How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes [Book Summary – Review]

Matt Kepnes offers some advice for you, whether you’re a nervous traveler who wants to see the globe but is scared about the hazards, or a seasoned sightseer who is always looking for new ways to save money.

Kepnes’ ideas and tactics, based on nearly a decade of travel across the world, enable anybody to appreciate more of the world’s numerous delights. These chapters are ideal if you have a phobia of other locations or just wish to embrace your adventurous side.

Kepnes offers both fundamental tips, such as how to pack so that you’re always eager for adventure, and hard-won knowledge, such as how to obtain the best discounts on plane tickets, food, and lodging. But be alerted: this knowledge will almost certainly make you want to grab your bags and go to your favorite place!

You’ll learn all you need to know in these chapters.

  • What is a round-trip ticket and how might it save you money,
  • How to travel to Australia on a shoestring budget, and;
  • Why Southeast Asia is a budget-friendly traveler’s dream.

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Chapter 1 – Do not let the fear of risk or your age prevent you from traveling.

Is there an exotic location you’ve always wanted to visit but have yet to do so? What is it that is preventing you from achieving your goals? Many individuals stay at home for three reasons: travel appears to be too hazardous, travel appears to be too expensive, or they believe they are too elderly.

Let’s start by dispelling the misconception that the world beyond your own nation is dangerous and violent.

This misconception is widespread, owing in part to news organizations like Fox News and CNN, which portray foreign locations as hotbeds of violent crime, terrorism, and natural catastrophes. If these are your only sources of information about the outside world, it’s understandable if you believe a journey overseas would definitely result in an encounter with a xenophobic killer or a catastrophic tsunami.

Consider one basic fact: over the past 10 years, the author has been continuously traveling throughout the world. He has never faced violence or even had someone express significant hate for him because he is an American.

The fact is that we are afraid of visiting distant countries because we are afraid of the unknown. Let’s face it, your local news isn’t going to tell you about the excellent things that are occurring in other countries. Moreover, according to a Pew Research Center survey from 2010, just 10.5 percent of the news in the United States is about international events.

So, what makes the news? Everything is terrifying, from terrorist assaults to horrific calamities with large death tolls.

However, in Kepnes’ experience, people are essentially the same wherever they travel the globe. Of course, there is always some danger, but it does not always increase when you travel overseas. There’s always the risk of being mugged or assaulted, whether you’re in New York City, Los Angeles, Brazil, London, or Beijing.

The second misconception to refute is that travel is only for people of a certain age. 

Kepnes met a globetrotting 65-year-old guy in Poland who was traveling around Europe before flying to India. He wasn’t lonely or secluded; he was talking with younger tourists, making friends, and sharing his life experiences.

The truth is that there are a lot of individuals like this. In truth, numerous couples and families with children travel whenever and wherever they choose, often for months at a time or even a year.

So don’t allow any erroneous justifications to get in the way. It’s time to pack your belongings and travel the globe to see the world’s many beauties!

Chapter 2 – Traveling does not have to be prohibitively expensive, and there are a variety of inventive and practical ways to cut costs.

Aside from age and safety concerns, the biggest factor deterring individuals from traveling is the belief that it is too expensive.

This is a pity because this is just another urban legend that prevents people from seeing intriguing new places.

Here’s a brief experiment to demonstrate how economical travel may be.

Take out a pen and paper and make a list of all your recurrent essential expenses, such as rent, vehicle payments, gas and electric bills, and so on.

Next, add up your monthly eating and shopping expenses, including groceries, clothing, restaurants, and daily coffee cups. If you’re not sure about these charges, keep a tight eye on your spending for a few weeks.

Multiply your total monthly costs and expenses by twelve to get your yearly spending amount.

It is now feasible to travel pleasantly on a $50 per day budget, as the title of the book indicates. This works out to $1,500 each month, or $18,250 per year. This is why it’s erroneous to believe that travel is prohibitively costly — whatever figure you came up with for your annual personal costs, it’s almost certainly more than $50 per day.

So all you have to do now is save some money for the trip. And, as fate would have it, that’s rather simple to accomplish.

Unless you’re willing to take risks or intend to work while traveling, saving money before departure will make things easier for you.

Now, saving $18,000 may appear to be a difficult task, but it is very possible. Simple suggestions include reducing or eliminating non-essentials such as dining out, consuming alcohol and partying. At the absolute least, you can stick to coffee that you’ve made yourself.

However, obtaining additional roommates and lowering your monthly rent is a great way to save money. Remember that a studio apartment may be converted to a two-person flat with the addition of a divider. Alternatively, you might rent out your entire flat for a year and live with your parents.

There are no limits to what you can do to save money if you’re ready to be creative and simple.

Chapter 3 – Save money on aircraft tickets by purchasing Round-the-World tickets and being flexible with travel dates and places.

Now, how do you explore the world for $50 a day? Getting decent aircraft tickets is the first step, whether you’re planning a weekend in Paris or a yearlong trip across the world.

Round the World (RTW) tickets are one of the most cost-effective options.

