WELCOME TO MY SITE AND HAVE A GOOD DAY

Welcome to Las Vegas, Nevada- the Gambling Capital of US and the City that never sleeps! So, what has this city have to do with this site. The answer is none. I just love the photo, I took during our vacation to this city a couple of years ago. In this site, you will find articles from my autobiography, global warming, senior citizens issues, tourism, politics in PI, music appreciation and articles about our current experiences as retirees enjoying the "snow bird" lifestyle between US and the Philippines. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Please do not forget to read the latest national and international news. Some of the photos and videos on this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringement of your copyrights. Cheers!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Our Time Share and Exchange Experiences

The Ridge Resort, Lake Tahoe, Nevada( Our Home Resort)

Some time in the mid 1990's, Macrine and I purchased a time share at the Five Star, Ridge Resort in Lake Tahoe. Nevada. The resort is located at an elevation of 7342 feet above sea level. On the east side of the 8th floor of our 2 bedroom condo unit, you have a view of Lake Tahoe and on the west side the small town of Minden , Nevada. We purchased this time share not intentionally, but we were persuaded by the high pressure sale pitches of the aggressive sale personnel. They offered us a free dinner for two by just attending their one hour sales presentation and tour of the resort facilities. At that time most of the resorts time sharing program had no options for exchanges to other resorts. But the Ridge has that flexibility, so we signed up for a 2-bedroom unit for one week every year. We could exchange this to other five star resorts all over the world as long as they participate in the Interval International (II)Time Share Exchange Program. Since our purchase, we have exchanged our time share in Marbella, Spain, Cancun, Mexico. Puerto Rico, Aruba, Las Vegas, Nevada, Maui, Kawaii and the big Island of Hawaii. We had a grand time and fantastic vacations staying in five star resorts/hotel equivalent to The Ridge at the above places.

However, lately, I found it hard to exchange it via II, even with resorts in the Philippines. So, this year we spent our week at our home resort, The Ridge at Lake Tahoe. This occurred last week, while news of monsoon rains devastated Manila(Ondoy) and followed by a typhoon bound for Northern Luzon(Pepeng). Our prayers to those who died in these disasters. Marinduque International, Inc is in the process of raising funds to help typhoon victims in our beloved province of Marinduque.
The view from our 8th floor unit of Minden, Nevada and other buildings in the Resort

In Lake Tahoe last week, the first two days the weather was perfect. Then on Wednesday it snowed and the wind was howling at about 50 mph the top of the Daggit Summit where the resort is located. So we stayed indoors that day. But the next day, the weather turned bright and sunny again. In the meantime, we did a little casino gambling every day except Wednesday. At the end of the week, both Macrine and I lost only $200 each, not bad for 5 days of gambling for four hours each day. Macrine played the Slots and I played Pai Gao Poker.

Purchasing a vacation time share is not for everybody, especially if you do not plan your vacation ahead of time. To insure and take advantage of the exchange program flexibility, you need to be organized. With our time share, my wife and I just can not travel at the spur of the moment or if there is a promo package offered by travel agencies. Our vacation time is tied up to our time share program. Moreover, before you could exchange you need to reserve your week, then deposit it to II. After that you need to tell II to exchange it, listing three resorts and three time periods. This is the one that takes a long time, especially if the resorts you selected are popular resorts and the time periods are the busy vacation season. Owning a time share do not really save you vacation money as the sales pitches proclaimed. However, with your time share program you stay in four or five star resorts, that otherwise you can not afford or willing to pay on your own. In addition, you have the flexibility to choose places all over the world. There are over a thousand resorts listed in the Interval International Directory available for exchange. However, popular vacations spots such as Hawaii, San Francisco or France are hard to get, even if you reserved two years ahead. Availability of resorts are posted in the Internet on first come, first serve basis. So if you have the patience of Job, you may be able to get an exchange that fits your time and need. As an example, last year, I wanted to exchange my time share with a 2-bedroom unit in Las Vegas right on the Strip. I was doing this in the computer. There were about five hotels on the Strip with one bedroom units available on the week that I wanted, but no two bedroom unit. I waited for another ten minutes and surfed again. To my surprise a 2-bedroom unit was available on a hotel right on the Strip but I have only 15 minutes to complete the transaction. I completed the transaction in 10 minutes and within 20 minutes, I received a confirmation via e-mail. I was lucky and had the patience of Job surfing in the Internet. Otherwise, I may have to be content with a one bedroom unit not close to the Strip.

So what is my recommendation? If you are someone who do not plan ahead and do not have the patience of Job, do not purchase a time share. In addition, time share will cost you maintenance fees that gets higher every year. Put your vacation money in the bank or invest it. When the time comes for your vacation, then that is the time to get your money. Enjoy your vacation to a place that you choose and the time that is convenient for you and your love ones. Try vacationing in Marinduque, Philippines where your hard-earned dollars will go a long way. Stay at Chateau Du Mer Beach House for as low as $25 per day per person including meals (http://chateaudumer.blogspot.com).

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