Jane Slade meets a retired couple who have been enjoying free holidays in a number of parts of the world for the past 10 years through their canny Timeshare purchases.

C and K

Retirement invariably hits older people with a jolt. Suddenly the main thrust of life – working – has gone. This may be wonderful or it may be regretted but nevertheless, the need to be tied to times and commitments has gone and the question is, what to do with your spare time?

Time is a strange commodity; sometimes there is not enough, other times there is far too much. As a retiree you may reflect on how, having carefully managed your finances and looked after your health, you can maximize on what could be your ‘Golden Years’.

One such couple is Keith and Carole Savidge, both 65 (pictured above), who decided to see the world (or certainly open up their horizons) and do it in a very savvy manner.

This is their story.

The bad old days of Timeshare are long gone and now, if you do your research, you can bank yourself fabulous free holidays all over the world for as little as $1 if you know what you are doing.

The best apartment to buy is what is called a two-bedroom/two-bathroom lock-off where there is an interconnecting door between your room (a one bedroom) and the adjoining room which is usually a studio.

A ‘two-bedroom lock-off’ as opposed to a ‘two-bedroom’, means you can literally lock off one half of your apartment and let it out separately. So if you have bought a two-bed lock off for one week – you have in fact got two weeks for the price of one.

There are lots of re-sale Timeshare properties for sale on ebay for as little as $1 which can offer fantastic value. This is how Keith and Carole Savidge, both 65, created their Timeshare portfolio and have been enjoying free holidays in far-flung destinations every year.

“There are lots of great Timeshare bargains at the moment in the States due to cash-strapped Americans just wanting to sell off properties the easiest way possible to avoid continuing to pay the $1,000 a year maintenance charge which you pay for each week you buy,” says Keith who owns three, two-bedroom lock off Timeshare apartments.

A branded resort

“Sometimes the $1 purchase excludes $350 legal fees which you pay on top but quite often the seller will pay these too,” he adds. “Providing the property is part of a branded resort like Marriott, Hyatt or Hilton your investment should be sound.”

“It can get even better if you choose a resort that only has two-bed properties for your exchange,” he adds. “With a little effort you can achieve a two-bed property for your ‘studio’ and another two-bed property for your ‘1-bed’. This means that not only have you only paid just one week’s maintenance, but you have effectively upgraded both halves of your apartment to two-beds!”

Earlier this year Carole and Keith, who live in Surrey and own Timeshare properties in Madeira, Scotland and Florida, spent four weeks at the Marriott Phuket Beach Club in Thailand where they stayed in a luxurious two-bedroom apartment. And at Christmas they have booked a 50-night holiday using their remaining banked weeks, staying at various Timeshare resorts in Los Angeles, San Diego, Phoenix and the Grand Canyon.

“Even with the maintenance charges I could never afford a hotel room the size of the apartments I can use through Timeshare,” adds Keith. “And since we love travelling and staying at nice places this is the most affordable way of doing it. We can also rent them out and get some income too. Timeshare resorts are sophisticated operations now with concierges in place and are run like five-star hotels.”

Buying tips

  1. Remember that there are ongoing annual maintenance fees to pay when you buy a Timeshare.
  2. Always try to buy a Timeshare that is described as ‘in perpetuity’ – in other words, there is no end date to the contract.
  3. Make sure that the sale company is part of a good ‘Timeshare exchange programme’ like RCI or Interval International so you can travel to other places rather than return to your apartment year after year.
  4. Try to buy a ‘floating week’ as opposed to a ‘fixed week’ so you can be more flexible when you visit; or ensure your fixed week is outside school holidays so you can benefit from cheaper flights.

RCI is the world’s largest Timeshare exchange network www.rci.com  Interval International is a Timeshare exchange network www.intervalworld.com

Jane Slade, who wrote this article, is the founder and editor of the property and lifestyle website www.retiremove.co.uk