Multiple, partnering airlines provide these cost-cutting tickets. American Airlines, for example, does not travel to every place on the planet. As a result, they’ll collaborate with other organizations to cover as many places as feasible. Star Alliance and Oneworld are two of the largest and most well-known airline alliances.

So, how can a round-the-world ticket help you?

You can, after all, tour the globe. Star Alliance provides round-trip tickets with distances ranging from 29,000 to 39,000 miles and up to 15 stops. Keep in mind that you must begin and end at the same location, as well as go in the same direction.

As long as you stay on the same continent, you can go backward. Thus, if you start in Japan and go east to New York City, your next trip maybe west to Los Angeles, but you couldn’t return across an ocean you’d previously traversed, such as Japan to the United States and then back to Korea.

Another approach to save money is to go at different times and to different places.

In fact, the more eager you are to make last-minute travel arrangements, the less expensive it will be. Another basic tip to remember is that flights on weekdays and early morning or late-night departures are less expensive, however, flights on weekends and holidays are always more expensive.

Because aircraft costs fluctuate in unforeseen ways, it’s better to keep your options open so you can take advantage of a good offer when it comes along.

Chapter 4 – Select a practical backpack for your journey.

A piece of rolling luggage is ideal for rolling into a big city hotel on a business trip. However, if you want to travel comfortably and be prepared for some true, adventure touring, you’ll need a nice backpack.

Therefore, what are the characteristics of the ideal, multi-purpose backpack?

First and foremost, ensure sure the material is at least semi-waterproof, or keep a tarpon standby in case you are caught in a deluge. If the material isn’t waterproof, make sure it’s quick-drying in case it gets wet.

After that, double-check that each compartment has two zippers that can be secured together when traveling. This will prevent thieves from taking anything out and smugglers from smuggling anything in. Just make sure the locks are TSA-friendly so that security can unlock them without breaking them.

Finally, purchase a backpack with numerous compartments. When you need anything, you don’t want to have to go through a large area of your bag. So invest in a bag with a clever design that allows you to conveniently reach products you’ll need regularly while also separating items you’ll require at different times of the day.

You’ll also want to make sure you have the appropriate backpack size.

The easiest approach to be sure of is to weigh and measure anything you wish to bring ahead of time. Most outdoor stores will let you try on backpacks that are already loaded with the weight you want. They’ll also come in a variety of sizes, ranging from 43 to 110 liters, so you can choose one that fits your body and load.

Let’s imagine you want to go with only 50 pounds of luggage. If you go to the store and try it on, you could discover that it is far too heavy. Obviously, knowing this ahead of time allows you to reconsider your packing!

Chapter 5 – Save money on trips by budgeting and making use of hospitality exchange programs.

When you travel on a $50-per-day budget, you won’t be staying in five-star hotels or eating at five-star restaurants. So, if you have any remaining decadent fantasies, it’s better to put them to rest now, otherwise, the money you’ve saved won’t last long.

You’ll need a strategy for keeping track of your expenditures if you want to stay on budget and make your money last. When visiting new places, you’ll be surrounded by a plethora of tempting attractions that, if you’re not careful, might soon empty your wallet.

As a result, you must create a budget and stick to it. Set aside money for several categories, such as lodging, transportation, and food, and attempt to stay with them. Staying with friendly locals whenever feasible and walking to attractions rather than taking cabs or public transit may stretch this money rather far.

Now, this does not imply that you should be so frugal that you lose out on some of the best travel experiences. If you’re visiting a renowned culinary location, such as France, you shouldn’t miss out on a lunch at a nice bistro or brasserie.

Use a diary to keep track of your spending to ensure you have enough money to enjoy the most of what your location has to offer. In this manner, if you overspend on a meal, you may make modifications in the days ahead to ensure the budget is balanced. 

Using member-driven hospitality-service platforms is another cost-cutting option.

Avoiding the excessive expenses of hotels is one of the simplest and most significant methods to save money. And, with so many various hospitality services available on the internet these days, finding low-cost alternatives has never been easier.

CouchSurfing is one of the most popular services, with millions of members and hundreds of thousands of active hosts in over 70,000 cities worldwide. Signing up for a CouchSurfing membership is completely free. You may also get a decent idea of where the nearest pleasant, comfortable, and available lodging is by looking at how passengers evaluate the hosts.

Servas International and Hospitality Club are two other hospitality service websites you could find interesting.

Chapter 6 – Prepare your own meals and take advantage of lunch specials to save money on food.

One of the greatest pleasures of travel is sampling the local food. If you’re traveling on a budget, though, it’s typically better to pretend that fine dining doesn’t exist and prepare at home instead, keeping takeaway and dining out for special occasions.

It shouldn’t cost you more than $50 to $80 to stock up on groceries for the week ahead. A single meal at a restaurant, on the other hand, can cost more than $20. In other words, eating at home rather than eating out can save you up to 70% on food costs.

Food prices may easily mount up when traveling, so plan ahead, even on a short vacation, it’s good to figure out how to cook for oneself.

