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Labor Day is almost here, and for many families this marks the end of their summer vacation.  Kids are going back to school which means homework, long days, event filled weeks and extracurricular activities.

But the work isn’t just back for the kids – parents have more to do too. Creating a harsh reality, much different from the family beach trip you were just on.

While many families are feeling that they have to wait until next summer for another vacation, this is far from the truth, and fortunately our friends at Project:Time Off have provided everyone with five tips on how to take vacation time during the school year.

  1. Get Comfortable with the Calendar 
    Familiarize yourself with your school’s calendar and take note of any holiday breaks, long weekends, and teacher workdays that may be on the horizon. Key to creating a vacation strategy is not only knowing the happenings of your family calendar, but also taking the time to plan your time off before your schedule gets away from you. Less than half of U.S. households plan their vacations which is a problem, as only 39% of non-planners successfully use all their time off. Those unused days are missed chances to connect as a family. Look ahead for opportunities to extend long weekends to maximize time off and minimize absences.
  2. Communicate with Teachers and Coaches 
    Research your school’s vacation policies. Many schools allow for educational trips. Collaborate with teachers to find ways to make your vacation do double duty. Could your student give a presentation on a museum you’ll be visiting, or write a paper on a historical landmark you plan to see? One Pennsylvania dad felt so strongly about the learning opportunities of travel that he took his kids out of school to cheer him on as he ran the Boston Marathon. Think of your vacation as an extended field trip and explore ways to bring the classroom to life.

If you decide to take an educational trip, consider meeting with teachers and coaches to discuss your plans and coordinate makeup work well before you go. By communicating with your kids’ various program leaders early on, you can avoid any potential conflict down the line.

  1. Make a Game Plan for Makeup Work
    Unlike your child’s school, your office probably doesn’t have regular breaks or educational trip policies. To keep your vacation from turning into work in another zip code, hold a family meeting to discuss boundaries. If you are unable to unplug, make a family game plan so everyone knows when and how you’ll check in with work. Work only when it’s time to work and try to put books, laptops, and smartphones away when it’s time to play.
  2. Don’t Make it an Afterthought
    It happens every year: students’ summer schedules fill up with sleep-away camps, sport tournaments, and volunteer trips attempting to stave off boredom and mid-way into the season you realize you’ve left no time for simply being together. Before camps put a cramp in your style, block the family calendar with simultaneous time off. You can’t afford to keep pushing this precious memory-making time to next year.
  3. Make Your Memories Count
    Project: Time Off found that childhood memories formed during family vacations remain vivid well into adulthood. Three out of four parents believe that family vacation gives children experiences they’ll remember for years to come. Not only will your vacation be a cherished memory, but also a learning opportunity that they may not find in a textbook. After all, you only have 18 Summers.

As you can see, Labor Day no longer has to be the sign to halt your vacations for another nine months.  In fact, these months are a great time to enjoy unique experiences and travel to different locations – away from the normal beach routine.

And one of the best ways to continue vacationing throughout the year is by vacationing with timeshare. With over 1,500 resorts in the U.S., there is enough variety to keep up with your kids’ changing demands. You’ll be able to spend a long weekend adventuring at an amusement park, winter break skiing the mountains or a teacher holiday exploring a new city.

Start looking ahead to this year and see what new adventure your family wants to go on with timeshare.

Having a Kitchen and a Separate Living Area Greatly Improves the Quality of a Vacation

Timeshare vacations provide families with fantastic trips throughout the world, but there’s one thing that may get overlooked: all the extra space that’s available. In comparison to the cramped quarters of a hotel room, a timeshare provides the extra and necessary space for your family to spread out—for both time together and time alone.

In fact, this has been proven in a recent study from ARDA and conducted by Leger, which showed that 89 percent of respondents who had a kitchen on their last vacation said it improved their vacation experience, while 87 percent said that having a separate living area also led to a better vacation.

The kitchen and separate living area aren’t just making vacations better because they provide more space, but because the travelers are actually using them to their advantage.  Fifty percent said that they used their kitchen every day during their trip, while fifty eight percent used the separate living area every day. This helped traveling families create a better, stress-free vacation.

Having an in-unit kitchen can help you save money and eat healthier on your next vacation by:

  • Cooking family meals instead of dinning out for every meal
  • Having the ability to prepare healthy snacks for your day on-the-go
  • Allowing you to store any leftovers in the fridge for a later meal
  • Using the fridge so that you can buy, store and use local ingredients in your meal

Having a kitchen in your resort is fantastic for those who love to cook and want to stay healthy, while an extra living area is perfect for traveling families, especially those with young kids, because they allow for:

  • Family game time
  • A place for the kids to watch television, while the adults can enjoy some grown-up time
  • Uninterrupted downtime. While the kids are still awake and playing in the extra living area, the parents can take a nap or read in the separate bedroom, re-charging for another day of fun

The results from this survey are clear, having an in-unit kitchen and an extra living space in your resort can vastly improve your vacation. So, the next time you are thinking about traveling be sure to consider timeshare!

