Ireland 2000


My parents were RCI subscribers and put together a wonderful family trip for 10 of us to visit Ireland to celebrate my dad's 70th birthday.

While my folks are sadly no longer with us, my family uses their timeshare and RCI and every year we celebrate not only the Ireland trip, but many others that my mom put together through RCI. On the first night of every trip we make sure to toast my parents and thank them (and RCI)!

- Walter J. from Batavia, IL
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Our Williamsburg Trip


One of our more memorable family trips was to Williamsburg with a timeshare exchange to the Kings Plantation resort. The units and resort amenities were perfect for a young active family. The children enjoyed the pool and mom took advantage of Fitness and Spa-type services.

It was easy driving to the great historical sites to visit nearby. We went back in time at Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown. Came back to modern days for great fun and amusement at Cypress Gardens. A short drive to the coast and we were set for another grand beach day for a family reunion. That summer vacation is in our book as one of the top favorites. We'd love to go back again.

- Joseph B. from Cleveland, OH
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Making Memories in Williamsburg


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI can still remember years back to when I went on a family vacation to Williamsburg, Virginia. We had received an RCI Guest Certificate from a family friend to use her timeshare, so one week during summer break we packed up our car and headed south. We learned so much that week, and had a lot of fun doing it! Colonial Williamsburg really had a way of bringing history to life for my family and me.

Years later, as I’m doing my own vacation planning, Williamsburg is near the top of my “must-see” (or in this case, my “must-return-to”) list. There truly is something for everyone.  The Jamestown Settlement is a rich history lesson about the first permanent English settlement, Busch Gardens features some of the world’s most incredible roller coasters, and the Mystery Dinner Playhouse will keep you guessing “whodunit”.  If you’re feeling especially brave, venture on the candlelit journey through streets of Colonial Williamsburg and listen to some of the famous ghost stories of the area.

I’m interested in reading about some of your own memories from vacationing in Williamsburg or hearing about places I should visit or activities I should do next time I return. Comment below and share a story of your own, or check back throughout the week to read other subscribing members’ tales of history and adventure in this great destination!

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Las Vegas/Grand Canyon 2009


I used my timeshare exchange to take my family to Las Vegas (my daughter, son-in-law and grandkids). It was so thrilling to see the excitement on their faces and hearing their reactions. They had never been there and no idea it was so beautiful and exciting. We stayed at the Grandview at Las Vegas. WHAT A GREAT RESORT. Location was terrific. Away from the hustle bustle of the strip but close to everything. Shopping, restaurants and a new casino right next door...We took day trips and drove to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Another EXCITING DAY.

I have been an RCI member for many years but always went with friends..One of the best things for me this time was to be able to see my family enjoy the BEST vacation they have ever had. Thanks to RCI and the opportunity to be able to exchange my resort for any place I want to go...They are always helpful...Thanks for giving me the change to let others know...

- Patricia C. from Dunedin, FL
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Las Vegas Trip 2009


We went to Las Vegas and stayed at the Grand Desert Resort. The accommodations were super. The room (large king size bed), large Jacuzzi tub, large bathroom, living area with dining room, and equipped kitchen were awesome. The resort had an adult and a family pool, great food and we even used the work out room. We utilized the outside hot tub every morning. The area was so pretty and clean. We were close to the strip but it was so great to get away from the hustle and bustle and have some quiet time. The free shuttle was clean, air conditioned and believe it or not ON TIME!!

The only thing that would have made this trip better would have been to win some money! I love my timeshare. It has enabled me to stay in places I would have never stayed and travel much more often. The quality vacations I have gotten to take because of RCI have been numerous. I can't wait to plan my next trip!

- Kelley B. from Winchester, KY
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Branson, Missouri


My husband's family is scattered all over the country. Our reunions always consisted of gathering at someone's house where we were all crowded together...I suggested timesharing instead. Since we had several weeks deposited, I was able to arrange, through our own resort and RCI, for each family to have their own timeshare condo in Branson. We all had a wonderful time and it has become a tradition to have our reunions this way. Several family members have since purchased their own timeshares.

- Pam R. from Gas City, IN
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Stone Ridge Resort in N. Idaho


In 2005 we purchased a Last CallSM week for Stone Ridge in N. Idaho. Our first trip to N. Idaho. We were worried about what we would do for a week in such a remote (we thought) area. Well a week is not enough! The resort offered day trips to explore the area plus activities everyday and a wonderful indoor recreation center plus a 19 hole golf course which was only $25 that first year which included a cart and a bag of range balls. Lake Coeur d'Alene is a quick drive to the south and to the north Lake Pend Oreille and Priest Lake and so much more all around.

