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WhichIsBetter

When it’s finally time to take a vacation, is it better to take a few long weekends or plan a bigger getaway? According to a recent Wall Street Journal study, longer vacations aren’t necessarily better for your well-being than shorter ones. If your goal is to create an ideal vacation—one that boosts your well-being, relieves the stress that can impact our health, and helps your recharge before returning to work—then it’s more than just the amount of time you spend away that you need to consider.

Vacations are like sleep. You need regular recovery from work in order to stay healthy, so those weekend getaways might be just what you need, especially if you’re only taking one long trip a year. But a long trip also gives you the time to really relax and disconnect. Both are necessary for your well-being.

How do you get the most out of your vacation, regardless of its length? Consider these tips:

Plan farther ahead and anticipate the trip – the days before and after a vacation are almost as important as the vacation itself. Anticipating the vacation is when you’re the most excited because anything is possible! The longer you spend being excited about getting away, the more time you spend reaping the benefits of vacationing.

See or do something new – for those who struggle to decide whether to go someplace new or return to somewhere they love, The Wall Street Journal reports that psychologists recommend a new experience every time—either by visiting a new place or trying a new activity. New memories have the greatest impact on your vacation happiness since similar trip to the same place tend to blend together over time.

Maximize the start and finish of your vacation – the beginning and end of a vacation will usually leave the greatest impression. You remember the feeling of walking into your luxury room for the first time and the last family meal you shared before catching your flight home, so try to make those days extra special.

Vacations improve our lives, and research proves they help keep us happy and healthy. Studies show that vacations reduce the risk of heart attacks and depression, relieve stress and can lead to improved work performance and creativity.

So, however you decide to take your vacation days, just be sure to take them all!

VacationPledge

Will you use all of your vacation days this year? Do you have plans to jet off to someplace new and exotic, or are you headed back to relive the memories at an old family favorite? How are you going to use those last few days off?

Whatever your plans are, it’s your time off—so use it!

Pledge to use every last one of your vacation days this year, and then share your plans with us!

We’ll share our favorites here and on social media to remind everyone: Vacation shouldn’t be a luxury—it’s a necessity!

beach-vacation-people-sand

Several news stories this summer have focused on the notion that Americans—American workers in particular—-have a vacation complex. The number of vacation days taken by Americans each year has steadily declined over the last 20 years—an astounding 429 million vacation days went unused in the United States last year. The pervasive work culture of putting in long hours at the job has resulted in a “No-Vacation Nation” syndrome. Americans get fewer vacation days than their overseas counterparts, and those who do take time off often take work with them or remain plugged-in while on vacation.

The top reasons for not taking a vacation include:

  • Proving work dedication to colleagues or supervisors,
  • Fear of returning to a heavy workload,
  • Can’t afford it, or
  • Feeling guilty leaving the work for someone else.

One could almost say the notion of a vacation complex is sweeping the nation. And yet, this complex is a perception that needs to change—and it can.

A growing body of research quantifying the benefits of vacationing on health, work performance, personal and professional relationships, productivity, and mental wellness is the first step toward changing the mindset. The next step is for employers to embrace vacationing and encourage employees to use their vacation days to reset their batteries. Already, 90% of senior business leaders surveyed in a 2014 study by GfK for Project: Time Off agree that employees return from vacation with improved focus and creativity and a sense of well-being—cutting down on turnover and sick days.

Another study conducted by Nielsen found that:

  • More than 75% of respondents who vacation regularly reported feeling happier;
  • 71% reported more satisfaction at work; and
  • 80% reported increased romance in their personal relationships.

And the most quantitative evidence that vacations are good for our health comes from the 2010 Framingham Heart Study, which found the likelihood for heart attack increases without vacations (30% higher chance for men and 50% higher for women).

The last step to changing the vacation complex is to act.

Take the #VacationPledge. Pledge to use all your paid vacation days. Take time to recharge. Take time with your family or loved ones. Take time for yourself. With the dog days of August upon us, there is no time like the present!

A vacation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity.

 

SOI-Info-Crop

Vacationers are loving their timeshares!   The industry association’s research group, along with Ernst & Young, just released its State of the Vacation Timeshare Industry: United States Study for 2015.  It shows that the timeshare industry enjoyed steady growth in 2014.  Here are a few of the highlights:

When comparing 2014 to 2013:

  • Sales volume increased more than four percent, to $7.9 billion.
  • There are 1,555 timeshare resorts in the United States, representing about 198,490 units.
  • The average resort size was 128 units.
  • The average sales price was $20,020.
  • Occupancy increased two percent, up to 78 percent, compared to a 641 percent hotel occupancy rate.

There were some other interesting facts to note as well:

  • 70% all timeshare units are two-plus bedrooms. An average one-bedroom unit is 700 square feet; an average two-bedroom unit is 1,160 square feet and an average three-bedroom unit is 1,590 square feet—compared to the average hotel room size of 350 square feet.
  • Beach resorts are the most common type of resort.
  • Theme park resorts have the highest occupancy.
  • Florida has the most resorts—23% of the national total.
  • Nevada has the largest average resort size—182 units on average.
  • Hawaii has the highest occupancy rate for a region, at 85.3%.

aif_15SOI-Infographic_7.14.15

When it comes to enjoying your vacation, how important are the accommodations?

