Of course, there are some additional tips you’ll want to keep in mind when renting a timeshare from someone else, particularly someone you don’t know. You’ll want to protect your money and make sure that the vacation week is really reserved in your name, but I’ll get to some of these details at the end of the article. For now, let’s just take a look at some of the places that you can find timeshares for rent.
One of the first place I like to look for an owner-based rental is the Timeshare Users Group. Known as TUG, this busy timeshare forum has an active membership and members are allowed to post their timeshare for rent. So you can peruse their listings to find a resort that might work for you. If you do decide to join TUG, their memberships are only $15 a year and give you tons of access to all kinds of information about timeshares, plus you can use their classifieds board for free. So they are well worth joining. If you join, you can use my username there – jennstall – as a reference and I’ll get some extended membership time. Feel free to look for me on the board!
Another option is to try Destination boards. If you have a destination that you travel to often, such as Cape Cod or Disney World, take a look for forums specific to that destination. You will often find information about how to rent timeshares, villas, homes, etc. on those types of boards. For example, many Disney Vacation Club Owners like to spend time at the DVC forums on the Disboards and there’s a rent/trade board for posting offers.
If you want to travel to travel to a specific resort, look for owners boards. This is easiest when the timeshare resort is a member of a group of resorts, such as Starwood or Bluegreen, than when it is a small independent resort, but since many of the timeshare companies are so big now, in most cases your resort will belong to a larger group. So look, for example, for a Bluegreen owners board and check availability there.
Of course, message boards are not the only way to find timeshare rentals. While they are the way that I would normally go, simply because I like to get to know people, if you are looking to rent a timeshare for a trip that you are planning sooner rather than later, you just want to find the right resort and get the reservation taken care of quickly.
To that end, there are timeshare rental sites that allow you to do just that. You can try sites such as Redweek.com or the Endless Vacations website that is run directly by Wyndham. Also, it pays to check Ebay. You can find plenty of timeshares for rent on Ebay, with rental listings from all over the world, and Ebay’s feedback system helps keep sellers honest. You can find some great deals on Ebay, so I would make it one of my first stops when looking for a timeshare for rent.
If you already own a timeshare and are a member of RCI, then you can also do rentals directly through them, renting either Extra Vacation weeks or Last Call weeks depending on how far in advance you want to plan. This is a great deal and I often do this to find Florida timeshares to extend my winter trips. Using Last Call is great for Florida, but since you can only book 45 days out, it can be a bit of a crap shoot, so if you have a particular destination in mind you may wan to spend the extra money for Extra Vacations. The nice thing about both is that they do not involve an exchange so you still have your own week to exchange or use too.
Now, of course, some tips for renting timeshares. Here’s a few things you want to do to make sure things run smoothly.
First things first, I like to make sure that I’m dealing with someone reputable. On Ebay and various message boards it is fairly easy to get an idea of someone’s reputation due to feedback methods that are in place. If you don’t know anything about the person you plan to rent from however, there is nothing wrong with asking for a few references. Former guests should be happy to tell you if they were happy with their timeshare vacation and the person they rented the resort from.
Also, make sure that you get a signed rental contract in writing. Don’t just rely on an email agreement. Make sure the owner is sending you a signed contract outlining payment made, your rights, and the terms of the deal.
Once you have your contract in hand, it is also a good idea to call the resort directly and confirm the reservation. I would call them again a few days before your trip to confirm as well, but that initial confirmation helps make sure that the owner made the correct reservation for the right unit size in your name.
Following these tips, you shouldn’t have any problem with your timeshare rental and I hope you’ll get to enjoy a great vacation at a really nice resort.