by: Clinton Douglas IV
Most parents of school-age children are forced to confine their family vacations to summer months, Christmas holiday and Spring break. Other families can choose to take their vacations at any time that is appropriate to their personal preferences.
When people consider their vacation or weekend getaways, few understand the true range of options they really do have available to them. Many people think their only options for lodging on vacation is limited to: hotels, motels, cabins, RV’s, travel trailers, and tents. But the truth is that there are a few more options that most people never even consider.
Condominiums, also referred to as Condos, are another great lodging option to consider. But, just speaking the word Condo brings to mind for many the concept of Time Share Condos. Of course, that is one option with a Condo, but we are going to look at the other options as well.
Condominium Residency Arrangements
A condominium, very literally, is very similar to an apartment. It is a fully self-contained living arrangement, with a living area, bedrooms, private balconies, and a full kitchen; and most condos contain all of the amenities, including big screen televisions, DVD players, high-speed Internet access, and other creature comforts we generally have in our homes, such as washers and dryers. Many condos also have hot tubs or Jacuzzis in the apartments.
Condos are basically full apartments, located in areas of prime real estate, such as Las Vegas on the Strip, or many other locations around the world on beachfront property. Condos generally provide additional benefits such as swimming pools, weight rooms, restaurants, and other high-value goodies.
We are going to look at four types of Condo purchase arrangements in this section.
1. Condominium Ownership – Condo ownership costs include the purchase price of the apartment and yearly fees to cover maintenance costs.
2. Condominium Timeshares – With a timeshare, the basic concept is that more people can afford them, because the cost of ownership is split among several owners on a per week basis. When someone buys a timeshare, they are buying a 1/52nd ownership of the Condo for a specific, pre-designated calendar week. With a timeshare, one is entitled to take over the property beginning on a specific calendar date, and they must vacate the property at the end of the week.
3. Condominium Rentals – Instead of timesharing a condo, many people opt to rent a condo, which frequently requires a purchase of a specific weekly period, although many condos provide flexibility so that you can decide which week you would like to rent. Some condo owners will allow individuals to rent by the day, but those have a much lower availability, than the condos that rent by the week. More on this later in this article.
4. The Dreaded Seminar Timeshare – Some companies are so desperate to find people to listen to their sales message that they are willing to put prospects up in a timeshare condo for the weekend or week, so long as the person(s) agrees to attend a specific number of sales presentations during their stay.
Benefits of Condos Over Hotels
The greatest benefit of condominiums over hotels is two-fold.
First, condos are fully self-contained, providing kitchens, spacious living and all of the luxuries of home to their guests. Many also provide high-speed Internet and data access to their business-class guests. For many folks, the full kitchen is the greatest advantage of a condo, in that, they will not have to eat nearly every meal in a restaurant, enabling the vacationer to spend his or her money on attractions rather than on restaurant foods.
The second greatest benefit for condominiums is three-fold: location, location, and location. Condos are generally located on some of the best prime real estate properties in the world. For example, City Center in Las Vegas is located on the Strip between the Bellagio Hotel and Casino and the New York, New York Hotel and Casino. Beachfront condos exist in nearly every major beach destination in the world. Condos are available in San Francisco, Chicago, NYC, Atlanta and Miami, just to name a few metropolitan locations. And locations are not restricted to U.S. destinations; in fact, condos are available in nearly every travel destination of the world.
Benefits of Condos Over RV’s and Travel Trailers
RV’s are nice, but considering the cost of fuel these days, they are seldom a great option for most travelers. A friend of mine recently priced a RV for a planned family vacation, and he found the cost for eight days would easily exceed one thousand dollars, plus mileage over 200 miles, plus fuel. At eight miles per gallon, his planned trip of 500 miles one-way would have easily translated into 125 gallons of gasoline and more than $400, just in fuel costs, at current fuel prices.
