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Best Vacation Loans of May 2024

Learn how to find, qualify, and apply for the best vacation loan for your situation.

Author
By Jessica Walrack

Written by

Jessica Walrack

Writer

Jessica Walrack is a freelance finance writer and journalist with over a decade of experience. During that time, she’s written hundreds of articles about loans, insurance, banking, mortgages, credit cards, budgeting, and taxes for well-known publications including CBS News MoneyWatch, USA Today, US News and World, Investopedia, and The Balance Money.

Edited by Meredith Mangan

Written by

Meredith Mangan

Senior Editor

Meredith Mangan is a Senior Editor for Personal Finance, specializing in personal loans. Since 2011, she’s helped steer content creation in the areas of mortgages and loans, insurance, credit cards, and investing for major finance verticals, including Investopedia, Money Crashers, Credible, and The Balance Money.

Updated May 3, 2024

Editorial disclosure: Our goal is to give you the tools and confidence you need to improve your finances. Although we receive compensation from our partner lenders, whom we will always identify, all opinions are our own. Credible Operations, Inc. NMLS # 1681276, is referred to here as “Credible.”

Featured

Do you have a vacation in mind? Perhaps a cruise, a trip to visit family, or a getaway to a tropical island? If you'd like help footing the bill, you may want to consider a vacation loan. A vacation loan can provide a lump sum upfront that you can repay, plus interest and fees, over a number of months or years.

Many lenders provide personal loans for vacations, although the eligibility requirements, loan amounts, rates, and terms can vary. So, where should you start to find the best lender for your situation? Here are our picks for the best vacation personal loans of 2023.

Compare vacation loan rates of May 2024

Advertiser Disclosure
4.24.2

Credible rating

Fixed (APR)

6.99% - 25.49%

Loan Amounts

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

700

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

View Details

4.44.4

Credible rating

Fixed (APR)

-

Loan Amounts

$2500 to $40000

Min. Credit Score

660

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

View Details

4.54.5

Credible rating

Fixed (APR)

8.49% - 35.99%

Loan Amounts

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

600

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

View Details

4.94.9

Credible rating

Fixed (APR)

8.99% - 29.99%

Loan Amounts

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

View Details

4.34.3

Credible rating

Fixed (APR)

11.69% - 35.99%

Loan Amounts

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

560

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

View Details

All APRs reflect autopay and loyalty discounts where available | LightStream disclosure | SoFi Disclosures | Read more about Rates and Terms

Best vacation loans

When you prequalify for a personal loan, you can get an estimate of the rate and terms that lender may offer you without impacting your credit, which can help you eliminate certain lenders and narrow down top picks. Note that when you formally apply for the loan, the lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry, which will likely ding your score temporarily by a few points.

SoFi: Best overall

Personal loans for excellent credit

SoFi

4.9

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.99 - 29.99%

Loan Amount

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

Does not disclose

Pros and cons

More details

Upgrade: Best for fair credit

Fair credit

Upgrade

4.5

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

8.49 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

600

Pros and cons

More details

Discover: Best for no origination fees (and low rates)

No origination fees (and low rates)

Discover Personal Loans

4.4

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

-

Loan Amount

$2500 to $40000

Min. Credit Score

660

Pros and cons

More details

Universal Credit: Best debt consolidation loans for bad credit

Debt consolidation loans for bad credit

Universal Credit

4.3

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

11.69 - 35.99%

Loan Amount

$1000 to $50000

Min. Credit Score

560

Pros and cons

More details

LightStream: Best home improvement loans and low rates

Best home improvement loans

LightStream

4.2

Credible Rating

Check Rates

on Credible’s website

Est. APR

6.99 - 25.49%

Loan Amount

$5000 to $100000

Min. Credit Score

700

Pros and cons

More details

Methodology

Credible evaluated the best personal loan lenders for vacation loans based on factors such as customer experience, minimum fixed rate, maximum loan amount, funding time, loan terms, fees, discounts, and whether cosigners are accepted. Credible’s team of experts gathered information from each lender’s website, customer service department, in-house resources, and via email support. Each data point was verified to make sure it was accurate at the time of publication.

Learn more about how Credible rates lenders by exploring our Personal Loans Lender Rating Methodology.

How to compare vacation personal loans

It’s important to compare lenders and loans to get the best rate and terms. Here are the basics by which you should evaluate lenders:

  • Interest rates: The annual percentage rate (APR) determines how much the loan will cost you. It accounts for the interest rate and upfront fees, like origination fees. The lower the APR, the more affordable your loan.
  • Loan amounts: The loan amounts lenders offer, and the amounts they’ll offer you, can vary greatly. To find those that best suit your needs, check the loan ranges of lenders and prequalify to get rate estimates based on your credit profile.
  • Repayment terms: The repayment term is the amount of time a lender gives you to repay your loan. Longer repayment periods can help to lower your monthly payments but will cost you more in interest overall.
  • Fees: Lenders may charge a variety of fees, such as origination fees, prepayment penalties, application fees, and late fees. Look for no-fee loans or those with the fewest fees.
  • Cosigner option: If you want to apply with a cosigner to help you get a vacation loan with bad credit, you’ll need to check if lenders allow them. 
  • Time to fund: Some lenders are faster than others when it comes to delivering loan funds, offering funds as soon as the same day you apply. Check each lender's funding times.
  • Eligibility requirements: Different lenders cater to different types of borrowers. It's important to check a lender’s eligibility requirements to ensure it’s the right fit for you.

By reviewing vacation personal loan providers according to these criteria, you can gain a better idea of which lender will be the best for your situation. For example, if you're planning a trip to Hawaii and need a loan of $10,000, a lender that only offers you $5,000 wouldn’t be ideal, even though it may offer loans up to $35,000 to other borrowers. Further, If your credit score is 650 and a lender requires a minimum score of 700, it also wouldn't be a good fit.

