RCI's Recommend A Friend programme is popular with our members as a way of introducing timeshare-owning friends and family to the benefits of RCI Membership, as well as getting a reward of £50 credited to both their own RCI account, and that of the new member. RCI Platinum members, Lynn and Alan Stewart, introduced their nephew to the RCI way of holidaying and it has worked out well for all concerned.
As many RCI members discover, timeshare exchange is a fabulous opportunity to holiday with added extras that don’t always come as standard with an off-the-shelf break.
With larger living spaces, superb self-catering facilities and lots of on-site amenities to be enjoyed, such as bars, restaurants and pools, timeshare is a real lifestyle holiday. With membership of a holiday exchange company, such as RCI, comes access to thousands of resorts across the globe allowing timeshare owners to get great value out of the flexibility timeshare brings to their holiday planning. RCI Platinum members, Lynn and Alan Stewart, make full use of their membership and, thanks to them recommending RCI to their nephew, Gavin Fulton, he is now following in their holiday footsteps with his own timeshare, which he received as a 21st birthday gift.
A taste for timeshare
Lynn and Alan Stewart from Glasgow have been timeshare owners for over 30 years. Alan first got a taste for timeshare as a child, having enjoyed family holidays at his father’s home resort, Macdonald Craigellachie Chalets (3845) in Aviemore, the Scottish Highlands.
“Alan bought his own timeshare at just 17 years old, just before we met. I’m so glad he did, as Aviemore is a beautiful part of the world and perfect for family holidays,” said Lynn. "He discovered RCI while working in South Carolina, in the US, and since then we’ve never looked back.”
Fun in the sun
The couple holiday in Orlando with their two daughters, Kirstie, 19 and Robyn, 12, Florida being a firm holiday favourite owing to the contrast of experiences. "We exchange every October and have all we want in Orlando, both on resort and beyond. If we want relaxation we lounge by the pool, if we want to be active we go off to play golf. Then, of course, there are the theme parks.”
One park visit proved particularly memorable when the family were chosen to open the first ride of the day for Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at Universal Studios in Orlando.
“We stay close to Universal Studios and use the I-Ride Trolley to get to the parks before the gates open. We like Oasis Lakes at The Fountains (4852) as it’s also close to the premium shopping outlets. It even has a coffee shop for our morning pick me up, and a fabulous Japanese steakhouse restaurant on site.”
For their second week, they stay at Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort (6369) which is in close proximity to the Walt Disney World parks from where the family can watch the fireworks from their balcony in the evening.
Resorts for all ages
“Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort is safe and the resort facilities are phenomenal, including nine hot tubs, numerous restaurants, a huge lazy river, and five outdoor pools! One year we took our friends who also have children, and with the kids being in their teens they wanted some independence. They ate in one restaurant while the adults dined across the lake, so we could still keep an eye on them, as parents do.
“It’s worked well for us over the years. We took Kirstie to Florida when she was just 11 months old, and stayed at Holiday Inn Club Vacations at Orange Lake Resort - East Village (8896) with our friends who had just had a baby. It was well suited to us, having plenty of entertainment.
“The boys would play golf on one of the four courses, while we could enjoy relaxing with our babies. Fast forward through the years and we’ve made full use of the RCI ongoing search to book resorts that match our needs perfectly, and we’ve always found them to be first class.”
It’s also worked for the Stewarts’ special celebrations when they booked an Extra Holiday to head off to one of the Whistler resorts in Canada for a ski break to celebrate Alan’s birthday. "We love to ski and spent five days on the slopes. We also booked a skidoo ride up to the top of the mountains - the vistas were incredible and it made a pleasant contrast to our usual sunshine adventures.”
Keeping it in the family
With all the holiday fun that Alan and Lynn have enjoyed, the timeshare bug had to catch on in the wider family. When Alan’s father decided to sell his timeshare in Aviemore, a gift idea presented itself. "My brother Gary and his wife Lynn were trying to decide on something special for my nephew's 21st birthday. With Alan’s father selling his home week, it seemed like the perfect present that would keep on giving.
Gavin Fulton, now 23, was more than delighted to receive the gift of timeshare. "When they handed me the paperwork, before I opened other gifts, I looked at RCI.com to research all the places I could visit. I work as a joiner in my father’s building company and we work long hours, so our family holidays are much needed to recharge.”
Gavin had just returned from the Algarve in Portugal when we interviewed him, where he had found time to visit the Stewarts who had just flown out there on an exchange. "Aunty Lynn and uncle Alan came out on the day we were leaving, so we caught up for dinner before we flew home."
Looking to the future
Gavin said: "I will make full use of RCI exchange, but I will return to Aviemore, as it’s great for skiing and only a few hours' drive from where I live in Glasgow.
“Florida is on my exchange list. I’ve got my eye on Orange Lake where I holidayed with Lynn and Alan six years ago. I was amazed by the facilities, which were ideal when spending time on resort, plus you can get everything you could wish for in Orlando. I am so pleased that there is so much choice in the RCI system, from hotel rooms to fully-equipped apartments, I love having that variety and quality of accommodation.”
Gavin is also looking at an Australian adventure on the Gold Coast and, after hearing about his aunty and uncle’s trip to Canada, he is also considering a ski break at a resort in Whistler, Canada.
“Lynn and Alan are my very own RCI-style TripAdvisor, as I use their recommendations to plan my own breaks. They know the RCI system inside out, and Alan has been a huge help in showing me how to add an ongoing search and such. Keeping it in the family is proving very handy!”
If you would like to visit any of the destinations highlighted, or see where else your RCI membership could take you, click on the RCI Resort Directory below to search for your home-from-home accommodation.
If you own timeshare but are not a member of RCI, you could become part of our holiday exchange community today. Click on the Join RCI button below to sign up in just a few simple steps.
And if you need any more reasons to join RCI, visit our Holiday Ideas page.