Travel Loans for Students: How to Finance Your Trip

 November 30, 2021
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As a college student, you might get the opportunity to travel the world, maybe on a study abroad program or vacation trip. But if you’re on a tight budget, you should consider travel loans for students.

Here’s what you need to know about how to finance your adventures:

Travel loans for students

Lender Loan amounts APR rates Loan terms
Best Egg $2,000-$35,000 5.99% – 35.99% 36 or 60
SoFi $5,000-$100,000 7.99% – 23.43% 24 to 84
Upgrade $1,000-$50,000 7.46% – 35.97% 24 to 84

What are travel loans for students? The basics

Travel loans for students are essentially personal loans that students may use toward traveling expenses, such as transportation, food and lodging. With a travel loan, you’ll receive a lump sum in the amount that you qualify for based on factors like your credit score, credit history and income.

Depending on the lender, you may be able to apply for a loan with a cosigner (perhaps a parent or guardian) if you don’t have much experience with credit. This may increase your chances of being approved.

Important terms to know for travel loans

  • APR: The APR on a loan is the amount of interest and fees you have to pay a lender in order to borrow money. APRs are also tacked onto other financial products, like credit cards and mortgages. The higher your credit score, the lower your APR rate can be, and the lower your APR rate, the less you’ll owe over the course of a loan.
  • Loan term: A loan term is the set period time in which you have to pay off your loan. Many personal loan terms run anywhere from 12 to 60 months; however, some lenders offer long-term loans that can go for as many as 144 months. Typically, the shorter your loan term, the higher your payments will be.
  • Credit score: Your credit score is a numeric value — generally ranging from 300 to 850 — that determines your creditworthiness, or how likely you are to pay back a loan on time. Your credit score is based on whether you make payments on time, your credit utilization rate, the types of accounts you have and how old your accounts are. You can check your credit score for free from all three credit bureaus by visiting annualcreditreport.com.
  • Soft-credit inquiry versus hard-credit inquiry: Before applying to see what kind of rates and terms you may be eligible for, be sure to check whether you can prequalify for a loan. This is known as a soft-credit inquiry which allows you to check what kinds of rates and terms you qualify for without hurting your credit. If you decide to proceed with the loan, the lender will eventually have to do a hard-credit check that may temporarily ding your credit. Be sure to compare those offerings with other lenders to get the best possible terms.
  • Cosigner: If you’re unable to get a travel loan based on your own creditworthiness, you may consider getting a cosigner (this can be a parent, guardian or friend that has good credit). Getting a cosigner can help you obtain a travel loan; however, if you’re unable to repay the loan, the responsibility will fall to your cosigner.

How to get a travel loan if you’re a student

When applying for a travel loan, lenders typically require the following information:

  • Contact information
  • Social Security number
  • Income
  • Bank account numbers

If you have a cosigner, they’ll need to provide that information as well.

Since many lending companies base their approval process heavily on credit scores, you’ll need to check your credit to get an idea of where you might land. If you don’t have a lot of experience with credit, consider asking a parent or guardian (someone with good credit) to be a cosigner on the loan. To gain more credit experience consider applying for a student credit card to build up your credit and demonstrate your financial responsibility to lenders.

Before signing on the dotted line for a travel loan, however, make sure that you budget in order to pay back the loan. You don’t want to default on a loan, as it can have a severe impact on your credit score and stay on your record for up to seven years.

Alternatives to travel loans for students

While a personal loan might be a good option for some students wanting to travel, it may not be for everyone. Here’s several alternatives to taking out a travel loan.

  • Student loans: You may be surprised to hear that you can use student loans toward traveling. However, this is generally not recommended — it’s unlikely to be related to your formal education, unless you’re studying abroad. By putting your student loans toward your travel plans, you may find yourself short when it comes time to pay for more essential expenses like classes, textbooks and room and board.
  • Student credit card: A student credit card is a type of credit card specifically made for students. They can be easier for students to qualify for as many of them don’t require you to jump through as many hoops as a regular credit card might. For example, credit score requirements might not be as high for student credit cards; however, this may mean you’ll have to pay higher APR rates.
  • Grants and scholarships: If you’re planning to study abroad, you may be eligible for various grants and scholarship programs to cover some of your travel expenses. Be sure to read the requirements of any grants or scholarships before applying — some may have specific requirements (traveling to certain countries, for example) or are only for students who are enrolled in specific majors.

