If my cultural insight is of any value (I'm from norway) the travelling is usually done after high school, most people go to work fresh after finishing their college education.
Furthermore, there are student loans here in Norway as well, but it is looked at as more of an enabler of freedom than something that enslaves you. Remember that if the money doesn't come from a loan, it has to come from somewhere, be it you parents, yourself, or another family member. Money always enslaves someone, but it enslaves you less if you have the option to pay it back when you have a good job.
Then again, I'm a little biased as I come from Norway, where college education is free (for all intents and purposes), the student loans are generous, with up to 50% being converted to a stipend if you pass your exams. Luckily for my generation previous ones didn't buy into any of that "the market will sort it out" capitalistic bullshit, and kept our most important infrastructure controlled by the state (with a few notable exceptions).