Travel writer Matt Kepnes provides a wealth of information and numerous helpful ideas for any traveller with his book, How to travel the world on $50 a day. Kepnes makes a strong case that anyone can travel cheaply without sacrificing comfort. As travellers, Kepnes writes, we should attempt to travel like a local and spend money like they do: frugally. By doing this, we can all travel the world for the same amount of money as, if not cheaper than, how we live at home.
The specific audience of the book is long-term, or at least seasonal, travellers. Personally, I do not plan on embarking upon long-term travel in the near future. But I still gained valuable information and helpful tidbits about travel from his detailed descriptions. For instance, I doubt that I will be in the market for Round-the-World airplane tickets anytime soon. But Kepnes’ description of them, as well as all sorts of other things, is fascinating and greatly contributed to my overall travel knowledge.
The book is divided into three parts. Part One describes how to save money before you leave home. Part Two provides general ideas for how to save money while travelling, wherever you might be. Part Three digs into the details of how to save money in specific areas of the world.
A reader could immediately flip to any section of the book without having read previous material and find it helpful. But the first part of the book provides a philosophy or mindset of travelling like a local that helps understand Kepnes’ detailed ideas in the latter parts of the book, particularly in Part Three. He does a good job of summarizing areas of the world (such as Western Europe, South America, etc.) in a concise, matter-of-fact way that provides travellers wanting to go to a particular area(s) great information about whether or not they can make the trip happen on their budget.
Kepnes’s thesis is that travelling, in and of itself, is not expensive. When most people add up their normal monthly expenses, it comes out to more than US$50 a day. By utilizing his ideas and approach, you can travel the world for less than that. The work begins, though, before you travel, saving up extra money at home. He mentions a number of ways to save up money, such as getting rid of cable.
The book is especially helpful for people who do not have much experience travelling outside their own country or area of the world. Kepnes’ travel tips are things that many unseasoned travellers would not tend to think of, such as the need to have two separate checking accounts to provide two different ATM cards in case one is stolen. And there are many pieces of information, such as all of the different transportation options in Europe, that one simply cannot discover without having been on the ground. His experience helps the reader know to steer clear of purchasing chicken in Norway in grocery stores because of its high price due to its having to be imported and which ATMs to use in Thailand to avoid usage fees.
I truly am at a loss for any negative criticism of the book. While the book is no way exhaustive of how to do long-term and/or budget travel, How to travel the world on $50 a day clearly and fully makes the case that travel does not have to be expensive.