted. Go to the resort website to see if you are able to rent directly from the resort, and at what price. This will give you a baseline price to determine if renting from an owner is a better value than renting directly from the resort.


Marbella, Spain has 16 timeshare resorts with available rentals on redweek.com. What a great way to spend a week on the Mediterranean Sea!

For some timeshare resorts, renting from the resort isn’t even an option. In a high season period the resort may be sold out, and renting from the owner can be a great opportunity to get to that resort when you want to go. In an off peak time, you may be able to find a rental offer directly from the resort for less than the owner is advertising. If this is the case, don’t be afraid to make an offer to the owner. Quite often, a timeshare owner is just interested in recovering their maintenance fees, the annual fee they pay as a resort owner to maintain their usage rights.

If you are a planner, timeshare owners can book their resort weeks up to two years in advance, so renting from these owners allows you time to plan your vacation. On the contrary, if you are looking for a last minute adventure, timeshare owners may be willing to negotiate on price, just to recover some expense for their unused week.

If you own a timeshare, and want to post a week for rent on Red Week, there is a $24.99 fee per listing. This is a small price to pay to attract a motivated, worldwide audience. My family has been timesharing for 20 years, so occasionally we like to turn our maintenance fee into cash, and take another type of vacation.

Of course, making a financial transaction online with someone you have never met before can seem risky. For a fee, Red Week offers an escrow system. I find that having a renter deposit into my PayPal account secures the transaction for me, and gives the renter the option to challenge the charge with their credit card company if they do not receive the guest certificate to the resort in their name in a timely manner. I have never had a disappointed customer, and I have never been disappointed by a renter.

The timeshare world is changing, as the first generation participating in this concept of travel is aging or passing away. Many timeshares are owned by the children of their original purchasers, so more flexible options for managing this asset are coming to the market, including rentals, points systems, etc. This gives the non-owner opportunities like www.redweek.com to participate in a vacation experience that was once marketed for “owner’s only.”

Victoria Hart
Victoria Hart

Victoria Hart travels the world looking for interesting life experiences. She loves to share her travel tips, bargains and strategies with her friends and family. Inspiring others to create their own adventures is her passion. Victoria’s desire to inspire a larger audience lead her to embark on a career in travel writing.

When Victoria unpacks her suitcase, she calls Dublin, Ohio home, where she lives with her husband John. Born in Los Angeles, California, Vicky’s family moved frequently, including stops in Wisconsin, England, Florida, Boston, Washington DC and Saudi Arabia. Vicky spent a summer term studying at St. Andrews University in Scotland.

She holds a B.S. in Communications from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Victoria welcomes your comments at [email protected]

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