At best, we've only ever been able to afford one big holiday trip every few years. In between those, we may take smaller local trips around the lower mainland or be tourists in our own town by getting an off-season room at some classy local hotel.
Over the years, my wife and I have discussed a number of different retirement scenarios:
- Sell our condo one day and buy or rent a high-rise in False Creek. Travel more often - at least one trip per year.
- Get out of the city a bit and get a place somewhere on the island, near Nanaimo, Parksville or SaltSpring Island. Travel more often - at least one trip per year.
- Stay put, pay out the mortgage, and live there for free. Travel more often - at least one trip per year.
All those scenarios share a common element: increased travel. I see travel as the only way to really learn about other places and to meet other people. I get so much information about other cultures and places from the media or entertainment, that I feel as if I've experienced them, but it's not true - just an impression.
So, it seems likely that this timeshare-like points membership thing is a good deal. It will save us money on travel expenses and motivate us to vacate more regularly. This is definitely the fun part. I still want to do some price comparisons of my own to see how soon this membership will pay for itself. It's basically like an investment, and I guess a long-term view is the best approach.
The only scary part (just a little scary, mind you, not much) is upfront membership cost. The membership fee and other one-time fees, total over $17,000. This is the one-time initial membership, plus first-month's maintenance fee and other things. The fact that this is a lifetime membership and that the annual renewal is comparatively very cheap, really softens the blow. I think taking our first trip or two and seeing the bills afterwards will definitely put my mind to rest too.
The ability to travel and see new places and meet new people is a luxury and a privilege that we're fortunate to be able to enjoy.