Are 'vacation loans' really worth it?

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New loan companies aim to make travel more accessible. (Source: 3TV) New loan companies aim to make travel more accessible. (Source: 3TV)
They offer flexible, pay-over-time options, not just for flights, but entire trips. There are layaway options too. (Source: 3TV) They offer flexible, pay-over-time options, not just for flights, but entire trips. There are layaway options too. (Source: 3TV)
Johnny 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 sometimes installment payments may give you the trip you need. (Source: 3TV) Johnny 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 sometimes installment payments may give you the trip you need. (Source: 3TV)
(3 ON YOUR SIDE) -

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.

“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," travel guru Johnny Jet explains.

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.

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They offer flexible, pay-over-time options, not just for flights, but entire trips. There are layaway options too.

“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,” Jet explains.

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

“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,” he explains.

It does vary depending on the provider. Affirm loans, for example, vary from 10 to 30 percent APR, though some of its merchants may offer 0 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 sometimes 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.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

Click to learn more about Gary.

Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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