Taking a Personal Loan for a Vacation: Is It a Good Idea?

Before taking on a vacation loan, review other payment methods, including savings, travel rewards and installation payments. While a vacation loan may be convenient, there are implications to taking on debt to fund a trip.

Advertising & Editorial DisclosureLast Updated: 12/29/2022
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Whether you’re taking a solo trip or traveling with your loved ones, vacations can be costly. Before taking out a personal loan for a vacation, consider other options like using travel rewards, saving and finding other budget travel options. While there are many ways to fund a trip, taking out a personal loan could help you if you need to plan a trip quickly, have a travel emergency or need additional funds for a vacation.

If you’re able to meet a lender’s criteria and requirements, you can quickly secure a personal loan. While the details depend on the lender and your creditworthiness, you can potentially borrow between $1,000 to $100,000 to finance your holiday accommodation, tickets and meals.

Before you take out a vacation loan, consider your financial situation and the ability to repay the loan. This guide can help you decide whether a personal loan for vacation is the best option for you.

Key Takeaways

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A vacation loan could help fund rental vehicles, accommodation, tours, food, transportation and other trip-related costs.

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There could be benefits to taking out a vacation loan, including low rates, lump-sum disbursement and set repayment terms.

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Before taking out a vacation loan, consider using travel credit cards, a personal line of credit or a portion of your savings.

What Are Vacation Loans?

A vacation loan is used to fund travel costs like meals, transportation, hotels and other holiday-related costs. A vacation loan is a type of personal loan that doesn’t require collateral, also known as an unsecured personal loan.

Personal loans for vacation are typically repaid in installments over several months or years. They feature relatively low interest rates and the funds are distributed in a lump sum. If you don’t know where to start, banks, online lenders and credit unions may offer personal loans for vacations.

Keep in mind that vacation loans are a financial commitment. Therefore, take time to weigh your options and assess your monthly budget.

How Does a Vacation Loan Work?

A vacation loan is essentially the same as a personal loan. Both loan types offer similar features such as predetermined repayment terms and low interest rates.

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LOAN AMOUNT

Personal loans for vacation can range from $1,000 to $100,000, but limits vary per lender and your needs and creditworthiness. Several factors can influence your loan amount and terms, including your credit score, gross monthly income and debt-to-income ratio. Lenders usually assess your financial background to evaluate whether you’re high risk.

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INTEREST RATES

Although rates vary per lender, expect to encounter APRs ranging between 6.99% to 24.99%. There may be lenders that charge lower or higher rates as well.

Lenders also determine your APR based on your creditworthiness. If you have good credit, for instance, you might be able to negotiate favorable interest rates. It’s worth noting that a lender’s interest rate range significantly impacts a loan’s APR.

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REPAYMENT TERMS

Similar to personal loans, you repay vacation loans in monthly installments, typically over 36 to 84 months, or three to seven years. However, some lenders might have shorter or longer repayment terms that depend on your qualifications. Factors such as interest rate, loan term and loan amount can affect your repayment period.

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APPLICATION AND FEES

You can usually apply for a vacation loan online or by visiting the lender’s office. Aside from your vacation loan’s interest rate, you’ll need to anticipate other costs. Origination, late and application fees are examples of what you might expect. Some lenders charge a prepayment penalty if you pay off your loan early.

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RELEASE OF FUNDS

It usually takes one to seven days for a lender to disburse funds, but it varies for each lender. In some cases, a lender can release funds on the same day.

Remember, your financial background also plays a part. If you meet many of the lender’s qualifications, the disbursement process may be quicker and easier. Another way to receive funds quickly is to apply online. Bigger lenders usually offer this feature.

Pros and Cons of Vacation Loans

Before you tie yourself to a substantial financial commitment, take time to decide if a personal loan is right for your situation. Examine the possible perks and downsides of taking out a personal loan for vacation.


