4 Ways to Travel the World While Paying Down Student LoansMarch 13, 2022
Taking on student loan debt can help you achieve your goal of earning a degree. But, when the time comes for student loan repayment, you may feel like your student loans are holding you back from going after other dreams.
Extra expenses like traveling may seem necessary to cut when you are paying back student loans. However, you can continue traveling with student loans to repay. Check out these tips on how to travel with student loans.
1. Volunteer With a Service Program
One of the easiest ways to travel with student loan debt is to look into service programs. You could volunteer with programs that allow you to live in other locations and receive student loan repayment assistance depending on your type of loans. These programs can give you the opportunity to live in other states or countries while still taking care of your student loans.
While working in these programs, your student loan payments could be paused or have a $0 payment – and interest may be paid for by the government for federal student loans. These programs allow you to travel, immerse yourself in a new culture, and have minimum living expenses (including your student loans).
- Peace Corps: In the Peace Corps program, you could serve abroad for a minimum of two years doing service work in locations that need help in education, environment, business, and more. You receive a housing and living stipend and upon completion of the two years, you receive $10,000. With that money, you could travel more or make a large lump sum payment on your student loans. And not only do you get to experience another culture while you are serving, but you also get two paid vacation days per month that can allow for additional travel. While serving in the Peace Corps, your student loans could be deferred, be eligible for an income-driven repayment plan where your payment could be $0, or be eligible for a hardship depending on the type of loan you have. Upon completion of the program, you may be eligible for partial loan cancellation (if you have Perkins loans) or your payments could count toward Public Service Loan Forgiveness (if you have eligible federal loans).
- AmeriCorps: In AmeriCorps, you work with non-profits on challenges in the U.S. While serving, you are provided with a living stipend and could receive student loan deferment and interest forbearance on qualifying loans, with the possibility of your interest being paid by the program upon completion of your service. With federal student loans, you may be eligible for loan repayment assistance through the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award upon completion of your service.
2. Work in a Foreign Country
If you want to combine your job with travel, many opportunities exist that allow you to work in a foreign country. Working in another country won’t provide you with any student loan benefits, but it would allow you to live in another place and travel while paying down your loans.
- Obtain a remote work visa. If you are already working a remote position or doing freelance work, a remote work visa may be a great option for you. These are increasingly popular after the COVID pandemic in an attempt to restimulate countries’ economies. Some countries with remote work visas include Costa Rica, Germany, Barbados, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands. There are different rules with each country on length of stay, but you can continue your digital work while experiencing another country.
- Teach English in foreign countries. You could work in various places of the world teaching English. Usually, the cost of living in these areas is low, allowing you to save money for travel and make extra payments on your student loans.
- Apply for a travel industry job. Find a job on a cruise ship or work for an airline to get travel perks while you work to pay back your loans.
3. Travel With a Budget in Mind
If you are more inclined to live stateside but still want to travel, make a budget of all your expenses and include a monthly amount to save specifically for travel. By including travel in your budget, you will be able to decipher if you can take small trips throughout the year or if you need to save for one big trip.
Another way to continue traveling with student loans is to travel on a budget. Pick your next destination based on the least expensive location. A cheap location may not be your top choice, but it will allow you to travel while staying on budget. Utilize other cost-effective measures like traveling with someone or traveling in the off-season to cut down on the expenses of lodging.
4. Lower Your Student Loan Payments
If you are reviewing your budget to determine how to travel with student loans, you may need to reduce your monthly expenses in order to save for traveling. It is possible to lower your student loan payments while still making good progress on paying them down. Here are some easy ways to lower your monthly payment.
- Refinance your student loans. Student loan refinancing is when a new loan is taken out to pay off previous student loans. With a new loan, you may be eligible for a lower interest rate and lower monthly payments. Refinancing can also allow you to lengthen the term of the loan to reduce the monthly payments.
- Sign up for autopay. With some student loan providers, you are eligible to receive an interest discount by utilizing autopay to make your monthly payments. The amount varies depending on your loan provider. Although this will not be a substantial amount, any little bit can help when repaying your loans.
- Look into income-driven repayment plans. For federal student loans, your monthly student loan payment could be based on your income and be lower than what you are paying under the standard repayment plan. Although moving to an income-driven repayment plan could free up money in your budget to travel now, you may end up paying more in the long run for your student loans since this increases the term length of your loans.
Whether you start a new job in a different country or refinance your student loans and reduce your monthly payments to fund your travels, it is possible to enjoy traveling with student loans to repay.
If you decide that student loan refinancing is the right option for you, utilize the ELFI Student Loan Refinance Calculator to see how much you could save.* When you refinance your student loans with ELFI, you’ll be paired with a personal loan advisor who can offer one-on-one support through the process.