What's New

Our first visit to our timeshare resort in Rangeley, Maine ‎was pure “heaven” to us! It was relaxing, peaceful, and a great time for family bonding. With my husband (who is in the Navy) being deployed quite a bit, this vacation gave us the best “family time” we could ask for.

We love to hike the many trails that surround the lakes…from the top of Bald Mountain to the Majestic Angel Falls, our hikes show us so much of the beauty of the area. Our new family tradition is to take the short seven-mile drive to Smalls Falls, not just for the beauty, but because the kids really love jumping off the rocks into the lower pool. The water is cold, but so refreshing!

Swimming at the resort’s own dock area is always fun. The kids can canoe, paddle boat, swim, or fish. We have had some great times down on the lake, including the times we rent a pontoon boat and cruise around the lake. My favorite thing to do is to take pictures. I love going out and looking for moose and other wildlife to photograph. I have captured some of our most cherished family memories here.

We love our timeshare vacation so much that even when we had to move to the West Coast, we still made time to get to Rangeley for our summer vacation!

–Dina Auger

For nearly 20 years I’ve been vacationing at a timeshare resort in Myrtle Beach. Over that time, we’ve seen many changes… to the resort, the city, and our family.

We take other vacations throughout the year, but we use this week for our family to spend time together, relax, and grow closer. My children have been here every year of their lives!

They’ve gone from floating around in the baby pools at the age of one to chasing girls in their teens. Our timeshare resort is a strong part of our family’s history and is a tradition we look forward to all year long.

–Richard Todd

WASHINGTON – May 24, 2013 – Contrary to popular belief, Americans do know how to unplug, unwind, and rejuvenate on vacation.  A recent survey of 1,000 vacationers, conducted by The Research Intelligence Group (TRiG) for the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), indicates an impressive 75 percent of respondents not doing any work on their vacations.

“Our industry has long advocated for taking a true vacation—not just working from a nicer place,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.  “Today’s leading health studies reinforce our message—that there are so many physical and mental health benefits that come with really ‘unplugging.’ And we’re happy to see so many people doing so.”

Only 12 percent of respondents admitted working one or two days while on vacation, and 13 percent said they did some work over three days.  But a full 87 percent said they would prefer to vacation without having to do any work.

Vacationers are bringing their technology on leisure travel; however, in most cases, it is for pleasure and not work.  Fifty-one percent brought their laptop, but only 17 percent of them used it for work.  Thirty-nine percent brought their iPad or tablet device, with only nine percent using either device for work.

For more information on why timeshare may be a better vacation for you, visit www.VacationBetter.org.

WASHINGTON – February 20, 2013 – Timeshare exchange programs are an important benefit for timeshare owners, giving them the ability to travel anywhere with the same level of quality and accommodation style as their home resort.  According to the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), the flexibility of vacation products is among the top reasons owners say that timeshare is a better way to vacation—and exchange programs provide owners the opportunity to experience new vacations by giving them the ability to trade or exchange.

“While some timeshare owners enjoy the consistency of their home resort, others want the variety to explore different vacation destinations,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.  According to ARDA International Foundation’s 2012 Shared Vacation Ownership Owners Report, 38 percent of traditional timeshare (week or points) owners either “banked” (saved the time for future use) or exchanged their timeshare in the past 12 months.

Exchange programs enable owners to trade their timeshare for comparable accommodations at other resorts worldwide.  Most resorts are affiliated with an exchange company, and many resort companies also offer an internal exchange program within their resort group. The major exchange companies, Interval International and RCI, streamline the process—making it an easy online or telephone interaction.

Some owners use their exchange vacation to celebrate a special occasion and others use it to explore new destinations. Bill Mueller of Michigan met his wife Gina during exchanges over a four-week period at several Interval member resorts in South Florida.  The Muellers went on to celebrate their one-year wedding anniversary with an Interval exchange to Las Vegas, and hope to vacation together in Europe.

Two couples traded in their U.S.-based home resort stays for back-to-back Interval exchanges in Sydney, Australia and Wanaka, New Zealand.  “It was a great trip with wonderful, lifelong friends,” said Roger Masten of Dublin, Ohio, who traveled with his wife Barbara.

RCI members often post their exchange stories on RCI’s blog. The stories range from a member who sent her parents to the Grand Canyon for the first time to celebrate their 50th anniversary, to a family that stayed at a RCI Gold Crown resort on the western side of Baha in Los Cabos, Mexico.

