Travel Layaway

The only thing worse than coming home to a messy home after being on a trip is opening up that post-vacation credit card bill. While vacation deals may look good when you initially commit, paying for it after is rarely fun.

Fortunately, many vacation planners and travel agencies are now offering layaway options, so you can pay for it as you plan, and not be hit with a huge bill with interest, after it’s all said and done.

Layaway has been making a comeback as people have started changing their spending habits and are less likely to want to run up their credit. However, most people don’t have the money to pay for an entire trip upfront, so they are turning to layaway, or installment plans, to purchase a honeymoon, family trip or other vacation instead.

Vacation layaway works several ways; the most common being plans with an initial deposit and signed contract, at a set time frame ahead of the beginning of the trip, such as several months before departure. Then payments are worked out over the time leading up to the trip, with the balance due a month or two before the trip starts.

Even Sears, the chain retailer, now offers a way to pay for vacations on layaway. On June 19, 2012, began allowing travelers to put travel packages on layaway. The options start at $399 include airplane flights, hotels, cruises and rental cars. Customers can also pre-pay for vaction packages with Sears credit cards. Sears has licensed the service to International Cruise and Excursions, Inc., which is based in Arizona. The company will be responsible for “travel fulfillment and customer support,” according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. About 100 vacations packages will be available for purchase starting on July 31. For example, there are trips to Las Vegas, Hawaiian vacations, golf trips, and kid-friendly travel options.

Other plans start with a low down payment and run for longer periods of time, such as 18 months, effectively working as a savings account for your trip. Some plans have a slight fee for the service while others do no; it’s worth it to shop around to find the best plan to meet your needs.

Terms for payment depend on factors such as whether it’s a domestic trip, international travel, or if it’s for a cruise. Cruises usually require more advance commitment than other forms of travel, and therefore you would be required to meet the terms of your layaway plan earlier.

One caveat is that travel costs sometimes fluctuate with the market, and as a result, the total cost of the layaway plan may change between the start of the plan and final payment. That may mean your trip price goes up, or down, depending on various factors. This is because, in some instances, your travel package pricing can’t be locked in and considered paid for until all payments are received. However, most layaway plans offer refunds of payment received if you have to cancel or the terms change unfavorably.

Excellent times to consider vacation layaway include honeymoons, which are often trips you plan for well in advance, as well as long-awaited travel for a family reunion, a special celebration such as an anniversary, or that retirement getaway. Group packages also make great candidates for layaway plans.

Are you a college student and want to go somewhere sunny for spring break? Planning a layaway vacation is great for students who may not have credit cards or need a little help when it comes to budgeting.

You’ll find many resources online to help you find the best plan to fit your budget and travel needs. Some of the most popular sites are, and

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