Package holidays or timeshare?

Annie Joubert

Annie JoubertNine years ago I decided to start my own business using some of my redundancy funds that my previous employer had so generously given me – I’m not being sarcastic;  it was a significant sum of money and I have always been grateful for it.

That summer (2002) we went to Madeira as guests of my husband’s sister who had two time-share apartments there.  We fell in love with the island and returned the following year.

As we had left booking our trip in September until end August,  due to having my own business and not being able to find a full week’s time slot, we found my sister-in-law’s apartments weren’t available and we had to pay full whack (£200 a night room only) at another resort.

This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because we loved the new resort, so much so that we did the sums and decided that the time was right to invest in a week’s timeshare.

MadeiraThe advantages were that for an initial outlay (I think it was about £6,000 – thank you redundancy money again), we could return every year, guaranteeing that we would at least get one week’s holiday in a 5-star, luxurious resort. And even if we needed to change our week at the last minute, we could do this for a nominal fee of £50. On top of that we just had the maintenance charge each year of around £200.

So, after 5 years, our timeshare had paid for itself, including maintenance fees, and from then on we could enjoy a week’s break for around £250 – the Euro/Pound exchange rate has gone down and the maintenance fee has gone up slightly. How’s that for value for money? It also means that we can afford to make long-haul trips as well to our families in New Zealand and South Africa.

One of my friends was telling me that her daughter, husband and two children return every year to Menorca because the resort is so child-friendly. They book a 10-day package which increases year on year that is forecast to reach nearly £4,000 for 2012 – admittedly that includes flights and it is a 4-star resort, but it is still a serious amount of money.

I wondered if there was timeshare available at the particular resort they visited, and my friend said she honestly didn’t think “the kids” had ever considered it.

Is timeshare a wrinkly preference then (I mean over 50s – okay over 60s!) or do families ever consider it as a money-saving option compared to packages? Perhaps I’ll investigate to see what’s out there and re-blog in the New Year!