Does this describe you? Has the experience become so routine that you can't differentiate one year's experience from the next (or the previous)?
If so, here are five ways to refresh your vacation ownership:
Take friends or extended family members who have never stayed at a timeshare with you.
The best way to enjoy something you love is to share it with others. And as you've probably already learned, people who haven't experienced timesharing firsthand are a lot more likely to have a negative opinion of it. You can get the pleasure of opening their eyes to all that shared ownership has to offer, whether at your home resort or at a resort you've exchanged into. But at your home resort you'll also get to play the roles of tour guide and local-attractions insider as well.
Exchange to a lesser-known destination.
Exchange is a simple way to liven up your vacation. Sure, you've likely exchanged to Orlando or some other well-known destination, but what about being a bit more adventurous? All the major exchange companies are happy to help you find a new experience at a less-established (and therefore less-in-demand location); in a sense, you'll have increased trading power for such destinations. Think Eastern Europe over Western Europe, for example: You'll still get the Old World experience and fantastic memories. Or New York's Adirondack Mountains over Vail, Colorado: If you're not big on black diamonds, you'll find plenty of easy runs and just as many hot toddies to enjoy afterwards.
If you can, go to your resort in the offseason this year.
If you aren't tied to school schedules, venturing out during the off season can be extremely rewarding: smaller crowds, less extreme weather, cheaper airfares and shorter lines at attractions are just a few of the potential rewards. Perhaps you'd like to visit Florida in the fall rather than summer; according to the locals, that's when the weather is best. What's more, lines to meet up with Mickey, Harry Potter and Shamu are their shortest.
And even if a summer vacation is required, why not go to a ski resort? Many offer hiking, horseback riding, river adventures and more -- plus, the summer heat is not as intense in the mountains (but it's still plenty warm enough for swimming and water sports).
One caveat, though: Don't expect every attraction and restaurant to be open year-round in a highly seasonal locale such as Martha's Vineyard.
Daytrip further out -- maybe even stay overnight somewhere else for one night.
If you're really set on going to your home resort and home week, there are still ways to expand your horizons. One idea is to expand your definition of what's close by and venture farther out from your resort base. If you're going to the Poconos, for example, why not visit Philadelphia's historic sites or take in a Broadway show in Manhattan, each about two hours' drive. You can use a last-minute booking site to find a relatively inexpensive one-night hotel stay. Get more ideas by checking Groupon, Living Social and other coupon sites for discounts on local attractions, restaurants and activities (you can search by region).
Come up with a new "theme" each time.
If you like to spend time planning your annual trips (because that's part of the fun!), then consider creating a new vacation theme each year. The possibilities include:
· Shopping - finding and visiting each of the area's malls and outlets, with a pre-set objective of getting a new wardrobe
· Culinary - not only locating the best restaurants, but learning about the local cuisine and maybe even participating in the process, like picking your own strawberries or harvesting oysters to prepare in your unit's kitchen
· History - most places are famous, at least regionally, for some past event and/or person; find out who/what that is and soak up some local lore
The bottom line is that by doing a bit of homework beforehand, you can re-energize your vacations and get more value out of ownership. And isn't that what timeshare's all about?
Guest blogger Matt McDaniel regularly contributes to timeshare industry trade publications Developments, Perspective, RCI Ventures and Vacation Industry Review.