Let’s start planning that vacation for next year!

If you want to a smart traveler, you should have already started planning your vacation for 2020.

One should plan ahead because it has become rare to find those fantastic last minute travel deal.  You may occasionally find a fabulous price on a resort or cruise, but you must, also, factor in the cost of airfare and other associated fees.  Smart travelers are planning at least 9 months out with over 50% of travelers planning up to 12 months in advance.

A big vacations can cost thousands of dollars. So why not look into making monthly installments for a vacation that can allow you to afford more time away than you could pay for at once.

Find a company or a travel consultant that can find a company that offers programs to layaway travel.  One should consider making payments less than 6 months before travel  so that you can only make 2 to 3 payments before the final payment deadline which is normally 45 to 60 days from the date of travel depending on the company.  You may not know your own schedule if you start payments over a year in advance.

The following are good monthly payment plan guidelines:

Find a reputable travel agent/consultant.

Pick your layaway package or destination carefully. Not all vacations are good candidates for layaway plans.

Don’t choose a layaway plan for trips abroad because currency fluctuates every year. You may end up paying much more, if the local currency decreases in value. If you feel like you are getting a good deal because you have invested early and the local currency rises in value, you may be billed for a “currency surcharge.”

Choose layaway options to reserve hard-to-book locations. If you want to get a low-cost stay at an expensive ski resort, a local vacation rental may offer the ability to put 20 percent down and pay monthly. They get the security of booking their rental far in advance, and you have the security of a guaranteed price.

The nature of most tour companies is to take a deposit, bill monthly and require the remaining balance 45 days before departure. Ask about their payment plans and whether you can pay online.

Disney’s “Magic Your Way” vacation packages offer a very flexible payment plan. It is geared toward families who want to visit their theme parks. You can make monthly payments or occasional payments, as long as you pay everything 45 days in advance.

Protect your investment with travel insurance.  (Contact a travel agent.)

Contrenia L. Fluker, Travel Agent and Travel Blogger

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