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Plan Ahead When Bartering Your Timeshare Week

The ability to trade places is the main reason most people purchase timeshares, and that�s been the case for years. Research reveals, in fact, that more people barter their weeks than use them.

The most frequent complaint among the country�s nearly 2 million timeshare owners (after they complain how difficult they are to resell, even when priced below cost) is that they never seem to be able to exchange their time for what they want.

But it doesn�t have to be that way. Owners can trade places with other timeshare owners by depositing their interval with an exchange service, and withdrawing a corresponding interval somewhere else.

Whether the interval that is given up is used by someone else doesn�t matter, since timeshare bartering is not a direct trade. As long as one puts something in the bank, something else can be taken out. At the same time, though, it�s important to have realistic goals.

When people run into a glitch, it usually has something to do with what they put into the system and what they want to take out. For starters, when considering a timeshare for the exchange possibilities -- and there are hundreds of thousands of them -- make sure to buy in an area that is in high demand.

Time and size are two other factors that help enhance the ability to enact a successful trade. So aim to buy the biggest unit in the best week that is  affordable. The formula is based on comparability, so don�t buy an off-season week unless you expect to travel in the off-season.

Experts strongly advise depositing your interval as soon as you know you won�t be using it. Because depositing early increases one�s trading power. You�ll get a higher priority by depositing early, because you are allowing them to fulfill someone else�s exchange.

In short, if you don�t deposit early enough, your week might be worth only 50% of its exchangeable value. And you may have to wait until the last minute to go somewhere else, or take a less desirable travel time or a smaller sized unit.

Depositing early isn�t the only tactic that will lead to a successful trade. So will being flexible. Instead of demanding a particular resort, for example, request an area. Or even request a type of vacation, as opposed to something more specific. And pick a range of dates, not an exact week.

You even can ask the system to search for two choices. Then if a match is made, you�ll have 48 hours to decide whether that�s really where you want to go. If it is, you can lock in a reservation and make your travel arrangements. But if it�s not, the system can keep looking.

Although RCI and Interval International list thousands of properties in their catalogs (Interval works with 1,800 affiliated resorts in more than 70 countries; RCI with 3,500 properties in 90 countries) that doesn�t mean space is always available. Their inventories are based only on what their members give up. So plan ahead, and follow the foregoing suggestions...the likelihood of success will be greater.