What do Instagram, Starbucks and the Broadway hit Hamilton have in common?

They were all ideas that were born on vacation!

And there’s a reason for that. According to Virgin Group founder Richard Branson, while on vacation a person is “freed from the daily stresses of working life, it is more likely to have new insights into old problems and other flashes of inspiration you may have never thought of.”

Workers take vacations to get away from their 9 to 5 jobs, but traveling can also inspire, stimulate and encourage new ideas. Take it from these unbelievably successful businesses that stemmed from vacations, according Project: Time Off:

  • Instagram, the image-sharing app with 500 million users, came to fruition while founder Kevin Systrom and his now wife, Nicole, were walking on the beachin Mexico. Back in San Francisco, Systrom and his team struggled to revive a failing location-based app, so he probed the subject with Nicole during their stroll. She said, “I don’t want to take photos, because my photos don’t look good.” After explaining how filter apps helped enhance some of the photos posted, she said, “Well, you should probably add filters then.” Systrom calls it a true “eureka moment” that transformed never-heard-of Burbn to Instagram.
  • Dropbox, the file hosting and sharing site, started as a simple idea that founder Drew Houston had while traveling. He was trying to get in a few more hours of work done on the bus from Boston to New York City, but as he opened his laptop to get started, he realized he forgot the USB with the code he needed to work on. To make the most of it, he started building the code to access files over the web and, thus, Dropbox was born.
  • Starbucks became what we know it as today when CEO Howard Schultz was attending a conference in Italy and added some extra time to his trip to take in the culture. On a day trip to Verona, Schultz noticed the craftsmanship and reverence at each coffee shop. “In each shop I visited I began to see the same people and interactions, and it dawned on me that what these coffee bars had created, aside from the romance and theater of coffee, was a morning ritual and a sense of community,” Schultz shared in a company news release. “I left Italy absolutely energized by the culture. I couldn’t wait to sit down with the two remaining founders of Starbucks and tell them, ‘We’ve got to do this.’”
  • Hamilton, the Tony-winning Broadway show was created by Lin Manuel Miranda when the idea came to him on a vacation in Mexico. Miranda said that it was “no accident that the best idea I’ve ever had in my life—perhaps the best one I’ll ever have in my life—came to me on vacation.”

Being on vacation, and freed from their daily work duties, inspired these people to create million, and billion, dollar ideas. And now it can be your turn by ensuring that you use your vacation days and travel the globe – you could be the next to have your own billion-dollar company. And one of the best, easiest ways to assure a vacation each year is to invest in timeshare, which will make vacationing year-in and year-out a guarantee – and with locations in over 120 different countries who knows what will inspire your brilliant idea.

Workers are finally taking action after years of hearing about all the benefits associated with vacationing – better health, better relationships and relaxing times. It has taken a while, but for the first time since 2000 American workers have increased the number of vacation days they take in a year, according to Project: Time Off’s 2017 State of the American Vacation Study.. Now that workers are starting to use more of their vacation days, they see yet another benefit they never expected – they are more likely to earn a raise.

That’s right, those who vacation more are more likely to get a raise.

Although this seems backwards, there is some logic and facts to back this up. In a different report by Project: Time Off, the vast majority (84%) of managers agree that when employees take time off, they return to work with improved focus and creativity. In addition, time off makes it easier to ask employees to log extra hours at critical moments, when extra help is really needed. Not to mention, vacations help make a person happier, and managers view happier employees as more productive employees.

So, why are we still not using all of our vacation days? Most workers feel that there is still a negative stigma associated with taking a vacation. They presume that most managers would prefer employees to dedicate all of their time doing their job instead of say relaxing on an island – but this isn’t the case.

In fact, according to Deloitte Consulting CEO Jim Moffatt, relaxation can turn your standard employee into an exceptional one. He states “You’ll be amazed at what you can do when you’re unplugged—and what you’re able to accomplish when you plug back in.”

Now that you know that vacations could lead to earning a raise at your job, it’s time to continue the trend and take more vacation days. One of the simplest ways of accomplishing this is by planning ahead.

When comparing workers who planned ahead to non-planners, 52 percent of workers who say they set aside time each year to plan out their vacation days took all their time off, compared to just 40 percent of non-planners.

One of the best ways to plan a yearly vacation is to own a timeshare, which guarantees that you enjoy a vacation at least once a year. And with locations in over 120 different countries, timeshare vacations provide the perfect location for anyone to unplug from work.

So, start planning now.  You could make more money because of it.

