To take the loan, or to not take the loan - TravelPUNK Backpacker College Student Budget Travel Message Boards!



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Travel Budget, Money Matters, Financial Talk Mom, can I borrow ten grand?! Gimme yo mastercard! How the heck can I pay for my trip?! Ideas for making money. How much dough do I need?

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Old 04-09-2005, 08:38 PM   #1
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I need some serious advice here:

I'm considering taking out a loan of $4000-5000 for a backpacking trip across western europe this summer. I only just thought about it today lol. I've done my research, own the Lets Go 2005 edition, etc so I wouldn't say I'm getting myself into something I don't know anything about, if I decide to go..Now I'm already $2000 in-debt from taking out school loans. If I do this, it'll put me at about 7 grand. My mom is kinda in the middle...she says its a lot of money, but this is a great experience. I'm also thinking maybe I can do this next summer, but I'm so impatient and I want to do this REALLY bad. Gah.

What do you guys honestly think? To take the loan, or to not take the loan.
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Old 04-09-2005, 09:20 PM   #2
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wow, this is a tough choice im sure.

being one who is in debt and has spent the last year and a half digging my way out, loans suck serious donkey balls....but, if you think it is the only way and the only chance you would get to take the rip then go for it...

i however would say suck it up, work your ass off and save the $4000 - $5000, and plan the trip for the future....patience is a virtue


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Old 04-09-2005, 10:07 PM   #3
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dude just do a belize trip or something this summer for a couple weeks. Someplace to cheap to sastify the travel-tooth and then save hard core over the winter and hit up europe next year!
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:33 AM   #4
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dude, i know it's hard to wait...hell ive been saving for my euro trip for like 3 years now. so trust me it can be done. paying off loans sucks ass, and interest is not your friend. i say suck it up and wait the year so that you can do it and feel good about it. It's only one more year, and trust me, it'll go by fast. Then when you actually do go it'll be so much more worthwhile good luck!
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Old 04-10-2005, 10:25 AM   #5
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You would have alot more fun next year if there wasn't a 7k hole waiting for you on your return.
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:33 PM   #6
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i'm gonna go against the flow here and say go for it!! A debt is just a debt, it's just numbers, but the experiences you will have are real. So instead of not going and saving your ass off for a year i reckon go now and use that money you would be saving to pay off the loan. It all works out pretty much the same, its just you could go now, or in a year...i know which i'd prefer. But i'd only do this if i was sure i could afford each and every single load repayment. I reckon Jake's idea is probably the best though - go someplace cheap for now and take the big expensive europe trip once you have a bit more financial security.

Just my 2 cents. Either way, you're gonna get to do some travelling
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Old 04-10-2005, 09:02 PM   #7
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Hell ya go for it!!! You never know when the chance will come up again, take it while you can!! A good way to look at a loan is its just the opposite of saving up. Your wallet may be light for a little bit, but I guarantee you won't regret the trip.

Live a little reckless, you can't play safe your whole life. I'm actually a bit surprised people from this site are suggesting not to go.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:33 AM   #8
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I'm totally against loans in every form, the banks have you by the short and curleys. It's like a sentence. I'm also totally oposed to work so I can see your dilema.

Jakes idea sounds like a good compremise, but if you do go for a loan, shop around! Banks make money off the ignorance of their customers, they will screw you there's no doubt of that. You just have to try and minimise the long term damage of having a mutinational up your ass for 10 years.
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Old 04-11-2005, 06:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by pinion@Apr 10 2005, 09:01 PM
Hell ya go for it!!! You never know when the chance will come up again, take it while you can!! A good way to look at a loan is its just the opposite of saving up. Your wallet may be light for a little bit, but I guarantee you won't regret the trip.

Live a little reckless, you can't play safe your whole life. I'm actually a bit surprised people from this site are suggesting not to go.
i think that is mostly because you really limit your options for later on...if you travel on a loan, you have to pay that back w/interst before you can travel again...plus then you would either have to take another loan or save up + pay off your first....it just sets you in a bad loop of borrowing...plus...its a lot different to spend money you have earned and then save more, then to borrow and end up being a slave to monthly bills


but seriously...if you just want to make this a one time shot...a loan is fine...if you catch the bug and want to make it a trip or two every year....then the loan will seriously hinder you
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Old 04-11-2005, 06:36 AM   #10
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I agree TJ I would much rather be saving up money with a goal in sight so that their is something to look foward to. rather than make your last payment of $194.44 THREE YEARS after you left for the trip(and that's with no intersest)

Save your money you'll be a lot happier in the long run.
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Old 04-11-2005, 10:46 AM   #11
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Being in debt sucks ass... believe me... I'd go the save-and-do-something-cheaper-in-the-meantime-to-hold-you-over route. I'm still paying off thousands and thousands of dollars in debt, and I'm in the upper echelon of the workforce. It's my damn debt keeping me down and holding me back from doing everything I want to do, so I advise patience... That's just my $.02
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Old 04-11-2005, 02:43 PM   #12
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Gah, so many mixed opinions lol. Thanks for the feedback though, everyone I totally don't know what I'm going to do. Yea debt is a bitch, and I think I'd enjoy coming home from my trip not owing Wells Fargo. But at the same time - its EUROPE
!!!!!

I'm a little eager to do this I suppose, because I was actually supposed to go this summer [I had money saved from some of the financial aid I get from school] but I also needed a laptop for classes. Figured the laptop should be my #1 priority so I Xed my trip I could follow Jake's advice, but I'm seriously not interested in roaming any other continent but Europe lol. I specifically want to see Italy, France, Spain and Portugal.

