The Risks and Benefits of Payment Installment Plans for Travel

In this “bucket list” generation, many people are forgoing the old-school way of saving up for the tame beach vacations of yesteryear and instead are opting to take their dream trips right now, regardless of the money they’ve saved. How is that even possible? With the advent of companies which allow you to make payments on your dream trip, even people who have no life-savings are able to take the vacation of a lifetime. If you’ve never thought of paying for your dream vacation on what is essentially a layaway program, keep reading for our guide to payment installment plans for traveling.

Although a travel payment plan is nothing new in other countries, the idea is just starting to gain traction in North America as companies start implementing this feature. Many travel agents are able to do a payment plan for a future trip, and even if they can’t there is an emergence of companies that are supplying this service such as UpLift and Airfordable. Online travel giant, Expedia, is also now offering customers the ability to pay monthly set rates for any bookings that cost over $200 and Disney Vacations has been offering a budgeting service and payment plans for years.

Also unsurprisingly, the master of the original layaway program, Sears, has climbed aboard this train. Their travel vacation department is well versed in setting up a monthly travel payment plan for those who need a little extra time getting their vacation finances in order. However you choose to book your vacations, you’ll more than likely be offered an installment plan versus paying everything outright. But, should you choose the flexible payment plan or are you better off paying for everything in full when you book?

Depending on which service you choose to book your vacation, paying in installments may be just the thing you need to make your dream vacation a reality. But, be forewarned that the convenience of this service may sometimes come at a cost, which can be an interest rate as high as 30%! Your interest rate will depend on your credit-worthiness and the term of the loan, so if your credit score isn’t the best, we would suggest sticking to the old-fashioned way of vacationing.

If you are going to choose payment plans, ensure that you read all of the fine print and offer details before signing anything or making your first payment so there is no sticker shock down the road. Some companies charge the interest as one flat fee upfront depending on the package you choose, while others are interest-free as long as you pay within a set time, oftentimes 6 months or a year. If you can pay off the loan before that time, then you’ll pay the same price, only with the added perk of extra time to get your finances in order. Some cruise lines and Disney, as mentioned earlier, offer interest-free payments for your upcoming vacations so they may be the better choice if you have your heart set on a future trip of a lifetime, but don’t want to pay hefty fees to make it a reality.

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