We continued to return each fall, bringing family and friends, either through exchanges, Last Call vacations or Extra VacationsSM getaways. Being just a seven hour drive from Portland, we planned a family reunion with 19 of us in six units. That year two of us picked up weeks through RCI and then rented two through the rental pool. We will continue to visit this beautiful area. Last Call weeks provide the opportunity to explore out-of-the-way places without the financial investment. We are again using Last Call vacations this month to pick up a week to add to our own timeshare in Puerto Vallarta. Thank you RCI.

- Kari S. from Beaverton, OR
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Family Reunion 2008


We were planning a family reunion and thought it would be a great idea to visit our timeshare in Vistana (Florida). With having 2 timeshares and enough deposited weeks we needed 4 units in all close to each other. RCI went out of their way to accommodate us not only by switching the units I booked on line (and were not even in the same section) but making sure we were in a section where there was minimal construction going on due to renovations. The representative did this by reaching out to Vistana to see what areas had renovations. To me this was RCI's way of going above and beyond the call of duty. We had 2 units next to each other and the other 2 were just around the corner. Everyone was pleased with the accommodations and we all had a great reunion. Thanks RCI!

- Carol S. from New York, NY
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Timeshares and Family Reunions Go Hand in Hand


Karen P. - RCI Social Media and Marketing NewsI attended my first family reunion 3 years ago and I have to say, it was an experience I will never forget. It was located in the heart of the Poconos in Pennsylvania, and members of my extended family (including a famous magician, who shall remain anonymous!) traveled from across the country to spend a weekend together. Looking back on all of the preparation that went into that weekend, I can definitely see how owning a timeshare can make the planning of a family reunion both easy and fun.

Keep reading our blog this week to see stories from RCI subscribing members who have planned family reunions themselves using their exchanges through RCI. There was even a family that coordinated a reunion for 23 people!

Do you have a story about a family reunion at an RCI affiliated resort? If so, please share your story here!

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Why Timeshare Owners Should Also Become Members of RCI


Barbara E. - RCI Subscribing Member BenefitsAs the head of North America retention and loyalty at RCI, I sometimes hear from RCI subscribing members who are interested in knowing what types of non-exchange benefits are available to them. There are many members who use their own timeshare week the same time each year, and some of them don’t know all the valuable advantages they have just by being members.

There are many more reasons than ever before to be a timeshare exchange member. Our focus has always been on you as a consumer as well as you as a timeshare owner. The benefits we’ve added recently are what I call "everyday benefits" for the simple reason they can provide value every day in your regular non-timeshare consumer life. For example, do you travel on business or for long weekends? Take advantage of the up to 20% discount RCI members get on select hotels. Buying something for your home or a gift for family? Go right to an online "shopping mall," the RCI Shopping PerksSM program, and get Cash Back rewards on thousands of qualified items — it’s like getting paid to shop!

At the same time, your RCI timeshare exchange membership provides you with great travel perks including low-cost Extra VacationsSM getaways and cruise benefits such as cabin upgrades or savings of up to $500 USD!

Benefits for travel and benefits for every day tell the whole story of why an RCI Subscribing Membership can be a good value all the time. If you have any ideas for new benefits to enhance your membership, I’d love to hear them. Leave a comment, and let us know what you think.

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Italy: A Lot of History and A Lot to Do!


Susie M. - RCI Subscribing Member Vacation ExperiencesWho hasn’t dreamed of visiting Italy, even if it's just for a short while? Picture it: lounging in the espresso shops, reading by one of the fountains, dining al fresco with friends, taking a break for gelato…

Some RCI subscribing members have already enjoyed a vacation rental or timeshare exchange vacation in Italy and everything the country has to offer. Since my position at RCI allows me to hear from members about their European vacations, I thought I’d share a few stories* with you:

Larry, Olympia, WA: Last May, when we arrived at Il Poggio, our first week’s stay, it was 9:50 p.m. The resort office closed at 10 p.m., and we were worried we wouldn’t make it. We had a stressful drive from the Rome airport, and were hungry and tired. Il Poggio is located in a small town in Tuscany, and by that time of night, the few stores and eateries were closed. The owner graciously sent a tray of salami, cheese, and bread to our room, and it was even enough for breakfast the next morning. We thoroughly enjoyed our week there, followed by a lovely week on Sardinia, and another week in northern Tuscany.

