Dan the RCI Guy: Off to Asia!


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV's Dan "The RCI Guy"On my way to Asia — for the first time!

Traveling has been a part of my job description for the past 20 years. And while I have been to dozens of different countries and to every state in the U.S., I have never been anywhere in Asia…until now!

I'm packing my bags and heading off to Bangkok, Thailand and Nha Trang, Vietnam to film a beautiful timeshare resort and to film another episode of our RCI® TV travel show, "New Ways to Play." The travel show will take place in Bangkok and the timeshare resort is on an island off the coast of Nha Trang. Villas overlook the sea and have their own plunge pool right outside your door. They have a renowned spa and feature ancient, traditional Far East massage treatments. Sounds perfect to me!

In Bangkok, we are going to meet up with one of the city’s most famous tailors to have him make my own custom silk suit in just 24 hours (I've been told I clean up fairly well). We're also taking a bicycle tour of the city with a company whose name says it all: "Grasshopper Adventures."

I've always admired the rich history of the many cultures that make up Asia and I cannot wait to experience a part of two of them in the coming weeks. What places have you visited in Asia? Any tips you can give me for my travels? Or timeshare locations you can recommend? Please comment below to let me know!

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California Vacation: More than Just a Summer Timeshare Destination


Susie M. - RCI Subscribing Member Vacation ExperiencesIn my position here at RCI, I get to hear directly from subscribing members about their timeshare vacation experiences. A lot of our RCI® subscribing members choose a California vacation for one reason or another, especially in the winter. They talk about the beaches, the wineries, and the good weather — a great combination to warm up any winter. Some of them are planning a stay at a timeshare for a wedding, honeymoon, or anniversary. Some of them are just planning for some time away. Here’s what other RCI members had to say* about their California vacation:

Robert, Palmdale, CA: Our trip to Arnold, California in March was awesome. The Big Trees State Park was just down the road and the kids went snowboarding 20 minutes away. Lots of hiking and fishing. The nearest lake was gorgeous and we saw lots of wildlife. People in the town were really friendly and helpful. The resort was comfy and had a warm feel to it. We want to return there.

Joyce, Salem, NH: My husband and I were excited to plan our exchange trip to Capistrano California.  We exchanged our Cape Cod timeshare for a beautiful two bedroom, two bath timeshare in the Capistrano Surfside Inn. The timeshare was huge and immaculate and the ocean was just across the street.  Also within walking distance was Dante Point which not only had an active harbor and walking areas with fantastic restaurants and shops, but bikepaths as well for those who wanted to bike around the area.  We visited The Mission at Capistrano and walked the small streets with many unique shops.  We chose this place to have a restful holiday and it was, yet there was plenty to do if we chose to do so.  I would highly recommend this paradise area to anyone who wants to vacation in California.  We would definitely visit again, but there are so many beautiful resorts with RCI, we want to try them all.  We love RCI and the wonderful opportunities it offers us in trying new places and seeking new adventures.

Christine, San Bernardino, CA: In the summer of 2007, my husband and I experienced the most wonderful, relaxing vacation week that we have ever had. We decided to stay at WorldMark Angels Camp, California. During the day, we spent time visiting a couple of local wineries and sightseeing. In the evening, we barbecued dinner, relaxed, and escaped the reality of everyday stresses. It was a wonderfully simple and non-hurried vacation and we are looking forward to getting away again in the future!!

* 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. RCI always recommends that you do your own research when making travel plans.

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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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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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What’s New with Endless Vacation® Magazine


RCI Timeshare Exchange and Vacation ExperiencesWith so many new additions to RCI this year (the RCI® app for the iPhone®, new RCI.com search functions, RCI TV and the RCI channel on YouTube, etc.), you didn’t think we’d forget about Endless Vacation Magazine, did you? We know that you are always looking for more ways to get the most out of your vacation timeshare ownership – and as the Publisher of the North American version of Endless Vacation Magazine, I know you’re excited when we add more to the magazine - so, starting with our first issue of 2010, we added a 10-page RCI Member Section.

In every issue, you’ll now find tips and information to help you understand your RCI subscribing membership and member benefits (like when it’s the best time to deposit or how RCI.com can help you plan your vacations), updates on RCI, and membership news (did you know that RCI follows environmental-sustainability best practices?). You can also see a listing of newly affiliated resorts that have recently joined the RCI exchange network, special member-only offers, and RCI vacation stories from subscribing members like you!

We’re constantly working on ways to make it easier for you to get on vacation. I know the RCI Member Section will help you in your planning journey. So, what do you think of this new section? What other information would you like to see? Let us know by commenting below.

iPhone is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

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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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Behind the Scenes with Dan "The RCI Guy"


Dan "The RCI Guy" - Vacation Travels with RCI TV’s Dan “The RCI Guy”Hi, I’m Dan, The RCI Guy. Remember me? Basically, I'm the guy who gets to visit the different RCI affiliated resort vacation properties across the globe and make videos about them for RCI TV.

RCI TV has many online channels. Two of my favorites are the Resort Showcase Channel and the Destination Review Channel. I know these are key channels for helping you determine your next resort vacation.

The Resort Showcase Channel features some of the 4,000 resorts that are affiliated with RCI. We give you a complete representation of a resort vacation property, so you can hear the story of the resort and decide if you want to visit.

