Travel trend: Putting family getaways on layaway

Popular retail option becomes reality for families trying to plan, save for vacations

ORLANDO, Fla. - Didn't get to take your dream vacation this summer? Start planning now and it can be reality next year!

That's thanks to a growing trend of putting travel on layaway just like Christmas gifts.

Richard Popkin and his wife Karol love to travel, but plunking down hundreds or even thousands of dollars all at once is too much.

"It offers me the opportunity to put down very little money at, at the beginning," said Popkin.

And keeps them from maxing out credit cards. Their trick? Look for deals jump on them fast and put them on layaway.

"Making a decision by only having to put down $200 per person, is, is certainly a lot than if we had to pay for the whole trip," said Popkin.

The idea is to pay it off slowly in installments and have it paid in full before you head to the airport.

"A typical vacation will cost two or three thousand dollars for a family of four.  People just don't have that money saved up.  You can put any kind of a trip on layaway," said George Hobica of

And that puts a milestone vacation like a trip across country or overseas within reach even for a family.

"We empower the consumer to have the flexibility to book a vacation up to 18 months before the trip is going to take place," said Marty Seslow with Gate 1 Travel.

Seslow says tough economic times brought vacation layaway to the forefront, but it's the feeling of getting a good deal that's kept the trend alive.

"We see the folks that are on a budget and a shoe string budgets taking advantage of this," said Seslow.

Like retail layaway plans, not all travel programs are equal.

Some will refund your money or help you defer the trip if problems arise, but others might not.

"You really have to make sure that you have some travel insurance and study the cancellation policies," said Seslow.

But for the Popkins, who are planning another trip this fall, it's fun to look for the next great deal.

"It's a lot easier to make that decision to pounce or don't pounce when it's only a small amount of money like that relatively speaking," said Popkins.

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