First Person: Should You Put Your Vacation on Layaway?

Yahoo Contributor Network

Sears has always offered a wide selection - everything from socks to lawnmowers - but now you could buy your next vacation when you pick up a new blender.

Recently, Sears launched a new website that sales vacation packages on layaway. The vacation deals include resorts, travel destination and cruises. You can also book your hotel, airfare and car rentals separately through the site.

The layaway option gives you a way to pay for a vacation over time. According to a recent article by CNNMoney, you'll pay 10 percent down upfront for one of the deals on Sears' travel site. After that, you can pay in installments but you must have the whole trip paid off before the travel date.

I have been planning to take a week-long vacation for a few months now. I plan to stay in the United States but go somewhere that will require airfare, a hotel and a car rental. Needless to say, I've spent a lot of time researching prices so when I noticed Sears at launched their layaway plan, I checked it out.

At first, it doesn't seem like a terrible deal. The initial down payment is small, I wouldn't have to pay any fees to start a layaway program, and I can pay as I go. But in the end, the vacation layaway program just had too many setbacks for me.

For one, I'm worried that my plans may change. If I'm putting money into a vacation layaway program, that money is locked into the deal. I can't pull it out if I have a financial emergency. But if I keep putting my vacation savings into my savings account, I can use that money for another reason if I have to.

But even if I knew that money wouldn't be needed, I'd still want to get the best deal. And with so many vacation sites already available, I've found some incredible deals. Many of these deals changed from day to day or were offered as a last minute special. I was afraid if I locked myself into a layaway program, I'd miss out on a better deal. And that could happen. I found a similar vacation package for $300 less on a competing site the day after I consider going with the layaway program.

Overall, Sears' vacation layaway deal doesn't seem like a terrible offer. The rates aren't bad and they do have some good deals, but I found a better option for my travel plans.

*Note: This was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Do you have a personal finance story that you'd like to share? Sign up with the Yahoo! Contributor Network to start publishing your own finance articles.

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