What is a Timeshare Exchange?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

A timeshare exchange is usually a one-time trade for time in a different timeshare resort. This can occur in several different ways that might depend on where a person originally purchases timeshare property. Another thing that people can people do is rent out their timeshare to someone who isn’t necessarily affiliated with any timeshare company.

Several individuals share ownership of a timeshare property.
Several individuals share ownership of a timeshare property.

As mentioned, a timeshare exchange can work in a couple of ways. When people buy a timeshare, they often buy one from a company that owns timeshares elsewhere. This is frequently a selling point.

As owners in that particular company, timeshare holders may have the option to take a week vacation somewhere else, at another of the timeshare company’s properties. They normally make that request to the company, through a variety of predefined means, and the company matches them up with a property at a different location, and time the owner wants to vacation. Typically the two properties are about the same in quality; if people own a three bedroom timeshare that’s what they would rent somewhere else.

At the same time that the person goes through a timeshare exchange to vacation somewhere else, they give up use of their own timeshare for the year. Now someone else who owns a property with the company can come use it for that week. These exchange programs tend to work well because people often want to vacation in a different location and feel limited if the only place they get to go is a single timeshare property.

The other way timeshare exchange works is similar to home exchange. People can head to an independent company and put their timeshare up for exchange while searching for one they’d like to use. This can sometimes require more guesswork, and timeshare for timeshare matching may not always be completely equal. When a timeshare exchange occurs when one company owns all properties, there’s greater quality control and an expected level of comfort. This isn’t quite guaranteed when a third party company does the matching.

Some companies run a system where people pay more for points or credits. These might result in getting better matches or more luxurious timeshare exchange accommodations. There are some people who find this extra investment ridiculous, since they’re already bought their timeshare and are paying yearly maintenance fees on it.

Others don’t mind the extra cost, but one thing people should look for if they use a third party company is a guarantee or insurance. Who pays if the unknown exchangers comes into an owner’s timeshare and damages it? Any third party company should clearly define rules about what will happen if an exchange goes awry.

Timeshare rental isn’t the same as timeshare exchange, but it may be a great alternative to staying in hotels, motels, or rented homes. Timeshare owners frequently rent their properties for a week, and there are many companies that offer these rentals. Prices may really depend on location and quality of the timeshare, but since many of these have full kitchens, a lot of people find they save a little money by dining out less. Good quality rentals, though, tend to be about the same in price as high quality hotels in the same area.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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