I’m so excited to share a guest post by the incredible Matt Kepnes. He is better known in the wider travel and adventure community as Nomadic Matt.
A New York Times Bestselling Author who has been roaming the world for over a decade, he was one of the first travel bloggers I starting following and still continue to enjoy his articles and books to this day.
Recently I took part in his Business of Blogging Course and am excited to share my experience of that with you soon. Matt focuses on budget travel and sharing his knowledge through courses and books on his website Nomadic Matt.
As many of you know, I have recently taken the leap into building my own creative businesses and Matt is definitely someone who I look to in terms of how he has built his community. Being part of his course also gave me access to a secret Facebook community of over 2,000 other bloggers and his public Facebook Group Nomadic Network has over 10,000 members. You can read more about the course on Matt’s website, and I’ll be writing my review of it shortly to share with you all.
It is an absolute honour to share with you an article written by Matt about ‘How to Be a Better Budget Traveller (I’m using UK spelling here, but you will see Matt uses US spelling!).
I’ll be collaborating and sharing stories with you over the next few months from other Travellers and Adventurers I have met through Matt’s Course and hope that you find them as useful and interesting as I do!
How to Be a Better Budget Traveler
At first, I was a terrible budget traveler. I made tons of mistakes that cost me time and money, and led to a lot of headaches. But the longer I was on the road, the more I began to figure things out. Over the years, I’ve learned a ton of hacks and tricks of the trade that have helped me become an expert budget traveler — and they can help you too! Here are seven tips that will level up your skills and help you become a better budget traveler:
- Start travel hacking – This is the art of collecting frequent flyer points and miles to earn free flights, hotels, and much more. The first thing you’ll want to do is sign up for the best travel credit cards. Focus your spending on these at home and abroad so that you can collect the maximum amount of points. It will take time, but a free flight is worth the effort. Buying a pack of gum? Use the card. Is your friend buying a new TV? Put it on your card and have them pay you back. And don’t worry — there is no need to spend extra money to make this happen. Travel hacking is about collecting rewards for the spending you already The fact is, right now you’re missing out and leaving money on the table if you’re not doing this. Start collecting points and miles and earn the perks you deserve!
- Embrace the sharing economy – One of the best recent developments when it comes to saving money and adding value is the sharing economy, which is built on platforms that directly connect travelers and residents. Think Airbnb, TrustedHousesitters, EatWith, Couchsurfing, or BlaBlaCar. They have drastically changed the game for budget travelers, lowering prices and making travel much more accessible. Not only will you get a cheaper experience but you’ll get much more local interaction as well.
- Get travel insurance – As a budget traveler, you might be tempted to skip buying travel insurance because it can be expensive. While it does require some extra savings at the outset, if something unfortunate happens on the road, it has the potential to save you hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars. I’ve had to make multiple claims over the years, and having a company you can rely on not only saves you money but gives you peace of mind. World Nomads in my go-to travel insurance company, as it offers the best coverage and is geared toward working with backpackers and budget travelers.
- Visit the tourism office – Every destination will have a local tourism office. Use it. They are incredible resources and often underutilized. If there is a deal to be had, they will be able to tell you about it. Maybe a museum is free on a certain day of the week, or maybe there are discounts on a certain attraction if you’re under a certain age. If there is money to be saved, these are the people who can tell you. So stop by these offices after you arrive to get the lay of the land. Not only will this save you money but you’ll be able to ask questions and get insider tips from a local. It’s one of the first things I do when I arrive somewhere, and it’s great way to get oriented.
- Track your expenses – This is a boring tip, but it’s probably one of the most important. Travel apps like Mint or Trail Wallet are incredibly helpful when it comes to tracking your costs. They are simple to set up and can give you a breakdown of your expenses. If you’re a chronic overspender or going to be on the road for a long time, get one of these apps. It will be tedious at first, and it will take a while to get into the habit, but after a while, you’ll have a much better sense of where you are spending your money and whether you are hitting your budget. If you really want to step up your budget game, download one before your next trip and use it at home. That will help you save money before you leave, while also getting you into the habit of actually using the app.
- Aim to visit cheap destinations – When it comes to daily expenses, not every destination is created equal. A week in Paris isn’t going to cost the same as a week in Iceland or a week in Bangkok. Make sure that you balance out your itinerary by including budget destinations. If you’re going to spend time in expensive countries like the UK, New Zealand, or Iceland, you’ll want to make sure you offset that time by visiting cheaper places like Poland, Thailand, or Guatemala. Finding cheap flights has never been easier, but you also want to make sure those cheap flights take you somewhere you can afford.
- Drop the misconceptions – Lastly, you’ll want to drop any misconceptions you have about “tourists” and “travelers.” A lot of backpackers think that their style of travel is better than others, or that they are “better” travelers because they’ve been to more countries or more remote places. Don’t buy into all that nonsense. Don’t worry about how many countries people have been to or whether or not they are solo or on a tour. Just enjoy your journey and let everyone else enjoy theirs.
By embracing these simple budget tips, you’ll up your travel game in no time. These tips will help you become savvy, saving you time, money, and headaches as you gallivant across the globe. But don’t just take my word for it — get out there and put them to the test!
Also published on Medium.