Travel Loans for Students: Debt 101
I vividly remember going to college straight out of high school. There was no help from family, so I was literally working from sunup to sundown. I would go into classes in the morning and afternoon, then work from early afternoon until late at night. Then, I would go home to study and do any required coursework. About four hours of sleep later, I was back up preparing for classes. I probably would have given my left arm for a vacation.
My story is no different from many college students. Even those that get help from family might have expenses that exceed the help they receive. College tuition is not cheap and neither are additional expenses. Doing anything extra seems like a fairy tale, including traveling more than five minutes down the road. There is hope, however, for students looking to get away that does not require losing limbs: student vacation loans or student travel loans.
What Are Travel Loans for Students?
Travel loans for students are simply personal loans for students to pay for travel. These are separate from the loans students have for college.Some people may wonder why students who are struggling financially and already in student loan debt would take the time to travel in the first place. The truth is that there are plenty of reasons for a student to travel.
Some may want to study abroad for a semester or two, which is a great thing. Some students want to dedicate time to mission trips and volunteer work- yet another great thing. Perhaps they want to get home to visit family, especially at the holidays. They may even travel for the experience or just the time away from stringent studies. Regardless of the reason, students often find themselves in need of funding for their travel.
What Do Travel Loans for Students Cover?
The short answer is anything travel related. The loan money you receive can be used for:
- Plane tickets
- Purchasing toiletries for the trip
You may even spend it on souvenirs. Travel loan money can be spent on all travel related expenses, but be careful not to splurge with it all. You never know what unexpected events might occur.
Types of Travel Loans for Students
While there are many loan types available, there are two that students should look into above all others: personal loans and personal lines of credit. Most students are on pretty tight budgets so any travel loans for students that they apply for needs to have low-interest rates and generous repayment terms. These two loan options are similar but also very different.
A personal loan is when you apply for a loan, the lender approves you for a certain amount, and then you are set up on a clear repayment plan. For instance, let’s say that you are approved for a $2,000 loan at a 10% fixed interest rate. With a personal loan, you will be given the entire amount at that time, see how the personal loan interest calculates, and be told what your monthly payments will be for a certain amount of time.
Personal Line of Credit
A personal line of credit, on the other hand, is more like a credit card. You may get approved for the same $2,000, but you do not have to take the entire amount at that time. If you only need $1,000, the remaining $1,000 will stay available to you when you need it.
Even if you need that remaining $1,000 the very next day, you can get it. You can continually borrow and repay. Personal lines of credit generally have higher interest rates and, like credit cards, a minimum payment due each month. That means that there is not a clear repayment schedule.
Are Travel Loans for Students a Good Idea?
The answer to this is completely relative to the individual. First and foremost, a loan is debt, meaning it has to be repaid. As a young adult, that debt could positively or negatively impact your future, depending on how you handle it.
Negative Impacts of a Student Travel Loan
Let’s start with the more obvious negative impacts. If you do not repay it, you will mess up your credit before you even begin to build it. Poor credit can affect your ability to get a home and possibly even extra student loans if you have to take any out.
The most negative impact to you at this stage in your life, however, is probably the fact that your credit can affect you getting hired. Imagine working hard towards your degree, dreaming of that great job you will get when you graduate. Instead, you end up working for minimum wage at your local gas station or mall.
-The Cycle Continues
As if this situation is not bad enough, I can tell you from personal experience that it is near impossible to pay off student loans with minimum wage. That means you will be in even greater debt- a far cry from the life you had imagined. Do you see how easily irresponsible financial choices can snowball?
Positive Impacts of a Student Travel Loan
On the other hand, handled well, a student travel financing to establish credit could just lay a good path for your future. If you make your payments on time, you will be putting great marks on your credit. Good credit can help you purchase a home in the future, and it can open up more job opportunities.
The bottom line is that whether personal loans for student traveling are good ideas depend.
If you have the ability to repay the loan and can be committed to do so, it could be a great idea for you. However, if you cannot repay it or feel like you will not push yourself to do so, back away now. Do not ruin your life before you really begin to live it.
Budget for Your Travel
There is an important step you must take before applying for your student travel loan: you must make a budget. If no one has ever told youthis, or they did and you just were not paying attention, a budget plays an integral part in all financial decisions. Not having a budget is like going on your trip without knowing your destination. You should research travel statistics and averages. Then make sure you stick to budget that you can afford. Don’t compare yourself to what the average vacation cost for a full family covered with the help of working adults.
Sure, you can hop into your car and just head out, making turns and entering interstates on a whim. You will probably enjoy the freedom a great deal. However, when you find yourself in the middle of nowhere with no cell signal, you will likely regret your carelessness.
There are many people who feel like budgets are restrictive and dull. I realize that they are not most people’s favorite things to do, but they are necessary. They have been given a bad rap over the years so folks shy away from them. Let’s start by reframing our views on budgets.
What is a Budget- Really?
A budget is like a trip plan- it tells you which way to go, what to do when you get there, and so on. For instance, if you are taking a trip to the beach and you are driving, it is wise to make a tentative trip plan. It will give you an idea of how long you will be on the road, what food stops are on the way, which interstates you will be taken, and so on.