My dilemma is crazy:

I can take the loan, get the hell out of America this summer for hopefully 2 months - taking in the different cultures of western Europe. Come home to a 5k debt, but pay it all off [using all the extra money I get from financial aid] by the start of summer 06'. As a consequence though, I won't be able to live on campus [my dreeeeam] and will have to stay at home another year [blah].

Dang, if I were like some of you guys - working my butt off to pay for the trip - I'd be set. Too bad I'm lazy, pft.
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Old 04-11-2005, 03:56 PM   #13
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Quote:
I'm seriously not interested in roaming any other continent but Europe
Dude, there are soooo many other cool places out there other than europe, don't limit yourself, do some research on places like Asia, central america and south america, i think you'll be pleasantly surprised.

Quote:
As a consequence though, I won't be able to live on campus [my dreeeeam] and will have to stay at home another year [blah].
I guess you've gotta prioritise your dreams, what's more important to you - a 2 month getaway or on campus living. Europe will always be there and you can travel it at any age, but on campus living is something you can only get away with while you're young.

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Dang, if I were like some of you guys - working my butt off to pay for the trip - I'd be set.
That's right, you would be set, i've had to work 13 hr days for months to pay for my trip, but now i have the money so it's all happening!! Working sucks balls but the rewards are well worth it.
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Old 04-11-2005, 04:11 PM   #14
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Dude, there are soooo many other cool places out there other than europe, don't limit yourself, do some research on places like Asia, central america and south america, i think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
Oh I know. There are several countries I want to visit outside of Europe: Egypt, Argentina, India. However, I've ALWAYS wanted to see western Europe above all - thats the only part of the world I'm focusing on now.

Quote:
I guess you've gotta prioritise your dreams, what's more important to you - a 2 month getaway or on campus living. Europe will always be there and you can travel it at any age, but on campus living is something you can only get away with while you're young.
Thats true. Considering I have about 4 more yrs of undergrad ahead of me, I figure I have sufficient time to live on campus. So thats why I'm trying to figure out if I should backpack now and skip the campus housing thing next year, doing it maybe fall 2006 - or vice versa.

Quote:
That's right, you would be set, i've had to work 13 hr days for months to pay for my trip, but now i have the money so it's all happening!! Working sucks balls but the rewards are well worth it.
Thats awesome I guess I'm fortunate enough to where its not exactly necessary that I have work to travel. Its all about when I should do it, at this point, and whether or not taking this loan and paying it off [or most of it] next year is worth it.
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Old 04-11-2005, 07:18 PM   #15
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Here is my take:

I currently have $16,000 in student loans. I have roughly $9,000 left on my car. I JUST paid of my credit cards ($4,000). I am now constrained to working for 3 years (at least) full time and paying every dime I have to loans then start saving. My long term dream is to pay all debts, sell everything, have at least $10,000 USD and hit the road never to return. I am working my ass off now to achieve this and the only thing I can do is read books and websites on travel and monitor my spending closely so that I can do this. I am now VERY anti-debt unless you have an asset to back it up like a car, house, or investment.

7,000 isn't so bad but it will take a while to dig out of that hole. If you do decide to bite the bullet on your laziness and work you will get experience while in college that I promise you will give you and edge in job interviews. Not to mention a higher salary now and later. If I could go back in time I would have been able to backpack every summer thru college on my own dollar. Hind sight is 20/20.

Good luck no matter what you decide!

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Old 04-11-2005, 08:30 PM   #16
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Hm, I don't know about this. I am in law school and took out the federal maximum for the year and was frugal and have a few thou left over which is what I'm using to study/travel in Argentina this summer.....so I am doing it on loans but since it is what I took out anyway for school it doesn't seem so bad b/c I'm not taking out more just for this you know?

But that is a tough decision. Somehow a few thou in loans doesn't seem as bad when it's a drop in the bucket, like in my case it'll be 60K total by the time I'm done.

Best of luck with your decision!!!!!
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Old 04-11-2005, 09:14 PM   #17
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I hate "paying for something later".....saving the money will give you a great sense of acheivement. Why look forward to paying off a trip you already took? Save and look forward to the trip, then to the next one
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Old 04-22-2005, 12:59 PM   #18
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Don't go in the hole unless you need to. Save up, bud! Some recklessness is good, some are not.
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Old 04-29-2005, 12:41 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by kingcrazylegs@Apr 11 2005, 08:13 PM
I hate "paying for something later".....
Me too, I don't even use my credit card unless I absolutely have to. And even then I pay off the balance every month in full so I don't get stuck with the enormous interest charges. Whether it is $1500 or $15, I pay it off.

Let us know what you decide about getting the loan though, good luck!
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Old 05-03-2005, 08:50 PM   #20
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I understand having your heart set on a certain country or region, it's part of the initial urge to travel in the first place. You can lessen the loan, though, by staying for less time. 2 months in Europe is AWESOME and something I'm looking forward to myself, but don't go past your current abilities; a month or less will give you a much smaller debt that you may be able to cover with your financial aid, and will be more satisfying than coming home after two months from your first trip to your first loan payment. You may become homesick after the first month anyway, especially if it's your first trip.

You can also find ways to lessen the cost, like camping instead of staying in hostels, staying in less expensive cities, and avoiding shopping sprees (are you going to buy things, or experience things?).

For my trip, it's costing me over $300 to stay in Amsterdam, but only $200 to stay in Nice, and there are many cities that are even cheaper. Shop your cities along with your other options (if you're still considering it), and remember that beggars (college students considering big loans qualify here) can't be choosers.
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