Alternatives to Vacation Homes

Marwa Grimes

For people who maybe can’t afford a second home or the many thousands of dollars it often takes to buy a vacation home, there are options for extraordinary accommodations and vacation experience all around the world anyways. Vacation homes are very cool and can afford a lot of different experiences and opportunities, but they aren’t for everyone. Here are a few alternatives to vacation homes to consider if you are looking around for a different kind of vacation experience.

1. Shares of hotels and resorts. This is a new idea called fractional ownership, which means people purchase (for a range of prices) a fraction of a property in exchange for being able to stay there for a few weeks a year. Much like a timeshare- which we’ll touch on later- this gives you the chance to take advantage of the resort experience with the benefits of being able to show up when you want, get the room you want, and enjoy the pampering. The perks of fractional ownership are that you get all the fun parts of owning a second home without having to pay all the costs year after year. This eliminates mortgage payments and allows you to live without the fear of a real estate market slump.

2. Vacation clubs. Vacation clubs are being marketed as the next big thing in vacation experiences. For a hefty fee certain popular brands or companies offer a vacation experience to exclusive customers. While they aren’t super common yet vacation clubs often require reservations, and you might not make the cut. If you do, however, you can take advantage of the amazing properties, excursions and amenities that come from being in the club. While the fees can be expensive it still might be less pricy than owning a vacation home, depending on the location you want to be in.

3. Timeshares. Often associated with condos in Hawaii or Mexico, timeshares are like fractional buying opportunities. You pay for a certain amount of the cost of maintaining an apartment, home or condo in a location and are then able to book it for a certain amount of time throughout the year when you can take a vacation and live in the property like it is your second home. You share the costs of the property with other people who get to visit the property just like you do, at different times of the year. This can work well for participants and landlords, except when the housing market tanks or people realize they can’t keep buying expensive airplane tickets.

4. Vacation rentals. Companies such as AirBnB and others are making a splash with apartment, home and condo rentals around the world. Vacationers can go on the website and pick a property they want to stay in, pay the fee and show up to their home away from home in whatever location they choose. The benefits of this are that it is definitely cheaper than many other options including owning a vacation home, you still have the benefits of your own private space, and you can move around quickly and easily from city to city.

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