Vacation Club. That sounds like the kind of club we would all want to be in! But is it really?
Recently, I received a text message from some clients who were on a trip to Costa Rica. They had been approached about joining a “Vacation Club.” On the front end it sounded good… go to a short meeting, listen to a presentation about joining the vacation club, and get free resort credit.
The sales people were very good at their job, and my clients were thinking about joining so they sent me a text. Thankfully, I was able to share with them some information they, and you, really need.
Vacation Clubs were started by the same companies that created time sharess. If that isn’t enough to make your skin crawl, keep reading. They draw potential customers in by offering a short meeting with a VIP breakfast and resort credit. During the meeting, which isn’t short at all, they give a very high pressure sales offer where they share how wonderful their products are. Vacation whenever you want. Wherever you want. All at a discounted rate.
Unfortunately, that just isn’t true.
Joining a vacation club starts with an initial membership fee and then payments which continue after that for between 5 and 30 years. These payments may be monthly or annually. What they may not tell you is that these payments often do not include maintenance fees. Other fees which you may be required to pay include vacation fees, transaction fees, and point dues.
In exchange, you will be able to vacation at a “discounted rate” However, it isn’t as discounted as you may be hoping for once you add in all the fees you have paid and your vacation may not be what you envision. You won’t be able to go wherever you want. You will be restricted to the properties the vacation club owns. There will also be black out dates, days during popular times when you won’t be able to schedule a trip unless you do what? Pay more money.
Thinking of bringing other family members or friends with you to enjoy the perks of the vacation club? Better check your contract because people other than the contract signers are not allowed. Some vacation clubs restrict family memberships to only three people. If you are married and have two children, that means one of them won’t be able to join you. Unless you… say it with me, “pay more money!”
In addition to all the fees you will pay, be aware that you will be purchasing the vacation club in much the same way you do a house. There will be a closing with closing costs. Financing will also be available if you are unable to pay the initial fees and closing costs. That’s right. It’s set up like a mortgage. EEK!
If all of this hasn’t yet convinced you, please recognize that you are considering entering into a contractual agreement, written in another country and/or language, without any legal counsel to advise you. It is incredibly difficult and expensive to get out of these contracts once they have been signed.
The long and short of it is no, vacation clubs are not worthwhile investments. Furthermore, I would advise you to skip the presentation altogether. Instead, go to the buffet for breakfast and enjoy some extra time at the beach.
I wish you well. I wish you safe and happy travels. And I can’t wait to see you under a Canopy of Stars.