Travelling the world on $50 a day seems like a stretch, but according to a professional nomad, it's possible.
Matt Kepnes quit his desk job to become a full-time traveller after meeting a couple of backpackers during his trip to Thailand. They showed him that you don't need a fortune to see the world, and that all it really takes is smart budgeting. In the span of 10 years, Kepnes had visited a total of 80 countries. Eventually, he started his own blog called Nomadic Matt, where he shares his travel secrets with people who aspire to do the same as him.
Kepnes wrote a book entitled "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day", where he educates on how to master the art of travelling on a budget. He covers topics like how to find the cheapest flights possible to useful money-saving tips for any destination.
In a gist, Kepnes believes that the traditional travel industry deceives the public into believing that travelling is expensive by showing posh hotels and flashy resorts. He thinks this is a result of Western culture, which prioritizes vacationing over travelling.
So he set out to prove that travelling comfortably can be achieved without all of those unnecessary "filler" luxuries, and with 12 simple steps, he explained how.
Click Next to see the Steps 1 through 6.
1. Cut your expenses
This means ditching the daily coffee (which can cost you approximately $150 a month), learning to cook instead of constantly relying on restaurants, opting to walk or take transit instead of using the car, getting rid of cable, downgrading your phone plan, opening a savings account, and cutting down the drinking. He saved thousands of dollars by adhering to this religiously.
2. Avoid bank fees
Kepnes suggests getting a no-fee ATM card and a no-fee credit card to avoid all of those transaction fees that can add up overtime.
3. Get a rewards card
Earning points and miles that can redeemed for travel is an essential part of budget travel. Sometimes, sign up bonuses can earn you up to 50,000 points, which is more than enough for a free round trip flight to Europe.
4. Get travel insurance
It's always good to have a back-up plan. Kepnes swears by travel insurance, claiming that it has saved him on many occasions and that it's only a few dollars a day.
5. Get travel discount cards
This can save you up to 50% on attractions like museums, transportation, tours and hotels in various places. For example, YHA Hostel is a good one for accommodations.
6. Save on flights
Since airfare will be the biggest expense, it's important to be strategic about it. This could mean flying off-peak, being flexible with the schedule, relying on smaller airports, and finding alternate routes.
Click Next to see Steps 7 through 12.
7. Find the free
Planning your trip ahead of time and including free events or activities in your itinerary will allow you to experience a destination while saving a whole lot of money. Do a Google deep dive or call some tourism boards to get started.
8. Avoid hotels
Hotels are a money pit. If you can, find a home exchange, house sitting, apartment rental, farm stay, monastery stay or hostel instead.
9. Use a hospitality network
Hospitality networks allow you to stay with locals who are willing to accommodate you during your trip. It's a great opportunity not only to find dwelling for your trip, but also to meet new people.
10. Take public transportation
Avoid taxis, tourist buses and car rentals to maximize your savings.
11. Use city tourism cards
Kepnes says this will save you upwards of hundreds of dollars. They can be bought at local tourism offices, airports or online and sometimes come with free transportation.
12. Save money on food
This entails eating at buffets, street food or vendors, strict reliance on lunch specials, skipping on the soda and refilling water bottles.
Check out this full presentation on his book to get a better idea of Nomadic Matt's vision for affordable travel.