Cramming your family into a 350 square foot hotel room is probably not your idea of paradise. If you’re looking for something a little more comfortable, maybe it’s time to think about a timeshare vacation.

With timeshare, accommodations will be vastly different from a typical hotel room. In fact, you’ll have space for togetherness…and space for privacy. Sixty-one percent of all timeshare units are two-bedrooms and all have living rooms and kitchens! Ninety-one percent of vacationers said they are happier on vacation with a kitchen. Think about it, no more rushing around to get everyone out to dinner or breakfast…a definite money and stress saver.

Timeshare units range from 700 square feet for a one-bedroom unit to 1,160 square feet for two-bedrooms and up to 1,590 square feet for a three-bedroom. This is four and a half times the size of your average hotel room!

So, if you are vacationing with family or friends and want to spend time cooking together, hanging out and enjoying each other’s company while still having your own private bedroom at night, a timeshare vacation may be just what you’ve been looking for.

Space-Spaces_Infographic_sm

Photog-blog

You don’t need to be an expert photographer to take awesome vacation pictures. And you definitely don’t need a fancy camera to capture the moment. In fact, anyone can immortalize their precious vacation memories, all you have to do is keep a few of these photo composition techniques in mind:

  • Change your perspective. Try changing the angle of your picture, from high up or down low, to make the picture more interesting. Different angles or distances completely change the impact of the picture.
  • Fill the frame. Rather than have a bunch of “extra stuff” in your picture, zoom in on what really matters to eliminate any distractions from the picture’s subject.
  • Look for lines. Natural curves or diagonal lines naturally lead the eye, creating movement in the image.
  • Pick the right format. Horizontal or vertical – it matters which one you choose!
  • Place your center of interest. Typically, you want to put the focus of the picture in the center of the image, but don’t forget to try the rule of thirds whenever possible.
  • Can you frame it? Look for natural or man-made objects to include in your photo. They can be to the side, top or bottom of the viewfinder and partially surround the object which helps to create focus.
  • Create Depth. By composing a pictures with objects at several distances from the camera, you create a path or direction for the eye to follow.
  • Keep it balanced. Photos will look lopsided if there is a lot of subject matter on one side of the photo.

(Source)

But keep in mind, when capturing the moment, sometimes it’s when you put the camera down that the greatest vacation moments happen.

Who killed the summer vacation? Our recent survey results show that it’s definitely not the timeshare owner!

In fact, an impressive one-third of timeshare owners have taken four or more vacations in the last three years.  This is quite telling when compared to non-timeshare owners–only 18% have taken four or more vacations in the last three years.  With today’s hectic lifestyle it is becoming even more important for people to get away and experience a relaxing vacation.

Furthermore, timeshare owners say they experience happier, more relaxing time away.  When compared to non-owners, timeshare owners experience more happiness in each of the seven distinct vacation life-cycle phases, from planning the trip to the first-day away, all the way to the afterglow a vacation leaves you with at home.

A better vacation experience with timeshares comes from the ease of planning, spacious accommodations, and the choice of resorts all over the world. Learn more by checking out the Timeshare Effect!

Save-the-American-Vacation-1

We’re not sure “Who Killed the Summer Vacation?” (Time Magazine cover story, June 1), but we’re am pretty sure we know who didn’tTimeshare Owners.

Simply put, timeshare owners take more vacation than non-owners.  According to the ARDA International Foundation Worldwide Study conducted by Oxford Economics, “Shared vacation ownership owners are significantly more likely to vacation than non-owners. Globally, over 80% of owners vacationed in the past year, compared to only 43% of non-owners. In North America, 83% of owners vacationed in the past year, compared to only 50% of non-owners.”

Here’s why:  a timeshare owner’s vacation is pre-paid.

Not many people will opt not to take a vacation they’ve already paid for.  They’ve placed a high priority on spending time with their loved ones as well as gaining the perspective of a change in routine – a great prescription for mental health, productivity and overall happiness.

Let’s all work hard to take vacation!  It’s an important part of life.

Honeymoon

One of the best parts of going a vacation is remembering the good times you had—whether reminiscing with family, scrolling through the pictures on your phone, or posting an album online. But making sure you capture the most precious moments of the trip can be a challenge. With everything going on, what do you immortalize and what do you forgo?

While you can’t capture everything aspect of your vacation on film, remember to keep these helpful tips in mind:

  • Focus on people, not just the landscape.
  • Don’t forget the group shot!
  • Be sure to notice the details, such as wildlife, food, lodging, weather, or local residents.
  • Capture candid moments that tell a story.
  • Use an object to help document the journey.
  • Take a step back and capture the whole picture.

And when you get back, don’t forget to enhance! There are a number of apps, such as Adobe Photoshop Express (available on Apple and Android), that allow you to enhance your pictures before sharing with others.

But most of all, don’t forget to put your camera down every once in a while. Sometimes it’s more important to live in the moment, taking a picture with your memory and experiencing YOUR vacation. After all, it’s the memories that should last a lifetime.