With the current economic crunch, many people are tightening their belts and coming up with new (or recycled) ideas - such as layaway vacations.
Layaway plans are nothing new, in fact, they've been around for a long time, however they lost favor as credit cards became easier to obtain. Now, the concept of "layaway" has gained momentum again and layaway vacations are becoming more mainstream and popular.
The concept works exactly the same way as a department layaway plan. Customers can choose their vacation and make a deposit, lock in the price and pay it off in monthly installments. Layaway vacations are ideal for people who just can't seem to save for their vacation and don't want to have to pay the high interest rates that credit cards charge. Now, they can choose their dream vacation, make a minimal down payment and then pay for the vacation over time. As soon as the vacation is paid for, the customer is free to use that trip whenever he or she chooses. And best of all, the price is locked in.
If you believe that layaway vacations are a concept that will easily go the way of the Edsel, consider the fact that even credit cards are getting involved with it. For instance, American Express travel now offers layaway dream vacations, as does AAA.
Although layaway vacations have been around for a while, the concept has been gaining more and more momentum since people have started restructuring their finances.
One downside to layaway vacations is the small gamble that you take if the prices of your dream vacation go down. Many travel companies offer refunds minus a handling fee (anywhere from $25 to $250), however if you find a great deal then do a layaway plan, it's well worth the risk.
In addition to the fiscal flexibility that a layaway vacation offers, the trips themselves are also flexible. Most layaway vacations can be anything from a short weekend in Vegas to a month long African safari. If you have a travel agent that you already work with, ask him or her about the ability to book a layaway vacation. Often, agents don't mention that it's available and so you don't even know that you have the option of doing it.
If you're thinking of using a layaway vacation plan, it's important to consider all your options and find the layaway plan best suited to your needs. Various plans include putting down anywhere from $25 to 35% of the package. Some plans allow you to pay as little or as much as you want while others require a monthly amount and make you pay within a certain time frame. So prior to signing up for a layaway vacation, the best advice is DO YOUR HOMEWORK!! Research the company, the prices and determine how flexible you need the plan to be.
Layaway vacations have the potential to become mainstream popular as people tighten their belts and pay off their high interest credit cards. They enjoy the fact that they don't have to worry about paying off their vacation after they return - so can have more fun and less stress while on vacation.