Learn More: Difference Between Interest Rate and APR

Eligibility requirements for vacation personal loans

Who qualifies for vacation personal loans? It depends on the lender you ask. However, here are some of the common eligibility requirements.

  • Age: You must be of legal age in your state to qualify.
  • Legal status: You often must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident, or have a valid visa. 
  • Bank account: You must have an active and verifiable bank account.
  • Service area: You must live within a lender’s service area and may need a verifiable physical address. 
  • Credit score: You may need to have a credit score above a certain minimum. It’s best to have a good FICO score, which is one of 670 or higher. The higher your credit score, the more likely you are to be approved, and the better rates and terms you can get.
  • Credit reports: Ideally, you’ll have a decent credit history. Lenders often review credit reports from one or more of the three consumer credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. They may look at your payment history, credit utilization, credit mix, new credit inquiries, and public records.
  • Income: You must have a stable source of income that’ll enable you to repay the loan. Lenders may require a minimum annual or monthly income amount.
  • Debt-to-income ratio (DTI): In addition to your overall income, lenders consider your DTI in order to assess how much of your income is available to handle new debt. Lenders generally prefer a DTI less than 35%.

While these eligibility requirements are common, each lender has its own algorithm or rules by which it evaluates borrowers. It’s not uncommon to get approved by one lender and denied by another, especially if your FICO score falls into the fair range (580 to 669). As a result, it’s best to prequalify with multiple lenders that look to be a good fit.

How to get a vacation loan

Getting a personal loan for a vacation can be as easy as going online, filling out a form, getting a quote, and signing a contract. However, it’ll benefit you to shop around first. Here are the steps we recommend:

  1. Compare lenders: With many vacation loan lenders on the market, you can better your odds of getting a good deal by shopping around. Look for those that are a good fit for you based on the criteria listed above.
  2. Prequalify: Once you create a shortlist of potential lenders, head over to their websites or use an online marketplace to see if you can get a quote without a hard credit check. Upon prequalification, lenders will provide you with one or more loan quotes to review. Just note that these aren't offers of credit, but what the lender expects to approve you for. You won't know your final rate until you apply.
  3. Pick a loan option: After you've collected a handful of quotes, compare the rates and terms side by side to find the best deal for your situation.
  4. Complete the application: Head back to the website of the winning lender and complete the full application. You may need to provide documents such as a government-issued identification card, utility bill, pay stubs, and bank statements. It’s at this point that the lender will conduct a hard credit inquiry.

If your final application is approved, review the contract and sign it if the terms are as agreed. The lender will then get to work on funding your vacation loan. The funds will be deposited into your bank account according to the funding times of that lender, which could be as soon as the same day.

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Pros and cons of vacation loans

Vacation loans are widely available and can help make an upcoming dream vacation possible, but they also come with a few cons that are worth considering.

Pros

  • Fund a vacation: The biggest pro of vacation loans is they can help you fund the vacation you want to take. You can receive a large lump sum upfront and use it to make vacation-related purchases such as booking airplane tickets, rental cars, and hotel stays.
  • Many options: A wide variety of financial institutions offer vacation personal loans. As a result, you can shop around to find the best fit for your situation.
  • Fast funds: Upon approval, you can get the funds for a vacation loan quickly, sometimes as soon as the same or next business day, depending on the lender.
  • Low APRs: Personal loan interest rates tend to be lower than the standard APR on most credit cards. According to the Federal Reserve, the average interest rate on a two-year personal loan was about 9 percentage points lower than the average credit card interest rate.

Cons

  • High APRs: If you have bad credit, your APR could be over 30%, which could make a vacation loan expensive. Or if you have very good credit, you may qualify for a 0% promotional offer on a credit card which you could use to buy your vacation. 
  • Fees: Loans may come with fees, such as an origination fee, an application fee, or late fees, which add to your borrowing costs.

How to get a vacation loan with bad credit

If you have less-than-perfect credit, it may still be possible to get a vacation loan. That said, it'll likely be harder to get approved for an affordable loan. Your best bet is to identify bad-credit loan lenders and compare offers to find the most affordable deal.

If you can't find a vacation loan that works for you, you may want to hold off and work on improving your credit. Alternatively, you could enlist the help of a friend or family member with a strong credit profile who's willing to cosign a loan for you.

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FAQ

Do banks give loans for vacations?

Many banks offer personal loans you can use to cover the expenses of a vacation. Upon approval, you receive the loan and can use the funds as you please, aside from a few restrictions against uses, such as paying off student loans and gambling.

What is a vacation loan?

A vacation loan is an unsecured personal loan that a borrower uses to pay for the costs associated with a vacation. The lender provides a lump sum amount upfront to the borrower and the borrower repays it, plus interest and fees, over a set term. Loan amounts can range up to $100,000 or more, while terms can extend to 144 months or more, depending on the lender.

What expenses can a vacation loan cover?

A vacation loan can cover a wide variety of expenses associated with a vacation. For example, you may use the loan funds to book a cruise, airfare, and hotel accommodations, as well as to buy clothes for the trip, meals while you're on the trip, souvenirs, and more. Lenders don’t typically regulate how you spend the funds, as long as you’re not breaking any specific loan use restrictions they have in place.

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Meet the expert:
Jessica Walrack

Jessica Walrack is a freelance finance writer and journalist with over a decade of experience. During that time, she’s written hundreds of articles about loans, insurance, banking, mortgages, credit cards, budgeting, and taxes for well-known publications including CBS News MoneyWatch, USA Today, US News and World, Investopedia, and The Balance Money.