I don’t often feature interviews on my site, but today I’m thrilled to share one from one of my good friends Matt Kepnes who runs the award winning site NomadicMatt.com. One of the top travel bloggers out there, Matt is well known as the guru of budget traveling and while it’s not a style I identify with, I love visiting Matt’s site for great tips on destinations and how to best use my frequent flyer miles. Last year Matt published his first book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day and has just published a new version of that very popular guide, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Revised: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter. Before the launch of his book I had the chance to ask him a few questions and I think you’ll love the answers almost as much as I did.
What’s the most surprising thing people will learn from your book?
That budget traveler has gotten a lot easier thanks to the rise of the sharing economy, new deal websites and travel apps. It’s never been cheaper or easier to travel. That’s the central message of the new book.
Where are some places where it’s OK to splurge and spend a little more money?
Whatever makes you happy. Smart budget travelers know what they want to spend money on and plan accordingly. I don’t budget a lot for accommodation because I don’t care where I sleep but I budget for food because I eat a lot and I like nice meals. You have to know thyself. There’s no point in traveling if you’re not going to be able to do the things you love and make you happy.
How do your travel savings tips scale? Can the lessons be easily applied to couples and even families?
Whether you are one, two, four, or six, we all need to save money when we travel. Saving money in Paris is no different for solo travelers or families. I think you can easily scale the tips in my book for couples and families. There are still plenty of options and ways to save money. To think otherwise is to just not know.
What’s your least favorite country or city?
Vietnam is my least favorite country. I had an awful experience there. I know friends who love that place but I have a lot of places to visit before I go back (if I ever do). Travel is highly subjective though so I would never recommend someone not go to a place just because I had a bad time. We all like and dislike places.
Where did you have the best meal of your life while traveling?
On the streets of Thailand. I love Thai street food. Put me in the middle of a food market and I’ll be the happiest eating my way from stall to stall.
What’s one place that is completely under the radar, isn’t on any lists but people should add to their travel bucket lists?
Well, if I told you then it wouldn’t be under the radar, would it? But if you were going to twist my arm, I would say that Ukraine is an undiscovered paradise that not many people have visited though they should. Now might not be the best time but when things settle down, I’d highly recommend a visit there. It was one of the biggest surprise countries I visited. I didn’t have any expectations and it turned out to be this wonderful place.
What are some easy ways to save for travel?
Cut your wasteful expenses. Starbucks, snacks, TV – there is a lot of low hanging fruit most people can cut from their lives that would increase their bank account quickly. Write down all your expenses for a week and see where the money goes. You’ll be surprised at how much you “waste.” A dollar here, a dollar there adds up and once you remove those hidden expenses, it’s going to be a lot easier to save for your trip.
As you can see, Matt’s book isn’t just for budget travelers, it’s for anyone really who wants some help in cutting costs so that they can afford to travel more. It’s a great read with some helpful nuggets of information and I encourage everyone to pick up a copy if they haven’t done so already. You can learn more about Matt and his upcoming book tour at NomadicMatt.com.