George, El Cajon, CA: Our trip to Italy was fantastic. We went from Assisi to Sicily. All four weeks were with our RCI weeks. Assisi and Tropea were our favorite. This was a chance for my wife to explore her roots in Sicily and we had a great time with long lost family. Thanks RCI.

Richard, Monroe Township, NJ: Just got back from a wonderful week in Montegrotto Terme. We were a 10-minute train ride from Padua and a 60-minute train ride from Venice. The property was wonderful and located near the train station. The hotel staff was great and the room was immaculate. The town’s shops were very good for browsing and shopping. The food on the half-board was very good and we would return to this property again.

Now it's your turn! Do you have any experiences from your trip to Italy you’d like to share? If so, comment below.

* Although we've corrected some spelling and technical errors, these vacation stories from RCI members are otherwise unchanged. They are not meant to inform you about resorts, destinations or about RCI® products and services. Some stories mention unusual exceptions made or circumstances that may not be typical for most vacationers. RCI always recommends that you do your own research when making travel plans.

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Improved Vacation Search Tools Make Finding Availability a Breeze


Jen V. - Improved Vacation Search ToolsAs a member of the e-commerce team, I think one of our most exciting projects in 2009 was an enhancement to the search function on www.rci.com. Historically, members would say "just tell me what you have" when it came to searching for timeshare exchange. Now we do exactly that, but it's easier!
 

Searching used to require many inputs before you could see what RCI had "on the shelf." Now, once you’ve deposited your week, you can see every timeshare exchange available for you without inputting any criteria.
 

In order to navigate through the thousands of properties available, we’ve added many filters to narrow down the results to help you get just the vacations that are right for you. You don’t even have to choose a geographical destination – you can choose dates instead and see everything that’s available for you throughout the world during a particular time…or choose ski vacations from the Vacation Type filter and see your ski options available everywhere from Argentina to Zurich.
 

After we released this fantastic new search tool in 2009, we got lots of great comments from members who loved it and started booking their family vacations on RCI.com. We also got some great recommendations from you on how we could make it better. So, in June 2010, we launched two new search tools based 100% on member feedback.
 

My Favorite Searches lets members save search queries they are always doing. Next time you come back you can simply click the "self-named" saved search and you will immediately see the results that match your criteria. But don’t confuse this with Ongoing Searches. Ongoing Searches are still the best way to get in line for timeshare exchange vacations that haven’t been deposited in the system yet.
 

Advanced Search provides those of you who know what you want the ability to add multiple criteria before getting to the timeshare exchange search results. (You can also save these searches, too.) This can be a quick way to get deeper into search results within one page. Keep in mind that adding multiple criteria at one time could limit available options and may result in zero search results. I suggest adding one criteria at a time in order to see which options are available as you narrow them down.
 

These search improvements have significantly improved how you can find family vacations. There’s been a tremendous increase in the number of online activity and bookings, and we’re happy to see you are asking for new features. As you can see, we’re listening to you and want to make finding the right vacation fun and easy.
 

How are we doing? If you like what we're doing, let us know. If you want to see any changes or improvements, please comment below and we'll see if we can include them in future upgrades.

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Canyons, Hiking, Beautiful Scenery and More… All on an Arizona Vacation!


Susie M. - RCI Subscribing Member Vacation ExperiencesThree years ago, my family planned a winter vacation to sunny Sedona, Arizona. We bought our Red Rock Pass and picked up a trail map from the local Chamber of Commerce, then we hiked, and hiked, and hiked, each trail offering more adventure and more scenery than the last. We all enjoyed the area immensely, hiking, shopping, dining, and enjoying the fabulous resort pool and hot tub to our hearts’ content.

Making the most of our timeshare travel, we’ve visited Las Vegas, Washington, D.C., even Disney during our winter vacations, but this is the area we like to return to the most. We’re not alone in our adoration of Arizona! At my job with RCI, I am fortunate to hear vacation stories from our RCI subscribing members. Here’s what other timeshare owners had to say* about their Sedona resort vacations:

Linda, Wilmington, NC: We absolutely loved our trip to Arizona. We stayed in Sedona for the week. It is impossible to describe or photograph how beautiful it was. It was also our base for the Grand Canyon, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest and Page Canyon. What a wonderful week. We will return to this destination.

Alan, Ankeny, IA: Wanting to take a great winter vacation, my wife and I invited a couple to go with us to Sedona, Arizona. It was February and we found the weather to be great jacket weather. It was warm enough to golf and reasonably priced golf courses were found. Our condo exchange was the most beautiful we ever had and had a small lock-out unit attached which was wonderful for two couples. The scenery was beautiful and we really enjoyed the vacation.

