Matt Kepnes — better known as Nomadic Matt – knows a thing or two about traveling on a budget.
During a trip to Thailand in 2005, Kepnes decided to quit his job and continue to travel the world indefinitely. Ten years later, he hasn't stopped, filling his blog, "Nomadic Matt," with advice and publishing a best-selling book, "How to Travel the World on $50 a Day," along the way.
So what's the biggest mistake he sees people make when it comes to budgeting for a vacation?
"They assume it's expensive, that's the first mistake," Kepnes told Farnoosh Torabi on an episode of her "So Money" podcast. "They assume that traveling must require hotels, expensive meals, cabs, tours, expensive flights."
The fear of an expensive trip boils down to nothing more than a mindset, according to Kepnes. Many people think they need to save up a huge vacation budget — but that isn't always the case. "You budget in your life so that you can make your money last. It's really the same thing on the road, but we don't think of that because we don't live in a travel culture, we live in a vacation culture," he says.
Yes, there are luxury hotels, expensive activities, and over-the-top dinners. But if you plan your vacation budget akin to the way you live at home, it becomes feasible to fit in more trips.
"I always describe budget travel as doing exactly what you do back home except somewhere else," Kepnes explained to Torabi. "You wake up every day, you don't go out and take a taxi cab everywhere. You walk sometimes. You don't eat at the most expensive restaurant in the city every day for every meal."
Bottom line: Don't let your vacation budget — or lack thereof — hold you back from traveling. It all comes down to taking what you have and making it work.