Do you have family members and friends in your life who are always traveling? You know, they just get back from one exciting adventure, and sure enough, they are already planning the next big trip!
So, how do they do it?
We spoke with HGV Owner and blogger Debbie J., who recently experienced the grand opening at The Residences by Hilton Club in New York City. Debbie and her husband have both worked incredibly hard in their careers, raised four kids, and now have adopted a ‘travel more’ lifestyle. Debbie feels that traveling with HGV allows her to feel right at home, while far away from home. Read on to find out the secret to traveling more, according to Debbie!
The Vacationeer: What is your history with HGV?
Debbie J.: My husband and I have been members since 2010 when we bought the smallest package possible (4,700 points, every other year). My husband purchased the package for my 50th birthday with the intent of using the points to travel to Spain. I’ve wanted to travel to Spain since middle school, so I had to wait a long time to see this dream come true! We were married at 18 and soon after, started having children. So, our primary vacations for a long time involved visiting family domestically.
We used our newly purchased HGV points to exchange for an RCI stay in Spain. This amazing experience opened our eyes to all of the wonderful possibilities HGV could offer us. Since my husband travels a lot for work, he always stays at Hilton properties. So, his points, combined with our HGV ownership, which we upgraded to 25,000 points per year, began our path to traveling more.
The Vacationeer: Where have you traveled using your HGV points?
Debbie J.: Besides our first trip to Spain using RCI, we’ve traveled to Hawaii five times. We love Kings’ Land by Hilton Grand Vacations Club on the Big Island. We’ve also exchanged points using the Holiday Cottage Exchange to visit Ireland where we have extended family. We live in Florida, so it’s also such a perk to be able to drive to many of the resorts in our own state. Having so many choices nearby makes Open Season so easy for us!
The Vacationeer: So, tell us all about the grand opening of The Residences in New York!
Debbie J: My husband and I were in the right place at the right time! We had no idea this was going on when we checked in the night of the grand opening. The opening was incredible! We met Chef David Burke, and the food was unbelievable. We listened to the live band overlooking one of the best views of Manhattan and talked with so many other Owners about our favorite properties and memorable vacations. Besides the luxury of the event, we loved the fact that no one tried to sell us anything. This event was all about celebrating New York and building relationships with other Owners. I love talking with Owners and Team Members about strategies we’ve learned to best use our HGV points in order to travel more.
The Vacationeer: What tips would you give other Owners to maximize their points?
Debbie J.: I do a lot of research on traveling during shoulder seasons. We are currently planning a trip to Italy, so I am researching going in March/April or September/October. It’s so much cheaper to travel during these off-season times, and this means that your points go further too! Using fewer points means you can use those points on another trip or use your points for activities and experiences while you are there.
We also maximize on the fact that at HGV you don’t have to stay for a traditional timeshare week. Usually, the weekend dates require more points, so we like to stay HGV during the weekdays and use our Hilton points to stay at Hilton properties on the weekends.
We have the Hilton American Express Card, and there are incredible bonuses we take advantage of to get double points. We were able to stay five days in Kauai just using these points from our credit card.
The Vacationeer: Has HGV helped you travel more than you would have otherwise?
Debbie J.: Definitely! HGV has encouraged us to go farther and to travel more often. As an Owner you need to invest in your points. The reason why we started with such a small amount of points was that we were in the middle of our busy careers and raising our kids. Our HGV points encouraged us to get out and go places, but still feel like we were experiencing the comforts of home. We would have never traveled to Hawaii five times without HGV.
One of the salesmen in Las Vegas taught me how to go into my Google Calendar on my phone and change it to reflect the week number. You can link in the HGV chart of point values and match that to the calendar on your phone to see when the weeks are the cheapest. This is such a simple strategy to be aware of, and makes travel planning so much easier for us!
Our experience with HGV will allow us to make a huge life decision. When my husband and I retire, we are going to sell our house (and everything in it) and travel the world. We want to spend a year in Hawaii to get started and then who knows! Having the comforts of a ‘home’ with HGV will make our life change so much easier. If we had spent our lives traveling in traditional hotel rooms we wouldn’t be dreaming of traveling the world at all. But since HGV has kitchens, laundry, and other comforts of feeling at home, we are going for it!
The Vacationeer: Where are you off to next?
Debbie J.: We are going back to Elara in December followed by a driving vacation to Parc Soleil by Hilton Grand Vacations Club. In March we are driving to Hilton Head, South Carolina. In June, we are going big, to Scotland. We are currently deciding which HGV property we will stay for 5-7 days, and then visit our family in Ireland. We like to plan ahead and always have a trip to look forward to on our calendar.