How to Afford Traveling After College


After classes are over, finals have been taken, and mortarboards have been hung up, recent graduates pack up their suitcases for a trip of a lifetime. Taking a big trip after graduating from college has become a time-tested rite of passage.

Many new grads jet off to Europe or South America for the summer soon after the graduation ceremony ends. Usually, traveling after college serves a dual purpose: it is both a way to celebrate your huge accomplishment and to have some fun before joining the permanent workforce.

The only problem is that with many students graduating with hefty student loan debt and no source of income yet, funding your dream college graduation trip can be difficult. The good news is that, whether you’re planning an ecotourism trip to Belize or a classic tour of Italy, there are ways to make your dream trip happen.

Plan Ahead For College Graduation Trips

If you know you want to celebrate your college graduation by jet-setting on a big adventure, the best thing you can do is to start saving now. Whether you’re a freshman who has four years to plan and save, or a senior who is trying to pull this together in a few months, you can start building up a travel fund ASAP.

If you have a few years ahead of you before graduation, you might want to consider some shorter-term investments for your travel fund. With SoFi Invest, you can invest without any hassle and pull your money out whenever you need it. Investing your money does have risks, but it also has the potential to grow over time.

If you are working on a shorter timeline, consider using SoFi MoneyTM to save. It functions as a hybrid between a checking account and an interest-bearing savings account.

Whether you invest your travel fund or keep it in a savings account, saving in advance can help you fund your dream trip without financial stress. Some students even choose to take on an additional side hustle, like babysitting, yard work, or web design to specifically save for traveling after college.

Optimize Friends, Family, and Frugal Finds

Traveling immediately after college graduation often means looking for cheap deals and budget finds. Before you decide where you want to go, scroll through social media and make a mental note of anywhere you have friends and family.

Does your cousin live in Luxembourg? What about your old roommate that just got that awesome job in Mexico City? You might be surprised how many people are willing to let a friendly face crash on their couch. Planning your trip around free or cheap housing can seriously cut down on the final costs of traveling.

If you’re looking for a long trip, you may even be able to score free meals and lodging in return for working through a farming exchange program. If you’re interested in working while you travel, there are a variety of programs that offer the opportunity to teach English in foreign countries. Having a new home base means you can take lots of little trips and explore a completely new country, while still making a bit of money.

Another option for travel deals? The internet. There are lots of sites that offer discount airfare, hotels or hostels, excursions, or even all-inclusive trips that are relatively affordable. Depending on what you are interested in doing on your celebratory vacation a quick browse through discount travel sites could mean you book your dream vacation for less.

Using a Personal Loan for Traveling After College

If college graduation is right around the corner and you don’t have much time to save, don’t worry, you can still make your vacation happen. If you haven’t saved up enough, you might be tempted to put that plane ticket to Iceland and two weeks of hotel stays on your credit card, but you may want to consider using a personal loan instead to make up the difference.

It is important to remember there are certain fairly strict eligibility requirements to qualify for a personal loan. It may be a good idea to get quotes from multiple lenders to determine which (if any) is the right fit for you.

While many people associate personal loans with big-ticket items like home improvements, engagement rings, or weddings, using a personal loan for college graduation trips can actually be a smart way to fund your adventure and pay it off over time.

Why use a personal loan instead of a credit card? Well, the average new credit card interest rate is a whopping
19.05% . On the other hand, personal loans from SoFi have lower interest rates and no additional fees, like origination fees or prepayment penalties.

One more bonus to using a personal loan instead of relying on a credit card? Many countries rely largely on cash, which could potentially put you in a pickle if you only have your credit card to work with.

Using a personal loan allows you to use cash when you need it and keep the rest in your checking account, instead of hoping your credit card isn’t unexpectedly locked each time you arrive in a new country.

Whether you’re heading to Belgium to spend a week doing nothing but eating chocolate or are planning an around-the-world blowout, a personal loan from SoFi can help you get the cash you need to see the world.

Ready to hit the road? Learn more about how a personal loan from SoFi can help you fund your dream college graduation trip.
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