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Pros
  • Quick disbursement time: While it depends on the lender, some offer same-day funding release. The longest disbursement time is generally one week.
  • Convenient application process: You can apply for a vacation loan online, saving you time and money.
  • Single lump-sum payout: Lump-sum payouts are ideal for travel or vacation-related expenses. You don’t need to worry about scrimping on funds since the money arrives at once.
  • Predetermined rates: Fixed rates can help you budget since your payment amount won’t increase over time.
  • No collateral: Since personal loans for vacation are unsecured, you don’t need to offer property like your car or home as collateral.
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Cons
  • Additional fees: Some lenders charge fees, including origination, prepayment penalty and late fees.
  • Stringent credit requirements: In certain situations, lenders will accept a fair credit score. If you have bad credit standing, you might find qualifying for a vacation loan challenging.
  • Increased APRs: Generally, unsecured personal loans come with a higher APR because the lender is taking on more risk for an unsecured loan.
  • Lengthy repayment period: You typically pay a personal loan for a vacation over several years in monthly installments.
  • Another debt stream: When calculating your monthly finances, you’ll need to budget for paying off a vacation loan. An additional source of debt could hinder you from taking out other loans or accomplishing financial goals.

How to Get a Vacation Loan

Securing a personal loan for your holiday is relatively straightforward. As long as you have a good financial background and can meet the lender’s requirements, the process should be fairly easy for you.

1

Determine how much funding you need

Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all amount for a vacation loan, you’ll need to crunch the numbers and get an estimate of your expenses. Ask yourself if you can handle the repayment. Avoid overborrowing or not borrowing enough.

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Evaluate your qualifications

Each lender has its own requirements and qualifications. Browse through the lender’s website or call the lender to determine the exact criteria you need to meet for eligibility. Assess your credit score, debt-to-income ratio and income. Lenders might also have other requirements.

3

Compare lenders and offers

Shopping around and weighing different options is beneficial. You can review various rates, terms and fees and compare lenders. This can also help you narrow down your choices and pick a suitable loan.

4

Choose a lender and apply

After deciding on a lender, you’re ready to apply for a vacation loan. Generally, lenders request proof of identity and address, income verification and creditworthiness. Clarify the requirements ahead of time for a smoother process.

5

Wait for funds

The final step is waiting to receive funds. Depending on the lender and your application, disbursement can take anywhere from one to seven days.

Alternatives to a Vacation Loan

While using a loan to pay for a vacation may be appealing, there are other pathways to finance your trip.

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SAVE UP IN ADVANCE

If you’re planning a somewhat expensive trip, start saving up for it ahead of time. Track your monthly budget and consider hitting a goal each month for your vacation. Although saving up can take time, it’s one of the easiest and safest ways to fund your holiday. You don’t need to worry about a loan application process, repayment or compounding debt.

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USE A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD

Travel credit cards can be advantageous, especially for frequent flyers. If you have good to excellent credit, you might even be able to snag rewards and perks that aren’t offered by vacation loans. If you already have a travel credit card and know you can manage finances accordingly, you might not need a vacation loan.

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“BUY NOW, PAY LATER” LOAN

Buy now, pay later (BNPL) is an option if you want to pay in installments instead of paying the full price at once. BNPL doesn’t typically accumulate interest and has relatively flexible payment options. You can put down at least 25% for a large purchase and pay the rest over an agreed-upon period. This method might be best if you don’t like hard credit checks or have bad credit.

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OPT FOR A PERSONAL LINE OF CREDIT

A personal line of credit (PLOC) is one way to fund your travel expenses through a debit card or your bank. PLOCs feature a draw and repayment period. PLOCs are best if you prefer lower interest rates and want the option of withdrawing funds several times throughout a set time frame.

Frequently Asked Questions About Vacation Loans

Vacation loans can fund any travel-related expense, whether you’re flying solo or taking a trip with family. MoneyGeek answers commonly asked questions below to guide your decision-making process.

The content on this page is accurate as of the posting/last updated date; however, some of the rates mentioned may have changed. We recommend visiting the lender's website for the most up-to-date information available.

Editorial Disclosure: Opinions, reviews, analyses and recommendations are the author’s alone and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any bank, lender or other entity. Learn more about our editorial policies and expert editorial team.