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Published: October 12th 2017
Just over three weeks to go before we go on our adventure. We have pretty much planned the whole trip by now. Other than the 3-day camping trip to Ayers Rock (Uluru), we have not used any organized tours, booked it all on our own. We know where we’re going, we know how we’re getting there, we know where we’re staying (every night), and we know what things there are to see and do. There are a few activities that we will not be booking in advance, because we’re trying to judge time and weather before doing that (hello wet season in Darwin).
In this post, we'd like to explain how we manage to do such a great trip at relatively low cost. It’s called TIMESHARE and TRAVEL POINTS. Many of our friends collect travel points by using credit cards that award them, at an annual fee of course. Well, the easy answer is that one of our flights to and from Australia is covered by travel points. The other we paid for at the normal rate. Two for the price of one, if you ignore the cost of the annual credit card fees.
As far as hotel/resort stays is concerned, the word is TIMESHARE. Many of our friends, at one point or another, have been approached to buy a timeshare. Some have bought, while many try to stay away from them as much as possible. We bought, back in 2008 or something. As an investment with resale value, that was not necessarily a good decision, since timeshares have very low resale value. Our timeshare comes with a deed to the property we bought in Florida for a specified week, and a specified number of condo units. That remains our property in perpetuity, and can be willed to our daughters. We have always thought of it as pre-paid holidays, not an investment for eventual re-sale. Now we benefit.
Timeshare companies don’t make it easy for you to figure out how to maximize the use of your asset. Many people cannot figure out how to book places, how to transfer points, how to exchange through RCI, or how to use Marketplace, a great vehicle to use one’s timeshare “points” or “credits” to travel and stay at 4-star or 5-star resorts all over the world. We figured it out! Hello Australia!
Our timeshare is at Summer Bay Resort in Florida, five minutes from Disney in Orlando. Last time I looked, Orlando was, if not number one, very close to the top of tourist destinations in the world! Everyone wants a week in Orlando, so demand is great for our place and that makes our trade value for other resorts all around the world pretty high. Throughout our Australian vacation, we’re staying at very nice resorts and of our 4-week trip, the first three weeks, other than a few days that we stay with friends, are covered by “points” from only one year of “travel credits”. The number of “credits” required to book one night at such a resort is a bit lower in points than the best equivalent dollar value booking through Internet discount travel sites. We also used the same service to book the remainder of the trip at discounted cash rates which gave us additional “credits” to be used later for some other booking. Complex? You bet. But like I said, we found a way to make it work for us.
Other preparations are underway. Things to think about are: what luggage to use, cell phone plans, photography equipment, internet access, what clothes to pack, whom to provide travel details to (including Canadian Government), wildlife watch (snakes, spiders, crocs), medical coverage, travel shots, and many more. We hope to tell you more about what we’re doing. Maybe that might help others in travel plans.
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