Buy Now, Pay Later: the top sites that will let you pay in instalments for your travels
A number of companies have introduced a 'buy now, pay later' service, enabling travellers to pay for their flights, hotels or tours in monthly instalments. In the US, a study by the consultancy Atmosphere Research Group claims that 41% of travellers surveyed expressed an interest in using instalment payments for trips that cost US$2000 (£1562) or more. If you're looking to spread the cost of your next trip, we've rounded up the top sites that allow you to do that.
Bookings over $200 can be paid through instalments on Expedia. It was introduced in 2016 when online lender Affirm announced in 2016 that it would offer its services on Expedia. Affirm, which is owned by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, allows customers to buy goods immediately and pay for them in three, six or 12-monthly instalments using a bank transfer, cheque or debit card. On Expedia, travellers can find this feature by selecting a flight and hotel package and then selecting the “Monthly Payments” tab. See more here.
Earlier this year Thomas Cook launched a zero-deposit 'buy now, pay later' scheme for holidaymakers. The offer came into effect on 1 March 2018 and is valid for travel dates between 1 November, 2018 and 31 October, 2019. The scheme applies to a large proportion of Thomas Cook offerings. To avail, customers need to set up a direct debit from their current account which is billed each month (customers can choose the payment date). The monthly instalment amount depends on the cost of the holiday and the travel dates. The final payment has to be made no later than six weeks before the departure date.
Lonely Planet priced a holiday to the five-star Sunlight Bahia Principe Costa Adeje in Tenerife, Spain. Departing from Manchester Airport on 17 March, 2019 the total cost for flights and one-week accommodation for two adults, at the time of publishing, is £1364 (US$1747). With the 'buy now, pay later' scheme it's possible to pay monthly instalments of £454.66 (US$582.18) in December, January and February. See more here.
Virgin Holidays also allows customers to spread the cost of their trip across monthly payments when they set up a direct debit. Payments are debited from customers accounts on either the 1st, 7th, 14th or 21st of the month. Virgin Holidays also lets customers pay off their trip in chunks i.e. customers can pay £100 this month and £50 next month, as long as the full balance is received 12 weeks before departure. See more here.
Chicago-based start-up, Airfordable, allows customers to pay for airline tickets in instalments. Customers submit a screenshot of an itinerary along with the trip details and then Airfordable presents a payment plan. After making an initial deposit, regular payments can be made on the overall balance through the date of departure. It works with almost any major travel provider such as Google Flights, Priceline and Expedia. See more here.
Geared towards millennials, FOMO Travel or 'fear of missing out' is a South Africa-based company that offers holiday instalment plans. Its USP is what the company calls a “social savings lay-by model.” It requires recurring monthly payments, but it lets users invite friends and family to contribute to those payments, essentially crowdfunding the vacation. Customers can go to the FOMO Travel website and select a package according to their budget and departure dates. Their personalised FOMO payment plan and monthly obligations will be calculated accordingly. The site has a number of packages but trips can be tailor-made. See more here.