From Nomadic Matt – “Don’t Have (Travel) Regrets

I saw and shared this on my google reader, but for those who don’t use google reader, I wanted to get this link out there and share it. Matt talks about his regret of not studying abroad in college. One of the reasons he cites is fear of “missing” things going on at home. Years later he still regrets not spending a semester abroad in another country, even though he has been traveling almost non-stop since 2006! He comes to the conclusion that when you return home from your time abroad that things pick up right where you left off.

One of the other things Matt indirectly brings up is the idea of having regrets. I think the quote by Mark Twain sums it up best for me:

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

Don’t wait until later to do something you want to do. Make your best efforts to pursue those goals now.

I know several people going back to school right now. I hope that they consider spending a semester abroad as part of their graduate studies.

Don’t Have (Travel) Regrets | Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

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News Link – A 15,000 dollar tax credit for buying a house after all??

I saw this link on one of the message boards I frequent. Apparently the Senate wants to increase the home buyer tax credit to 15,000 and remove the income and first time buyer restrictions.  Originally, when the stimulus bill was being considered in Congress, the first time home buyer tax credit was $15,000 in the Senate version and nothing in the House version. Through negotiations, the tax credit was watered down to $8,000 with certain restrictions.

Now apparently to encourage even more home buying the Senate would like to increase this tax credit back to the original $15,000! You got to love the government for trying. Personally, no tax credit is going to completely solve the problem with people losing their jobs, unable to meet their monthly obligations, and unable to easily get approved for financing.

This is definitely one to watch though.

Senators Want Homebuyer Tax Credit to Rise to $15,000 (Update2) – Bloomberg.com.

The nerve these guys have – Ryanair now charging for boarding passes?!?

Saw this one on UpgradeTravelBetter.com, it looks like Ryanair is now charging for the privilege of issuing a boarding pass at home. All I have to say this one is wow…what will these guys think of next…charging for the use of bathrooms in flight?…oh wait… they are already thinking about that.

If this fee sticks, this is going to really surprise me. Ryanair is based in Europe. I would think that the EU regulators and consumer adovacates will raise quite a storm about this. I understand the need for airline to generate revenue from new fees, but this is taking it to the extreme.

Chutzpah: Ryanair to charge £5 (and up) for boarding passes | Upgrade: Travel Better.

The blessing and curse of student loans

I read this article on USA Today about the pressures of paying off students loans. I can certainly relate to this pressure as I have spent the majority of my extra income from the last 4 years paying off  over $50,000 in student loans years earlier than I am required. I may have made a choice to pay down those loans early, but I’d rather get rid of debt as quickly as possible.

I found a few things interesting about in this article.  First, how hard student loans are to discharge through bankruptcy. The article seemed to indicate it was easier to discharge gambling debt through bankruptcy than student loans. This doesn’t seem right to me.

The second thing I found interesting was regarding the cost of private loans. Private lenders claimed that once the law disallowed the discharge of private student loans that these loans would become cheaper. According to the article, the interest rates on private student loans have not become cheaper. I don’t know enough about the current private student loan environment, but from my own experience, as the interest rates have dropped, so to have the rates on my remaining private loans. This is probably because the interest rate on my loans are variable and tied to the market rate.

I certainly think that the government needs to take some action to give students relief from their loans especially in the current tough economic times. The banks that gave these loans out have certainly been granted billions of dollars in relief. I see no reason why students can not be granted some relief as well. The article makes an excellent point that many students can not afford to search for a job in a career related to their major because they are taking lower paying jobs to keep up with student loan payments.

The final point I’d like to make is that student loans can be both a blessing and a curse. They can help students pursue their dreams but sometimes at a fairly steep price. Looking back, I wish I had paid out of pocket for more of my college costs. Starting out with a negative net worth and mountain of debt is no fun as recent graduates are quickly coming to realize.

College graduates struggle to repay student loans – USATODAY.com.

Link of the Day: What Can Travel Teach You About The American Dream?

I saw this article on BraveNewTraveler.com. I think the concept of the “American Dream” is slowly changing for some younger people here in the States. However, for the majority of people (even I would argue the majority of young people age 22-35) the concept of owning a house, having 2.5 kids, and marrying a lawyer/doctor is still the basic idea of the “American Dream”.

My challenge to you is to think outside this concept. Think about the things you keep saying I’ll wait to do when I am retired or think about those things that you keep thinking would be “nice” to do but for some reason always get reprioritized.

Once you do this, maybe you will see your idea of the “American Dream” is not the same as what others have in mind.

What Can Travel Teach You About The American Dream?.

Game Changing News for those who collect miles and points – American Airlines One-Way Mileage Awards!!!

According to Dansdeal.com (a site I frequent for deals and news), American Airlines has just launched one-way awards. I’ve been waiting for US-airlines to allow their frequent flyer members to redeem one-way awards. Previously and on all other US airlines, if you wanted a one-way award, you would have to book the roundtrip award ticket, plan on losing half the ticket, and half the miles paid for that award. Now with American, you can get a one-way award for half the cost of the round trip. This opens up new possibilities and flexibility for me as I plan my around the world trip. Basically if I wanted to fly somewhere to Asia and Europe and do a bunch of overland travel, I could book a one-way award with American and do it without being locked into a schedule whereas with other airlines, I would have to set a return date and keep paying fees to change the return date or lose the return portion of the trip. I’m also glad to see American participates in the Starwoods Preferred Guest (SPG) program. This further validates my plan to continue to earn SPG points in an effort to maintain flexibility as far as airline partners are concerned. I might even apply for American Airlines credit cards now.

DansDeals.com » Blog Archive » AA Launches One-Way Mileage Awards!!!.

A link from Nomadic Matt’s travel blog – Back in Bangkok

Back in Bangkok | Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site.

Nomadic Matt is one of the blogs I subscribe to on my google reader. I’ve never been to Bangkok before and hadn’t really done any research into the city prior to reading this article. I was aware that it is considered a “haven” for backpackers, but hadn’t put much more thought into it. Needless to say, after reading this article, I defintely want to check out Bangkok at some point in time.