Think you can’t afford to travel? Think again.
Matt Kepnes quit his cubicle job after meeting backpackers in Thailand that showed him that you don’t need to be rich to travel. Ten years and 80 countries later, Kepnes, better known as Nomadic Matt from his popular travel blog, has mastered the art of travelling on a budget.
He now helps others do the same with his book “How to Travel the World on $50 a Day,” which outlines everything from finding cheap flights to money-saving tips for any destination.
Nomadic Matt shared some common budget travel pitfalls with INSIDER from the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Dubai, which he’s staying at for free using Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) points.
See? This guy knows what he’s talking about.
'You'll be the person who ended up paying more than others,' he said. 'When it comes to travel, the early bird doesn't always get the worm. Don't be overeager. Wait for the deals.'
For flights, Kepnes advised booking three to four months before your trip. For cruises or tour groups, wait until the last minute.
'Companies have to fill boats and tours, so they offer amazing last-minute deals to fill unused space -- no one wants to set off with a boat half full.'
Kepnes suggests walking at least five blocks away for cheaper and more local food.
'When restaurants know people aren't coming back, they don't have to worry about consistent quality,' said Kepnes. 'However, local, non-touristy restaurants must be high quality or else locals will stop going there.'
'That's a sure sign of a tourist trap,' he said. Instead, Kepnes recommends using websites like Yelp, Foursquare, or OpenTable to see what places locals rate highly, or asking hostel workers for recommendations.
Kepnes named Google Flights, Skyscanner, and Momondo as his go-tos.
'All search engines have blind spots, no matter where they are in the world, but by limiting your searching to only the large search engines, you are reducing the chance you'll find a deal,' he said.
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