We bought our first timeshare fifteen years ago. It's in Whistler, British Columbia at Whiski Jack at the Cascade Lodge. It's a one-bedroom place that we can use for a week each year in either the spring or the fall.
We have never used our Whistler timeshare. Instead, we have traded it through one of the international timeshare pools. You "bank" your week and then you have access to everyone else's banked week for a nominal exchange fee. Through our Whistler timeshare we - or someone in our family - have spent time in Vermont, Hawaii, Williamsburg and Shenandoah in Virginia, Baja California, Las Vegas, West Yellowstone, the Washington coast, and Sedona. At the present time, we have three years of our Whistler timeshare banked. We are trying to figure out how to use the weeks, because they expire after three years.
We bought our second timeshare, in Sedona, Arizona, about nine years ago. With one of our banked Whistler weeks we traded into the Arroyo Roble Resort, on the banks of Oak Creek. We loved the place. When we got home, we bought a week of our own there, in what's called the "aftermarket"; someone wanted to sell their week, so we bought it for an excellent price.
At Arroyo Roble, we get seven days each year in a two-bedroom, 2.5-bath condo. Plus, during January and February we can combine last year's week and this year's, for a two-week stay or the use of two units in the same week, like for a group gathering. We have never banked our Sedona timeshare; in fact, we're there this week, with friends John and Joan visiting for three days and our daughter Melissa and son-in-law Scott for another three.
Then we have timeshare points through Shell Vacations Club. We can use our points at numerous resorts; usually we go to the Big Island in Hawaii, but we've also visited Kauai, Whistler, Napa, Las Vegas, the Oregon Cascades, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and Ontario, Canada. Right now we need to use about four days of time by the end of March or we will lose them or have to bank them.
We have too many timeshares. For one thing, we like to travel rather than going to one place and staying a week (except Sedona, which offers endless opportunities for beauty and experiences). For another, we now have a park model (trailer) in Tucson, where we spend four months in the winter. These days it feels like the timeshares are an obligation - a burden, almost - and we have to keep track of dates by which we have to use the timeshares to avoid losing them. For example, right now we're using last year's Sedona week. We'll need to come back again by February 2017 to use this year's week. As we get older, keeping track seems more complicated.
Then there are the maintenance fees. We pay about $2000 a year total for our three timeshares. We set an amount aside each month during the year to pay the fees, which all come due in December or January. This year our mail hasn't been forwarded to Tucson consistently by the USPS, so our payment to Shell was late and we got charged a late fee. From now on we'll be sent our bill electronically, but still....
So, we're thinking about what to do about our timeshares.
Originally I thought we should divest ourself of the Sedona timeshare, since we're already in Arizona in the winter, when we have customarily used it. But we've enjoyed ourselves so much this week with friends and family, we've decided we want to keep it. Even daughter Melissa says, "This is a great place. Don't sell it." So I suspect this is one we'll want to pass along to the next generation. She and Scott have visited us here twice, and so has our daughter Laura.
As long as we enjoy Hawaii, the Shell points are the best way to go. We have a place on the Big Island where we live quietly for a week or two. We've explored most of the Big Island, and we often have guests with us, so we get to show them around.
That leaves the Whistler place. We've decided to let it go, but we have to find a buyer. Timeshares are a depreciating asset, which is not a problem. But the maintenance fees are a continuing expense. If we use the timeshare it's worthwhile. If we don't, it's not. And if we simply decided not to pay the fees, it would affect our credit.
So we will be looking for a buyer for the cost of the transfer of ownership - about $500. There are places we can advertise, and services that will do the work for us. Selling our Whistler timeshare is near the top of my project list for spring.
Once we have only the two timeshares we use, our dilemma will be resolved. For now.
We have several trips planned for this year: to a wedding in Oklahoma in March; to Buffalo in July (just me); to Maine in September (our wonderful schooner cruise); to the Big Island in November. We'll feel better if our Whistler timeshare belongs to another family by then.
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