Holiday planning

Your guide to pay monthly holidays

Photo of Jacob LewisPhoto of Jacob Lewis
By Jacob Lewis

4 January 2024 | Updated 22 December 20237 min read

A view of the beach town of Calella de Palafrugell, Girona with white washed buildings lining the beachfront and aqua-green sea

January isn't just for setting goals and signing up for optimistic gym memberships – it's also the prime season for booking holidays.

But with the New Year period often marked by a post-Christmas financial squeeze, flexible payment options that accommodate your budget are a brilliant way to lock in your next holiday without straining your wallet.

From TUI's attractive zero deposit bookings to the varied payment plans of Jet2holidays and Thomas Cook's generous final payment deadlines, we break down the options to help you plan your next sun-soaked break.

Whether you're seeking to spread the cost over time or looking for the lowest upfront expenses, we've got you covered with insights into each company's deposit requirements, payment structures, and cancellation policies.

Can I book a holiday without paying the full amount upfront?

Yes, many travel companies offer low deposit options and allow you to pay the remaining balance in instalments.

Can I book a holiday with zero deposit?

Many package holiday providers require a small deposit. However, TUI offers £0 deposits on a selection of holidays, so long as you are due to travel outside of the next 26 weeks.

Are there any hidden fees I should look out for?

Yes. On the Beach charges a £5 fee per payment automatically taken by the company. So, if you pay for your holiday in four instalments, you would end up with a £20 charge on top of your holiday price. You can avoid this charge by paying for each instalment at least a day early on their website. On the Beach also charges £10 to move payment dates up to seven days into the future.

TUI, Jet2, Thomas Cook and easyJet Holidays do not charge a fee for payments made in instalments.

When is the final payment due for a pay monthly holiday?

Final payment dates can be anywhere from 25 days before departure (Thomas Cook) to 98 days with TUI’s Direct Debit plan.

What happens if I can't afford the rest of the payments and need to cancel my holiday?

When considering a holiday, it's wise to carefully assess your financial situation. While exploring exciting destinations and travel deals can be very tempting, it's crucial to ensure that the costs align with your budget.

Committing to a holiday that stretches your finances might lead to stress rather than relaxation. It's always a good idea to calculate the total cost of the trip, including any potential hidden expenses, and compare it with your savings or budget.

In the event of unforeseen circumstances where you might need to cancel your holiday, understanding the cancellation policies of the company you're booking with is essential. For example, companies like easyJet Holidays offer refund guarantees if you cancel up to 28 days before departure.

However, be aware that not all travel companies or deals may have such flexible terms. It’s always best to read the fine print and make an informed decision. You can visit MoneySavingExpert’s Budget Planner to work out what you can afford.

Can I choose the day of the month for my instalment payments?

Companies offer different policies regarding the selection of monthly payment due dates. For instance, Jet2 permits customers to choose their preferred due date at no extra cost. In contrast, On the Beach imposes a fee for altering the payment date, while Thomas Cook does not permit any changes to the due date.

Are these payment plans applicable to all types of holidays?

Most payment plans are available for a wide range of holidays, but there might be restrictions based on the destination or package type, so it's advisable to check with the travel agency. For example, TUI’s £0 deposit is not available for all holidays.

Does choosing a flexible payment option affect the overall price of the holiday? Are there any discounts or premiums added for choosing to pay via instalments?

Paying in instalments is usually interest free, and you’ll end up paying the same as you would have if you’d paid up front. However, some companies, such as On the Beach will charge an admin fee to take your money on a schedule. To avoid the fee, you have to manually make payments, ahead of each instalment deadline via their website.

TUI – best for zero deposit bookings

Deposit amount: £0 deposit option available with Direct Debit if booking at least six months in advance.

Payment plan structure: Direct Debit payment plan allows monthly instalments after an initial deposit.

Payment methods: Direct Debit, credit card or debit card.

Refund/cancellation policy: Cancellation fees vary depending on how far in advance the cancellation is made – from only the deposit (if cancelled 70 days or more in advance) to 100% (if cancelled up to two weeks before the holiday).

Final payment deadline: 98 days before departure for Direct Debit payments.

Jet2holidays – best for multiple payment options

Deposit amount: From £60 per person.

Payment plan structure: Jet2 offers two types of staggered payment options:

  • Pay Monthly: Instalment payments with a chosen due date, full balance due 70 days before departure.
  • PayPal Pay in 3: This plan allows you to split your holiday cost into three payments. The first payment is due at the time of purchase, and the remaining two payments are due monthly on the same date for two subsequent months.

Payment methods: Accepts payment via debit card, credit card, or PayPal.

Refund/cancellation policy: Cancellation fees are tiered based on the notice period before departure, ranging from the loss of deposit for cancellations made 70 days or more before departure, to 100% for cancellations 14 days or less before departure.

Final payment deadline:

  • For Pay Monthly: Full balance due ten weeks (approximately 70 days) before departure.
  • For PayPal Pay in 3: The entire plan spans two months, with the final payment due in the second month, following the same monthly schedule as the initial payment.

Thomas Cook – best for a generous final payment deadline

Deposit amount: From £39 per person.

Payment plan structure: Monthly instalment payments for holidays booked more than 90 days in advance. Payments come out on the same day of the month as the deposit was paid.

Payment methods: Debit and Credit Cards but not American Express.

Refund/cancellation policy: Thomas Cook charges a cancellation fee of £25 per booking for reservations made prior to 1st December 2022, and £75 per booking for reservations made after 30th November 2022. These fees are in addition to any cancellation fees imposed by airlines or accommodation suppliers.

Final payment deadline: The final balance payment is usually due 25 days before the scheduled travel date. If the booking is made last-minute, the full amount is required to be paid immediately.

easyJet Holidays – simple payment plan

Deposit amount: From £60 per person.

Payment plan structure: Instalment payments permitted up to 28 days before travel.

Payment methods: Debit, credit cards and Apple Pay.

Refund/cancellation policy: easyJet imposes a cancellation fee that varies with the notice period, starting from £60 per person (loss of deposit) for cancellations made between 59 to 28 days before departure. A 75% charge applies for cancellations made from 27 to 14 days before departure, and a 100% charge for cancellations within 13 days of departure.

Final payment deadline: Final payment due 28 days before travel.

On the Beach – watch out for admin fees

Deposit amount: From £30 per person.

Payment plan structure: Cost spread across equal monthly payments after an initial deposit. Watch out for the £5 per payment fee. You can avoid this charge by paying for each instalment at least a day early on their website. Option to move payment up to seven days into the future at a cost of £10 each time.

Payment methods: Credit card, debit card and PayPal. PayPal can only be used for instalments if it was also used to make the deposit.

Refund/cancellation policy: Cancellation costs may vary depending on suppliers, with flights being non-refundable from the time of booking. Most hotels can be cancelled free of charge (subject to their terms), while transfers, airport extras, and travel insurance are non-refundable. A standard admin fee of £30 per person applies, capped at £150.

Final payment deadline: No specific final payment date listed on website, however payments can be made in monthly instalments in the lead up to the holiday.

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