Going abroad? Take a vacation loan with affordable repayment plans
- Pay in Cash
This should go without saying. Obviously, you don’t want to borrow and get deeper into debt because of your love for travel. Seeing new sights is great, but it kind of defeats the purpose if you have to come home to a larger debt load.
Instead of relying on credit cards or other loans to fund your adventures, save up some cold hard cash. Set up automatic transfers from your checking account to a separate savings account to make this easier.
Also, make sure you develop a realistic timeline and budget for your trip so you can save a sufficient amount. For my most recent trip to Spain, I saved for six months and automated my withdrawals every month in a sub-savings account that I titled, appropriately, “Spain.”
- Consider Travel Hacking
Have you heard the term travel hacking before? It’s a way to use credit card rewards sign-up bonuses to get free or low-cost budget travel options. I used to think it was a scam and that it didn’t actually work.
That was until I realized that I was really committed to paying off my student loan debt, but I also wanted to travel on the cheap. I kept hearing about budget travellers going abroad and paying next to nothing for their flights. So I decided to try it.
- Find Cheap Accommodations
Next to the flight, accommodations are typically the second most expensive thing you have to budget for. Instead of using pricey hotels, consider renting through AirBnB to cut down on costs.
If you want to spend even less, stay in a hostel or go CouchSurfing. When I went to Spain and Portugal, I stayed in hostels only and paid roughly $20 per night. Overall, it was significantly cheaper to stay in a hostel than in a hotel.
Another option for the truly adventurous and hard-working is to volunteer your time in exchange for accommodations. I met several people at my hostel who worked 20 hours a week and received free accommodations and food. Simply contact the hostels where you are going and see what volunteer opportunities are available.
- Stick to Your Debt Repayment
Although traveling is awesome, you don’t want it to derail your progress on your commitment to paying off your student loans. Make sure you can stick to your minimum payments as well as your timeline. If going on a trip will set you back significantly in your repayment, then reconsider travel or figure out how to do it on the cheap.