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Sometimes when you’re going on vacation, you want to know exactly when and where you’re going—and what you’ll be doing while you’re there. Other times, you want to leave on a whim and try something completely new. It’s a world of options out there, and sometimes just the act of planning your next trip can be as much fun (or even more so!) than the trip itself.

Why? Because when you’re planning a trip, anything is possible.

There are no delayed flights or long lines—only sandy beaches and fancy cocktails, open slopes and Broadway shows. When you’re planning your next vacation, the possibilities are endless and your imagination can run wild while creating the perfect holiday package.

When planning a timeshare vacation, many owners recommend planning – and booking – your trip well in advance, which may seem stressful or daunting. But good news! According to a study featured in this New York Times blog, some of the highest-ranked happiness levels vacationers experience actually happen during the anticipation of the next trip. Why? Because it’s the dreaming and planning of your vacation that creates those instant happy thoughts.

So don’t dread planning your next vacation—embrace it! Start dreaming of your next getaway and enjoy the benefits of the vacation before, during and after you take it.

Remember, it’s YOUR vacation, when and where you want it.

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Celebrating What Travel Means to You

Going on an adventure. Relaxing. Meeting new business partners. Learning. Supporting local businesses and jobs. These are just a few examples of what travel means to people and to communities.

This year, to celebrate National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2015, May 2-­‐10, our industry is highlighting how travel affects us all with the theme: “Travel is ___________.”

Travel is vacationing. Travel is making memories. Travel is essential to the U.S. economy. Travel is a job creator. No matter how you complete the sentence, the bottom line message is that travel is vital to our country and our lives, and it has meaning for everyone.

For the American Resort Development Association (ARDA), our members and our nine million-plus happy owners, Travel is  “Timeshare”.

NTTW is the perfect time to celebrate what travel means to you. We encourage you to do the same and take part in NTTW by sharing what “Travel is” to you. Follow along on Twitter via @USTravel, @ARDAorg and #NTTW2015.

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A recent article in the MindBodyGreen newsletter reminds us why we all need to take a vacation.  Sure, it can be tough – work gets busy and budgets get tight – but it’s critical for your overall health and well-being.

The five reasons:

  1. Your stress will dramatically reduce.

When you’re in the midst of all the stresses and pressures of work, it’s hard to see things clearly or rationally. Taking a break for a day or more will help give you perspective on the role of your job within your life.

  1. Your concentration at work will improve.

Taking a vacation improves your effectiveness and concentration throughout the rest of the year. When you take time to unwind from your everyday stresses, you’ll return to your job with more confidence and ready to face your work-related challenges with a clearer, cooler head.

  1. You’ll find an increase in your overall job satisfaction.

Knowing that your employer appreciates the importance of your personal time makes you feel valued. When Richard Branson announced unlimited vacation days for his staff, it served as an example that time away from the office can lead to better teamwork and boost employee morale.

Work becomes more of a collaborative effort when every employee is prepared take on the roles of those who are not in the office. This act of karma is balanced when those roles are reversed and it’s another employee’s turn to take some vacation time. When an employer instills a policy that makes the employees feel valued, that policy is honored instead of abused.

  1. You’re reminded that family time is important.

Dealing with your partner and/or children after a hard day’s work can be exhausting. But when you take time away from the grind you’re given back that important time to bond, relax and grow as a family. Just make sure you plan a vacation where it’s easy for everyone to enjoy themselves!

  1. Your health will improve.

Taking a vacation is good for your health. The New York Times reported that those who take less than one vacation every two years are more likely to suffer from depression and burnout. Moreover, those who fail to take annual vacations have a 21% higher risk of death and were 32% more likely to die of a heart attack.

 

Timeshare vacations are a great way to ensure that you take your vacation since they are pre-paid, easy to plan and offer a variety of travel options.

How great does time off sound? Especially during these final weeks of winter, time off sounds pretty good.  Would you be surprised to learn that taking time off has positive benefits on personal relationships, job performance and your overall well-being?  There has been an ever-growing body of research proving the long-term benefits of taking time away from daily stresses has on different aspects of your life from personal to professional.

The U.S. Travel Association has taken it a step further with the release of a study last year that found an alarming number of Americans fail to use their earned time off:  429 million days of paid time off was left on the table last year, costing the U.S. economy $160 billion in spending.  Reasons for not taking the time included feelings of guilt for leaving work behind or returning to an overwhelming pile of work to be done—both feelings are trigger-points that add stress to daily life.  And, all the more reason why taking time away is so crucial.

To further prove the personal, business, social and economic benefits that taking earned time off can deliver, the U.S. Travel Association recently launched an initiative called Project: Time Off to encourage Americans to do just that—take time to get away. You deserve it and you’ve earned it!

While there is always a reason to postpone taking a vacation, make a commitment to invest in your health, your happiness on and off the job, and re-invest in your relationships.  There is no time like the present to rejuvenate and invest in improving your overall well-being.  The benefits of a vacation today will create memories to last a lifetime.

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Surprise – it’s not flowers!

A recent survey conducted by Research Intelligence Group, Leger shows that mini-vacations/romantic getaways trump flowers, chocolate and dining out for Valentine’s Day!

When asked what they would want to receive this Valentine’s Day, 21 percent of respondents wanted a getaway, and when asked what they hoped to give to their sweetheart, 21 percent indicated the same.

