You’ve finally received that college degree, and now you want to take some time off before hitting the pavement called job hunting, but you have student loan debt and a conscience. 

The right side of your brain says you deserve to travel the world after surviving four years in undergrad, but the left side of your brain is flashing student loan debt in big neon lights. 

You shouldn’t have to sacrifice the quality of life over the quantity of debt; both can and are attainable by following these 5 tips on how to travel the world when you have student loan debt. 

Tip 1: Get a job that requires international travel

Here, you can kill two birds with one stone; a job that pays you to travel is the perfect option for someone wanting to explore the globe and not have to live in a small card box to do so. Typically, jobs that require international travel reimburse employees for all expenses related to the job duty or pre-pay airfare, hotel accommodations and provide food vouchers beforehand. 

Suppose you are lucky enough to land an international career. In that case, it’s pretty safe to say your yearly compensation will more than cover any student loan debt payments you are required to repay after the graduation deferment period. 

Some international jobs to look into are:

  • Cruise Ship crew
  • Teach language abroad
  • Flight Attendant
  • International Trade and Business 
  • Financial Analyst 
  • Travel Agent

Tip 2: Freelance jobs 

As an independent contractor, you are free to roam the world and still receive a relatively steady flow of money depending on how much or little you decide to take on contracts. In 2021 freelance jobs were rated one of the top career choices for recent graduates as a stepping stone from college life to adulting. Freelancing can also be a lucrative way to get paid from contracts that are abroad; landing clients overseas can assist in that nomadic career path and not cost you substantially financially. Paying off student debt in this scenario is feasible by making larger payments every month, depending on a payout from contracts. Some freelancers have reported making $10,000-$30,000 a month based upon the freelancing niche. 

Here is a list of some of the top freelancing niches:

  • Programmer
  • Transcriber 
  • Bookkeeper 
  • Graphic Design
  • Ghostwriter, editor, copywriter 
  • Web Developer
  • Data Analysts 

Tools For A Freelancer

There are many tools a freelance writer must have to ensure all the rules of writing are followed. From basic spelling, punctuation, sentence structure, and adhering to all plagiarism guidelines, it can all become a bit tedious, not to mention time-consuming. Freelancers rely on sites such as Grammarly and CopyScape, to name a few, as their second set of eyes to catch mistakes and possible plagiarism.

Tip 3: Volunteer your time and knowledge 

Organizations such as AmeriCorps and Peace Corps offer 10-12 months of full or part-time employment in their volunteer programs internationally and domestically. Although these are non-profit and don’t provide a paycheck, they provide living arrangements, health insurance, and an allowance for basic needs. You can apply for a temporary postponement of student loan payments during your volunteer work, and AmeriCorps pays off all accrued interest at the end of your term.  

Another added bonus to volunteering for AmeriCorps is that when your 10-12 months are completed, you will receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award that can be used toward additional education, training programs, or paying off your student loans. 

Some of the volunteer jobs at AmeriCorps are:

  • Agriculture
  • Mentoring youth
  • Community Development
  • Education- language 
  • Environment 
  • Health – doctor, nurse, or medical assistant
  • Wildlife Protection and safety 

Read more about it on our post here.

Furthering Your Education 

If you decide to extend your education, looking into programs that require writing a dissertation can be the root of a lot of anxiety. Finding help writing dissertation papers can be a valuable resource and take the stress away from deciding if a second degree is worth it. 

Tip 4: Apply For Income-Based Payments

Most loan servicing centers have options for repaying student loans. They are well aware that most graduates do not land a job right away, or even one that pays enough to live and pay off debt at the same time. If approved, some payments can be as low as $17 a month, which can open up opportunities to afford traveling around the world while paying student loans and maybe even spring for a luxury hotel accommodation. 

Signing up for the auto-pay option offers students a small percentage off their interest rates; while not noticeable at first, those pennies will add up over time. Another program that can help with student loan payments while being beneficial to you is Upromise. This program allows individuals to receive cashback on designated purchases and transfer earnings toward their student loan payments. 

Alternate options to Upromise are:

  • TopCashBack
  • MyPoints
  • PennySaviour
  • FreeMyApps

Tip 5: Research travel coupons and money-saving tips

Educating yourself on the plethora of resources out there on the good ole wide web should be your first and probably most important travel experience. There are dozens of websites dedicated to providing the inside scoop on travel discounts, coupons, reward apps, and so much more. Credit cards, for instance, often have rewards points for frequent flyers that can add up and eventually be enough for several flights. Researching hostiles, Airbnb’s, room share, and other sleeping accommodations is the best way to save a lot of money overalls while traveling. 

The money you save can go towards making larger student loan payments or monthly payments in general. 

Here is a list of other money-saving apps to research:

  • Groupon
  • Frugal Travel- FB group
  • Secret Flying
  • TripAdvisor
  • Last Minute


When it’s all said and done, having to pay off student loans for most of the population is just another part of adulting, and it shouldn’t be the factor that keeps you from living or experiencing your best life. Budgeting and finding simple ways to get discounts are also a part of adulting, and if you combine the two, then a balance can also be achieved.