According to RCI, popular trading destinations include Orlando, Las Vegas, the Mayan Riviera in Mexico, Malaga, Spain,  San Diego, Oahu, Puerto Vallarta, and New York City.  RCI facilitates approximately 1.9 million vacation exchanges each year.

“There’s a perception in the market that timeshare is limiting, but this is completely false,” continues Nusbaum.  “Through exchange, owners have the world at their fingertips.”  He recommends that owners develop a list of ideal vacation destinations, be flexible with their travel dates, and understand their product type and exchange program in order to get the most from their trading power.

Search for your next vacation online by visiting IntervalWorld.com or RCI.com.

Have you heard of the “Timeshare Effect?”  Inspired by the “Travel Effect,” a campaign by the U.S. Travel Association, the Timeshare Effect was developed to highlight how timeshare vacations have a positive effect on lifestyle, family memories, and finances.   Check out the full infographic below!

View the Infographic

It was 5:15 p.m. on a humid afternoon. My wife, daughter, and I emerged from traveling miles of sun-drenched north Florida roads. We finally reached town. We were weary, but determined as we went on a search for our reserved lodging.

Asking our waitress for the location of our resort, she replied in a slow drawl, “It’s…oh, I don’t know how many miles. It’s just down the road on the right.”  The waitress’ customers looked on as if this afternoon would last forever. They had no particular place to go as they looked at me as if I had lost my mind. They were probably correct in their assumption. I was on a mission to find our room for the night. We were definitely worlds apart.

“I’m on the right path,” I announced to my wife and daughter as they shot me skeptical looks. I hurried back to the car, slammed the door shut, put the pedal to the floor mat (or close to it) and got back on Highway 51 north. We arrived at our destination within minutes.

“We got here in time for check-in!” I exclaimed, while parking the car at the welcome center. I ran to the front door, eager to meet the resort’s staff. Every door was locked and most lights were off. The sign informed me that the office closed a half-hour ago.

“It’s only 5:30! How could this happen?” I asked no one in particular. I glanced next to the door where there was a note with my name on it. It instructed us to go to our cottage and phone the staff if we had questions. I called the number on the paper and got the property manager. “Just go on to the cottage. Everything you need is in there,” he answered in his folksy tone.

We arrived at our two-story, front-screened porch, one-bedroom cottage. As we unpacked, we were reminded that we weren’t in the big city anymore. We were in Steinhatchee (pronounced Steen-hatch-ee), Florida at a resort for those seeking an outdoor-type vacation with all of the comforts of home but within walking distance to the Steinhatchee River where guests can kayak, canoe, swim and fish.

After unpacking, we relaxed on the cottage’s front porch just talking. We could have zoned out to cable TV, watched a movie or even listened to CDs a few feet away in the cottage’s entertainment center. Instead we connected. We felt like we were at camp. The crickets were singing, the stars were shining and the outside fans were whirring. It doesn’t get any better than this if you’re seeking serenity. On a typical day, many of us are bombarded with moving images in our modern media world. Every now and then, we need to detoxify at places like this.

Steinhatchee is a boating-fishing-hunting hamlet filled with beer, deer and pickup trucks. The locals welcome visitors to this part of the world with open arms. If you would like a getaway that doesn’t involve those same old “pristine sandy white beaches,” go to where the sun is warm, the beer is cold and the fish are biting.

–Robert Nebel

Growing up as one of seven children, it was always a big deal to get everything together for vacations and holidays. As the years passed and everyone started moving away and having their own families, it became even harder to get everyone together for holidays. We really wanted to make a habit of vacationing together again, especially so the kids could have a chance to see each other and stay close. Hotels were always small and cramped, and it was hard to find a place with amenities for everyone to stay busy, but family time was important so we did the best we could.

In 1995 my family made the decision to purchase a timeshare in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. After we purchased, several other family members also purchased timeshares at the same resort. Our tradition of meeting at our resort for Christmas every year had begun. It was just a perfect place for everyone to meet.

Over the years our family gatherings have been a great way to keep up with and meet new members of the family. We now have three generations of relatives that typically make the trip, ranging from six of us up to 20 or so at times, from all over the country. We always stay in several chalets next to each other, which provide plenty of space, kitchens, laundry, and bedrooms with private space for everyone.

Because of the age range in the group, we all have different interests, but the area offers so much local flavor that there is always something to do. Some of us enjoy shopping, riding the trolley to different sites in the area, and definitely taking in the natural beauty of the area. Between the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and all the other tourist things to do, it’s easy to stay busy.

