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I enjoy reading books about travel, though travel books come in a variety of different sub-genres.  Recently I read Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth, which inspired me to make a list of books called 14 inspirational books that will give you wanderlust.  Another book I recently read was How to travel the world on $50 a day by Matt Kepnes.


About the book

How to travel the world on $50 a day was written by Matt Kepnes, who is the author of Nomadic Matt, one of the larger travel blogs out there.  The book was originally written in 2013 but the revised version was published in 2015 and is divided into 3 main parts

  • First, Matt talks about ways to lower your expenses before you go.  While many sites and guides talk about how travel is expensive, that’s more of a “vacation” mindset where you know you have to go back to the “real world” when you’re done.  When your whole life is travel, it requires a different mindset
  • Secondly, he gives tips on how to keep costs down on the road
  • Lastly, he gives region specific tips for most of the world and creates a sample itinerary for a year long trip around the world for $50 / day

Part of me really wants to just quit my job and travel the world full-time.  The other part of me is terrified at the uncertainties of doing just that 🙂


Cutting costs before you travel

Part One of the book gives a few actionable items for how you can cut costs now in order to both save money for your trip as well as condition yourself.  They range from the easy (and probably obvious) like cutting out a daily Starbucks run or cutting the cord on cable to more intense things that may not be practical for many people like getting rid of your car or moving back in with your parents

And as something that will not be surprising to readers of this site, there is talk about using credit card signup bonuses and points in order to help extend your travel buck.  The main focus of the book is not to use miles and points to fund ALL of your travel, but instead to use them to help extend your travel.

There are also sections talking through the pros and cons of different types of backpacks and travel insurance.

The itinerary and costs of traveling

The next part gives tips for how to keep your costs down once you’ve traveled and can mostly be summed up into the well-known advice – “Live like a local”.  When you’re home, most people typically live within their means.  If you didn’t, things would be just as expensive at home as it was on the road.  As Matt points out in the book – “Folks in Paris aren’t staying in hotels or eating five-star gourmet meals every night.  They cook and shop at markets just like you.  You don’t need to splurge every day in order to experience the culture.  In fact, if you want to truly experience life in a particular region, you do the exact opposite – live frugally, just like the locals”

Japan Food

The next four chapters in the books give specific tips on saving money on accommodations, food, transportation and activities.

Region specific tips and one sample round the world itinerary

The third part of the book gives region specific tips for Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, China, India and Japan.

[How to get from Dublin Airport to Dublin City Center]

[My pro-tip on beating the lines to visit the Colosseum and ancient Rome]


Then at the end, Matt gives one sample round the world itinerary with possible durations and average costs

  • South America – $30 / day * 90 days
  • Europe – $50 / day * 90 days
  • Southeast Asia – $25 / day * 90 days
  • Australia – $55 / day * 60 days
  • New Zealand – $50 / day * 30 days

The remaining $4000 comes from things like travel insurance, flights and other pre-trip expenses.  Adding it up gives you $18,250 which is just about exactly $50 / day

It isn’t quite the same as my first class flights around the world, but it DOES last quite a bit longer 🙂

Final thoughts and where to buy the book

I enjoyed the book though many of the tips were fairly obvious to those of us who have any experience at all with travel.  I think this would be a great introductory book for someone looking to do more travel.  Another person that would enjoy this book would be someone who has an upcoming trip planned, since many of the region-specific tips would come in handy there.

You can buy How to travel the world on $50 a day at Amazon or I’m sure at a variety of online or brick and mortar locations.

Have you read How to travel the world on $50 a day?  What did you think?  Any other good travel books you’d recommend?  Leave a note in the comments

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