Pros and cons of travel loans for students

Pros Cons
Can help you build credit as you make on-time payments May be difficult for you to qualify if you don’t have a strong credit background
Allows you to travel without paying a lot of money upfront If you’re unable to pay the loan back on time, that can severely impact your credit
Can help you to diversify your credit portfolio, which may help you secure other types of credit down the road Saving for a trip instead of taking out a travel loan helps you avoid spending extra money on fees and interest
May teach you how to budget as you set aside money to repay the travel loan May be charged higher APR rates if you don’t have a good or excellent credit score

How to budget for travel

Like with any large expense, you’ll need to carefully budget your money to afford your travels. You’ll not only need to budget before you catch your plane, but you should also keep an eye on your money while you’re away to make sure you don’t overspend. To do this, you’ll need to:

  • Figure out your income so you know how much you can afford to spend. Your income will set the framework for what expenses you can and can’t afford. (As we’ll explain later, be sure to give yourself some flexibility and leave room for unexpected costs.)
  • Determine how much you plan to spend while you’re out traveling. It may be tempting to spend money on expensive food, beverages, souvenirs and hotels, but splurges such as these can quickly eat up your budget. Prioritize what you want to spend your time and money on during your travels and research ways to save on items like lodging and transportation.
  • Set aside some money in case of an emergency. While this may feel like you’re taking away from your spending limit, having an emergency fund handy can be a wise decision. There can be a lot of unknowns when it comes to traveling, and having the money to address any bumps in the road can help you. Some examples may include getting sick or injured, losing your luggage, experiencing a crime or having to switch hotels or plane tickets.

Travel loans for students: FAQ

Can you use student loans to travel?

While you may use your student loans to travel, it’s generally not considered wise to do so. Student loans are provided to help you cover your education expenses, and, eventually, you’ll have to pay them back. If you spend your student loans toward nonessential expenses, you may not have enough money to pay for expensive costs such as tuition.

Can you get travel loans?

While it may be difficult for you to be approved by a lender if you don’t have much experience with credit or your score is low, it is possible for students to get travel loans. If you do qualify, you may be subject to higher APR rates if your credit score needs improving. Be sure to carefully research the requirements, as each lender is different and, if you prequalify for any loans, compare each offer to decide which may be the best for you.

Can I take out a loan for study abroad?

Yes, you can take out a loan in order to study abroad; however, you may want to research grants or scholarships that may help you avoid taking out any loans. Many schools and study abroad programs may offer financial assistance for students, and these provisions may not only be easier to qualify for, but may also be less pricey in the long run.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 9 lenders of 2022!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
2.49% – 11.72%1Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Splash

2.50% – 6.30%2Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Laurel Road

4.13% – 7.39%3Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Lendkey

2.49% – 7.99%4Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.49% – 7.99%5Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit NaviRefi

3.24% – 8.24%6Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.48% – 7.98%Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Elfi

1.74% – 7.99%7Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Purefy

3.69% – 9.92%8Undergrad
& Graduate

Visit Citizens

Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Splash Financial.

Splash Financial Disclosures

Terms and Conditions apply. Splash reserves the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. Rates and terms are also subject to change at any time without notice. Offers are subject to credit approval. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. If approved, your actual rate will be within a range of rates and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, income and other factors. Refinancing or consolidating private and federal student loans may not be the right decision for everyone. Federal loans carry special benefits not available for loans made through Splash Financial, for example, public service loan forgiveness and economic hardship programs, fee waivers and rebates on the principal, which may not be accessible to you after you refinance. The rates displayed may include a 0.25% autopay discount.

The information you provide to us is an inquiry to determine whether we or our lenders can make a loan offer that meets your needs. If we or any of our lending partners has an available loan offer for you, you will be invited to submit a loan application to the lender for its review. We do not guarantee that you will receive any loan offers or that your loan application will be approved. Offers are subject to credit approval and are available only to U.S. citizens or permanent residents who meet applicable underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers will receive the lowest rates, which are available to the most qualified borrowers. Participating lenders, rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice.

To check the rates and terms you qualify for, Splash Financial conducts a soft credit pull that will not affect your credit score. However, if you choose a product and continue your application, the lender will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit pull and may affect your credit.

Splash Financial and our lending partners reserve the right to modify or discontinue products and benefits at any time without notice. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen and meet our lending partner’s underwriting requirements. Lowest rates are reserved for the highest qualified borrowers. This information is current as of September 6, 2022.


2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

All credit products are subject to credit approval.

Laurel Road began originating student loans in 2013 and has since helped thousands of professionals with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees consolidate and refinance more than $9 billion in federal and private school loans. Laurel Road also offers a suite of online graduate school loan products and personal loans that help simplify lending through customized technology and personalized service. In April 2019, Laurel Road was acquired by KeyBank, one of the nation’s largest bank-based financial services companies. Laurel Road is a brand of KeyBank National Association offering online lending products in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico. All loans are provided by KeyBank National Association, a nationally chartered bank. Member FDIC. For more information, visit www.laurelroad.com.

As used throughout these Terms & Conditions, the term “Lender” refers to KeyBank National Association and its affiliates, agents, guaranty insurers, investors, assigns, and successors in interest.

