Chapter 3: How to Handle Debt When You Want to Travel

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I regularly get emails from readers who are eager to hit the road and travel full-time (or long-term), but are contending with various forms of debt, from student loans to credit cards to mortgages.

In this chapter, I give my general advice around this particular financial issue, as well as some tips for setting effective debt management goals.

My Advice About Debt and Long-Term Travel

In order to embrace full-time or long-term travel as a lifestyle, it’s best to be debt-free.

Unless you have a regular stream of income that can more-than-cover regular debt payments, it will be a perpetual thorn in your side as you travel.

My advice – as tough as it might be – is to get your financial house in order before you travel. This means eliminating your debt, or establishing a guaranteed stream of income that can make payments on your debt while you travel.


Creating and adhering to a budget when you travel is tricky business, and many people who take long-term trips or sabbaticals return home with maxed out credit cards.

The last thing you need is to start out on this note. It restricts your freedom on the road, and could create big problems for you if something happens that affects your ability to continue to pay your debt or requires extra money that you don’t have.