There are plenty of good reasons to join a destination club, but the clubs are not for everyone. Here's a run-down of the top reasons a destination club or vacation residence fund membership may not be right for you and your family.
1. You Travel Alone
If you only travel alone or as a couple then a club or fund probably isn't right for you. The clubs typically offer large spacious vacation homes with 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms, so they are ideal for families or larger groups of friends. If you just travel as a couple you'll find yourselves rattling around in a roomy home, with potentially a different bedroom for each night of your stay. Some of the clubs do have partnerships with selected hotels, but if you always stay at hotels then you're probably better off just booking directly with the hotel rather than via a club.
The clubs also have smaller 1, 2 or 3 bedroom apartments in major cities. So if you're a couple who travels a lot to major cities, membership could be a sensible option, especially in one of the clubs that has a large number of city residences. But, if you do lots of traveling to other places, either on your own or as a couple then a club isn't really for you.
2. You Do All Exotic or Adventure Travel
If all your vacations are either unique adventures or exotic escapades to remote and unusual places then a club isn't for you. The club homes are nearly all in world class resorts and major cities, including Aspen, Vail, New York, London, Los Cabos, Bahamas, Maui, Tuscany, and many others. Yes some clubs do provide some remoter, adventure travel, such as Galapagos cruises and African safaris, but they are aimed more as a supplement to the core vacation homes.
So if your typical holidays are hang gliding in the Himalayas, or trekking in the Arctic or cycling across Africa then a club won't work for you.
3. You Can't Commit to Regular Vacations
If you're a workaholic and can't stand to be away from the office for too long, or you're a homebody and prefer to just relax in your own four walls, then clubs won't be the answer. Part of being a club member is committing (to yourself and to your family and friends) to take regular vacations and enjoying the relaxing time away with your friends and family. If your idea of an annual vacation is a long weekend away or you only take a weeks vacation every other year, then being a member isn't a good move.
I've literally lost count of the number of times that I've heard club members say that membership transformed their family vacations, and that they are taking more and better vacations than before. But, you have to want to make this change and take the vacations.
Many club and fund members take at least one week, and most usually have 2, 3 or 4+ weeks of vacation each year. They enjoy building memories with their family and friends as they relax in the spacious homes.
4. You Like & Have The Time to Organize & Research
If you like organizing your own trips and don't mind searching for the ideal flights, accommodation, theatre tickets, restaurant bookings, ideas for kids activities etc, then membership may not be for you. The clubs are truly full service and will arrange as much or as little as you want. Nearly all members relish the enormous time saving that the clubs travel advisors and local concierges provide. Members don't need to spend hours searching through rental listings or through tripadvisor for the ideal vacation home or for activity ideas. Club concierges will recommend and book restaurants or private chefs, they will stock the pantry with your favorite food for when you arrive, and will suggest and arrange activities for all the members of your group, including setting up special celebration parties if that's what you'd like.
For some people, part of the joy of a vacation is all the research beforehand – you get to learn about an area and "understand it", but it can be a very time consuming process and is not for everyone. That's where the knowledgable club staff really come into their own, saving members enormous amounts of time.
5. You like One Location
If you're a big fan of just one or maybe two locations and like to go back there again and again, then a destination club or residence fund probably isn't the ideal vacation option. You'll be better off buying a vacation home or a private residence club, so you can return time after time and can also leave things and personalize the home. Or you could just rent the same home year after year.
A large part of the appeal of destination clubs is their offer of multiple homes in multiple locations around the world. Sure, you can go back repeatedly to one favorite home within a club, but there are also generally dozens of other club homes and locations to choose from.
There is one more reason and that's pricing. A typical nights stay at a club residence will work out to be around $1,000+. Yes there are clubs where the cost per night is lower, and clubs where the cost per night is significantly higher, but $1,000 is an easy number to have in mind. If you don't spend this type of budget on your vacations then a club probably isn't right for you. Remember that this gets you large spacious homes and all the services of travel planners and local concierges. If you compare it to alternatives or think of it in terms of cost per person or cost per room, and bear in mind all the services then it can be very good value.
If you think a club is right for you then download our comprehensive Guide to Destination Clubs here (we do ask you to register to download the Guide). This detailed report is now in its seventeenth year of publication (yes, we wrote the first version 17 years ago). As a reminder here's 7 reasons to join a destination club.