Younger Travelers Could Force A Rise In Buy Now, Pay Later Options

Younger travelers have been leading some of the year’s big trends, but is the rise in buy now, pay later options growing due largely in part to Millennials and Gen Z travelers?

From driving TikTok’s travel trend boom to the growth in solo travel this year, younger travelers have a lot going for them right now, except maybe high fuel prices driving up airfare prices.

Recent data from GlobalData found that overall, people who are Millennials and Gen Z are overwhelmingly more concerned about their financial status than any other generation. While relative youth might be a contributing factor to this, it’s also likely due to higher living costs.

Thirty-six percent of Millennials and 34 percent of Gen Z people reported being ‘extremely concerned’ about their finances, as opposed to only 16 percent of Boomers. Interestingly, the third-highest category was Gen X, at 30 percent.

This concern might be driving more travel companies to offer partnerships with companies like Uplift, which offers options for travelers to create payment plans for everything from airfare to tours and even cruises.

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Insight Vacations, Southwest Airlines, United Airlines and Carnival Cruise Line are only some of the travel companies offering partnerships with Uplift. The benefit of using these partnerships is that travelers can continue making payments even after they go on their trip, allowing them more time since Uplift pays for the trip in advance. Then the traveler is responsible for paying back Uplift as one would pay for a loan, often including interest, which of course adds to the overall amount a traveler will be paying.

Other travel companies are offering pay-as-you-go options on their own, without these partnerships. American Express card members can, for a small fee, pay for their Delta Airlines flights over time, while Intrepid Travel and Contiki both offer payment plans that allow travelers to place a small deposit down, then pay in interest-free installments through to an end period.

The benefit of this is that travelers won’t have to pay interest or get their credit checked, and if they book far enough in advance, they could have plenty of time to pay off their trip. The downside is that this becomes harder to do when booked last-minute, as Intrepid’s plan allows travelers to pay in as many installments as they’d like up to 28 days prior to departure date; Contiki’s is 45 days prior to departure.

Jordan Bradshaw, Vice President of Northcutt Travel Agency and himself a millennial, understands the initial drive for buy now, pay later options, but cautions travelers against being too eager for these types of savings because they might cost travelers more than they’d expected.

“There are a ton of ‘big savings’ apps out there like Hopper, SkipLagged, SkyScanner, etc. There are also influencers on Instagram, Facebook and Tiktok who offer you travel savings tips and ‘hacks,’” said Bradshaw. “I always advise to use caution when using these apps or ‘hacks’ because while there seems to be savings initially, you have to know exactly what to do and how to do it, otherwise it could end up costing you more time, hassle and even more money. So always contact your trusted travel agent when booking a trip because we are in the business every single day and know all of the tips and tricks that actually work for you! We are here to help you have a great, seamless trip!”

Instead of doing these options, Bradshaw recommends younger travelers to book well in advance with a company or program that offers the ability to pay in installments prior to the travel date.

“With so many of the younger generation living paycheck to paycheck, this is an extremely helpful offer that can help someone lock pricing and a reservation in and be able to budget accordingly and still get to experience an amazing vacation,” he said.

While buy now, pay later options might be growing in part due to a larger portion of younger travelers or travelers who are more budget-conscious, these options aren’t always the best options for travelers, though they can be attractive for people wanting to take a more expensive vacation last minute.

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