Tag Archives: vacation
May 24, 2013

The History of Time Shares

Timeshares seem like they are a North American phenomenon but they really are not unique to this continent. The idea, where deeded ownership to a property for an interval at a hotel, resort condominium or any other type of vacation property originated in Europe in the 1960s.  It was stylish to own, not rent, a get-away in the poshest parts of the world. This trend towards time shares was the result of commercial aviation opening up new possibilities for holidaying abroad. Popular destinations for time-shares in the sixties were France and Switzerland where several families might share a single ski chalet.


One of the most popular first ever timeshares was in the French Alps and was a ski resort called SuperDevoluy. Another popular timeshare vacation resort company that is still successful today was Hapimag, which is in Baar, Switzerland.  The idea for this time share was conceived in 1964.


The first vacation spot in the United States that offered a time-sharing program was on Kauai Kailani on Kauai in 1969 and deeds for one-week stays were sold for a period of forty years. In the 1970s this idea of splitting Florida caught on in Florida where a boom in condo time-shares was begun. Soon they started popping up in Lake Tahoe and Sausalito California.  By 1976 proceeds from timeshare sales totaled over $50,000,000.00.


During the 1980s new resorts opened up all over the globe, but especially in Western Europe. By 1990 more than a million timeshare owners co-owned 2,300 timesharing facilities all over the world. In the 1990s this number expanded to include timeshares in Eastern Europe and Asia spearheaded by the Marriot Hotel chain, which got into the business to make millions.  Very soon scores of other big brand name hotels started offering time shares too including Four Seasons, Radisson, Sheraton, Hilton, Ramada and Disney.  In contemporary times Florida is a real hot spot for time shares with many of them intended for snowbirds from Canada and tourists from northern Europe looking for a little sunshine in the winter.


By the year 2000, timeshare was a booming multi-million dollar business and it is expanding every day. Today, timeshare resorts worldwide number about 5,400, which is an all time record high with a trend towards further expansion of time shares in Asia.  However time shares are not as popular as they used to be with the recession causing many people to try and sell them to free up available cash.  If you are buying time shares this is a good market in which to do so as many can be had for very cheap compared to about a decade ago.

May 18, 2013

Don’t Be Fooled By Fake Vacation Photos!

Buyer Beware!  Some sellers use fake photographs. For instance it is not at all that unusual for a photograph of a resort or hotel to be doctored in some way (as in the inlaying of a beach scene) or for a very old photograph to be posted (as in a photograph that was taken before the hurricane!)


To make things even more complicated not all sellers with bad photographs are out to get you. Sometimes you are just dealing with someone who cannot take a good photograph or who does not have access to a good photograph. The photo may be too dark or even altered in some way.


If you encounter a poor quality photograph, your best course of action is to try and find another photograph of the destination online. This is easily done by going to Google’s search engine and typing a search into its image database.


If the photo seems deliberately altered you can also read up on the latest news about the destination online. Almost always an altered photograph exists in a location where there has been bad weather or a natural disaster. In some extreme cases, it can also mean that the hotel has not even been built yet or that the photo of a better hotel has been substituted for the one you are looking at.


In any event if you suspect for one second that there is something false about the photograph you can email the seller and ask for a better photograph or more photographs. You can also email or phone the site and complain and ask to have better pictures forwarded to you by email and then make your evaluation of the whole deal from how the seller and the site responds to your request.


Of course one of the problems with buying anything online is the inability for you to inspect the product and this is especially true of vacations. One way for you to protect yourself if you do find yourself winning a bid from a seller with a bad vacation is to print out a copy of the photograph. If it does not at all resemble your destination then you have some hard evidence for your case when you ask the site for your money back for being duped.


So what to do? Before bidding on an item, be wary. First, look at the picture carefully and print a copy for future records in case you get something that doesn’t look like the picture at all. Second, read the description very carefully and try to objectively interpret what is being described as opposed to what you think the seller is trying to describe.  If the description doesn’t match the picture or vice versa then you might be bidding on a dud destination.

May 15, 2013

What Happens If You Are Not Satisfied With a Vacation Package?

Part of the nature of taking a vacation and in particular taking advantage of the discounts available on discounter vacation auction sites is that you are always taking a risk. In the case of bidding on a vacation package you will find that the actual name of your vacation hotel or condo is not revealed until you have been awarded the bid. So if you hate staying at the Holiday Inn but then find out that the vacation you bid on is at the Holiday Inn then there might not be that much you can do about it after the fact. This is the type of disappointment that you must be prepared to take if you decide to engage in online travel auction biddings or in purchasing vacation packages that are a bit vague with the details.


However, if you find yourself the victim of a real scam when it comes to bidding on a vacation on an auction site you are not without recourse. This would be the case if promised tickets did not show up in the mail or you were sent to a land where a hotel doesn’t exit or where your reservation has been sold to someone else.  You can also nail a seller if they do not deliver the goods in a timely fashion or deliver something less valuable then they advertised when they described the travel item in the first place.


However keep in mind that when it comes to going after a seller for false advertising it can be difficult to go after a seller who is selling a vacation or hotel booking with a minimum reserve bid that is already sixty percent or less of the vacation’s value in the first place.  It might be implied that you understand that something could be wrong with the item and that is why you are on an auction site offering discount travel in the first place!


However if you are really dissatisfied, you can go after the seller of a vacation if they fail to disclose all of the relevant information about the destination or the terms of the sale.


If you run into a problem try to work it out directly with the seller with the auction web site.  Some travel auction sites are more cooperative then others if you end up having problems. Know that some auction sites like eBay do not have a comprehensive intermediary program for people who encounter problems if they purchase a bad vacation and simply encourage bad feedback as being the best revenge.


