Rent a Time-Share, Negotiating Your Vacation

February 16, 2010 12:00:00 AM PST
Longing to go on vacation -- but short on money? Time-shares can offer a real bargain.Caryn Alexander said the vacation time-share she and her husband purchased has allowed her family to take some great trips together.

Alexander said, "I like to try different experiences. I think that's what makes vacation fun."

But Consumer Reports said these days you don't have to buy in order to enjoy what many people like about time-shares - resort facilities, a lot of room, including a kitchen and living room, in exotic locations.

Mandy Walker with Consumer Reports said, "In this economic downturn, time-share owners are anxious to rent. So you can negotiate a really good deal. We found some as low as $400.00 a week and many in the six to 12-hundred dollar range."

Some good sites to check - myresortnetwork.com, which is free, as well as Timeshare Users Group and redweek.com, which charge a membership fee of $15.00 a year for full access.

"The sites we checked out have plenty of rent-from-owner listings and are categorized by location and even activities, like skiing or golf," said Walker.

Be sure to check out reviews of the resort where the time-share is located, either on the rental sites or on free travel sites like Trip Advisor and Travelocity.

When you're looking for a time-share rental, Consumer Reports said check out prices for comparable properties. That puts you in a better position to negotiate.

Walker said, "Keep in mind that most time-shares require at least a weekend and sometimes a week-long booking."

With a few clicks of the mouse, getting in a getaway this year just may be within reach.

Don't forget to ask the owner about what amenities are available, including restaurants, and if you have to pay extra for housekeeping.