In the past, there seemed to be only a few options for vacation destinations: hotels, motels, camping, and, since 1969, timeshare properties. Sometimes, vacationers may have been fortunate to stay with relatives in Florida or “borrow” a property from family or friends on the coasts or in major cities.

But the reality was that most families and couples could afford one or two weeks a year, and that was it. Whether you are traveling alone or as a family there will always be expenses. Even “traveling on the cheap” can still be quite costly.

What more and more people are doing nowadays is exchanging travel expenses for business or personal investment. Because if you turn those hundreds or thousands of dollars per year into long-term wealth, you can vacation indefinitely, aka retire, much sooner!

Today, middle and rising middle class couples have invested in timeshares when, according to consumer reviews, there are so many more ways to invest. Those of us who set aside time to vacation every year are also thinking about what could pay off in the future—and not just for one week a year. Timeshare exit strategies exist for any consumer, and most consumers will need the legal assistance to get their money and sanity back.

This shouldn’t have to be the reality for workers who, on average in America, only get 16 days a year of paid holiday and vacation leave. That means that for the rest of the year, couples and families have to plan carefully without large financial expenditures. Because we’re overworked and under-vacationed, many of us fall for the lure of a paid weekend or gift, like Disney tickets, wherein a timeshare resort pays for the stay as long as you listen to their timeshare pitch.

Local vacation property: Rather than spend $20,000 on a timeshare condo (over time) and $600 to $1,000 a year on the place that limits you to one vacation place a year, use that money to invest in vacation properties that you can rent out during the winter months and claim as your own in the summer. That property will pay for itself over the years, and you’ll have free reign during the summer and off-months for a weekend getaway or lengthier vacation. If you are thinking of getting rid of a timeshare, companies and timeshare remediators specialize in terminating the responsibility for paying exorbitant fees, taxes, and increasing interest on timeshare properties.

Franchise: If you have the wealth to think about a timeshare property, then you might have the foresight to own or co-own a franchise business that you can grow or sell when you’re ready. The advantages of a franchise range from lower investment than starting your own business to a professional network already in place that you can simply plug into and run—or hire personnel to run in your stead.

Online shops that will challenge brick and mortar businesses: Everyone knows online retail is the reality of the present and the way of the future, so investing in growing or already successful online businesses may be your chance to fund something as a side business or something more than a hobby. And eventually that cyber-store could use the good ol’ brick and mortar for overstock and local presence.

Local schools, libraries, fire and police stations, and libraries: There is nothing better than investing locally, whether it’s the fire station down the street or your favorite niche in the local library (note: libraries are now referred to as “media centers”). Books, laptops, repairs, and scholarships go a long way for students, athletes, and public servants in your town, and the return on those investments can be seen immediately.

Media centers will need technology and cafes over time (as the trend goes, media centers will be much more than lending libraries and will open up to local businesses). Older buildings will always need upgrades, properties will constantly need investing, and there is always a need for funding public works, causes, and local organizations and programs.

So whether you’re thinking about a new way to vacation, cancelling your timeshare, or a better way to invest future “vacation” money, consider that there are more options than tradition has presented.

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Jane Donovan
Jane Donovan is a copywriter and blogger from the Deep South. She grew up taking vacations to the Gulf of Mexico and the lakes of Georgia before growing up, leaving her hometown for college, and studying aboard in Madrid, Spain, Jane majored in English and start working in journalism and copywriting just after college since 2005. Her main interests when it comes to writing are local marketing for mom and pop stores, often highlighting how those hometown companies can use digital marketing.

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