You can always file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission by calling toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357) or visiting the FTC’s web site.

May 12, 2013

How Do Online Travel Auctions Work?

Online travel auctions are basically online markets or bazaars. The only difference is that in the case the wares sold are actually travel vacation packages.


Just as is so in any auction (online or off) sellers of vacations can offer one item at a time or multiple lots of the same item (known as Dutch or English auctions) Depending on which site you are on the travel package must go to the highest common denominator.


On almost all travel auction sites the seller of the vacation package can set a minimum bid.  This is called the reserve price, which is the lowest price that the seller will accept for the deal. Some auction travel sites disclose the reserve-bidding price during the auction and others don’t.  How exactly some of these sites work is explained in more detail later on in this book.


The bidding for each travel auction both opens closes at a scheduled time. You’ll be alerted via e-mail if someone outbids you, and then it’s decision time. Don’t get carried away. Decide in advance on the maximum amount you’ll spend, and stick to it.  Getting swept away by the competitive spirit that is generated by online bidding has led many people to pay more than market value for what is supposed to be a discounted vacation package!


After the bidding closes it is automatically disclosed who the highest bidder is.  . In the case of sales of multiple lots, the participants with the highest bids at the close of the auction are obligated to buy the items.


On some travel sites if no one bids at or above the reserve price, the auction closes without a winner. If there is a reserve price for your bid that is less (for instance one dollar on a reserve bid of ten dollars) it usually not even accepted by the site’s software.


At the close of a successful auction, the buyer and seller communicate, usually by e-mail, to arrange for payment and information about your travel package. It is usually at this point that it is revealed exactly where you are going along with any caveats such as black out dates for travel, fees, taxes and site charges.


Most travel auction sites offer all types of different payment options including credit card, debit card, personal check, cashier’s check, money order, cash on delivery and escrow services.


However, not all sellers of vacation packages on auction sites accept all of the forms of payment just mentioned; payment methods are usually thoroughly explained in the FAQ, Help or fine print sections on the auction travel web site itself.

May 6, 2013

What Are Travel Auctions?

If you are someone who loves to travel and you have never ever heard of online travel auction then you are going to also love the concept of the travel auction. The travel auction fun way to grab an exotic and inexpensive last minute vacation.


A travel auction works like any other auction. You browse the open auctions online, select one you like and then bid. You then monitor the bid and rebid on the vacation package. If you win you are obligated to pay for what you have one.


How do so many resort packages, cruises, five star destinations and exotic adventures end up on a virtual auction block?  Travel companies use auctions to sell holidays that, for a variety of reasons, may be difficult to sell using the traditional methods. They often choose to get rid of so-called ‘distressed stock’ in this way. The reason it is preferable to do put up these vacation packages on travel auctions is because offering discounts through travel agents can diminish the travel outfit’s ability to sell anything at full price.


However not all packages are put up on virtual auctions because they need to be offloaded. Sometimes this is a way for a company to promote or introduce a new type of vacation package and encourage people to take advantage of it and then tell their friends what a good time they had. Putting up a vacation for auction is a way of generating good word of mouth about your hotel, cruise or travel agency.


There are not that many sites on the Internet that run travel auctions. The three big companies that dominate the travel auction scene are eBay, Skyauction and LuxuryLink.  There is also Priceline, which also offers vacation packages, but it is not a true auction. Instead you offer the price you want to pay for a trip or vacation and see if it can be offered. There are some priceline coupons at CouponKid.com


On eBay travel is just one more category on its massive roster of products and services up for auction. As the name implies LuxuryLink is intended for high rollers when it comes to bidding. Skyauction offers the cheapest deals.


Although eBay is one of the pioneer sites when it comes to offering vacation package deals up for auction it is not necessarily the most specialized ones. Unlike the travel auctions offered on eBay, the vacation packages and destinations on Skyauction and LuxuryLink are exclusive to the travel industry.

May 3, 2013

Think of Travelling to Peru

When people think about going on a vacation they rarely think about going to Peru.  It is understandable since its geographical location is not that suitable for a vacation get away. It is located on the far western side of the South American continent which is rather far from where most of the population on that continent lives The remote aspect of the country is why Peru is not visited as often as Brazil and Argentina.


Peru is also sometimes seen as a poor country, too poor to have the kind of amenities that might have hotels with great amenities. The truth is they do have these luxury hotels. However, like many places in South America there is a huge divide between the rich and the poor.  However it is true that a third of the population lives before the poverty line.


One of the greatest reasons to visit is to explore the country’s rich ancient culture known as the Inca. Although this can be a troubled country, the citizens themselves are helpful, peaceful and very friendly.  There will always be a Peruvian hand to help you for free or very, very cheaply as most people there are desperate for money or just simply kind.


This natural beauty and indigenous healthy food in the area makes this a wonderful place to chill out and relax.  It can be very hot so do not expect life to be too demanding during the day. The slack lifestyle shouldn’t be a problem if you just want to relax.


The best time to go to Peru is during a time when it is not busy. The June to August months are the busiest months because that is when there are a lot of festivals held. It would be very nice if you go to Peru during the cold month of December


Even thought the country is small, its places are diverse because of the many influences by other neighboring countries.  The weather can be a bit fickle.  Be sure to pack both light and very warm clothes, as it is hot during the day and cold at night.


If you love nature and want a “green vacation” Peru is a good place to go.  There are guides called  ‘pagos a ala tierra’ who spend most of their time advocating for the preservation of Mother Earth. So, if want to do a good deed, pay to go onto one of the many celebrated nature walks in the country.