Travel SOS: Is it possible to buy now and pay later for travel?

Cherie has had to cancel a trip to Europe due to COVID-19, but has a plan to save money.

Travel SOS: Is it possible to buy now and pay later for travel?

Cherie has had to cancel a trip to Europe due to COVID-19, but still wants to go at a future date. Can she lock in her travel now and pay later?


Q. Cherie
I had to cancel my trip to Europe that was planned for early June due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. While I was able to get some of my money back, I still lost quite a bit because of the cancellations. I am still very keen to go back to Europe as this was my dream holiday that I had been saving for. While there is no travel allowed at the moment, I have still seen some great offers around for bookings made in the future. While I don’t have all the money ready yet to book my trip, is it possible to book something now and pay later?

booking a flight 

A. You will still want to apply some caution when making a future booking as no-one can be sure exactly when this pandemic will end. There are, however, many options if you want to pay for your trip closer to your expected departure.

STA Travel exclusively offers a lay-by option on airfares. Offered on fares with Qantas, Qatar, Air New Zealand, Etihad, Emirates and Cathay Pacific, the lay-by option makes it easy to spread the cost. Simply choose the dates and ensure that the quoted fare is on a STA Travel Exclusive Ticket. You are required to put down a $99 non-refundable deposit to lock in your lay-by, you’ll need to pay the full balance 10 weeks prior to departure, and then you’re on your way.

Find out more at

Qantas also offers a ‘book now, pay later’ option for a holding deposit of $25, which is refunded when your flights are paid in full. This is available on selected flights, and how long you have to pay depends on the fare conditions and departure date.

Find out more at

Several hotel booking sites now offer a ‘pay now or pay later’ on hotel bookings, which means you can secure your booking without having to charge the cost of your hotel to your credit card. You may not be able to grab the best available rate at the time of booking, but you will have more bargaining power if the hotel isn’t up to scratch – for example, you can ask for a discount or, if your plans change, you won’t be locked in.

Are you still planning for your future travel once the pandemic clears? Do you think this is a good way to lock in deals without losing money if the pandemic is still ongoing at a future date?

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    The Thinker
    28th Mar 2020
    I have a feeling travel will be an unwise choice for at least a couple of years.
    28th Mar 2020
    Seems like tempting fate to me!
    28th Mar 2020
    before all of this started I have cruises booked up until May next years. I am just taking each
    cruise at a time to see if they will be cancelled. I haven't paid for most of them. This is such a unique experience for all of us. that i don't think there is any 1 person on this planet that knows how and when this is all going to end and life returns to normal. The new normal might not look like anything we had in the past.
    29th Mar 2020
    No way steer completely clear otherwise you will have trouble later whereby they have control over your money.
    29th Mar 2020
    Given you have already lost money (and you will not get travel insurance at any price now) I would not be in a rush to rebook. Take the time to research where you want to go, what to do, where to visit etc. Then when travel embargoes are lifted you will be in a position to take advantage of deals at that time. It is inevitable that there will be great deals to attract people back to Europe for example. You will have saved more by then too so may be able to treat yourself a little more if you wait.

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