A week ago, we checked out of the timeshare we had bought into two decades earlier. A few days later, we signed the forms to exit the perpetual lease that would have eventually gone to our estate. Our young adult children didn’t want to inherit a long-term financial burden.
Like many others, we had been lured in with promises of dream vacations in faraway places. It was difficult time in our lives and the idea of relaxation and bliss on warm sandy beaches was an attractive prospect. In reality, we spent our allotted time close to home.
Over the past few years, timeshare reserves have been used to pay for what some might say is the over-improvement of the property. One thing they did get right is the landscaping. Raised beds have been installed by barbecue areas featuring herbs that guests can pick and use. Other garden beds feature flower gardens that attract butterflies and pollinators. Existing beds have been refreshed with rocks, bright day lilies and begonias.
The truth is that most timeshare concepts no longer work. Some point to the rising costs of maintaining aging buildings. Others point to aging owners who can no longer travel or afford rising fees. Consumers have changed. Potential customers can now view reviews online and connect with others via social media. If already on the hook, they can connect with others in the same position to plot a collective way forward and even a way out. Now more than ever, consumers are driving the conversation, not the sellers.
While I am relieved to close the timeshare contract, I will remember with fondness the time we shared. Although we never made it to a beach resort with our points, we spent happy times together. It is time to let bygones be bygones and to remember the begonias. I have since found better ways to get to the beach.