Dreaming of sipping cocktails on the white sands of Mauritius, partying in the French Alps, or taking a weekend break in Knysna? The world’s (almost) your oyster – and you needn’t fall into a debt trap to travel.

It’s an enticing proposition, made possibly by Cape Town start-up Fomo Travel, an online lay-by travel platform that utilises traditional lay-by methods to pay for a holiday or experience – so you needn’t fear missing out. 

Fomo Travel views itself as a payment solution to travel: rather than making lump-sum payments, the cost is spread into more manageable chunks, essentially as a “forced” holiday savings account. Customers are required to pay a deposit on the platform to lock in the package and price, which is paid off interest-free. The longer the term, the lower the instalments, and there are no credit checks. If you’re planning a destination wedding or want friends or family to contribute towards a holiday, there’s a crowdfunding option too. 

Fomo offers 450 holidays and experiences, with options to customise trips available.

This week, leading price comparison site, Hippo.co.za announced it had partnered with the young start-up. 

Hippo.co.za executive head, Vera Nagtegaal says the model makes sense: “Consumers don’t have to create unnecessary debt. You pay a small portion of your selected holiday package upfront with zero interest.” 

Hippo.co.za’s existing travel portfolio already offers flights, accommodation, car rental and travel packages, which will soon also be expanded to include more than 200 000 hotels.

“We are always looking for smarter, (more) cost-efficient offerings for our clients. As an online business, we look to solutions that alleviate hassle and can save consumers time and money,” says Nagtegaal.

Fomo Travel founder Andrew Katzwinkel said they were thrilled about the partnership with Hippo.co.za: “They’ve been wonderful to work with. We’re a young company: I came up with the concept in 2015 and launched it in 2016. We are passionate about giving our customers what they want: the gift of debt-free travel. I believe we’re creating a more affordable and economical way to pay for travel in the marketplace. It’s a win-win for our customers and for the hospitality industry.” 

Travel stokvels have become so popular over the past few years that the formal sector has started following the trend. 

FlightCentre has a savvy stokvel option, which allows members to contribute at their own pace and travel when they are ready to. The communal savings system is described as “a platform designed to allow all South Africans to experience the joy of debt-free travel”. 

RCS advertises personal RCS loans of up to R125 000, with “flexible” repayment options from 12 to 60 months. 

Nedbank-backed LeisureFin has come under withering attack for enticing consumers with holidays on credit.