Another way to look at a budget is like you look at your college plan. You picked a degree program and you know how long it will take you to complete, which classes are required, which ones are electives, and more. This is what a budget does. You map out a plan for your money- that is all. It really is not so scary. You simply add your expenses into your plan and map out how your money will cover them.
In the case of your travel, you need to decide how much travel you can afford. Whether you pay out of pocket or with a student travel loan, you have to set a boundary. You have to pay the loan back so do not borrow more than you can afford to repay. Make a budget that includes how much you will need to cover the trip, maybe add a little padding in for unexpected expenses, and determine how you will cover that cost.
Can I Avoid Student Vacation Loans?
You have calculated the cost of your travel and decided that you do not have enough to cover it. However, you do not want to put yourself in further debt. Instead, you want to find ways to avoid travel loans for students but wonder if it is even possible when you are already on a tight budget. I am here to tell you that it most certainly is and I am going to share some steps on how to do that:
-Ask your folks for help. I know this may be another thing you want to avoid but I had to add that in.
-If you have a subject you are good at, offer to tutor those who struggle with it for some side cash.
-Pick up a job, or second job, and save for a while. Pizza delivery or serving at restaurants near campus would likely be lucrative.
-If the trip is for a mission trip or to study abroad, you can likely run a fundraiser to help cover costs.
-See if anyone, including staff, needs help around campus. Maybe they have a project they are working on, like repainting a room, and are willing to pay a little for some help.
-If you have a car, a campus would be a great place to work for Uber. Many colleges do not allow first, and sometimes second, year students to bring their cars. Many of them are probably calling for Uber or Lyft drivers constantly. Why should you not make that cash?
With a little creativity, time, and some extra work, you should be able to avoid travel loans for students altogether.
Repaying the Loan
This is possibly the most important section of this article. If you get a loan, pay it back. Do not make the mistake of thinking that “one little loan” will not destroy your life. I mentioned above that bad credit can affect your ability to get a job. I will give you some real-life examples.
One of my family members decided to join the military. He wanted a very specific job in the Army, but after he signed up, they did background and credit checks. His credit disqualified him from that position and he had to take a much less desirable job. I personally applied for a job at a bank as a teller when I was younger. I was turned down for the job due to my credit.
You may wonder why the military or employers might turn you down, but it really comes down to two simple facts. The first is that poor credit indicates a lack of stability and irresponsibility. They do not want people in certain positions that are irresponsible. The second is probably a much bigger part of it. People in debt do crazy things- not all people in debt, but many.
If you were in charge of a bank, would you really want someone who was drowning in debt to have that much access to money? Or do you think the U.S. military feels comfortable putting someone who owes a lot of money into a position that gives them access to information they could sell? Those may sound like extreme ideas, but those things have happened before.
The bottom line is that it is very important to repay your loan. Do not treat it as an insignificant thing or think that you will have plenty of time to fix it later. If you know that you will not have the money to repay it or that you are not responsible enough to do so, you are better off saving for your travel. Loans are not free. Even if you never pay a dime back, they can cost you in many other ways.
How to Find Student Travel Finance
For those who feel that they can and will pay back the loan, there are many ways to find one. In truth, you may not have to go far. Many loan companies and financial institutions will go to college campuses in order to market to college students. They are aware of the financial struggles most students face and come to offer you a solution. While not all are untrustworthy, you always need to read the fine print, know the interest rate you will pay, and understand your repayment terms. If it seems unreasonable, walk away.
Ideally, you want loans that have interest close to 10%, which you can usually find with a little time and research. One way to do so is to simply complete an Internet search with phrases such as “travel loans for students” and see what options pop up. There is, however, a much simpler way- utilize the experts. Loanry is a great place to find a lender that may meet your criteria. Loanry gathers the information about lenders and you take advantage of that. It cuts down on the time and effort that you have to put in finding a lender that may willing to look at your profile.
Getting a loan to travel, be it for vacation, family, missions, or anything else, is a big step to take. It can be tempting, especially for young adults, to want to use the loan to splurge. Unfortunately, that will affect your ability to travel. Have a specific plan for where the money will go before you start looking for a loan.
If there is someone around you that you can trust, such as your mom or best friend, tell them what you are doing so that they can hold you accountable to your plan. Independence is a great aspect of adulthood, but so is financial stability and a bright future. Do not let the mishandling of a loan take that away from you.
Brandy Woodfolk is an educator, home business owner, project manager, and lifelong learner. After a less than stellar financial upbringing, Brandy dedicated her schooling and independent studies to financial literacy. She quickly became the go-to among family, friends, and acquaintances for everything finance. Her inner circle loves to joke that she is an expert at “budgeting to the penny”. Brandy dedicates a large portion of her time to teaching parents how to succeed financially without sacrificing time with their little ones. She also teaches classes to homeschooled teenagers about finances and other life skills they need to succeed as adults.
Brandy writes about smart money management and wealth building in simple and relatable ways so all who wish to can understand the world of finance.