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Booking a summer holiday – are credit cards ever a good idea?

It’s that time of year when summer holidays are on everyone’s mind. With Storm Imogen sweeping the UK this week, you’d have a hard time avoiding the dream of being warm somewhere on a beach.

The Holiday Let Exchange created this great graph for showing us how many people book holidays in January and February. It rises steeply at this time because people want to escape the winter blues and have something to look forward to. But how much can we really afford these summer holidays, and is it worth getting into debt for?

credit cards

Of course, some holiday agents charge a deposit, with the rest being payable in stages or nearer the time. This can be a good way of booking a holiday because you secure your booking, but you don’t need to stump up a large amount of cash anytime soon – especially right after Christmas where spending was particularly high.

Other people that do need to stump up the cash might choose to get out a credit card. Caution should be taken in these cases, because you’ll want to find a 0% interest on repayments and purchases deal so that you do not accrue a large amount of interest.

Other people may choose a payday or personal loan when booking their holiday. The instant online loans company Wonga SA warns against spending which isn’t considered ‘good credit.’ It says that when taking out a personal loan, you should ask yourself three things:

1. What’s it for?
2. Can you afford it?
3. What will it cost you?

If the answer is positive for all three of the above, it may be worthwhile getting your loan. As long as you are financially literate and understand the repayment details, there is no reason to avoid a personal loan. However, if you’re only booking a holiday as an impulse buy, you cannot afford the interest or repayments and you don’t really need it, it might be best to avoid the loan until a better time.

Being financially literate is something you can help yourself with. There are many money advice services, like moneyadviceservice or moneysavingexpert which can help you to read up on many different aspects of money and debt. You can also read about current offers (like summer holiday bargains and deals) as well as managing your money a little better, whether this be by consolidating debts or by opening a new savings account.

Of course, booking a holiday now for the summer doesn’t have to come at such a high cost – consider for instance going somewhere in the UK for a week, or by travelling off-peak if you aren’t going with children. There are many options available that can still see you having a great summer to look forward to!

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