travel debt and how to avoid it

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Debt Snowball 101: How it Got Us Out of Travel Debt

Are you looking at your life and wondering how the heck am I ever going to find the freedom I’m craving with all of this debt?

You don’t have to look far to see others around you who are traveling the world, living free, and who don’t appear to have a worry in the world.

It can be frustrating and downright depressing when debt is getting in the way of your dreams to travel.

I know I’ve been there! Several years ago we were struggling financially after the ski resort I worked at went into foreclosure and laid off all its employees. I was not only frustrated that we weren’t able to live the life we dreamed of, I was depressed because I wasn’t sure how to pay off the debt we had.

What’s most frustrating is not knowing where to start. 

Should You Pay Down Debt That Has the Highest Interest Rate or Should You Focus Your Energy on the Debt With the Lowest Interest?

When you look at a big chunk of debt it can seem like an impossible challenge.  Every bit of money you throw at it hardly makes a dent.

Getting out of debt is a mindset and that’s where the debt snowball comes into play. The debt snowball made famous by the financial guru Dave Ramsey offers an approach that is not only good for reducing debt but is also good for the mind. 

Should You Pay off the Smallest Debt First or The Highest Interest Rate?

This is a common question that has been debated for years. The answer to this question depends on your personality and the situation you are in. If you have an aggressive personality, then it would be best for you to pay off the highest interest rate debt first. However, if you are more of a risk-averse type person and do not want to take on any unnecessary risks, then it would be best for you to pay off the smallest debt first.

The decision ultimately comes down to what approach you are most comfortable with taking. We’re going to give you info about the debt snowball and the debt avalanche so hopefully this question will be addressed below.

going into debt for travel

Why We Think the Debt Snowball is the Best for Getting Out of Debt

  1. The debt snowball is easy to implement and understand 
  2. You see progress quickly
  3. You feel empowered and motivated because you see debt completely eliminated

The Debt Snowball Explanation

You’re probably wondering what the heck does a snowball have to do with my debt?  Quite a bit actually.  The debt snowball in a financial sense works similarly to a snowball rolling down a mountain.

Picture a snowball starting from the top of a mountain heading downhill.  As the snowball starts its descent it starts off small but as it gains speed it becomes larger and larger while gaining more momentum and adding more snow.

This is exactly how the debt snowball works with your money too.  You’ll start small with focused intensity. Once you put some effort towards gathering snowflakes (money) for your snowball, you begin to gain momentum as it heads downhill allowing you to crush your debt once and for all.

How the Debt Snowball Method Works

Your objective with the debt snowball is to focus on paying off small debts first. 

For example, if you have 4 credit cards each totaling $150, $800, $300, and $1,200 you want to pay off the card that has the $150 balance first. Once you have eliminated the smallest debt, add the freed up money from paying off the first debt to the second, and so on. 

As you shortly say goodbye to 2 debts you begin to realize that this process is doable and the drive to pay off more becomes contagious.  We like this method because it’s good for the mind.

You of course need to keep paying minimums on your other debt but just put your focus toward your smallest debt.

If you need some ideas on how to make some extra cash, head over to passive income ideas or check out teaching English online.

Why the Debt Snowball is Effective

There’s a bit psychology mixed in with this whole debt snowball payoff plan.  The mind is a powerful thing and by seeing results fast you’re more inclined to stick with the program until the end.

We all like to feel accomplished and the debt snowball technique gives you that confidence.  It gives us a quick dose of “you can do this!”

The first time you eliminate a debt you’ll be feeling all sorts of highs knowing you’re making progress.  The thought of being able to accomplish your goal of becoming debt-free starts to sound more realistic rather than a hazy idea in your head.

It’s been scientifically proven that you’re more likely to stick with a plan if you see fast results.  

This is exactly why the debt snowball works so well.

People become stressed out by financial burdens and this method helps people see that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

By concentrating on the smallest debt first it keeps you from becoming overwhelmed by the big picture debt. 

travel debt and budget

5 Steps for Implementing the Travel Debt Snowball

You ready to put this snowball in motion to see how it works?  Let’s walk through an example with our fake friend Jenny.

Jenny just received her paycheck and after reviewing it and her bank account she realizes she has an extra $650 from working a bit of overtime this month.


Jenny lists all of her debts excluding her mortgage from smallest to largest regardless of interest rates.

