Is an Online Cash Advance Fit for Your Next Vacation?

If an online cash advance promises a convenient boost to your budget, should you apply for one to take your vacation to the next level?

After so long following the rules during the pandemic and sticking close to home, you’re ready to stretch your wings. But what if your budget is already stretched too thin to handle a trip? Is an online cash advance your chance to book flights, hotel rooms, and a rental car?

Here’s a primer on these cash loans and whether you should be looking for loans near you before you take off.

What is an Online Cash Advance?

A cash advance is a small-dollar, short-term loan you can get from online direct lenders. Online direct lenders are financial institutions that don’t involve third parties to process applications, fund loans, or handle customers.

Small-dollar, short-term cash loans are usually under $1,000 and are due back anywhere between a couple of weeks and several months. It depends on the kind of cash advance you receive.

For example, while payday cash advances are due back by your next payday, installment loans have extended terms that last much longer.

Some installment loans for bad credit are available even if you tank your credit score. However, some bad credit options (including payday cash advances) tend to come with higher fees due to your low score.

Online Cash Advance Loans Have a Unique Purpose

Because of their size, duration, and cost, most online direct lenders agree that cash loans are only for unexpected emergencies.

A blown transmission, leaking pipes, or a sick kid in need of urgent care — these are the kinds of emergencies you can’t ignore. An online cash advance can help you handle these essential repairs and medical expenses if you don’t have savings set aside.

What About Your Vacation?

Although getting away from it all may feel like it’s an emergency, it’s not. It’s a privilege only those with enough savings can enjoy, and a cash advance won’t change that.

And another thing against using a cash advance on a holiday? A vacation isn’t unexpected. Savvy travellers plan these trips well in advance — from nomadic workers to young families with small children.

A vacation doesn’t fall in your lap like an emergency auto repair can. That car issue could prevent you from getting to work or important health appointments, so its unexpected repair is essential and unavoidable. Booking flights or hotels? Not so much.

Basically, an online cash advance only makes sense if it solves a pressing financial problem when you don’t have savings or other options.

How to Plan a Holiday Around Your Budget

With online cash advances off the table, does this mean you have to give up on your dreams to travel? Not at all!

If travel is very important to you, build your budget around putting as much money into your holiday fund. Learn how to live without takeout, multiple streaming packages, and other unnecessary expenses. Any cash you free up can go into your savings account.

To help your savings stretch further, try these tips:

  • Travel out of season
  • Avoid popular destinations
  • Stay in hostels or try house sitting
  • Eat out as little as possible
  • Stick close to home by finding local experiences, museums, or hiking routes

The Takeaway:

Don’t pack a cash advance on your next trip. While this option might work in an emergency, it’s not the best travel companion. A budget and savings are much better travel buddies.