Last week we had a fun afternoon visit from our friend Matt Kepnes, creator of the popular budget travel site NomadicMatt.com.
Matt stopped by to talk about his new book, “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day”, which is published by Penguin and hits bookstores this week.
Obviously, our Cheapo interest was piqued by his title. Can you really travel on $50 a day? Matt sat down for four Cheapo questions:
1. When did you decide to quit your job and start traveling the world? Did you have a plan for how long you’d travel?
I decided to quit my job in health care administration in 2005 when I met some backpackers while in Thailand. They inspired me to take time off from work and and see the world. After that trip, I came back home and quit my full-time job.
A year later, I finished my MBA and left to do my round-the-world trip. It was supposed to only be for one year but I came back 18 months later and knew I didn’t want to stop. I headed back out on the road and I’ve been going ever since.
2. How long do you typically stay in one place when you’re on the road? Do you have any favorite European destinations?
There’s no rhyme or reason to how long I stay in a place. It varies a lot depending on if I like a place, how expensive it is, and what I have to do next. I might stay in one city for two weeks and the next one two days. It all depends on how much fun I’m having.
Lately, my schedule has become a bit more rigid as I work in my travel around conferences. But for the most part, everything is done on a whim.
One spot that is a very underrated in Europe is Romania. That’s a beautiful country filled with nice people, few tourists, cheap prices, and wonderful countryside. Too few people visit it.
3. In your new book, “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day,” you mention several ways to save on travel. Could you share some of your best tips?
A few things you can do that can have a big impact on your budget are:
First, be flexible. The difference of a few days can mean the difference of hundreds of dollars on flights, cruises, hotels, etc.. The more rigid you are about where and when you have to travel, the less likely you are to find a good deal.
Secondly, try to avoid the “main attractions” of the world during high season. Paris is wonderful, but in the summertime, it’s crowded and expensive. Consider visiting Eastern Europe, which is cheaper and less busy and coming back to Paris at a later date. For every hot spot in the world, there is a place equally as good that is half the price.
Lastly, consider signing up for branded travel credit cards. These cards offer large sign up bonuses that will give you tens of thousands of free miles – often enough for a free round-trip ticket to Europe. If you aren’t using one of these cards, you’re leaving a lot of free money on the table.
4. What are the three most important items you pack, aside from clothing, a passport, money and a smartphone or computer?
A lock, deodorant, and a good book.
That’s some sweet-smelling and practical advice, Matt. Thanks for stopping by!