American blogger Matt Kepnes wasn’t big on travel until he was 23, when he took his first journey abroad. Back then, he had a desk job in health care with two weeks’ vacation a year. He chose to go on a solo trip to Costa Rica and “fell in love with travel.” The next year he went to Thailand and “met five backpackers who were living my dream.”
“I grew up in an environment where travel wasn’t a thing for my family, it wasn’t a thing for my friends,” he said in an interview for the AP Travel podcast, Get Outta Here. ‘‘I had always assumed that travel was expensive. Here were five people proving me wrong.” He quit his job to travel in 2006 and created the popular Nomadic Matt blog, offering tips on budget travel and what to do in destinations as well as the motivation some of us need to get out there and see the world.
Here are some travel tips from his interview.
Get in the travel state of mind:
“For many people, travel is easy. You just got to go. If you’re like me, you decide on a beach, quit your job to travel. Other people, they need a shove. … They need to know everything is going to work out, it’s going to be OK. For a lot of people even taking a two-week vacation with your family seems like a pipe dream. I want to get people in the right frame of mind and have them say, ‘What can I do today to be one step closer’ (to financing a trip) whether that’s walking rather than Uber, one less Starbucks. Anything you can do today to build that positive momentum, every step you take after that becomes a lot easier. A lot of people need that push.”
To travel cheaply, travel like you live:
“We imagine travel to be expensive because we imagine it to be hotels, fancy meals, expensive tours, resorts, cruises, expensive flights. Now is the golden age of flight, so many amazing flight deals going around now. You can fly pretty cheaply. You can get tons of credit-card bonuses, miles and there’s just a lot there.”
“When you’re in a destination, travel like you live. Stay in an Airbnb. Hostels have private rooms. Check for budget hotels. Go to the market for food. Take local transportation. Google free things to do. There’s so much information available on the internet now. It’s really easy to find deals and everything. If you just go travel and do what you do back home, you get into the local rhythm a lot easier.”
Picking a destination:
“I go online and look for the latest flight deal and I just kind of go. I travel off season. … Where haven’t I gone and out of all those destinations, what’s cheapest. That’s where I’m going next.”