Layaway your vacation home? Give me a break!

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Whatever happened to the idea that if you can't afford something, you don't buy it? Didn't living above our means get us into this recessionary mess in the first place? No, I'm not an anti-credit card fanatic; I just believe in paying them off each month. What I don't believe in is layaway. If you can't afford it today, why do you think you can afford it piecemeal or at all?

So this item got my ire: We are now being encouraged to use an installment payment plan to pay for our vacations. The writer in Realty Times says: Retailers are doing it, so why not vacation rental owners? Easy answer dude: Buying a washing machine may be a necessary expense and one you have to make on layaway. But taking a vacation, and I like to get away as much as the next guy, just isn't. Vacations are luxuries and in these times, luxuries are what we give up first.


The writer suggests that stretching out the payments will be easier on travel budgets and from a vacation property owner's perspective, it takes the chance out of occupancy uncertainty.

Not hardly -- on either case. You can't afford what you can't afford. And as the owner of a ski vacation rental property myself, the last thing I want is someone tying up my property during a prime rental period only to cancel at the last minute without penalty.

What we've done to increase rental traffic to our vacation place is this: We made it dog-friendly. We charge extra for Fido and have the carpets cleaned more frequently. It's still cheaper than kenneling the family pet and our unit is booked up months in advance.

As for those who want to take a vacation but can't swing it financially right now, here's a rational idea: Stick $100 a week in an envelope. If you need it for something more pressing than a vacation, you can open the envelope. And, if at the end of the year you've accumulated enough for your dream vacation, by all means go.

And send me a postcard.
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