Survey Shows an Overwhelming Majority of Respondents Think So

WASHINGTON, July 11, 2017 – A recent survey from the American Resort Development Association (ARDA) and conducted by research group Leger, found that 89 percent of respondents who had a kitchen on their last vacation said it improved their vacation experience, and 87 percent said that having a separate living area also led to a better vacation.

Respondents didn’t just like the idea of having this extra space, they actually used it. Fifty percent said that they used their kitchen every day during their trip, which helped traveling families create a better, stress-free vacation.

“Having extra living space can turn a regular vacation into an exceptional one—especially with a kitchen,” said Peter Roth, Vice President of Marketing, Communications and Industry Relations at ARDA. “Timeshare owners have known about these benefits for years. Whether you want to be able to eat together as a family or have the kids watch television while you and your spouse dine, in-unit kitchens and an extra living space take away the frustrations vacationers encounter in small, cramped quarters.”

Extra living areas and a kitchen are ideal for families, especially for those with young children. The living room and/or extra bedrooms, enables vacationers to spread out and have space to be together, and alone. Respondents noted that the kitchen is great for those who love cooking, or for saving money from not eating out for every meal. Kitchens also help vacationers maintain a healthy lifestyle while away from their normal routine, as well as give them the opportunity to try local dishes. Having a refrigerator and essential amenities in the kitchen, travelers can buy, store and cook with local, fresh ingredients.

For more, see the full infographic on why kitchens are the key to a happier vacation.

According to a brand new study conducted by Oxford Economics and Leger for the ARDA International Foundation (AIF) about the worldwide timeshare industry, timeshares around the world are attracting new owners who want to be a part of this lifestyle.  The industry now spans the globe and there are nearly 5,400 shared vacation ownership resorts which include more than 527,000 units and helped to generate more than 18 million room nights in 2015.

Shared vacation ownership is a truly global industry with properties in 121 countries.  And the resorts are truly spread out – there are nearly 2,500 resorts in North America, more than 1,300 resorts in Europe, The Middle East and Africa, and over 570 resorts in Central and South America.

By traveling to these worldwide resorts, vacationers help impact the global economy by:

  • Supporting nearly 1.3 million jobs; 577,000 direct and 702,000 indirect
  • Generating $146 billion in economic output; $57 billion directly and $89 billion indirectly
  • Generating almost $17 billion in taxes

The great amenities that timeshares offer, along with the wide variety of locations have led to a steady increase in ownership:

  • Between 2014 and 2015, global sales increased 11.5% from $17.7 billion to $19.7 billion.
  • Average worldwide shared vacation ownership sales price was $18,626 per interval in 2015, representing a 0.5% compound annual worldwide growth rate between 2013 and 2015
  • Global shared vacation ownership occupancy registered 79.4% in 2015, an increase from 76.4% in 2014

With the success the industry, and the owners, are seeing there are positive signs moving forward:

  • Data indicates the global shared vacation ownership industry will add 91 new properties and nearly 7,300 units in 2017 and beyond

Timeshare vacations are a fantastic way to ensure you can experience what the world has to offer.  And with the growing number of resorts worldwide, paired with the features and amenities, now may be the right time to look into becoming an owner.

For more details, see ARDA’s infographic and for a copy of the full study, visit www.arda.org/foundation.

 

Everyone is always looking for the newest, latest trends. We don’t want to deal with time consuming tasks, and we just want to press a couple of buttons on our phone to accomplish what needs to be done. Need a ride to somewhere? Open your Uber App. On a last-minute trip? Find a place to stay overnight with Airbnb. Visiting a new city? Rent a bike to travel around.

This trend of having access to use or rent assets owned by someone else is known as the sharing economy. Simply put, the sharing economy makes things easier, simpler and more cost effective for consumers by sharing products instead of buying their own car, bike or vacation home.

But when you think about it, the Timeshare Industry was actually the original sharing economy—not Uber or Airbnb—before it was a trend. In fact, in a Hotel Management Article, Gail Mandel, president and CEO of Wyndham Destination Network, said “Long before the ‘sharing economy’ was a buzzword, timeshare developers were innovating in the travel space by enabling travelers to enjoy the benefits of using a vacation property without having to purchase the entire vacation home.”

And on top of that, with vacation exchange programs owners can swap resorts, weeks or units all online in a simple and fast way. Timeshares truly were the original product of the sharing economy, and even offer greater benefits than other hospitality industry shared economy products.

The key advantage to timeshare in the sharing economy is that a timeshare is a professionally managed resort, while other alternatives, like Airbnb and HomeAway, are peer-to-peer services with no customer service or quality standards.

In the same Hotel Management article, Mandel states that “timeshare units are hospitality businesses at their core. The properties are run and maintained by professionals, have strict standards for what travelers will experience and find in their accommodations, and follow safety regulations and tax laws. The average homeowner on Airbnb may not even be aware of these practices, and that can make for some uncomfortable situations.”

