As an expert in how to travel the world on $50 a day, Matt Kepnes, aka Nomadic Matt, is definitely our Type of Traveler. Since this Boston native quit his day job in 2006 and started travel blogging at 23, he’s gone on to visit 70 countries, hundreds of cities and 6 continents. On his No. 1-ranking travel site, Nomadic Matt (and in his book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day) Matt dispenses tips on how to travel longer, better and cheaper. We caught up wtih Matt, who’s currently on tour in Europe, to answer your questions. Whether you’re seeking to become a world traveler yourself or start your own successful blog, Matt’s got the insider look at what it takes.
Traveling Type: How did you get started travel blogging?
Nomadic Matt: I created my blog in 2008 as an online resume in the hopes of becoming a freelance writer. I wanted to write guidebooks and in a roundabout fashion, that’s what I do.
What’s your blog about?
I teach people how to travel the world on a budget.
How many countries, cities and continents have you traveled to?
I’ve been to 70 countries, countless cities and 6 continents. I’m only missing Antarctica.
What’s your favorite place you’ve traveled to?
Picking a favorite place is a little like picking your favorite child. It just can’t be done, but I would say my top 3 are Thailand, Sweden and France.
What’s your favorite place to get away from it all?
My apartment. I love sitting on my couch, ordering Chinese food and watching movies. That’s my vacation!
What’s one place you would just as well not see again?
For the budget traveler, what budget-friendly spots should they put on their radar?
Greece, Bulgaria, Cambodia, Ukraine and Nicaragua, to name a few.
What’s your must-have item when traveling?
For me, I never travel without my iPhone. I love music too much. It makes me tremendously calm and happy, so I always like having access to my music while traveling. It’s especially great on long, long bus rides.
What’s your favorite travel app?
I don’t use apps other than ones related to airline loyalty programs, so I can check my miles. I would have to say my app is now my favorite. I’m building an app that will help people track expenses and budget their money on the road.
Tell us your funniest travel story/experience.
I once got lost in a jungle in Costa Rica with a few friends. We took the wrong path, got lost and before we knew it, it was nighttime and we didn’t have a flashlight. In retrospect it was funny. At the time, we were really scared.
What’s the best thing you’ve eaten while traveling, and where was it?
The best thing ever? Tough question. I’ve had so many delicious meals. If I had to pick one meal that stood out, it would definitely be the paella I had while in Valencia, Spain. That was phenomenal.
What’s the best hostel or hotel you’ve ever stayed at?
My favorite hostel in the world is The Flying Pig in Amsterdam, though it’s a bit on the pricey side. For absolute value, I love Aboriginal in Budapest. That place is a great bargain, with great stuff and a big breakfast.
New York City.
What would you recommend to travelers visiting your hometown?
My hometown is a little suburb outside of Boston but we do have the Deane Winthrop House, which is one of the oldest historic houses in the area and famous for its slanted walls!
Any recommendations for anyone wanting to start a travel blog?
Be an expert in something. A general blog isn’t good. Focus on a topic, no matter how narrow, and be the best at it.
What’s No. 1 on your bucket list?
Going on safari in East Africa for 3 months.