Photo by US Coast Guard Academy MWR.
Many of you may not be aware of the site where one can rent a condominium for a very low price. A two-bedroom unit, occupied by two couples for a week, is only $349.00, with sale prices as low as $329.00. That is less than $25 per night per couple. These condominiums are located all over the world and most are super deluxe units. The site, www.AFVClub.com, is for the Armed Forces Vacation Club, at 1-800-724-9988.
Dee & I have rented about 15 of them in locations outside the CONUS, as well as in the states. We have been doing this for nearly 15 years. Originally the cost was about $249 a week, but now, at $100 more, it is still a bargain.
They are mostly unoccupied RCI Interval Ownership Condominiums that are not reserved by their owners, so usually we have to rent them in the off season at that location. Some of the units we have rented and highlights at that location are:
Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. Photo by Stan Ink.
2009 ZIMBABWE–Victoria Falls Lodge This complex is in a guarded and gated area, not far from the famous Victoria Falls. We had a two bedroom unit in a separate two story house, with a large living area that opened up to a porch for meals and just relaxing. Many animals, such as wart hogs, monkeys, and rabbits came right up to the porch. There was an on-site restaurant, bar and small store in the area. There was WiFi in the lobby for a fee. Outside it was extreme poverty. When we walked to the Victoria Falls, a police lady followed us for protection, working for tips, as the country is broke and she got very little salary The local money had bills with many zeros, like a 20 million dollar (their money) one. Stores had very little groceries and wares. Locals had to walk about 5 miles across the river to Zambia to buy their goods, if they had money. We flew to this location on Frequent Flyer miles.
Club Dobogomajor in Hungary. Photo provided by Stan Ink.
2009 HUNGARY–Club Dobogomajor This was a large complex with individual houses and 2 story apartment buildings. We had a two bedroom, two story, single house. The furnishings were sparse, but adequate. Most of the occupants were Hungarian. We met a few Canadians but no Americans. There was a restaurant, bar and store on site, as well as a large swimming pool. WiFi was available in the lobby for a minor fee. They had tours available, including one to Budapest, which we took. We had rented a car in Aviano AB and drove to this site.
The Duda Vista – Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. Photo by Stan Ink.
2011 MALAYSIA–Duda Vista Resort in Kuala Lumpur This was a large four-story building on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. There are no stores nearby, so one needs a car or the use of taxi’s or the hotels tour staff. It is located on a multi-lane highway so it is noisy around the pool and outside the units. It was quiet in the two-bedroom unit that we had. It was sparsely furnished. There was a restaurant and bar and store in the building. There were many tours available. WiFi was available free in the lobby.
Taxis were cheap so we used them all the time. We explored the city and took tours nearby. We arrived there by taking Space-A flights from Seattle to Japan and Singapore and then a bus to Kuala Lumpur .
2000 MALTA–Sunny Isles Resort This is a multi-story condominium in a suburb of Valletta , the capital. It is an area of many apartment buildings and restaurants. We were charged about $10 extra here for electricity. We had a one bedroom unit with adequate furnishings. One day we took a boat trip to the nearby island of Gonzo. We rented a car for some local exploring. We arrived here via commercial air from London. There was no WiFi on site, but it was available in the city for a fee. When we departed, we flew to Catania on Sicily and rented a car to go to the base at Sigonella and flew Space-A home.
A Eilon, Israel in Eilon, Israel. Photo by Stan Ink.
2000 ISRAEL–Eilon This was an eight-unit building with a sparsely furnished, one bedroom unit. It is located in a kibbutz and is governed by a few religious rules. It is in a working kibbutz, established by Polish Jews in the 1930’s. They make mosaics on order, but are having trouble with labor, as many young people have left the kibbutz for the large cities. It is less than a mile from Lebanon.
We drove along the border on a gravel road next to the fence between the countries. At a border crossing we saw a high school field trip in a school bus. They had one student as a guard with an old WWII, M-1 rifle. We heard many bombs exploding and jets overhead while we were there in 2000. We flew there via commercial air and rented a car at the terminal in Tel Aviv.
