Family Vacation Tips

Secrets of Family Vacation Payment Plans

[fa icon="calendar"] Feb 10, 2014 11:04:00 AM / by Sally Black

Sally Black

dreamspabeachchairsdayWhen most parents think about layaway payment plans, they usually think about toys under the Christmas tree. The secret that most families don't realize is that vacation layaway payment options can also be a solution for trying to figure out how to pay for a family vacation.

Here at Vacationkids, we want to make travel affordable for families. We offer vacation payment plan options to our clients, and usually they are free of charge (there are some exceptions).

So how does it work?

Step 1.- You need to plan ahead - Here at Vacationkids, we have a funny saying that holds a lot of truth..."Planning a family vacation is just like planning a family - You need to work 9 months in Advance". Yep, if you want to do a family vacation payment plan you need to give yourself at least 9 months of planning time.

If we told you most hotels and airlines post their rates about 300 days in advance you probably won't remember that number but parents can relate to the 9 month timeline.

Technically cruise lines and theme parks post their availability and rates even sooner. The point here is that in order to create affordable monthly payments, you need to give yourself plenty of time. Here are some quick guidelines as to WHEN to start planning your family vacations in order to give yourself the best Vacation payment options...

Valentines day = Thanksgiving & Dec. Holidays

Back to School = Summer Vacation for the following year

School's Out for Summer = Spring Break Holidays for the next school year

I hear you!'s hard to plan that far in advance with everyone's school, activities, sports and work schedules. Many of us don't know our schedules for next week, let alone next year. It's a shocker but if want the best rates, choice of rooms and airline seats and the ability to make layaway payments on your vacation, time is your friend. Planning ahead will also afford you the best rates and availability choices contrary to everyone's dream of finding that elusive last minute deal.

Step 2.- Make a Deposit - Most hotels, cruise ships and even Disney only require a small deposit to put your vacation on hold and confirm your trip. This normally can range from as little as $50pp to a percentage of your total. It all depends on the specific circumstances of your trip. Take Disney for example - You can confirm a Disney park hotel, your park admission tickets and even a meal plan for as little as $200 total.

Step 3. - Set up a Monthly Payment Schedule - Most hotels, cruise lines and theme parks require your vacation to be paid in full about 60-45 days prior to your arrival.  At Vacationkids we can work with you to set up a payment schedule to make it easier for you to pay down the balance you have due on your vacation. This can be done automatically via a credit card that you authorize for these payments.


What About Airline Tickets? - Airfares are the "kicker" with this scenario. Usually the airlines require payment in full right up front. In this situation, obviously we cannot offer any layway payments because we must honor the rules of the airlines.  There ARE some vacation packages that DO offer flights that can be included in a vacation layaway program.  Also parents are free to use frequent flyer miles or credit card reward points to purchase their flights which will also help to offset the total cost of their vacation.

What Happens if Our Trip Goes On Sale last minute? - In many cases, if your EXACT vacation goes on sale for a lower price, our travel agents will be able to have the sale price applied to your reservation. Also many travel insurance plans include "price protection insurance" and will reimburse you the difference between what you originally paid and any last minute sale price of your vacation.

Do I really need Travel Insurance? - Nobody has a crystal ball. Often something as simple as a child with a last minute ear ache can ground a family's vacation plans. If you can afford to lose the entire cost of your vacation without cracking a sweat then you perhaps do not need travel insurance. That said, your family's medical coverage can change significantly when you are out of network and most doesn't cover you for travel outside of the US. So again, if you can whip out a credit card and afford to pay any unforeseen medical care, then you probably don't need insurance.  For the rest of us, paying less than 10% of the cost of our vacation to give us peace of mind, travel insurance is a really good thing to have.

Topics: family vacations, Affordable Family Vacations

Sally Black

Written by Sally Black

Sally is the Founder of Travel Agency and author of the book "Fearless Family Vacations". She is also the Director of Travel Agent Initiatives and Training at The Family Travel Association.

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