A vast majority of the US graduates end up with up to $100,000 student debt which they will be bound to pay for the next ten years. The further picture is clear. Tighten your belt and buckle down to afford to pay out your loan. It’s just the way things are for most Americans. The materialistic view of things dictates that you have to work hard to afford more.
However, there is a growing number of grads who are unhappy with the way things are. On the first hand, modern technologies open up the world from a new perspective infecting young people with the itch to give up everything they have and throw themselves into adventures. On the other, even those who chose to stay at home are simply not paid enough to cover their debt sooner than it was planned.
Therefore, the question arises – is there any way to afford both: paying your student debt and see the world? It will be tough but nothing is impossible if you approach properly.
Make Traveling Your Very First Priority
Knee-high in debts, graduates often think that they can’t afford traveling. In reality, however, they can – if they make it their top priority. Don’t get it wrong, though, traveling is a costly affair. But if it is really what you desire, you have to adjust your life accordingly. Oftentimes, it means to refuse something, change your habits, and adapt to a new lifestyle.
It may mean that you have to make your habits budget-friendly. Choose in favor of cheaper apartments or hostels, don’t splurge on clothes and entertainments, cook at home instead of eating out, and use public transportation or walk. You shouldn’t scold yourself for having a moment of weakness and affording a meal at the restaurant or buying a new shirt – just don’t make momentary pleasure your way of living.
Seek for Jobs with Travel Opportunities
Conduct solid research and consider job opportunities which would allow you to travel across the world, while still being able to cover your monthly debt payment. It really depends on your preferences. If you are happy with having a holiday somewhere abroad once or twice a year, find a job that would pay enough to cover these needs. However, if you are going to make traveling your lifestyle, perhaps you should consider the jobs of an air steward, cruise ship employee, or English teacher.
By the way, Asia provides a lot of perks for native English speakers willing to teach there. For instance, Amanda, a recent graduate and now a travel blogger, quit her job in the US and moved to Korea to teach English under a program sponsored by the Korean government. She worked in a public school and, as a governmental employee, received good benefits. Not only did this job allow her to travel across Korea but to visit other Asian countries as well.
Transnational corporations are constantly hiring as well. It may be a temporary internship or a contract job. Whatever is the case, they are seeking employees from across the globe, and it may be a great chance to fulfill your travel bug while earning your living and repaying your student debt. Besides, some job vacancies include travel as their primary requirements, so you will be actually paid for following your dream.
And lastly, consider digital nomadism. For instance, Amanda turned from an English teacher in Korea into an Asian market expert and writer. “It started with odd writing jobs. But then it just fell into place – my passion for writing, my psychology education, and marketing and travel experience – and grew into a business. Now, you can order dissertation online on my website.” says she.
Although it largely depends on your skills and experience, many remote jobs are well-paid and they allow enough freedom to plan your own schedule and make enough time for travel.
Become Conscious About Your Financial Situation
Traveling with a student loan requires drastic measures. You have to develop a really strong habit of budgeting and planning everything – from your day-to-day needs to the trips. The earlier you come to peace with the fact that you have to follow a tight budget, the sooner you will start living your dream and regain your financial freedom.
Thus, make a practice of tracking cheap tickets and taking advantage of discounts, sales, and special offerings. There are plenty of online services that can help you to stay tuned about the price changes. Try to enjoy free ways of entertainment, like walking in nature, for instance. You may even find it quite adventurous, as simply wandering you may often bump into a hidden non-touristic place or meet someone peculiar.
Always keep your debt situation in the back of your mind when planning your next trip. If you don’t want to aggravate your current condition, it is better to be financially responsible. As an option, you may start saving for trips. In the circumstances of financial scarcity, it may seem impossible. However, there are plenty of free apps on the internet that can help you stay thrifty and spare some money. Like Digit, for one.
And by no means should you postpone your loan. While travel is definitely an expensive privilege, yet it is not an illusory aspiration as many think. Under good planning, you can afford both without going into extra debt.
Learn to Find Pleasures in Staycation
Aspiring for overseas travels, people often neglect all the beautiful things and pleasures their own country can offer. By learning to appreciate what’s right here, you may find that inland traveling is no less enjoyable and impactful, especially when it helps to save some.
And which is no less important, find or create your support team. Being surrounded by like-minded people helps you realize that you are not alone living this way. Besides, the traveling experience is always jollier when you can share it with a friend.