The other channel is the Destination Review Channel. This includes online travel shows we call “New Ways to Play,” filmed all around the world. In our videos, we don't just show you the obvious things like beaches and pools that you can do on your resort vacation; we also try to suggest activities and things-to-do that are off the beaten path.

For example, when we did a show on an Orlando vacation, instead of theme parks and character sightings, we opted to talk about Discovery Cove where you can swim with dolphins, take an air boat ride in the Florida marshes to go 'gator watching, and enjoy a meal at Sharks Underwater Grill, where the food is cooked "Floribbean" style.

A few months ago, I finished shooting videos in Aruba and South Africa. After that, I was off to Malta. I wish I could say that I’m spending a few days at each vacation resort, playing golf, parasailing, going on a dolphin cruise, or riding in a dune buggy (all things I've done on other shows), but unfortunately I'm only there for a day each time. We research the location, the crew and I show up, spend about 30 minutes filming each activity, and then head back out the same day.

What excites me about this job? The fact that RCI members like me can experience the locations and activities in my videos. I get to show you a lot of the different places you can visit with your RCI subscribing membership!

Do you have an idea for membership-related content you’d like to see on RCI TV? Leave a comment below to let me know and we will see what we can do.
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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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Trading Power at RCI: How Our Timeshare Exchange Program Works


Gordon G. - RCI Membership and Timeshare Vacation InfoTrading Power is very important for you when you are booking a timeshare exchange with RCI! This is how we determine what timeshare exchange offers to provide you.

 

The RCI Weeks program is based on a like-for-like principle. This means we will always work to provide you with a timeshare exchange similar to the deposit you provided us. That is, if you provide us with two weeks in a very popular destination, we will try to give you two weeks in another equally popular destination.

 

Most of the inventory in our timeshare exchange program is provided by members who deposit their ownership week with us. RCI members have up to 24 months before their start date to make a deposit. Within that two year window, other members may ask for that same start date for their vacation. So our job is to try and match everyone we can with all the deposits we get from other members.

 

Although all exchanges are made based on Trading Power, it takes higher Trading Power to travel to highly demanded areas with limited supply, or during highly demanded weeks of the year (like Christmas Week, 4th of July, etc.).

 

The Trading Power of your deposited week is based on a lot of factors, including how many members have historically asked for your type of deposit, how many deposits like yours we get, the quality of your resort, and the size and season of your deposit, just to mention a few. We compare all of these to the vacation that you request, and if the Trading Power is similar (or if your deposit has more Trading Power), then you will have a great chance of getting what you are asking for.

 

You probably have heard our Guides talk about depositing early. That's because you can usually help to maximize your Trading Power by depositing early. If you don’t deposit your week until 3 to 4 weeks before your vacation, we cannot give your week to someone else until then. And I'm sure most of you would want to know if you had an exchange long before that!

 

Also, other members are depositing into our timeshare exchange program all the time. So, if the vacation you want is not available right now, enter an ongoing search for your choice of destination or time of year! These searches get prioritized for matching new member deposits. So an ongoing search helps improve your chances of getting the timeshare exchange you want.

 

Finally, to maximize the number of people we can send on vacation, we are always acquiring inventory from our resorts and other sources like hotels, especially in big cities where there are not many timeshares.

 

Our goal is to use every unit we get and to get you on the best resort vacation we can. So deposit early, enter ongoing searches if a unit is not immediately available, and be as flexible as possible! Have a great vacation!
 

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3 New Ways Members Can Connect With RCI


Phil B. - Timeshare Exchange and Resort Vacation News
Here at RCI we’ve been asking around and we’ve learned something. We’ve learned that you want to know more, whether it’s more about Trading Power, a certain vacation resort in the Dominican Republic, or other insider info that may be helpful or informational.

We’ve also learned that you don’t want to just hear this from us, but directly from other members, too. And the good news is, we’ve not only listened, but we’ve created a few online tools to help you understand more about your RCI subscribing membership, find out more information about vacation resorts, and even interact with other members.

First up, this blog.
It’s designed to share great member travel stories, tips, and helpful information. With posts written by the good folks from RCI (along with some special guests from time to time), this is a great tool for anyone, whether you’ve been an RCI member for one day, or for over 35 years. Let us know through your comments which entries you find useful, and what topics you would like to see in the future. We’ll do our best to conjure up just what you’re looking for.

Next is our new YouTube channel. After all, who hasn’t wanted to tour a vacation resort property before making an exchange? As an RCI member, your best bet is to login to RCI.com and watch resort showcase videos in HD quality on RCI TV. If you’re not a member or want to share these videos with others, head on over to our RCI YouTube channel. From Mexico to Spain and California to New Hampshire, we have a lot of locations covered, with more to come! 

And third is the new RCI App for iPhone®/iPod touch®. The RCI Snapbook™ feature of our new app lets you create and share an online scrapbook of your vacation in either a timeline, map, or microblog view. Another feature of the app gives you mobile access to RCI TV. Check out the iPhone® App Store for more information, or to download our app for free. Although this app is available for anybody to download, we will be adding new member-only features in the future.

We love being able to share more and more information with you and we are always working on finding new ways to do this. If you’d like to see other ways to connect to RCI, ask us, and we’ll see what we can do.

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