When we wrap up the termination process with our clients, many tell us it feels like an enormous weight has been lifted from their shoulders. The stress and hopelessness that comes with the expense can be exhausting to say the least. But the relief of cancellation is invigorating for most. Aside from creating financial limitations, the burden of the purchase can also take a toll on personal relationships. Buyers aren’t the only ones forced to deal with the disappointment. Vacations that were once anticipated can easily turn into a sore subject when expectations aren’t met for multiple people. After owners finally get rid of timeshare obligations for good, they may feel like they need to make up for lost time. But don’t get too excited just yet.

While the concept of timesharing may have lost its appeal, former owners may look to quickly right their wrong. But it’s important not to act out of spite or in haste. Scam artists have been known to target those exiting timeshare contracts. Resorts also have effective follow up practices that lure desperate travelers back in. But instead of advising you on where to turn for your travel needs or how to spend the money saved, we decided to take a different approach. One that forces you to reflect on your failed timeshare experience and what went wrong throughout the process. The goal here is to help you acknowledge your missteps and avoid making the same mistakes going forward.

1. Assess the Loss of Timeshare Ownership

Before wiping the timeshare property from your recent memory, it’s important to set aside time to analyze the purchase. This will help you make more informed decisions and avoid future impulse purchases altogether. When assessing your loss, the first thing you’ll want to do is acknowledge how much the timeshare expense actually cost you. Compare it to what you thought it was going to cost. Sales teams use a lot of misspeak during presentations and normally don’t include taxes, interest and annual fees during their proposal.

Come to terms with how you were misled and try to understand how the salesman hid this information from you. Once you start to realize how you were duped into buying, you’ll be able to identify other elements of the purchase that were misleading. What initially intrigued you about attending the timeshare presentation? Were you targeted online, at an event or through the mail? Each of these tactics can tell you a lot about how and why you were targeted.

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The way you were persuaded can also tell you a lot about your susceptibility. What caused you to trust the salesman? What questions were you asked and how were your answers used against you? What questions did you ask that were inevitably avoided or ignored? Did anything distract you from your gut instinct during the presentation? If you bought multiple upgrades or invested in timeshare relief programs, why did you make these decisions? What was said during these sales that caught your attention? Understanding how you got into the hole you were in can be enlightening to say the least.

Learning from a regretful purchase is the best thing you can do. It’s what you need to do if you ever want to move on. At the end of the day, there’s no need for you to project your timeshare experience onto other opportunities. Not everyone wants to scam you. Besides, you could potentially help other people on the verge of making similar mistakes. Having to get rid of timeshare obligations isn’t something to be ashamed of. It’s pretty bold when you think about it. Many remain stuck in the never ending cycle. Your story could impact someone else’s fortune!

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2. Ease Back Into Traveling, Recoup From the Loss

Purchasing another timeshare may not be on your agenda, but traveling without being strapped for cash might be. Now that you’ve gotten rid of your timeshare obligation for good, it might be tempting to take the first flight out of town. But taking a break from traveling may actually help you regroup. Spending more money to fill a void isn’t necessarily going to make you feel better about the loss. Especially if timeshare payments have caused you to get behind on bills or investing in other needs. Once you’re free and clear of your contract, try turning your attention to everything that’s been hindered by the purchase.

Have you been putting off home or car repairs due to financial hardship? Do you owe anyone money? Do your kids need some new clothes? Could you use some personal maintenance? Taking care of needed expenses first helps you avoid extending the regret of ownership. Has your family enjoyed dinner out on the town lately? Is there a relative or friend you haven’t been able to visit for a while? Just because the timeshare didn’t transpire doesn’t mean you have to splurge on a magical vacation to make it all go away.

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If you need time to recover financially, then it’d behoove you to take a break from your travels. But if you believe in routine escapes, there are plenty of little trips you can take. Create a list of things you can do locally or within a few hours drive. Ease back into your travels and create a budget you can stick to. If you have a travel itch that simply needs to be scratched, just keep it simple. As long as you’re able to get away and spend time with those you love, nothing else really matters. In the meantime, write down some financial goals and start setting aside money for a future trip. Planning a sensible, budgeted vacation with your spouse, kids or friends gives everyone something to look forward to.

3. Save Money and Maximize Your Next Vacation

While getting rid of timeshare obligations frees up a lot of cash, saving it can be very rewarding. Whether you canceled your timeshare after 3 months or 30 years, you’re still going to want what you initially paid for. Whatever your reason for canceling was, you probably still want what you paid for. Unfortunately, ripoffs normally don’t include restitution. That’s why steps 1 and 2 are so important. After you’ve assessed and recouped your losses, planning a trip the right way becomes easy.

Forcing a vacation or buying the first deal that comes your way is rarely fruitful. Some of the most memorable vacations tend to be those that were either thoughtfully put together or spontaneous (road trip, staycation, etc..). Avoiding expensive trips at first will be worth it in the long run. Making sacrifices in response to your loss helps you avoid traveling on a tight budget in the future. Take responsibility for the decision and make the best of it for now. If funds are limited, the unexpected or an appealing attraction (you can’t attend) could ruin the entire trip.

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The key to life after a timeshare exit is the plan. The more people on the same page the better. Setting expectations and being realistic about anticipations helps you develop an itinerary that pleases everyone. When plans aren’t rushed and money isn’t scarce, the outlook is promising. Waiting to go on vacation until after you finally get rid of timeshare obligations ensures everyone enjoys themselves. From here, you can leave the poor timeshare investment in the past.

4. If You Really Want a Timeshare, Start Researching Resorts

Getting rid of a timeshare agreement doesn’t mean you have to give up on the concept for good. Not all experiences are bad. Most don’t work out because buyers just aren’t cognizant of what they’re purchasing. If you’re still intrigued by fractional ownership, but don’t want to make the same mistakes, then start researching your options. Join online forums or social media groups to learn more about the ins and outs of the industry. Ask the right questions and gain a better understanding for timeshare terminology. A “right to use contract” or a travel club just might suit you better.

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Either way, today’s travel opportunities are endless. Whether you’re a global traveler or you only need a few weekends at the beach per year; the perfect solution is out there for you. You just have to find it. Don’t let the opportunities sell you. Ignore the bright, screaming advertisements and find something that makes sense. Take the things you’ve learned from your experience and apply them. Don’t allow yourself to be persuaded and never forget how worthwhile a well-planned vacation can be. If there’s a chance the resort can’t deliver, or the offer seems too good to be true, there’s no need to rush. It can be especially devastating if you have to get rid of timeshare obligations twice.

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