Elaine, Milford, CT: Sedona, Arizona, is a dream destination. We have used our timeshare there several times, and never cease to marvel at the natural rock formations and of course the people. Best adventure is the side trip to Grand Canyon close by — don’t miss it!

Robert, Galt, CA: Our trip to Sedona, Arizona, was one of the funniest and most relaxing vacations we have taken in the 20+ years we have been members of RCI. Stayed at Sedona Summit, a great place. Each day we explored the area seeing some of the most beautiful scenery, Indian ruins, red rocks, beautiful homes, interesting rock formations, and talking to the locals about the area. The entire trip was one of awe. Fortunately, we had fantastic weather. We had the time of our lives.

* Although we've corrected some spelling and technical errors, these vacation stories from RCI members are otherwise unchanged. They are not meant to inform you about resorts, destinations or about RCI® products and services. Some stories mention unusual exceptions made or circumstances that may not be typical for most vacationers. RCI always recommends that you do your own research when making travel plans.

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All-Inclusive Resorts Have More Than Just Food and Beverages!


Gonzalo S. - RCI Timeshare Exchange and Vacation ExperiencesMost people think all-inclusive resorts are just swimming pools, tennis courts and food…but the “all-inclusiveness” doesn’t stop there! My job is to work closely with our affiliated timeshare resorts in Mexico and I have been onsite to personally check out what they have to offer, especially the all-inclusive ones.

We all know the main reason all-inclusive resorts are so popular is because of food and drinks, and the amount of them! But did you know that most resorts offer a lot of different dining options? There are many with 24-hour buffet style restaurants with a kids' buffet area, smaller restaurants that cater to sit-down dinners, and fine a-la-carte dining restaurants. So no matter what your taste buds like, you will find something to enjoy!

An abundance of activities is another plus to an all-inclusive resort. They usually have every water sport under the sun, and some may even be free of charge. Some resorts also include golf, tours and even spa discounts on selected treatments. No need to worry about the cost, you can let yourself have fun!

For children, the opportunities are even greater. All-inclusive resorts that cater to families have many options to keep your child entertained and happy. They may have a separate pool just for playing and splashing, water slides, and large gaming centers. Many all-inclusive resorts also offer classes like arts and crafts, acting, and even puppetry. Some all-inclusive resorts even have nannies available!

We worked with Dan the RCI Guy to create a video on RCI TV which tells you all about all-inclusive resorts. You should take a look; it’s very informative and a lot of fun!

What do you think about all-inclusive resorts? Share your experience by commenting below!
 

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Even More Timeshare Exchange Tips


Beth S. - Timeshare Exchange TipsA few weeks ago, I wrote a blog entry called "A Few Timeshare Exchange Tips". In that post, I shared what I learned from a subscribing member when I first started with RCI ten years ago as a Vacation Guide. If you thought that members knew everything about timeshare resorts, keep reading to see what another veteran vacation planner taught me!

It was my very first call with multiple bookings. The member was a self-proclaimed family reunion planner, and planned a huge event for her family every other year. Her requirements? A new vacation destination each year, at least five 2-bedroom units, and it had to be in the summertime.  To top it off, she only owned one week per year!

Here’s how she planned: She saved her deposits for two years at a time, and then used them for two of the units. She always planned a year in advance, deposited early to help maximize the Trading Power of her week, and picked an area where there was Extra VacationsSM getaways inventory so that she could easily get the extra three units. She explained that timing is everything. This is true whether you need five units or one unit!

I’m not saying this strategy will work for everyone, but the biggest thing I learned is that no matter what kind of vacation you are planning - whether it’s for a reunion, a romantic getaway for two, or a place the kids would enjoy – you can be really creative in using your existing timeshare resorts ownership (plus, if you familiarize yourself with our Extra Vacations getaways inventory available to RCI members, you open up the doors to even more vacation opportunities beyond just your exchange options!).

Are there any additional tips you have? If so, please comment below.

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Dan “The RCI Guy”: Reporting from Mexico


Dan "The RCI Guy" -  Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"Some of my most favorite memories are of the times I spent in Mexico.

As “the RCI Guy” on RCI TV, I get to travel all around the world hosting RCI’s online travel show “New Ways to Play” and showcasing RCI affiliated timeshare resorts. Every time our schedule brings us back to Mexico, I am reminded of my earliest vacations here…which date back to the 1970’s.