The Debt Snowball And How It Got Us Out Of Travel Debt Fast


(Month 1) Jenny is going to take that extra $650 she found when reviewing her budget and apply it along with the minimum amount due to her Capital One Credit card (Debt 1).

This means she’ll be paying a total of $675.00 to expense #1 and the minimum amounts to the rest of her debts.  

The Debt Snowball And How It Got Us Out Of Travel Debt Fast

Jenny’s balance of $1000 on debt #1 is a lot of money.  But that $30,0000 car loan is a TON of money.

By focusing on paying off that $1000 first Jenny begins to train her brain to see that this is possible and she CAN do it.

If she’s able to find some extra money next month too she’ll see that the $1000 debt has completely disappeared.  Goodbye!

The achievement of completely eliminating her smallest debt will motivate her and fuel her fire to continue knocking out the next.


(Month 2) Once again Jenny had a great month and has an extra $650 from working overtime and selling her old bike.  Lucky for her she’ll end this month by completely paying off debt 1 with a portion of that $650 and whatever is leftover from the $650 she’ll put towards debt #2.

Can you feel the momentum?  She’s starting to get this snowball rolling now.

The Debt Snowball And How It Got Us Out Of Travel Debt Fast


(Month 3) Guess what? Jenny has now completely paid off Debt #1 and can begin focusing her energy on paying off the next. 

The Debt Snowball And How It Got Us Out Of Travel Debt Fast


(Six months later).  Here’s where the magic begins to take place. Jenny has now completely paid off 2 debts and she can begin working on the third.

The Debt Snowball And How It Got Us Out Of Travel Debt Fast

Can you see how this begins to gain momentum as the smaller debts are paid off? Jenny started with a total debt balance of $54,000 and by month 6 she’s down to $41,450! 

What is an Advantage to Using the Debt Snowball Method?

The debt snowball and the debt avalanche are two of the most popular strategies for paying off your debts. The Debt Snowball Method is an easy way to save money, especially if you’re looking to take on a part-time job or side hustle while you work towards your goal.

Once you decide how much you’re paying monthly and which debt you’re putting extra money toward, the hard part is sticking to it. While this method can be difficult at times, there are many advantages that come from using it, such as making progress on all of your debts each month.

The debt snowball method also helps you stay motivated because by the time you get to your smallest, most recent debt, it’s not even a drop in the bucket.

The Debt Snowball Method has helped many people get out of debt quickly, even us! It’s a great way to save money and stay motivated so you can start.

What is the Debt Avalanche?

The debt avalanche is a process of paying your minimum balance on each card to ensure that they are paid off quickly. After you’ve paid the minimum balance on all your debts your goal is to devote any extra money to the debt with the highest interest rate. This system continues until all the debts are paid off.

The easiest way to do this is by automating the payment process with an online service like Acorns or Mint. These services will automatically deduct the minimum balance from your checking account, which you can then pay off with your paycheck. An alternative way is to schedule payments using online bill pay with the institution you bank at.

Please… please remember. Any variable interest rate credit card can charge enormous fees for missed payments or late payments. For example, in 2011 Bank of America’s regular interest rate was 12.99% but the late payment fee was 29.99%.

Difference Between Debt Avalanche and Debt Snowball methods

What’s the Difference Between Debt Avalanche and Debt Snowball?

The difference between debt avalanche and debt snowball is that with the debt avalanche method you’re making minimum payments on all debt, then using any extra funds to pay off the debt with the highest interest rate.

The debt snowball method involves making minimum payments on all debt, then paying off the smallest debts first before moving on to bigger ones.

Where Can I Find a Free Debt Snowball Calculator To Help Me?

A debt snowball calculator is a tool that can be used to calculate how quickly you might pay off your debts by making minimum payments on each of them. Obviously, this will depend on the interest rate, the monthly payment, and the amount of money you have available to pay off your debts. 

How To Use The Debt Avalanche?

Debt Avalanche is a personal finance strategy that can be helpful to some people, but it may not be the best option for everyone.

The debt avalanche targets debts with the highest interest rates first. This route may help you save time and interest over your debt payoff journey. There are some benefits to this technique, such as more manageable monthly payments and lower interest rates on new debt. There are also drawbacks though, like paying more over the life of the loan.

Debt Avalanche can be a good option for people with high-interest debt, but it may not make sense to use this strategy if you have low interest.