Sure, the RV is still more spacious than a car during a long road trip, but for the cost, renting a Cadillac for the trip might just make more sense. Given the claustrophobic nature of his wife, he felt that train or airplane might make more sense for his roundtrip transportation needs.
Transportation costs aside, the travel trailer and RV are both generally a bit confining in the space considerations. Certainly, the RV beats the travel trailer hands down in this department, most of the time, but when you consider the stress of stuffing a family of five with three young children into a RV, there is never enough space available for the sanity of the parents.
Benefits Over the Great Outdoors
With smaller travel trailers, travelers are still stuck with cooking outdoors. Sure, the travel trailer might be easier than the tent to set up, but travel trailers usually have small kitchens, if they even have a kitchen at all. Cooking outdoors for a family is more of a challenge than many in today’s world want to consider.
The limited amount of refrigerated storage is another area that is usually greatly strained with the use of the average travel trailer or tent camping experience. Going into the woods with a ice chest is fine for an afternoon trip, but once that trip expands beyond the life of the ice in the chest, then food options drop off considerably. This is the greatest cause of stress for people planning such trips. They always need to manage how they can maximize their food store, within very limited-size refrigerated storage containers.
In today’s modern world, it is frequently impossible to escape the reliance we have come to have for modern technology. This leads to a need for power supplies that can accompany the traveler, to keep them plugged into their gadgets. Tents and small travel trailers do not accommodate this need in many instances.
The Purpose of Vacations Is Rest and Relaxation, Which Is Sometimes Lost
For many of us, the purpose of a vacation is rest and relaxation. But, as we have seen above, the challenges of taking long trips can sometimes produce more stress than relaxation.
Another friend told me that he was very much relieved when his parents decided not to take any more summer vacations “for the family.” He said that by the end of the first day, every member of his family was ready to strangle the other. By the end of day two of their six-day traveling vacations, everyone wanted to go home, but his dad was stubborn to a fault. His family had tried nearly all of the above options: tents, travel trailers, RV’s, hotels and motels.
Even today, twenty years later, he cannot fathom a family vacation like his parents took, without his blood pressure going up. A few years back, he had tried the condominium rental route, and he has never looked back.
He told me that for him and his young family, the only vacation choice they will ever take advantage of is the condo rentals. He said the money he saves by not going to restaurants, generally covers the extra costs of the condominium. He said the enjoyment that he and his family experience, is far greater than what it would be if they forced themselves to live in a hotel room for a week. He said the extra goodies that the condos generally provide help him to give his family a much more rounded and robust experience. He says the added space and convenience of the condo experience permits him and his wife to relax more during their out-of-state vacations.
Making a Great Vacation Even Better
I am in the business of providing wholesale travel packages to the consumer market. I got into this business myself, because I love to travel with my family. Because I am able to save so much money on my own travel, it enables me to take my family on more trips and vacations than I had previously thought I could do.
The one thing I love most about my job is that I can give others the power to do as I do. I set my friend up with a discount condo card package, and now he is able to get his condominium rentals for much less than he was previously able to do. Depending on his trip destinations, he was generally paying $650 to $2500 for one week in his choice destination.
When I was able to hook him up with the discount condo card package, he paid one small upfront fee to my company of $250 for the condo card. On one trip, he stayed in a five-star condo resort and was able to get the condo for a week at just about 25% of what it would have cost him to rent it at retail cost. On another trip, he was able to stay in a beachfront condo for one week, and it only cost him the taxes that were due on the condo for his one-week stay, a whopping $199.
All told, my friend has so far taken two one-week vacations, and between plane tickets and condo costs, he has only spent about half of what he spent on his previous trip, the one he took before I set him up to take advantage of the travel packages I sell.
The Greatest Reward
The greatest reward for me in what I do, is knowing how I am able to help people get more out of life for less money than what they would spend on their own, without my help.
In conclusion, let me ask you two very important questions. First, how much did you spend on your last family vacation or weekend getaway? And secondly, how much are you going to have to spend on your next family vacation or weekend getaway?