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Vacation ownership – a better alternative to buying a holiday home abroad?

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I’m sure it’s happened to you too – you’re on holiday somewhere beautiful. The sea is warm, the skies are blue and the sunshine is more reliable than back home. The children love it here and you have few cares in the world.

One afternoon you stroll past an estate agent and curiosity gets the better of you – just how much would a place here set us back?

If you’re away from the heavily touristed areas you may be pleasantly surprised and begin to fantasize about having your own apartment on the beach to fly out to whenever you feel like it.

It certainly does sound appealing; sipping a glass of the local wine on your own balcony as the sun sets.

But make no mistake, buying property abroad is not an easy process. Assuming you have the money, you still need to wade through the paperwork and get legal advice to make sure everything is above board.

Yet there are other issues too – are you sure that you really want to return to the same place year in, year out? You’ll certainly feel obliged to make good use of your place in the sun after buying it. Don’t expect your relatives and friends to keep it in use when you’re not there; perhaps they will stay a couple of times but they too are likely to want to try somewhere new each year.

There is an alternative, however. Vacation ownership schemes allow customers to buy into a programme so that they can choose from a range of resorts and if you sign up to a large company you’ll probably not have to stay at the same place twice.

Yes, this is ‘timeshare’ – but not that kind of timeshare. We are not advocating buying shares in a single property which is then oversold so that in practice you can never reserve the week you want anyway.

In the age of the internet you don’t need to listen to high-pressure salesmen; you can check out the options at your leisure. Do your research and you’ll find that there are many reputable and well-known programmes on the market and chances are you’ll find something that is a good fit for your future plans.

One of the most well established vacation ownership companies is that run by Bluegreen Vacations.

A household name in the Unites States, Bluegreen Vacations has over 175,000 owners and operates more than 60 Bluegreen resorts in over 40 popular destinations across the U.S.A and the Caribbean.

And therein lies the big advantage – popular destinations. So you can stay in places where buying a holiday home would be out of the question…

You can check out Bluegreen Resorts on Wikipedia and have a look at where they have resorts – Orlando, Florida is at the top of most families’ wish-lists and always worthy of a trip; but how about Las Vegas or New Orleans too?

Exchange networks allow owners to access more than 4000 additional resorts all over the world, too.

An advantage with the Bluegreen programme is that owners aren’t restricted to just one holiday a year, they can take advantage of availability at any resort multiple times.

Lastly it can make a lot of financial sense. If you holiday abroad in quality hotels each year, you’ll likely save money by using a vacation ownership scheme for your accommodation.

Something to think about, perhaps?