It’s almost impossible to leave college without a pile of student debt that you know you’ll have to start paying back almost immediately. It seems overwhelming and crippling, but there are ways to live a life full of adventure while paying back the loans you took out to receive your education.
Here is how you can still travel when you’re bogged down by student loans:
1. Budget yourself.
If you look at your student debt as one huge mound of debt, it seems a lot more overwhelming than it has to be. Remember you’ll be paying these loans back in monthly payments. So, look at your loans as a monthly payment, just like rent or your phone bill. This way, it seems a bit more manageable, and you can take it on one month at a time.
Budgeting is really important for anybody, but it’s especially important for those who want to travel. Take some time to set up a monthly budget for yourself. You can even talk to a professional who can help you figure out where your money is and where it should be. Take into consideration what you’ll be making monthly from any jobs you have, and then consider what you’ll be spending monthly, including your student loans payment, rent, gas, food and other expenses.
If you are able, add a travel savings section to your budget. Set aside a certain amount of money each month that you will eventually use for travel. Even if you can only afford to save $10 a month in the beginning, this will add up. It’s also better than not saving anything.
Starting a savings jar in your home is also a useful idea. Throw any extra change or cash into a jar to use for travel. You’ll be surprised at how quickly the loose change adds up.
2. Find the right job.
If you’re looking to make traveling your life and your career, you’ll need to find a job that allows (or even requires) travel, which is extremely possible. Figuring out what job is right for you will depend on your personality, your interests and your talents. Some possibilities include teaching English in another country, becoming a travel blogger or photographer, teaching a musical instrument, yoga or dance and bartending.
Sometimes, the best idea is to focus on two or three part-time jobs that you can be flexible with depending on where you are. Doing this usually means becoming your own boss and sometimes even building your own business, which takes a lot of work and dedication. But if traveling is your passion, it’s a small price to pay to be able to travel whenever and wherever you want.
3. Travel sensibly.
Sure, traveling can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. Shred those doubts and be confident in knowing that you can travel on a budget pretty easily, if you know how to do it. For example, there are cheap flights headed to all kinds of places at any given time. If you can find a cheap flight with dates that work for you, you can save tons of money on airfare. Being flexible with your destination and your time of travel is extremely helpful when traveling this way.
You can also save money by finding inexpensive places to stay. You can even get paid to stay somewhere while traveling, if you offer to housesit. Or, stay for free using a home swap site that allows you to stay at somebody else’s home while they stay at yours. There are so many options out there. All it takes it a little research to save a ton of money.
Traveling while you’re paying off your student loans is very possible and so exciting. While you’re young is the best time to travel, so why wait? Go find your next adventure.