My Biggest Travel Mistake: Stupidity Runs Amok
I like to think that I have above-average intelligence, that I make smart decisions, and generally have my wits about me, especially in terms of travel.
Yes, there was the time I didn’t take my driver’s license to New Zealand even though I knew I’d be renting a car. However, in a stroke of genius I remembered that I had a scanned copy on my email. Crisis averted. I’ve shown up at the airport only to realize that I didn’t depart until the next day. But for the most part, I’ve managed to go unscathed through the travel minefield.
And then came this one trip to Vegas.
So many wonderfully horrible stories begin with, “This one time in Vegas…” I certainly could write a book about all the poor-decision making that I’ve made in Sin City. I think neon is my kryptonite. Too much alcohol and too little food, combined with too many trips to the ATM, have certainly left an indelible mark on my memory and wallet. I wish I could blame being over-served for my making the most stupid travel mistake ever. What did I do that was so stupid you ask?
I bought a timeshare.
Yeah, I know. I can hear Suzy Orman screaming from New York. I wish I could say that I was hog-tied by the marketer combing the casino, drug to the nondescript strip center and forced to watch propaganda films preaching the advantages of owning a timeshare. I wish I could say that I was then clubbed over the head with the glossy marketing material and forced to visit the actual timeshare property. I wish that I could say that was held at gunpoint and only released after handing over my credit card and signing the ownership papers.
But I can’t.
Nope, I can’t say any of those things. What I can say is that the sales guy was one smooth-talking son-of-a-bitch. I can tell you that in the eight years that I’ve owned this Vegas timeshare, I’ve used it exactly ZERO times. If you know anything about timeshares then you know that there is a way to trade the time at your home resort for time at thousands of other properties around the world. That’s the real reason the timeshare was purchased. I stay for free in Vegas, but the timeshare purchased has tremendous trading power. That was the rationale at least. Have I ever even traded my week for time at another property?
I’m pretty sure that I spent about $9,000 purchasing this Vegas timeshare. I would have had better a return by slapping that money down on the blackjack table. To add insult to injury, I get a bill every December for the $150 maintenance fees. This will happen until the day I die. I’m infuriated every time I open that freakin’ envelope and have to write the check. It’s a yearly reminder of my stupidity.
I needed to get rid of this albatross around my neck, so I contacted SellMyTimeshareNow.com, because, you know, I wanted to sell my timeshare immediately. I browsed around the site only to see that I wasn’t the only person who regretted their decision to buy a timeshare. The market was flooded with other owners who just wanted OUT. Not exactly a sellers’ market, I priced it competitively…or so I thought.
Not even a hint of interest.
I dropped the price obscenely low. It was like a dagger to my heart. If I sell the timeshare for the current $2,100 list price I will lose over $8,000, which includes the maintenance fees paid over the years.
The thing about timeshares is that they’re not that bad if they are actually used. I know many people who own and enjoy them on a yearly basis. It’s a bargain if you enjoy going to the same place year after year or are interested in their trading power. I’m just not one of those people, thus it was a mistake of gargantuan proportions for me to buy one.
I’m still trying to sell my timeshare. Any and all offers will be entertained. Maybe you’re looking to come to Vegas for a week in July every odd year, or perhaps you’re looking for a property that you can trade for a trip to Australia or Europe. Have I got the place for you! You can see the ad for my unit above or here. It’s still a bargain at twice the price. I’m even willing to get creative. Don’t have the cash but have plenty of airline miles? Talk to me!
Timeshares can serve a positive purpose. Not only are they a good option for those who love one specific place, but also those who are looking to trade for vacations around the world. If you are interested in buying a timeshare I’d like to offer one bit of advice: NEVER buy a timeshare directly from the resort itself. You’ll pay through the nose like I did. Check out places like SellMyTimeshareNow.com for discounted prices.
In all seriousness, beware of timeshare hawkers. They’ll lure you in with promises of free stays, cash, gift cards, and a million other things. The sad thing is that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into; I was still sucked in. Prepare to run for the hills the next time a smiling face approaches you while on vacation. Just sayin’.