The location is good for tours of all the religious sites. We drove all over Israel to areas of Jesus’ life, the Golan Heights and the Sea of Galilee. We even took a side trip to Petra in Jordan.
The Crown Resorts pool area in Mirabella-ur-ban sitio in Spain. Photo provided by Stan Ink.
2008 SPAIN–Crown Resorts in Mirabella-urban sitio, on the Costa del Sol This was a multi-story condominium in a resort city about two hours drive west of Naval Staion Rota. We flew there via Space-A and then rented a car at the Rota terminal. We called AFVC after we were selected for a flight, so this was rented on short term notice. Note that after you reserve a unit, there is no refund if you can’t make it.
This was a luxurious apartment with a huge swimming pool and tennis courts. The town spreads down the hillside to the sea. Higher on the hill is a nice touristy town with a shrine, church and fabulous view. We also took a day trip to Tangiers, Morocco and another to Gibraltar, UK.
2005 SPAIN–Banal Maderra also on the Costa del Sol This also is on a hill, so one needs a car to get there from NS Rota and to see the local sights, including drive down to the beach. We made day trips to Malaga, Granada to see The Alhambra and to the Caves of Nerja. Again we got there via Space-A to NS Rota.
2008 MEXICO–Puerto Vallarta Villas in Puerto Vallarta This is a typical Mexican beach town and the Villas is a typical city hotel with suites. There were many restaurants, stores and other entertainment within walking distances. During holiday times there are parades in front.
Cruise ships dock nearby, and there even was a Walmart a few blocks away.
2000 NEW MEXICO–Santa Fe Condo We were able to book this one on the day before we left home, after getting “no” for numerous times. We had booked a motel as backup, but were able to cancel it.
It was a deluxe two story condo, with model home type furnishings. The Old Town is just a short walk away and we also went to Taos and the atomic energy lab in Los Alamos .
2003 MASSACHUSETTS–Jimmy Peak Mountain Resort This was a two bedroom unit in a two-story building in a large complex of many units. It was furnished quite well. In spending a week there one can visit, Oliver Wendell & Norman Rockwell homes, Shaker Village, Shelburne Falls, a knife factory, old car museum with Grandma Moses art, the Mohawk Trail with a large tunnel. It is a good place to spend a week touring.
2003 MISSOURI–Roark Resort in Branson This condo is located downtown, away from the Strip with all of its shows, etc. There is a train trip with narration, and an original five and dime store with more gadgets than you can believe. Of course the main draw are the shows.
2005 TEXAS–La Mirage Condo in Mustang Island This condo is near Port Areanas, not far from Corpus Christi and the NAS. It has a pool and a gulf front beach across the highway. It is a 300-yard walk across the dunes to the water, but on a boardwalk.
2006 VERMONT–Smugglers Notch Ski Resort This was a very nice three-bedroom condo, well furnished. It is near the Ben & Jerry’s offices and museum and the Barrie stone quarry with lots of history about Italian stone cutters. Don’t miss the cemetery.
2007 COLORADO–Lancer’s North in Breckinridge This was a great two-bedroom apartment, well furnished, but it was on the 3rd floor with no elevator. Breckinridge is a typical ski resort with shops and restaurants nearby. One can get there by Space-A by flying into Peterson AFB, CO, in Colorado Springs.
2008 NEW JERSEY–Fantasia Atlantic Palace in Atlantic City This was a one bedroom unit in a typical city hotel. It was right on the boardwalk with casinos and shows nearby. No car is needed. Cape May USCG station is nearby for military needs and commissary.
We have enjoyed staying at these AFVC condos all over the world and plan to continue using them. Although we went to some, via commercial air or driving, we have been able to find a nearby military base for purchases and some meals. The overseas ones have mostly been visited with Space-A travel. The dates shown are when we were there.
Major Stan Ink, USAF, (Ret.) and Dee Ink Ft Myers , FL Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprint from Nov-Dec 2012 • Volume 42, No. 6