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Why-Cook-On-Vacation

You’re probably thinking, the last thing I want to do on vacation is cook. And we don’t blame you. Vacations are about kicking back and finally getting to unwind. They’re about having fun, trying new things, and getting away from what you’re used to. So why take time away from other activities to cook a meal?

But think about why you don’t associate vacations and cooking. Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to have grown up with timeshare vacations (and we hope you are), you spent a lot of time in hotels, which meant no kitchens. You probably ate every meal out or ordered in room service. That’s the life, right?

Don’t get us wrong—there’s something really magical about a professional chef preparing you a gourmet meal, and even more so when you’re not stuck cleaning the dishes.

But how much did that fancy meal cost? Now multiply that two to three times each day you’re on vacation and watch the dollars add up. Ouch.

So why consider cooking on vacation?

It saves you money. Not every meal has to be fancy or expensive. A bowl of cereal in the morning means you can splurge on dinner without going over your vacation budget.

Flexible meal times. You never miss the freedom of making yourself a sandwich until you’re starving and no one else is hungry. Plus, throwing together a quick snack leaves more time for other activities throughout the day.

Stress less about dietary restrictions. Don’t be limited by your restaurant options. Take control of your meals and don’t feel like you have to eat every meal at the only gluten-free restaurant in town.

Make food part of the vacation experience. Part of vacations is getting to do things you wouldn’t normally do. Cooking with local ingredients or making something you’ve never made before can be just as exciting as exploring a new place. If your vacation is about spending time with loved ones, then invite them to join! (Because who doesn’t love an excuse to make s’mores?)

Cooking on vacation brings families together, offering you the freedom and flexibility to customize your vacation any way you want. That’s why 90% of vacationers said kitchens improved their vacation experience!

And with timeshare, you’ll never again be stuck eating pizza on the bed.

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The holidays are now just around the corner, which means family gatherings, big meals, and for many—vacation! It’s the reason we stash away days all year long, so we can spend this special time with those we love.

And with food being such a big part of the season, we want to share how cooking with timeshare can be a part of your holiday vacation by getting in the holiday giving spirit.

In November, we gave away $100 American Express gift cards to our two randomly chosen winners to use on travel snacks, holiday goodies, or key ingredients they’ll need for that holiday meal! In December, we’ll be giving away three more prizes to make your holidays even brighter!

Entries received in December are elibible to win one of three KitchenAid countertop appliances, including a Tilt-Head Stand Mixer, a Countertop Oven, or a 5-Speed Diamond Blender!

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To enter, simply share a picture of you and your family/friends preparing or enjoying a meal. Whether baking cookies or basting the turkey, capture a unique moment and share it with us!

So help us add some cheer to your season by sharing your vacation memories with us!

Do you measure a vacation’s value by finding a good deal on airfare? Getting a chance to relax?  Spending precious time with your loved ones?  Chances are, it means different things to different people.  Over the last decade, there have been numerous studies conducted to measure the value of vacation.  The good news is that the research has found vacations are good for you—that taking regular time away has positive effects on health, well-being, job performance, relationships, and lifestyle.

The bad news is that millions of Americans each year choose to ignore the evidence.  Last year, 169 million Americans did not take all of their earned vacations days!

In a new infographic from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), taking time to get away has important health and lifestyle benefits that, if neglected, can lead to negative consequences.  Ever hear of burnout?  Yes, research has found that people who don’t take time to reset their batteries are more likely to suffer from burnout.  Everything from work performance, added stress, strained relationships, and decreased mental stamina are among the many negative results from not taking time to get away from the everyday schedule and pace of life.

The timeshare industry and its owners say that in addition to the lasting health benefits, the pre-paid nature of ownership guarantees that you will vacation at least once a year and ensures you take future vacations.  In fact, owners save $18,160 over 18 years of vacationing with timeshare, compared to an average hotel vacation over the same time period.

But the real value of taking regular time off with loved ones is the special memories it creates.  How do you place a value on that?

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WhichIsBetter

When it’s finally time to take a vacation, is it better to take a few long weekends or plan a bigger getaway? According to a recent Wall Street Journal study, longer vacations aren’t necessarily better for your well-being than shorter ones. If your goal is to create an ideal vacation—one that boosts your well-being, relieves the stress that can impact our health, and helps your recharge before returning to work—then it’s more than just the amount of time you spend away that you need to consider.

Vacations are like sleep. You need regular recovery from work in order to stay healthy, so those weekend getaways might be just what you need, especially if you’re only taking one long trip a year. But a long trip also gives you the time to really relax and disconnect. Both are necessary for your well-being.

How do you get the most out of your vacation, regardless of its length? Consider these tips:

Plan farther ahead and anticipate the trip – the days before and after a vacation are almost as important as the vacation itself. Anticipating the vacation is when you’re the most excited because anything is possible! The longer you spend being excited about getting away, the more time you spend reaping the benefits of vacationing.

See or do something new – for those who struggle to decide whether to go someplace new or return to somewhere they love, The Wall Street Journal reports that psychologists recommend a new experience every time—either by visiting a new place or trying a new activity. New memories have the greatest impact on your vacation happiness since similar trip to the same place tend to blend together over time.

Maximize the start and finish of your vacation – the beginning and end of a vacation will usually leave the greatest impression. You remember the feeling of walking into your luxury room for the first time and the last family meal you shared before catching your flight home, so try to make those days extra special.

Vacations improve our lives, and research proves they help keep us happy and healthy. Studies show that vacations reduce the risk of heart attacks and depression, relieve stress and can lead to improved work performance and creativity.