Where Can I Find a Free Debt Avalanche Calculator?

We understand that debt is a common problem for nearly everyone. The debt avalanche calculator can help you figure out if this type of repayment plan would work best for your current situation, but it’s important to understand how this works first.

As mentioned above debt avalanche is a repayment plan where the initial monthly payment for all of your debt goes towards the one with the highest interest rate, and then on to the next highest rates. This can be a great way to pay off your debt quickly, but it’s important to make sure that you have enough money left over after paying all of your bills each month. Here’s a good debt avalanche calculator that we like to use 

What Kind of Person Will be Successful With the Debt Snowball?

We think the debt snowball is good for just about anyone who is struggling with their finances.  The encouragement you get from completely eliminating those small debts is motivating.

However, that being said you need to figure out what works best for you. A plan does you no good unless you implement it. 

Start today and free up some cash for what matter most in your life. 

What Kind of Person Will be Successful With the Debt Avalanche Method?

The debt avalanche strategy begins with paying off with any credit cards, followed by small loans, personal lines of credits and home loans.

This method is best for people with high debt-to-income ratios or those who can’t afford to pay off their debts over a set period of time. It’s also good for those who have a high-interest balance on one particular account.

The person that is best suited for the debt avalanche method is the person with a lot of debt and their income doesn’t match up.

Tips For Keeping Your Travel Dreams Alive butCurbing Your Spending Habits

Begin with being mindful of your needs and wants. Doing this will help you to have a better idea what is really necessary in life. It also helps reduce impulse spending, which can be a killer to a budget.

Don’t think that just because you’re lacking money you can’t have fun! Check out vacations you can do on a budget like a camping trip or a staycation.

You can also visit the library, go to free festivals and concerts in your area, and watch Netflix for entertainment.

Should I Travel or Pay Off Debt?

I’m so close to being debt free but I don’t know if it’s time to travel or pay off my debts. How do you decide?

I understand how difficult it can be to make this decision. It’s always best to pay off your debts first, but if you are almost debt free then I would say that it’s time to start thinking about your next big adventure.

How To Pay Off Debt and Travel?

You should never, ever go into more debt in order to travel. While traveling is wonderful, it is not worth more debt, especially if you are using credit cards to fund the trip.If you are going to take a vacation then you should save up the amount you need to spend before you actually go.The debt snowball is a way to pay off your debts. It’s best if you can put all of your money into paying down the smallest debt first, then work on the next one and so on.

How To Travel With Student Loan Debt?

When you have student loans, they are not considered to be a form of debt that is eligible for the debt snowball. You will need to do some research on what type of repayment plan you can sign up for that will allow you to pay off your student loans.

The first thing you need to do is pay off the smallest debt first, then work on the next one and so on. It’s important to stay focused and on track with this method, because if you get discouraged then the smallest debt will start to grow.

Some Questions We’ve asked Ourselves or Others Have Asked Us About Traveling The World On A Budget Are:

Can I Travel While in Debt? And What Kind of Person is Best Suited for the Debt Snowball?

You can travel, but not as comfortably or for as long. The person that is best suited for the debt snowball method is someone who has a lot of low-interest credit card balances.

What Type of Summer Travel is Worth the Debt Hangover?

The type of summer travel worth the debt hangover is something that’s not too expensive. A good example of this would be staying in a cabin with friends for a weekend, or going camping with family.

The reason this type of travel is worth the debt hangover is because it’s cheap, and not expensive.

Doing something like staying in a cabin or going camping with friends or family will help you to save money. You can spend your money on other things like paying off your credit card debt.

What Did We Start or Stop Spending Money on While We Were Using the Debt Snowball?

I stopped spending money on the membership of my gym. I would spend $40 a month and go to the gym maybe two times in that time period, so it was not worth it for me.

We also stopped spending money on going out to eat.

How much debt did we pay off? We paid off $2,000 worth of credit card debt in just 6 months months with the method described in this article.

What Do or Don’t We Miss Doing Since We Started The Debt Snowball Method?

I don’t miss spending money on anything other than the essentials. I also enjoy not having to worry about how I’m going to pay for things or whether my paycheck will cover it or not.

I like not feeling the stress of wondering what I’m going to do when my income isn’t enough. Essentially the debt snowball has helped us pay off our debt and we don’t miss anything about it.

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