The luxury fractional home ownership market has its many benefits: flexibility of travel dates, ability to invite family and friends, limited maintenance responsibilities, and the list continues. But for people looking to add a wide variety of destinations to their repertoire, fractional ownership can fall short of some travelers' lofty expectations.
Luxury home exchange and trading programs are seeking to fill these voids by offering home owners the opportunity to swap time at comparable resorts and even trade vacations at private homes. Trade to Travel emerged on the scene in 1991 in what seemed to be a preview of what has become a bustling luxury destination market. But a typical fractional ownership swap program it is not.
Trade to Travel began as a trading service for wholly owned homes, and it has since expanded to include residence clubs and fractional ownership properties. Sherpa Report introduced readers to Trade to Travel in a previous article comparing several home exchange programs.
A Family Affair
Trade to Travel is the result of three women's rainy day conversation about their dream vacation spots. They discussed how great it would be to have the freedom to stay wherever they'd like, and not feel obligated to spend all their vacation time in one home, just because they'd invested in it. It seemed like small talk, so they thought, until it quickly became a reality.
Vaniene Hardy, her daughter Leah Powell and their friend Betty Magee dreamed up an idea that materialized into a one-of-a-kind travel consortium that hadn't previously existed. Trade to Travel was born out of a North Carolina beach house and has since matured into a far-reaching company that serves clients worldwide.
Trading Travel Time - How it Works
Trade to Travel functions essentially as a home exchange program, though members are not required to do a direct swap with other members. Instead, they can choose from Trade to Travel's portfolio of 1,200 private properties in 31 countries. Members pay a $2,500 initiation fee and no annual fees. Members accrue points each time they host fellow members. The points can then be used to visit other members' properties, based on availability. Each point represents $1,000 (U.S.) of rental value (or rack rate).
In addition to points, members pay a transaction fee equal to 10% of the rental value (or rack rate) for each property they visit. For example, members use 10 points and pay a transaction fee of $1,000 to visit a property which rents for $10,000.
Trade to Travel staff arranges agreements between hosts and guests, offer member exchange support counselors and personal destination search services, all designed to streamline the exchange process for members.
So, where to go from here? Trade to Travel's list of properties includes not only homes, but also boutique hotels, yachts and private islands. If you're wondering what types of locations are at members' disposal, here's a brief and diverse list:
Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt (image above) - This 2-bedroom suite at the Four Seasons Sharm el Sheikh sleeps 5 guests and boasts a sitting room, high-speed internet access and country club privileges. Its location on a sandy beach and nearby a private tennis court makes it a prime choice for active vacationers. (10 points)
Washington, DC (image above) - The famed former Presidential yacht, the USS Sequoia, is now privately owned and part of the Trade to Travel portfolio. It includes 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms and is 104 feet of American history floating along the Potomac. (10 points)
Sister Rock, Marathon, Florida (image above) - Nap in one of this home's 8 hammocks and you'll be fully aware that you're on a private island a quarter mile off the Atlantic shore. The home includes a pool, satellite television, fireplace and 2,700-square foot veranda, among its amenities.
Free Membership Opportunity
Planning to join? Mention SherpaReport when applying for a Trade to Travel membership and they will waive the initial $2,500 membership fee. For more details, visit www.tradetotravel.com