So, however you decide to take your vacation days, just be sure to take them all!

VacationPledge

Will you use all of your vacation days this year? Do you have plans to jet off to someplace new and exotic, or are you headed back to relive the memories at an old family favorite? How are you going to use those last few days off?

Whatever your plans are, it’s your time off—so use it!

Pledge to use every last one of your vacation days this year, and then share your plans with us!

We’ll share our favorites here and on social media to remind everyone: Vacation shouldn’t be a luxury—it’s a necessity!

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Several news stories this summer have focused on the notion that Americans—American workers in particular—-have a vacation complex. The number of vacation days taken by Americans each year has steadily declined over the last 20 years—an astounding 429 million vacation days went unused in the United States last year. The pervasive work culture of putting in long hours at the job has resulted in a “No-Vacation Nation” syndrome. Americans get fewer vacation days than their overseas counterparts, and those who do take time off often take work with them or remain plugged-in while on vacation.

The top reasons for not taking a vacation include:

  • Proving work dedication to colleagues or supervisors,
  • Fear of returning to a heavy workload,
  • Can’t afford it, or
  • Feeling guilty leaving the work for someone else.

One could almost say the notion of a vacation complex is sweeping the nation. And yet, this complex is a perception that needs to change—and it can.

A growing body of research quantifying the benefits of vacationing on health, work performance, personal and professional relationships, productivity, and mental wellness is the first step toward changing the mindset. The next step is for employers to embrace vacationing and encourage employees to use their vacation days to reset their batteries. Already, 90% of senior business leaders surveyed in a 2014 study by GfK for Project: Time Off agree that employees return from vacation with improved focus and creativity and a sense of well-being—cutting down on turnover and sick days.

Another study conducted by Nielsen found that:

  • More than 75% of respondents who vacation regularly reported feeling happier;
  • 71% reported more satisfaction at work; and
  • 80% reported increased romance in their personal relationships.

And the most quantitative evidence that vacations are good for our health comes from the 2010 Framingham Heart Study, which found the likelihood for heart attack increases without vacations (30% higher chance for men and 50% higher for women).

The last step to changing the vacation complex is to act.

Take the #VacationPledge. Pledge to use all your paid vacation days. Take time to recharge. Take time with your family or loved ones. Take time for yourself. With the dog days of August upon us, there is no time like the present!

A vacation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

 

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Vacationers are loving their timeshares!   The industry association’s research group, along with Ernst & Young, just released its State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study for 2015.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed steady growth in 2014.  Here are a few of the highlights:

When comparing 2014 to 2013:

  • Sales volume increased more than four percent, to $7.9 billion.
  • There are 1,555 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 198,490 units.
  • The average resort size was 128 units.
  • The average sales price was $20,020.
  • Occupancy increased two percent, up to 78 percent, compared to a 641 percent hotel occupancy rate.

There were some other interesting facts to note as well:

  • 70% all timeshare units are two-plus bedrooms. An average one-bedroom unit is 700 square feet; an average two-bedroom unit is 1,160 square feet and an average three-bedroom unit is 1,590 square feet—compared to the average hotel room size of 350 square feet.
  • Beach resorts are the most common type of resort.
  • Theme park resorts have the highest occupancy.
  • Florida has the most resorts—23% of the national total.
  • Nevada has the largest average resort size—182 units on average.
  • Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 85.3%.

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When it comes to enjoying your vacation, how important are the accommodations?

Cramming your family into a 350 square foot hotel room is probably not your idea of paradise. If you’re looking for something a little more comfortable, maybe it’s time to think about a timeshare vacation.

With timeshare, accommodations will be vastly different from a typical hotel room. In fact, you’ll have space for togetherness…and space for privacy. Sixty-one percent of all timeshare units are two-bedrooms and all have living rooms and kitchens! Ninety-one percent of vacationers said they are happier on vacation with a kitchen. Think about it, no more rushing around to get everyone out to dinner or breakfast…a definite money and stress saver.

Timeshare units range from 700 square feet for a one-bedroom unit to 1,160 square feet for two-bedrooms and up to 1,590 square feet for a three-bedroom. This is four and a half times the size of your average hotel room!

So, if you are vacationing with family or friends and want to spend time cooking together, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company while still having your own private bedroom at night, a timeshare vacation may be just what you’ve been looking for.

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Photog-blog

You don’t need to be an expert photographer to take awesome vacation pictures. And you definitely don’t need a fancy camera to capture the moment. In fact, anyone can immortalize their precious vacation memories, all you have to do is keep a few of these photo composition techniques in mind:

  • Change your perspective. Try changing the angle of your picture, from high up or down low, to make the picture more interesting. Different angles or distances completely change the impact of the picture.
  • Fill the frame. Rather than have a bunch of “extra stuff” in your picture, zoom in on what really matters to eliminate any distractions from the picture’s subject.
  • Look for lines. Natural curves or diagonal lines naturally lead the eye, creating movement in the image.
  • Pick the right format. Horizontal or vertical – it matters which one you choose!
  • Place your center of interest. Typically, you want to put the focus of the picture in the center of the image, but don’t forget to try the rule of thirds whenever possible.
  • Can you frame it? Look for natural or man-made objects to include in your photo. They can be to the side, top or bottom of the viewfinder and partially surround the object which helps to create focus.
  • Create Depth. By composing a pictures with objects at several distances from the camera, you create a path or direction for the eye to follow.
  • Keep it balanced. Photos will look lopsided if there is a lot of subject matter on one side of the photo.

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But keep in mind, when capturing the moment, sometimes it’s when you put the camera down that the greatest vacation moments happen.