The majority of timeshare owners buy timeshare with a view to using it - with a holiday exchange membership - to travel the world in comfort. There are several different exchange memberships and RCI Points is one of the most popular. Known for the flexibility it brings to holiday planning for RCI members, what might still surprise you is just how far you can go with RCI Points.
The story of Phileas Fogg and his quest to travel around the world in 80 days has inspired many a globetrotter over the years and it also prompted one of RCI's associates to embark on a virtual journey across the globe to see just how far a person could travel using RCI Points.
With Fogg's 80 days in mind, the team decided to make it their goal to get as far as they could on their virtual journey using RCI Points to book 80 nights of accommodation. And, incredibly, they proved that it was entirely possible, spending 80 nights across 13 different destinations!
The rules stated that the holiday exchange accommodation had to be selected from the RCI holiday exchange pool and be taken from real time availability in the RCI system, as shown on RCI.com.
This blog demonstrates how, with a little knowledge of the RCI holiday exchange system, being savvy, being prepared to plan ahead and to look out for deals and points discounts, you can go a long way with a timeshare. For example, the team made great use of a 50 per cent points discount, applied when making a reservation less than 14 days before the check-in date.
If you haven't got children and aren't tied to the school holiday period, then you are lucky! Take advantage of the cheaper off-peak travel opportunities, which also apply to RCI accommodation availability too. The simple economic law of 'supply and demand' kick in and many members find they have greater choice and availability outside of the peak school holiday times.
The team didn't follow Fogg's route, across the world's oceans from east to west. Instead the 'virtual' route followed many of the holiday destination hot spots for timeshare owners, as the goal of this exercise was to see just how far an RCI Points member could go using their holiday exchange options.
This virtual points journey set out for Italy's Umbria region, known as the 'green heart' of Italy and now every bit as popular as Tuscany. Easy to explore, the region is peppered with pretty hill towns and has a real intimate feel. Among its perfect pastoral backdrop, visitors will find food, wine, architecture and culture to rival any in Italy. La Casella was the resort selected for this leg of the virtual journey, and Perugia and Assisi were just two of the wonderful towns close to the property.
In that first three weeks of travel, the journey took our virtual travellers from Italy's rolling hills to the sunny shores of Crete. The largest of the Greek islands, it is a treasure trove of ruins of ancient civilisations for the culture vultures, and the most beautiful beaches for the sun worshippers. This island also has its fair share of mountains and natural wonders to explore - and it is a very easy place to drive around if you want to hire a car to make the most of your adventure. Leoniki Residence was home in Crete, in one of the resort's studio apartments sleeping four people.
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
Egypt's Sharm El Sheikh was the next stop, and Shores Amphoras, a one-bedroom apartment sleeping four, was chosen for the stay. This resort benefits from an extensive private beach and six pools, as well as a prime location on the shores of the Red Sea.
Goa & Hyderabad, India
By day 22, the exercise had taken our virtual travellers to India for some chill out time in Goa. Royal Goan Beach Club at MonteRio, again a one-bedroom apartment sleeping four, was the chosen accommodation. Goa is famed for its laid-back vibes and if it is the perfect beach holiday you seek - fly and flop - then this destination is made for you. Although you also won't want to miss the fusion of food and culture here which has much to offer the more adventurous who want to experience a place that is a world apart from anywhere else.
The journey continued across the Indian continent to Hyderabad, where a hotel unit sleeping two at the Bavarian-styled Amrutha Castle resort was to be home. Not known as a tourist destination, Hyderabad has some stunning architecture, unique to India, such as the Chowmahalla Palace and Charmina.
Batam Island, Indonesia,
Indonesia's Batam Island - just a short 45-minute hop by boat from Singapore - was next on the virtual travel itinerary. A studio sleeping two at the Goodway Hotel provided a great value way to take a holiday that allows you to explore iconic Singapore. On the island, in the Riau Islands Province of Indonesia, you can enjoy a game of golf on one of several golf courses; it offers lots of opportunities to go out on sailing excursions; and many activities for all the family to enjoy.
After the glitz and glamour of Singapore, Thailand's laid-back island of Phuket seemed the perfect place to kick back and relax. A celebrated beach paradise, Phuket has long been loved as one of the best sand, sea and sun holiday retreats. The area is also one of the most culturally colourful in South East Asia. Patong Bay Garden was the chosen resort, with a hotel room sleeping two.
Las Vegas, The US
Leaving the east behind, the journey then crossed the Pacific Ocean with the bright lights of Las Vegas in view. The accommodation was virtually booked at the Grand View Las Vegas Nevada, with a one-bedroom accommodation sleeping four, for a week. It pays to be a savvy RCI member and to keep an eye out on RCI.com and in your RCI communications for the great value deals which come available throughout each month. Apart from the famed sights of Las Vegas itself to revel in, it is easy from this resort to get out to see some truly awesome tourist attractions, such as the Grand Canyon and the Hoover Dam.
Pushing out the 'points boat' a little, the next stopover was a stay in a stunning luxury resort. Cancún in Mexico is a holidaymakers' favourite which could not be left off this RCI Points adventure map! Seven nights at the Grand Mayan Riviera Maya Playa Del Carmen resort in a hotel room sleeping two, gave the virtual travellers a luxurious stay experience to recharge their travel batteries. Tearing yourself away from the pampering at this resort, some of the world's greatest monuments are 'doable' as a day trip from here, including the ancient and mysterious Chichén Itzá.
Freeport, The Bahamas
Hitting Day 70 of this mighty around the world in 80 days with RCI Points, the pin stopped on the map in The Bahamas. Another ideal destination to simply relax and soak up the Caribbean sun, with cocktails and glorious surroundings that surely bring you closer to paradise! A hotel room sleeping two at The Marlin at Taino Beach was the chosen accommodation; which used up a good chunk of our points, but this hotel and destination combined are really something special.
Tenerife, Canary Islands
The virtual around the world trip saw a return to Europe on day 77, as the adventure drew to a close in the Canary Islands, on Tenerife. Tenerife might be a small island, but it offers so much in the different holiday experiences to be enjoyed here, from its sunny southern shores to the enchanting verdant mountains to the north of the island. A comfortable four-hour flight from the UK and great value for money, no RCI points exchange member can love RCI membership and not have visited Tenerife at least once! A three-bedroom apartment sleeping eight at Apartmentos Tropical Park was available for this stay.
Day 80 was the day of the virtual flight home to London and our virtual travellers had completed their goal of travelling across the continents of the world in 80 days with RCI Points! I hope this blog has demonstrated both the power - and the appeal - of RCI Points membership. If you are passionate about travel, then you should be travelling using points.
If you own points and, after reading this blog, are thinking that you might like to embark on your own travel challenge to see just how far your points can take you and your family, then your first destination should be RCI.com. You will have the greatest choice of destinations and holiday stay options with RCI Points membership, as well as access to some great value deals. Click on the link below and sign in to start challenging yourself to get out and about, and around the world with RCI Points.
For inspiration to see where your RCI Points could be taking you, click on the button below to browse the RCI Directory of Resorts - remember to visit regularly because availability changes every hour or every day, as our members deposit and exchange. Why not put an Ongoing Search in place and RCI will alert you when a match for your perfect RCI exchange is found?