Timeshare vacations are no longer grandma’s week at the same time in the same place every year. They offer an opportunity for shorter stays, flexible ownership and locations all over the world. And like Airbnb and other vacation sharing options, vacationers get way more space than a traditional hotel offers. But they also provide features that cannot be met by other services: consistency of offering, managed properties and service.

We live in a very materialistic society — every birthday, holiday or graduation all kids ever want is a new toy or game.  They want the newest and latest version of just about every toy on the market, and this leaves their parents in a frenzy.  What toy should they buy? Which version is the latest? Do toys really cost this much nowadays?

While it may be good to get your kids the things they want every now and then, toys and gifts are often very underappreciated and quickly forgotten.  And they can result in families spending even less time together in our very busy lives.  In fact, Oliver James, Britain’s best-selling psychologist-author who wrote the book Love Bombing: Reset Your Child’s Emotional Thermostat, told The Telegraph that many of the toys we purchase for our children aren’t even actually valued or wanted.

In fact, multiple surveys have found that one-fifth to two-thirds of toys are unvalued or unwanted.  What should you do the next time you need to get gifts for your kids?

Simple! Plan a vacation for them and the whole family.  James expands on this, stating “family holidays are definitely valued by children, both in the moment and for long afterwards in their memory. So, if you’re going to spend money on something, it’s pretty clear which option makes more sense.”

While toys and gadgets encourage kids to be by themselves, vacations make time for families to be together, which is a key to remaining happy and stress free.  It is actually proven that family vacations not only help de-stress the parents, since they are getting time away from their jobs, but actually de-stress the kids as well.  According to a 2015 survey of 754 kids, 77% of kids reported feeling no stress when their parents take a break from work to spend time with them and it said that parents who want to help their kids reduce stress should consider using a vacation day.

Now while you may think kids live a stress-free life, this is not true.  That same report found that 79% of 8- to 14-year-olds say they regularly experience stress. And toys won’t help solve this.

Vacations truly are the gift that keeps on giving for kids. They’ll also help with your child’s brain development.  According to Dr. Margot Sunderland, a child psychotherapist and Director of Education and Training at The Centre for Child Mental Health, exploring during a family vacation, whether it’s in nature or a heritage town, activates many critical areas of the brain.  This brings about brain growth and maturation in the frontal lobes, the very part of the brain involved in cognitive functioning, social intelligence and well-focused, goal-directed behaviors that may last a lifetime.

With all of this information it’s time for the old adage ‘parents know best’ to be put into practice for gift giving.  No longer should parents feel pressured to buy the latest “must-have” toys…they instead should consider family vacations for gifts.  A timeshare could be your best option since they ensure you take a vacation each and every year.  And with locations across the globe, each vacation can be a new experience where you will be able try a new place and experience a new culture in your timeshare.  Your kids will thank you for it and it will stick with them for the rest of their lives.

Many of us are likely familiar with the frequently touted (and research-proven) positive effects of travel on our work performance, relationships and personal well-being. But, with all the national conversation about creating and keeping good American jobs, how much thought do we give to travel’s economic power in our lives?

It certainly deserves our attention. Travel is a top-10 employer in 49 states and the District of Columbia. The travel industry played a major role in America’s economic recovery post-recession—and now, travel is our country’s number one service export, accounting for 11.2 percent of all U.S. exports in 2016. The U.S. travel industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, has recovered far faster than other economic sectors since 2008. Spending by travelers everywhere in the U.S., which currently totals over $947 billion annually, supports 15.3 million American jobs. That’s one in nine Americans whose employment depends upon plenty of travelers moving to and within the U.S.

The travel industry is one that relies on human interaction—whether it’s the front desk clerk at a resort, the tour guide in a historic district or the people that make your timeshare resort run.

That’s why, as part of National Travel and Tourism Week (NTTW) 2017, May 7-13, the timeshare community is helping to unite and celebrate what travel means to American jobs, economic growth and personal well-being.

This year’s NTTW is more than just another campaign. It’s a movement that positions the travel industry as a primary driver in the U.S. economy and an important part of our daily lives.

While all travel is important, vacations make up a huge portion of the industry.  In fact, nearly four out of five domestic trips taken in 2016 were for leisure purpose, which resulted in the direct spending of over $683 billion and generated $106.4 in tax revenue. And we know that timeshare is an important component of these numbers.

If you have yet to think of becoming a timeshare owner, the NTTW should help to persuade you.  Just look at current timeshare owners—unlike families that are constantly stressed about trying to plan a vacation when they can, owning a timeshare ensures that you and your family take a vacation each and every year.  And with destinations all across the U.S., there are limitless places to visit!