My first trip to Mexico was about 35 years ago. After that, I knew I wanted to come back. In fact, in the early 1980s, I was traveling in the coastal city of Mazatlan and bought my first timeshare and became an RCI subscribing member.

What drew me to purchasing my timeshare here in Mexico was that I knew that whether I wanted to golf, take a long walk on the beach, lie in the sun, go scuba diving or deep sea fishing, I could do all of that here and so much more.

One of my most favorite things to do is to go off the beaten path and see how different a town or village is within just a few blocks from the touristy areas and timeshare resorts. Some of the most memorable times for my family and I have been when we simply took a side detour to see more of what this country has to offer. In my opinion – and limited Spanish – Mexico es perfecto!

If you want to check out some of my favorite things to see and do in Mexico, check out the Destination Review Channel on RCI TV. Comment below and let me know what you think!

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Try an RCI Timeshare Exchange for a Romantic Getaway


Jen V. - RCI Timeshare Exchanges and RCI.comI can't think of any better way to spend a vacation than with the person you love (or want to get to know better!).

Whether you’re sitting together in front of a fireplace in a Breckenridge ski resort, or lounging on a beach on your Myrtle Beach vacation, sharing a relaxing experience is a great way to not only get some down time, but to strengthen your relationship with your significant other.

I went on vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with my boyfriend last year — our first vacation together, in fact — and had a great time. Cabo is one of those places that you can take your family, or just one person, and there's something for everyone. The place we stayed in had different pools for families and adults. Some restaurants were family friendly, and some were fancier, so they didn't have kids. At those places, we had dinner at our own little table on the beach, watched people play live music, and listened to the waves. And some nights, we just sat on our balcony, drinking wine and looking out at the ocean.

A couple years ago, I stayed in Snowbird, Utah for a resort vacation, but that was with my brother, which is hardly romantic. But I could see how it could have been for a couple in love. This was one of those cozy ski lodges where you can cuddle up by the fireplace with a glass of wine and some snacks. But again, there were several families, so there is something for everyone there too.

Of course, I know everyone has different tastes and wants a different vacation experience. RCI tries to provide this for you. Try out our improved search engine (I’m very excited about this – I’m on the Online Team). You can search for amenities and experiences, not just dates or locations, and see what places are available.

Say you want to find a spa or a ski vacation. Go to our search engine, set the filter to show only spa or ski vacation types, and see what locations and dates are open. You can be a little more specific and add additional filters for date ranges and geography. So if you only want skiing locations in February in the western US, if they're available, they'll show up in the search results. Then you can easily see additional information, photos and videos, and member reviews to figure out which site is just right for you and your special someone.

Now it’s your turn – what was your most memorable romantic getaway that you booked with RCI? Comment below and let us know.

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A Few Timeshare Exchange Tips


Beth S. - Timeshare Exchange TipsWhen I started at RCI as a Vacation Guide 10 years ago, I was a college student with absolutely no discretionary income so needless to say, my exposure to “timesharing” was quite limited. I can guarantee that when you first joined RCI, you knew more than I did in my first days.


In addition to my training class, I also learned about RCI and timesharing from you (and other RCI members). Although I have since moved to another department in the company, I will never forget the important tips and tricks I learned about timesharing, timeshare exchange, and our affiliated resorts from members like you.

On one of my first phone calls, I was asked how long I’d been with the company. I said I had just finished training, and the caller laughed at me. She’d been a member for over 20 years, and trust me, she knew everything! She had a confirmed timeshare exchange she couldn’t use, but instead of canceling it, she wanted an RCI Guest Certificate. She explained that she would lose too much Trading Power if she canceled, because she hadn’t purchased (what we today call) Vacation Protection.

So what did I learn? The first thing was that you should definitely understand Vacation Protection and how it works because, without it, if you need to cancel your vacation, you will lose your timeshare exchange fee and your Trading Power will be recalculated to what it would be if you had deposited on the day that you canceled, which can make it more difficult to find a future timeshare exchange.

The other thing this member taught me was that if you choose not to purchase Vacation Protection (or you cannot rebook or are not sure when you can travel again), you should consider gifting your timeshare exchange vacation to a friend or family member with an RCI Guest Certificate instead of canceling. You’ll avoid taking a hit on Trading Power, and you’ll be someone’s new best friend!

What special tips and tricks have you learned over the years? Or if you’re a newbie, what information could help you better understand your membership? Leave us a comment and let us know what you have learned or would like to hear more about.
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