Last updated on August 25th, 2018 at 01:07 pm
Let’s face it; Not many of us are rich. Most of us do not have a stack of cash just waiting to be spent, especially for something like a vacation which would be classified as a luxury purchase.
For the vast majority, there is the reality of student loan debt, mortgage or rent payments, car payments, insurance, credit card debt and the list goes on. At the end of each month you are left wondering where it all went!
After all of your everyday expenses, how in the world are you going to be able to afford a cruise?
By thinking and planning creatively, you CAN afford to take a cruise without breaking the bank. Here are 4 ways to pay for your cruise with a payment plan or other creative means.
Without a doubt, most people pay for a cruise via credit card, especially when booking online. The real question is this; When do you actually PAY for your cruise if you pay via credit card. Many are religious about paying their credit card balances in full each month to avoid interest, but is that always feasible when the purchase is $1000, $2000, $3000 or more?
For many, it’s just not feasible to pay this off the next month, however there a few smart things you can do.
- Be diligent about what you can pay each month if you know ahead of time that you can’t pay for all of it at once. Perhaps you can commit to paying down an extra $200/month on the balance so that your trip can get paid for relatively fast and you don’t end up paying hundreds of dollars in interest.
- Take advantage of new credit card offers. Some cards come with travel points when you sign up, others have payment plans when you spend over a certain amount on a vacation, making it easy to pay in installments.
- Take advantage of travel points already accrued on your credit cards to reduce the amount you need to pay.
Whatever you do, do not book the cruise on your credit card without a reasonable expectation that you can pay for it. While it may seem like a good idea at the time, you might end up paying for a cruise several years down the road.
Cruise Layaway & Installment Plans
Timing your cruise booking just right will allow you to pay in interest free installments. For most cruise lines, full payment must be received about 75 to 90 days before the cruise sets sail. If you want time to pay your cruise in installments, book early. For example, if your cruise is $2000, booking one year in advance will give you 9 months to pay, which breaks down to just $222 per month leading up to your final payment date. By the time you set sail, the cruise is already paid for!
A number of cruise lines will do the math for you and even allow you to choose this method at checkout on their website. Carnival for example offers Carnival EasyPay that breaks the cruise down into installments that need to be paid in the required timeline and travel agencies may also offer similar plans.
Check with your travel agent or cruise line for information on how they can make it easier to pay for your cruise.
Personal Loans or Line of Credit
Similar to credit cards, lines of credit or personal loans offer a viable way to pay, but just like credit cards, going in with a plan to pay is the best option. Too many people fall into the trap of buying something on credit and then figuring out how to pay for it later. Avoid this by going in with both eyes open, knowing that you need some time to pay, you are willing to make installment payments and knowing that you will pay interest.
A line of credit can be a little more dangerous for those without disciplined budgeting skills because the minimum payments for a line of credit are so low. A personal loan on the other hand will come with a set loan amount, a set interest rate and a set period of repayment – ie. 12months, 24 months etc.
With a reasonable credit rating, a personal loan can be easily obtained through your bank or other financial institution.
Your Own Savings Plan
It might seem obvious, but the old fashioned way of paying for items still works. Talk to anyone born in the 1920’s or 1930’s and you will learn a whole new way of buying. They just did not buy anything, unless they had the money to pay for it!
This generation lived a simple lifestyle and were proud to live within their means, pay for items in cash and save up money when a large purchase was coming. They were not caught up in the consumer treadmill that has enveloped the generations that came after.
It’s a simple concept, yet one that so many miss. If you know that in 1 years time, you want to take a $3000 cruise, pay yourself $333 into a savings each month and watch it grow. By the time you need to book your cruise (ie. 90 days before it leaves) you will have cash in the bank. No stress, no payments, no interest. It worked for our Grandparents and it can work for you too!
Get the Right Perspective
Cruising does not have to be expensive, you do not have to go into great amounts of debt to take a cruise and you can have an enjoyable vacation without the stress of finances before or after. In a world full of impulsive materialism, you can buck the trend and through careful planning have a wonderful cruise vacation that makes sense financially.