May 9, 2018

Short-Term Rentals vs Time Share

Not so long ago, timeshares were a major part of  the vacation rental property market. People who enjoyed spending one week a year in a particular location bought into this way of guaranteeing their spot by paying a premium to lock in their dates.

Then short-term rental platforms came along, allowing people who owned properties to list and rent them out at rates higher than they would receive from long-term leases, regardless of where these properties were. The hotel industry experienced the most impact at first; people found they could rent a room, apartment, or even an entire house for less or the same as a hotel and have the added benefit of facilities many hotels did not provide, such as a full kitchen. The timeshare industry followed soon thereafter; more vacation rentals in resort communities and other popular destinations became available, making the idea of having more variety in family trips more appealing. Millennials, now grown up and planning their own vacations, are more likely to forgo visiting one location repeatedly for the various experiences they can get using a platform like Airbnb or HomeAway. While these rentals may not include many of the amenities timeshares include, timeshares often go unused and become another hotel-like option that must be paid for each year once signed - regardless of whether or not the owner goes.

If you managed to buy a timeshare in a hot location during a peak season for a reasonable price some time ago, it might still be worth it to keep using your timeshare. But if you’re looking to buy now, annual payments have probably increased, and you could be paying a lot more in comparison to a one-time, short-term rental.

An additional problem arises when the family grows. What do you do with a two-bedroom timeshare when your kids have grown and now have families of their own? You now have to put up with a very crowded place, or you will need to rent from a neighbor who will, at minimum, charge the annual cost - thus doubling your expenses.

That said, there are a number of drawbacks that should be considered when going the short-term rental route. You may have fewer amenities and the certainty of getting a decent place in a desired location at the time you want can be tricky at times. You also have to spend a lot more of your time going through property listings on different platforms to find the perfect place.

However you decide, both have pluses and minuses.


  • Generally have better amenities
  • Are great for small families or couples
  • Are usually in a resort setting
  • Let you make friends who share your vacation time
  • Give you a reliable place to vacation regularly

Short-term rentals:

  • Let you change destinations each year
  • Don’t lock you into the same time every year
  • Let you rent to size needs
  • Offer a variety in pricing and type of facility
  • Don’t force you to pay if you don’t go

In the end, the timeshare industry, much like the hotel industry, is being impacted by the ‘disruptive’ nature of this new technology and the rental options it affords.

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