Similar to many career circles, travel writers and bloggers mix and mingle. While we take pictures, post words, or shoot videos of our destinations, it’s common for us to be working on a few side projects too. Like books.
A while ago, I befriended blogger Matt Kepnes, who is also known by his blog name, “Nomadic Matt.” He recently released his paperback “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day. Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter” (Perigee Trade, 2013), and, like other budding travelers, I wanted to get his advice.
Kepnes told me that his book came about from hearing the same story from people he meets: how they would love to see the world like he does, but can’t because of money, time, and so on. He sums up his work as “an outgrowth of people asking me how they can do travel too. This book is the answer to that question.”
With the motto, “travel cheaper, longer, smarter,” Kepnes is quick to dismiss the notion that travel requires a lot of dough.
A three-part guide, this book first breaks down the basics on getting the groundwork ready before your trip. Kepnes addresses often-searched topics such as saving on flights and accommodations. He also tells how to shop around for the right travel credit card and purchase travel insurance (which he highly recommends).
Section two offers additional tips for cutting down on expenses on activities, dining, and transportation. The book’s final part gets specific on being savvy with your Euros, Pesos, or whatever currency is used in your overseas destination. It goes by region, highlighting where Kepnes has been in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, South America, Central America and Southeast Asia. The $50 amount in the book’s title is based on his experience with budgeting his money as he traveled worldwide.
Kepnes’ own big adventure began in 2003 with a two-week trip to Costa Rica, which he credits as giving him the “travel bug.” Then the following year on a trip to Thailand, he began rethinking about what direction he wanted his life to take.
Back in the U.S., he put his plan for traveling the world into action. In July of 2006, he took the money he had saved from his job as a hospital administrator and headed off on a yearlong trek. This “year” led turned into 18 months on the road, and then six years.
When he returned home for a while in 2008, he started his blog to share his insights and advice. And, of course, he continued his journeys.
With first-time travelers, Kepnes finds they often make the mistake of not planning well. They neither budget properly nor realize the extent of what things can cost at their potential location. “Everyone has their own splurge that makes them happy,” Kepnes noted. “It’s up to you and how you want to budget your money.”
Kepnes, who presently lives in Manhattan, hopes his book will inspire others to get going. “You only live once, so definitely spend time traveling.” I agree, Matt!