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Would you go into debt to travel? - YQtravelling

Would you go into debt to travel?

Recently, I came across an advertisement by HSBC that made me go, “Huh?”

I have the tendency to peer into closed shops. I need to satisfy my curiosity and see what is inside and if it’s really closed.

So I was looking into an HSBC branch that was closed and I saw an ad that caught my attention. On the top, a young woman’s back faces us and she looks like she’s taking a photograph of a sunset. Cool. A travel-related ad.

When I read the text, my jaw dropped:


hsbc borrow money

What the hell?! It’s an ad for a personal loan.

Why is the bank encouraging young people to borrow money to travel? Isn’t it enough they have ads telling people to loan from the bank for their weddings? Why do they have to encroach into travel?

Why I hate that HSBC ad

I hate the ad with the power of a million suns. Here are some of the reasons:

  1. Promoting borrow money to travel. Who does that?
    Why would anyone borrow money to travel. DOES NOT COMPUTE! If you don’t have the money to travel, find a way to get that money or save more.

2. Prioritizes borrowing money over saving money to achieve goals.
Filipino backpacker Paul has a great post on how he saved money for his long-term trip: Earnings – savings = expenses (NOT Earnings – expenses = savings).

Adding on what Karla said in the comments, “People should be smarter and set aside funds in a special account for the trip of their dreams, not a lifetime of stress.”

3. It perpetuates the myth that round-the-world travel is expensive.
If you’re staying in hotels throughout your trip, eating out all the time and take cab everywhere, of course it will be expensive. That’s why you need to plan properly and control your travel expenses. For me, it was staying in hostels, taking public transport, and cooking in the hostel. I was particularly inspired by 943, a Taiwanese travel writer.

4. It romanticizes long-term travelling.
What’s wrong with taking shorter trips in between study or work? I took many weekend trips while I was saving up for my RTW. Jac, from theoccasionaltraveller.com, did that for many years before leaving her job to travel.

5. It encourages rash people to borrow money to travel.
I took two whole years of planning and saving before I quit my job to travel. It’s not something you can do just because you have a bunch of money (that you will need to repay).

6. It makes people think that young people who quit their jobs to travel (even if they have planned carefully) are just YOLO about life.
Yes, “You Only Live Once” but that doesn’t mean you should just throw everything out the window and do whatever your want.


If you’re seriously thinking about borrowing money to travel, think about this: You’d be paying 5 years of loan for a year of travel. Is it worth it?

borrow money travel

More about Liau Yun Qing

Yun Qing is a writer, improviser and curious person. She loves finding little adventures in life. In 2013, she went on a 130-day round-the-world trip. She wrote a book to help those who also want to go on a career break.


    1. Wow, now that is not a smart move by a bank to try to brainwash young people that it is a great idea to ask for a loan in order to travel and owe them your savings or future income.

      I have worked and saved for my numerous trips AND have made the biggest mistake ever of charging tickets/hotels or other things on my credit cards and am paying dearly for it even years later.

      Financial institutions want to convert young people to become dependent on them and get their hard earned money for years to come.

      I think that people should be smarter and set aside funds in a special account for the trip of their dreams, not a lifetime of stress.

      I too agree that it is better to take holidays between studies, work and life at home. One can’t escape reality by traveling full-time and depleting your funds. It is important to come back to a safe place and be self-sufficient.

      Great post :)

      1. Thanks for dropping by, Karla. I love what you said, “..set aside funds for the trip of their dreams, not a lifetime of stress.” So true.

    1. hey thanks for the shoutout :) but man yes I think what irks me about the ad is that it sells an unrealistic dream and it’s unapologetically targeted at young adults who might be quite new to being financially independent and less savvy about how to handle their finances!

    1. I agree with what you wrote! Borrowing the money for traveling is insane. I personally think it cuts more than a half of the pleasure. Just as you said, first things first. Save first, spend later, no matter what is your target.

      1. I’m trying to imagine what was happening in the meeting room. “Let’s have a loan for travelling!” And people actually agreeing to it. #capitalism

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