Travel now pay later: Loan companies aim to make travel more accessible
You’re desperate to take off, but your budget has you grounded.
Now, there are options that let you pay over time for the trip you need, or want, to take.
Travel Guru Johnny Jet explains, “There are multiple companies out there that offer travel loans. Some of them work with airlines; some of them work with travel deal sites and some are independent.”
Jet, who gives flight advice on his website JohnnyJet.com, says the new loan companies aim to make travel more accessible.
“One of them is called Uplift, and they work with airlines. So, they work with Southwest, American, JetBlue, and United. And another one is called Affirm, and they work with the travel deals sites such as Expedia or CheapAir,” Jet explains.
They offer flexible, pay-over-time options, not just for flights, but entire trips. There are layaway options too. Jet explains, “What you do there is you call them up, tell them your itinerary. They’ll tell you the price and they’ll tell you what they charge.”
With the layaway option, you typically pay off your ticket or trip before you pack your bags.
Jet says the benefit of either of these plans is you don’t have to drain your savings or make a mega credit card payment up front.
But, he points out, the convenience typically comes at a cost, explaining, “All of these different finance companies charge a fee. Some of them are a standard flat fee. Another one would be usually between 9 percent and 36 percent.” It does vary depending on provider. Affirm loans, for example, vary from 10 to 30-percent APR, though some of its merchants may offer zero-percent deals. Do your homework before committing to any loan or program.
Jet says if you aren’t sure how you’ll pay the loan back, or if you have credit card debt, flying this way may not be a fit, but there are some times installment payments may give you the trip you need.
“Most people should not take a loan. If you don’t have the money, you shouldn’t travel, but if you have to, if it’s either a life or death emergency, or if you’re it’s a once in a lifetime trip that you really need to plan and go on, then you can do it,” Jet explains.