Book Review – Travel the World on $50 a Day

Travel hacking is a broad term to talk about keeping your costs low and finding ways to travel for free. We’ve been hanging in Los Angeles for longer than we anticipated so it’s time to get serious about lowering our costs and start diving deep into the realm of Travel Hacking!

Last week blogger Matt Kepnes – Nomadic Matt – had a book tour stop in Los Angeles for the release of his updated travel hacking guide “Travel the World on $50 a Day”. I’ve been following Nomadic Matt for a while and have learned some great money saving tricks from his blog.

Matt Kepnes aka Nomadic Matt signing books in Los Angeles

Matt Kepnes aka Nomadic Matt signing books in Los Angeles

I initially bought a copy of the book as a gesture of support since I’ve gotten more than $15 of knowledge from what he publishes online for free. Now that I’ve done my first read through, I plan to keep the book for reference as we shift back into traveling.

The book is organized into three parts: Planning Your Trip; On-The-Road Expenses; and Breaking It Down By Region.

Planning Your Trip

Part one sets the scene for extended traveling yet the guidance is applicable for all sorts of trips from a weekend getaway to becoming completely nomadic. I’d call this a broad overview of travel hacking. I’m familiar with most of the content here from researching it on the web, listening to podcasts and learning it by doing. In fact, we just earned a Southwest Airlines Companion Pass by signing up for two new credit cards. Save yourself the time, just pick up the book!

Personally, I don’t plan to do a round the world tour (at this point…) but I could use some helpful reconnaissance that will give some inspiration. I also don’t plan on sleeping in really ratty accommodations either. That’s not what this guide is about. Matt encourages his readers to save money in the planning stages and on easy things when possible like transportation so they can enjoy activities and site seeing – the reason we all travel to begin with.

Joel learning to couch surf

Joel getting tips on couch surfing

Breaking It Down By Region

For me, the meat of the book is Part 3 addressing specific tips and tricks that can be used by destination. This helps set expectations for what is a reasonable budget for each trip. For example, don’t plan to visit Norway for any extended time being able to stick to a $50-a-day average spend. Balancing time in other less expensive areas of Europe can reduce your average daily budget while experiencing first rate destinations with fewer tourists.

Each region ends with a summary of how much money you will need. I hadn’t realized that Australia was expensive for base things like food and lodging. A trip down under is on our near-term list but it looks like I should think beyond just avoiding the high-season summertime around Christmas and New Year. Being smart with the planning should allow for wiggle room to fund excursions to experience the Great Barrier Reef which is one of our primary reasons for going.

I recommend this book for travelers looking to spend their budget deliberately and wisely.

Check out Nomadic Matt’s blog and if you do plan to pick up a copy try using the links on his page here for various booksellers – I assume he will get a little bit of change from the referral.