Fortunately, most guest flats and hostels provide a fully equipped kitchen with pots, pans, and everything else you’ll need to make a basic dinner. You can always create a great sandwich if you find yourself in a hotel with nothing but a little fridge.

But don’t assume you won’t be able to sample the local food. One of the finest ways to try regional cuisine is to go to local markets and grocery stores. Take a look at what your other customers are buying if you’re not sure what to acquire.

Another useful suggestion is to keep an eye out for lunch deals that may save you money. Everywhere on the planet, restaurants, particularly in Europe, will provide a special lunch menu that is far less expensive than the supper menu.

Along the shore of Barcelona, for example, there are several excellent seafood restaurants. However, supper at one of these establishments might easily cost $50 or more. However, these same establishments are sure to have a lunch special that can give you a fantastic meal for under $20.

You won’t find a website listing all of the local lunch specials, but if you ask the tourist information center or the person who works at your hostel’s front desk, you’ll almost certainly get an excellent recommendation.

Chapter 7 – If you house-sit, work for room and board, and eat wisely, Australia is inexpensive.

But what if you want to travel to an expensive nation like Australia, where a single cup of coffee costs more than $4 Australian, or $3 US? How are you going to do it on a daily budget of $50?

You may still enjoy the country down under without breaking the bank if you keep a few helpful hints in mind.

First and foremost, there is the possibility of house-sitting. Because Australia is so far away from most other nations, Australians like to take longer holidays to make up for the time and money spent traveling. House sitters are in high demand as a result of this. They are allowed to reside rent-free as long as they look after the vacationer’s house, dogs, and plants

Check out the popular website Aussie Housesitters at for more information.

If you’re willing to put in a little more effort, you may try WWOOFing, which is doing voluntary work on organic farms or ranches in exchange for food and lodging. WWOOF, or World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms, is the organization that runs the program. Because Australia has so much wilderness and agricultural area, laborers to harvest fruit and grow seedlings are in high demand. It’s also an excellent way to save money while meeting new people.

While eating out is usually an expensive proposition everywhere you travel, this is especially true in Australia.

Australia has fantastic culinary culture since they want to use fresh and nutritious items. However, it isn’t inexpensive, with the typical lunch costing at least $25. Because of the high cost of food, your weekly groceries will cost you around $80, but this is still the most cost-effective option, so you’ll want to cook at home in your apartment or hostel kitchen.

Camping is another popular and cost-effective option for a holiday in Australia, but make sure you have some cooking equipment. If you don’t, the money you saved by not staying in hotels will be swiftly spent on food.

There is one inexpensive food item in Australia’s marketplaces that you should try. Kangaroos are as widespread in Australia as cows are in the United States and Europe, so you can get inexpensive kangaroo meat in a lot of places.

Chapter 8 – Southeast Asia is an excellent budget vacation option.

Although Australia is more costly than the usual tourist destination, there are certain spots where your money will stretch further. Southeast Asia is one of them. Many individuals in this area earn approximately $1,000 per month on average, thus living is inexpensive and you can get by on $50 a day.

In Southeast Asia, good lodgings are very inexpensive. However, not all countries are created equal. Things are more costly in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore since the people there are wealthy, whereas Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia are the least expensive nations.

A modest single room with a fan and access to a communal bathroom might cost as little as $2 in certain remote places. These are typically found as part of a tiny guesthouse run by a local family. The rooms are clean and given by nice folks while being extremely simple.

If you want to stay in popular regions, basic lodging will still be inexpensive, costing approximately $10. In certain cases, this will also feature air conditioning and a warm water tap. More opulent rooms, such as those with a TV and a king-size bed, would set you back $15 to $20.

The cost of living in Singapore and other more costly cities in Southeast Asia is rising as the region’s economy improves. So, if you decide to attend, you might want to stay somewhere with a common kitchen to keep costs down.

Food in Southeast Asia, on the other hand, will not set you back too much.

Western food might be expensive in this city, but native cuisine should not set you back more than $10 per day. One of the main reasons for this is the popular, tasty, and inexpensive street food that can be found in stalls all over the cities and towns. This is where the majority of the snacks, lunches, and takeaways are purchased by the locals.

Local markets are also a good place to go for cheap, tasty food. Pad thai, spicy soups, spring rolls, fried noodles, and other regional delicacies are available, as well as fresh juices and meats, and vegetables that may be prepared at home on a budget.

Now, enough with the justifications. There’s a large world out there waiting to be discovered and enjoyed.

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter by Matt Kepnes Book Review

Traveling the world is not as risky or expensive as you might believe. All you have to do is let go of your need for lavish lodgings and embrace your adventurous side. There are a lot of simple strategies for any traveler to save money. You may be able to travel the world while spending less money on a daily basis than you are now spending at home.

Get one credit card for travel.

Every time you use these convenient credit cards, you earn travel points. This implies you’ll be able to fly at a very low cost, if not for free, in the future. These cards don’t charge any additional fees for purchases made outside of the United States, so they’re a good choice if you intend to travel frequently.

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