Marriott Vacation Club - pool

Marriott Vacation Club – pool

By Lois Alter Mark, Taking the Kids Correspondent

Let’s face it. Traveling as a family can be challenging.

You want to go someplace new but you also want all the comforts of home.

You want to make sure there’s something to appeal to everyone but you want it to be affordable.

Maybe you should check out Marriott Vacation Club.

Backed by the Marriott name and celebrating its 30th anniversary, it’s a far cry from those old school timeshares where you got stuck with the same week in the same place every year.

Marriott Vacation Club - master bedroom

Marriott Vacation Club – master bedroom

In fact, Marriott Vacation Club uses a point system, so you simply buy points and use them whenever and wherever you want, from ski destinations in the U.S. to Caribbean beaches to top European cities. There’s a great chart on their website to give you an idea of how much a specific stay would cost you so everything is upfront and you don’t have to worry about hidden fees.

I recently spent a weekend at a Marriott Vacation Club property – the gorgeous Oceana Palms in West Palm Beach, Florida – and could happily have moved into the 2-bedroom, 2-bath villa that was bigger than our first apartment. With three TVs, a washer and dryer and a kitchen stocked with dishes, utensils and pots and pans, it’s the kind of place that makes you sigh with relief when you open the door.

Marriott Vacation Club kitchen

Marriott Vacation Club kitchen

“I love that we never have to worry about quality when we book a trip,” says Claudina Rubinowicz, who’s been a Marriott Vacation Club owner for years. “Plus, we get bigger, better accommodations than we would in a hotel for the same price.”

That’s especially important for larger families like the Rubinowiczes, who have three teenagers and need the extra space. Having a kitchen means they don’t have to spend a fortune on meals, and they usually enjoy breakfast and dinner in the villa, eating lunch out.

These benefits weren’t lost on their friends, the Waitmans, who became Marriott Vacation Club owners themselves after spending a weekend away with them.

“We’ve been ‘forced’ to go on more vacations this way, and we’ve gotten to visit amazing places,” said Claudia Waitman. “We’ve filled many photo albums with memories that will last a lifetime.”

And isn’t that the real point of a family vacation?