The question of "timeshare or travel club" has many different possible answers. Like many things in life, it depends on who you ask. Keep in mind that most "travel clubs" were spawned directly from the timeshare industry. As a matter of fact, most travel club representatives, managers and staff have come from the timeshare industry. Just a few short years ago, a great deal of travel club inventory was acquired directly from timeshare resorts. But recently, more and more travel clubs have created or transitioned into a hybrid model, mixing traditional timeshare units with an aggregator feature for hotel and other resort options. This model has strengthened the travel club model, but isn't necessarily practical for all situations.
One of the key differences between the two is the upfront cost. You will generally find that most travel clubs have an upfront cost which is significantly less that that of timeshare ownership. And the annual fees are much lower than that of maintenance fees. But also remember that you get what you pay for. Many clubs utilize overflow inventory from timeshare resorts, which have been picked over at that resort level. With lesser clubs, finding prime weeks available at desirable resorts can be a challenge unless you book in advance. But again, learning about how to maximize usage is a key element in timeshare and club ownership.
Companies like Global Vacation Network (GVN), Reservation Services International (RSI), Travel to Go and Save On are just a few of the larger vacation clubs out there. They all have similar products and offer different benefits in certain areas. All travel clubs, timeshares and points programs have unique and attractive benefits, but before you buy that new timeshare or travel club, be sure to ask all of the relevant questions and find out if it suits the needs of you and your family.