Here’s the breakdown:

The most popular gifts to give on Valentine’s Day are:

  • Mini vacation – 21%
  • Flowers – 15%
  • Chocolate/sweets – 15%
  • Dinner out – 15%
  • Jewelry – 13%

The types of gifts respondent want to receive on Valentine’s Day are:

  • Mini vacation – 21%
  • Dinner out – 16%
  • Chocolate/sweets – 12%
  • Jewelry – 12%
  • Flowers – 10%

So, when you are planning that extra special something for your Valentine this year,  consider your timeshare option! Spark romance at resorts around the world with amazing accommodations for any fantasy retreat, and plenty of rental programs if you’re not already an owner.

There’s nothing better than escaping the daily grind and spending some well-deserved time together with a gift you’ll both appreciate. You can even bring the kids and still have the privacy you want with your Valentine!

Holiday travel tends to stress people out, and it’s this time of year that usually tops the list of aggravations–but not for timeshare owners.  What’s their secret?  Owners who use their timeshare during the Holidays look forward to all the comforts of home, but better because they’re staying in a resort.  There are no surprises when you get to the room, and timeshare accommodations allow for all family members to have the space they need to unwind.

And for resorts, the Holidays are a great way to welcome back families that return year after year.  Timeshare families not only look forward to spending time with each other, but with their extended resort families!

Here are a few special touches that some resorts offer their guests throughout the holidays:

  • Fully-stocked refrigerators
  • Concierge services
  • Outdoor activities such as sleigh rides, tree lighting and roasting marshmallows
  • Themed extravaganzas such as gingerbread decorating contests
  • Holiday menus and specialty food baskets

Whether it’s a warm climate or a winter retreat, timeshare owners enjoy the spacious yet homey vacation-feel that only timeshare can provide—without family members feeling cramped for space to relax. From California and Arizona to Colorado and Florida, timeshare resorts across the country are rolling out the sleighs and cooking up the turkeys to help guests have fantastic, memorable holidays.

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It’s not all that surprising that a recent survey of vacationers shows that timeshare owners are having more sex while on vacation —71 percent versus 31 percent of non-timeshare owners.

When people are vacationing with the family, they often stay together in one hotel room and that makes it difficult to celebrate the intimate, romantic part of a relationship.  Timeshare owners don’t face this challenge as one of the benefits of owning a timeshare is the space it offers—separate bedrooms and plenty of private areas.

The survey was conducted by research group Leger, on behalf of the ARDA International Foundation (AIF).  For more details and to learn more about vacationing with timeshare, go to www.VacationBetter.org.

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You may have heard the buzz around Richard Branson, owner and founder of The Virgin Group, and his wild ideas about workplace vacation policies…or the lack there of. After his daughter first told him about the online streaming mogul, Netflix’s vacation “non-policy,” it didn’t take long for Branson to institute something similar in his own company.

That means Virgin Group employees can:

  • Take as much time off as they want, whenever they want.
  • Do not need to seek approval from managers ahead of time.
  • Do not have to record or report any of the time they take.

In an interview with CNN, Branson said, “The amount of holidays people are given in the States is dreadful. How can you find time to get to know your children if you’re working with the very little holiday time you’re given?”

Plus, it’s been shown that traveling kids are smarter kids. All the more reason to get out of the office and on the road with your family!

Could this be a new trend among employers? Are we going to start seeing a shift in the American vacation mindset?

While that remains to be seen, not all of us are lucky enough to work somewhere with a vacation non-policy like Branson’s. And policy or no, vacation time means nothing if you’re not using it! So invest in yourself, use the days you DO have, and make a point to take a vacation every year. You and every other American deserve it.

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There has been a lot of media attention recently about the shocking number of American workers who don’t take all of their paid time off (40% of workers), who feel guilty about the time they do take, or who continue to work while on vacation—despite a growing body of research showing the benefits of getting away for a bit.

Medical professionals have warned us for years that stress is a leading factor in heart disease. Yet, many workers still won’t set aside time to relax because they’re worried a vacation will get them replaced.

But probably the most compelling evidence of the positive vacation effect can be found in the Framingham Heart Study, in which scientists followed more than 12,000 men and women at risk of heart disease for nine years to find ways to improve their longevity and well-being.  And what they found was not surprising:  those who vacation (twice a year) were less likely to develop heart disease or have a heart attack.

Why? Because it’s good to get away!

Consider these healthy reasons to take some time off:

  • Your body is literally telling you to take a break. But you keep ignoring it.
  • When your brain is completely relaxed, it’s still working on improving the skills you have learned.
  • It’s been proven that allowing your brain to day-dream allows you to better solve problems and be more creative.
  • Fact: The more (shorter) vacations you take, the happier you’ll be.
  • In fact, you should try to take a vacation day every single week (if you can).
  • Your performance review this year could be higher if you just go take your vacation.
  • Bosses who take vacations return to work as more focused business leaders.
  • Immersing yourself in new cultures and cuisines will give you a whole new array of ideas you can bring back to work.
  • You might even get paid for taking time off.

Consider this: a vacation could quite literally save your life.

Just ask the nearly 8 million timeshare owners who recognize the value in taking a break at least once a year. They’ll tell you: “An annual vacation is a better way to vacation!”