  1. Checking your rate with Laurel Road only requires a soft credit pull, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.
  2. Savings vary based on rate and term of your existing and refinanced loan(s). Refinancing to a longer term may lower your monthly payments, but may also increase the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Refinancing to a shorter term may increase your monthly payments, but may lower the total interest paid over the life of the loan. Review your loan documentation for total cost of your refinanced loan.
  3. After loan disbursement, if a borrower documents a qualifying economic hardship, we may agree in our discretion to allow for full or partial forbearance of payments for one or more 3-month time periods (not to exceed 12 months in the aggregate during the term of your loan), provided that we receive acceptable documentation (including updating documentation) of the nature and expected duration of the borrower’s economic hardship. During any period of forbearance interest will continue to accrue. At the end of the forbearance period, any unpaid accrued interest will be capitalized and be added to the remaining principle amount of the loan.
  4. Automatic Payment (“AutoPay”) Discount: if the borrower chooses to make monthly payments automatically from a bank account, the interest rate will decrease by 0.25% and will increase back if the borrower stops making (or we stop accepting) monthly payments automatically from the borrower’s bank account. The 0.25% AutoPay discount will not reduce the monthly payment; instead, the discount is applied to the principal to help pay the loan down faster.

Assumptions: Repayment examples above assume a loan amount of $10,000 with repayment beginning immediately following disbursement. Repayment examples do not include the 0.25% AutoPay Discount.

Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): This term represents the actual cost of financing to the borrower over the life of the loan expressed as a yearly rate.

Interest Rate: A simple annual rate that is applied to an unpaid balance.

Variable Rates: The current index for variable rate loans is derived from the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) and changes in the LIBOR index may cause your monthly payment to increase. Borrowers who take out a term of 5, 7, or 10 years will have a maximum interest rate of 9%, those who take out a 15 or 20-year variable loan will have a maximum interest rate of 10%.

KEYBANK NATIONAL ASSOCIATION RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE.

This information is current as of April 29, 2021. Information and rates are subject to change without notice.
 


3 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via LendKey.com is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via LendKey.com. If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on LendKey.com reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it  endorse,  any educational institution.

Subject to floor rate and may require the automatic payments be made from a checking or savings account with the lender. The rate reduction will be removed and the rate will be increased by 0.25% upon any cancellation or failed collection attempt of the automatic payment and will be suspended during any period of deferment or forbearance. As a result, during the forbearance or suspension period, and/or if the automatic payment is canceled, any increase will take the form of higher payments. The lowest advertised variable APR is only available for loan terms of  5 years and is reserved for applicants with FICO scores of at least 810.

As of 09/09/2022 student loan refinancing rates range from 4.13% APR – 7.39% Variable APR with AutoPay and 2.99% APR – 9.93% Fixed APR with AutoPay.


4 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


5 Important Disclosures for Navient.

Navient Disclosures

You can choose between fixed and variable rates. Fixed interest rates are 3.99% – 8.74% APR (3.74% – 8.49% APR with Auto Pay discount). Starting variable interest rates are 2.74% APR to 8.24% APR (2.49% – 7.99% APR with Auto Pay discount). Variable rates are based on an index, the 30-day Average Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) plus a margin. Variable rates are reset monthly based on the fluctuation of the index. We do not currently offer variable rate loans in AK, CO, CT, HI, IL, KY, MA, MN, MS, NH, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, and VA.


6 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

Fixed rates range from 3.99% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Variable rates from 3.24% APR to 8.24% APR with a 0.25% autopay discount. Unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law, Variable Interest rates on 5-, 7-, and 10-year terms are capped at 8.95% APR; 15- and 20-year terms are capped at 9.95% APR. Your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on the term you select, evaluation of your creditworthiness, income, presence of a co-signer and a variety of other factors. Lowest rates reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. For the SoFi variable-rate product, the variable interest rate for a given month is derived by adding a margin to the 30-day average SOFR index, published two business days preceding such calendar month, rounded up to the nearest one hundredth of one percent (0.01% or 0.0001). APRs for variable-rate loans may increase after origination if the SOFR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. This benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit lowers your interest rate but does not change the amount of your monthly payment. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance. Autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi.


7 Important Disclosures for Purefy.

Purefy Disclosures

Purefy Student Loan Refinancing Rate and Terms Disclosure: Annual Percentage Rates (APR) ranges and examples are based on information provided to Purefy by lenders participating in Purefy’s rate comparison platform. For student loan refinancing, the participating lenders offer fixed rates ranging from 2.73% – 7.99% APR, and variable rates ranging from 1.74% – 7.99% APR. The maximum variable rate is 25.00%. Your interest rate will be based on the lender’s requirements. In most cases, lenders determine the interest rates based on your credit score, degree type and other credit and financial criteria. Only borrowers with excellent credit and meeting other lender criteria will qualify for the lowest rate available. Rates and terms are subject to change at any time without notice. Terms and conditions apply.  


8 Important Disclosures for Citizens.

CitizensBank Disclosures

Education Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%-9.92% (3.69%-9.92% APR). Fixed interest rates range from  4.49%-10.11% (4.49%-10.11% APR). 

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 6.39%- 9.60% (6.39% – 9.60% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.58% – 9.79% (6.58% – 9.79% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).

Education Refinance Loan for Parents Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69%- 9.09% (3.69%- 9.09% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.28% (4.49% – 9.28% APR).

Medical Residency Refinance Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.69% – 9.16% (3.69% – 9.16% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.49% – 9.35% (4.49% – 9.35% APR).