Even if we split up during the day to do our own activities, we always gather together for dinner in the evenings to share the day’s adventures. We either grill out or use the kitchen in the chalet if eating in, or head out into town for a big dinner at one of the local restaurants.

Every winter for the last thirteen years, I’ve received the best holiday gift a person could ask for—my entire family coming together for a week during Christmas. I feel so lucky to be able to have a place where we can all be together, while at the same time having our own space. Nothing can top the warm feeling I get inside while watching the twinkling lights of town from our balcony and spending Christmas with ones not seen nearly enough.

Overall, it was one of best things I could have done for my family to make sure that at least once a year, we always get to be together as one big family.


For forty some years now, whenever my sister and I have vacationed together, we’ve always had our children nearby, then grandchildren, and the vacations have, rightly, centered around the kids—their activities, their interests, their bedtimes, their food. It seemed as if every time we saw each other, it was for one of the children’s’ weddings, and for the family—those are not vacations.

Now that we’re up to a combined total of 10 children and 8 grandchildren, I thought it would be a novelty for my husband and I to ask my sister and her husband, a retired Lutheran minister, to share our condo in Aruba for a week…alone. Just the four of us spent a beautiful seven days enjoying the beaches, a tour of the island, a snorkeling trip, shopping for strange vegetables with strange money, cooking small dinners in our little kitchen together, eating barefoot at a beach restaurant the last night, chatting, chatting, chatting, about everything from death to careers to retirement to the wonders of the island.

In between eating and talking, we four played bridge every night until we were too sleepy to bid any more, then again the next day, and the next, even at the airport as we left for the U.S. We adore all our children, and in fact prayed together for all of their job security in these difficult times. And we love our collective grandchildren and showed each other all of their latest pictures, but this was our time away, and my sister and I felt like just sisters again.

–Julie Hatfield

A Look at the Effects of Timeshare Vacations on Lifestyle, Family, and Finances

August 26, 2013

WASHINGTON – August 26, 2013 – The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) today announces the “Timeshare Effect” initiative—a look at how timeshare vacations have a positive effect on lifestyle, family memories, and finances. Inspired by the “Travel Effect,” a campaign by the U.S. Travel Association, the Timeshare Effect was developed to highlight the link between timeshare vacations and their effect on owners.

“We hear from our owners every day about how their lives have changed because of their timeshare ownership,” said Howard Nusbaum, president and CEO of ARDA.  “We wanted to capture this anecdotal sentiment with hard facts for other would-be timeshare owners.”

The Timeshare Effect covers three areas: finances, lifestyle, and family.  On the financial side, it’s clear that owning a timeshare enables families to take annual vacations for much less than what they would pay for a traditional hotel.  For example, a traditional hotel stay for a family of four for one week with roughly three meals out each day will cost an average of $3,000.  After 20 years of annual vacation, that adds up to $60,000. But if that same family had purchased a timeshare for an average of $20,000, included their average annual maintenance fees (on average $700/year x 20 years = $14,000), the total is $34,000.  This represents over $25,000 in savings over just 20 years of vacationing.

In addition to the financial savings, owning a timeshare has significant effects on lifestyle.  Since timeshare owners have essentially pre-paid for their annual vacation, they are much more likely to take that vacation, which leads to many health and wellness benefits.  Owners enjoy beautiful resorts in great locations that offer flexibility and space for everyone.

And there is nothing better than a regular vacation to create lifelong family memories.  Three out of four adults over 55 say they still have vivid memories of their childhood vacations, and 55 percent of adults want to create similar memories for their kids.  A whopping 93 percent of kids say that vacations mean a chance to spend quality time with their parents.

See the Timeshare Effect infographic for more, and for information on why timeshare may be a better vacation for you, visit www.VacationBetter.org.


* All statistics from U.S. Travel’s Travel Effect.


The American Resort Development Association (ARDA) is the Washington D.C.-based professional association representing the vacation ownership and resort development industries.  Established in 1969, ARDA today has almost 1,000 members ranging from privately held firms to publicly traded companies and international corporations with expertise in shared ownership interests in leisure real estate.  The membership also includes timeshare owner associations (HOAs), resort management companies, and owners through the ARDA Resort Owners Coalition (ARDA-ROC). For more information, visit www.arda.org or ARDA’s consumer website at www.VacationBetter.org.