Traveling while in debt, is it sensible? When thinking about it from surface level, there appears to be only two options. The first is to be the aggressive saver and the second is to be the minimum payment payer.
When making debt repayment a priority involves the usual getting on a budget, tracking and cutting expenses, and looking for ways to make more money. Traveling and taking vacations is usually one of the big areas done away with.
However, your wanderlust vibe may not need to lay dormant while you finish paying off debt. When I started paying off my student loans, I originally thought travel would have to be put on the back burner. I soon realized it didn’t have to be that way.
While travel is usually costly quest to set out on, with planning and tenacity it can be a possibly while still in debt.
UNDERSTAND THE KIND OF DEBT YOU HAVE
If you have credit card debt, student loan debt, or auto debt, then paying it off in a timely manner is important. If you have high interest debt over 5%, consider a plan of action about how you will pay off more of it
The biggest thing to remember when you want to travel while still in debt is figuring out a way to stay on track with repayment. If you’re making aggressive debt payments every month and don’t have much money left over, the refocus on what type of travel you want to do.
Travel doesn’t have to be a big, expensive thing
You don’t need to stay in high-end hotels and go to popular tourist areas. If you live in the U.S., destinations like Canada, Mexico, and Belize are great options. Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam and Thailand have hefty plane ticket prices but the costs once there are really inexpensive. Many people are able to travel in Vietnam and Thailand for $30-40 dollars a day. Awesome, right?
Cruises can be another option. I went on two in 2015, one to Mexico and the other to The Bahamas. Lots of free activities and food was provided.
Exploring National Parks and Canyons is something I’ve been wanting to do. I’m a diehard watcher of Parks and Recreation, so Ron Swanson’s love of National Parks rubbed off on me. I’m planning to go on a road trip through Arizona and Utah in the next year or two, visiting The Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Upper Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion!
Have a separate savings account for travel
Create a separate savings account specifically for your trip. Consider opening a high yield savings account with places like Ally or Synchrony Bank which offer around 1% APY. It’s better than the 0.01% you are getting at a regular bank.
Remember than every little bit counts. Using automation apps like Digit, which periodically pulls a few dollars from your checking account, is a great way to trick yourself into saving more.
Give yourself a timeline
When I started with my student loan repayment, I gave myself a rough timeline of when I wanted to have a specific amount of money set aside for a trip. I didn’t even know where I wanted to go yet, but I knew it was somewhere!
It took about 15 months of saving, stashing away small amounts of cash, and automating my savings. Eventually I was able to reach my goal and got to take the travel trip I wanted this past March.
While I have been traveling while still making solid progress on my student loan debt, I understand the challenges of wanting to travel while in debt. If money after debt repayment is tight, really try to consider locally exploring to parts of your state or nearby places. Monitor flight deals to see where you can travel to cheap.
With some savvy planning and commitment, you might not have to wait until after you’re debt free to take a trip.
How do you feel about traveling with debt?