How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

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Penguin, 2015 - Travel - 316 pages
1 Review
New York Times bestseller!

No money? No problem. You can start packing your bags for that trip you've been dreaming a lifetime about.

For more than half a decade, Matt Kepnes (aka Nomadic Matt) has been showing readers of his enormously popular travel blog that traveling isn't expensive and that it's affordable to all. He proves that as long as you think out of the box and travel like locals, your trip doesn't have to break your bank, nor do you need to give up luxury.

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day reveals Nomadic Matt's tips, tricks, and secrets to comfortable budget travel based on his experience traveling the world without giving up the sushi meals and comfortable beds he enjoys. Offering a blend of advice ranging from travel hacking to smart banking, you'll learn how to:

* Avoid paying bank fees anywhere in the world
* Earn thousands of free frequent flyer points
* Find discount travel cards that can save on hostels, tours, and transportation
* Get cheap (or free) plane tickets

Whether it's a two-week, two-month, or two-year trip, Nomadic Matt shows you how to stretch your money further so you can travel cheaper, smarter, and longer.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - nicole_a_davis - LibraryThing

Primarily geared at young (20-something) single people without a career or family or other responsibilities to worry about, who could easily leave a job and travel for an indefinite period of time ... Read full review

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About the author (2015)


Planning Your Trip


Getting Over Your Fears

THE most difficult part about traveling the world isn''t the logistics of a trip--it''s finding the motivation to go in the first place. It takes a lot of courage to leave your life and journey into the unknown. It''s the step that most people never get past. For me, it took a trip to Thailand to get me to make the leap. For others, it''s a lot more difficult. Instead of the nudge I required, some people require a full-on shove.

While most of this book will talk about the practical, financial side of travel, the first thing I wanted to tell you is that you don''t need to be afraid of traveling the world. It''s only natural to second-guess yourself when making a big life change.

And this is a big change.

One of the most common emails I receive asks me whether or not someone should travel the world. Do they quit their job and go for it? Are they in the right stage of life? Will everything be OK if they leave? Will they get a job when they return? These emails are peppered with nervous excitement over travel''s endless possibilities, but there is also always one underlying message in the emails: "Matt, I want to go, but I''m also afraid. I need someone to tell me it will be all right."

In my meetings with strangers, they ask me questions about my adventures. People are curious about my travels, experience, and how I got started doing this. They dream of traveling the world. "It must be such the adventure," they tell me. "I wish I could do it." And when I ask them what stops them, they come up with a book full of excuses as to why they can''t:

I can''t afford my trip.

I have too many responsibilities at home.

I won''t be able to make friends on the road.

I don''t want to be alone.

I have too many bills to pay.

I''m not sure I could do it.

I''m simply too scared.

With all that fear and doubt, it''s easier for someone to stay home in his or her comfort zone than to break out and travel the world. As the saying goes, "People go with the devil they know over the devil they don''t." Home is our safe zone. We know it. We understand it. We may not always like it, but we get it, and that is a powerful force. In the end, held back by their own fears, most people stay home, dreaming of that "one perfect day" when they will finally travel.

But you know what? That day never comes. It will never be perfect.

Tomorrow, you''ll still have bills.

Tomorrow, you still won''t have just the right amount of money.

Tomorrow, there will still be someone''s wedding to attend or a birthday party to go to.

Tomorrow, you will still second-guess yourself.

Tomorrow, you''ll find another excuse as to why you can''t go.

Tomorrow, people you know will still feed the seeds of doubt in your head.

Tomorrow will come and you''ll say, "Today isn''t the right day. Let''s go tomorrow."

Dropping everything to travel takes a lot of courage, and while many people claim "real-world responsibilities" are the reason for not traveling, I think fear of the unknown is really what holds people back.

If you bought this book, you are probably already on the right track. Taking a long-term trip is already on your mind. Maybe you are already committed or still on the fence about it. But no matter what side of the coin you fall on, know that even the most experienced travelers had doubts when they began.

I want to reassure you that you are doing the right thing.

Right here. Right now.

You Aren''t the First Person to Travel Abroad

One of the things that comforted me when I began traveling was knowing that lots of other people traveled the world before me and ended up just fine. While long-term travel might not be popular in the United States, it is a rite of passage for a lot of people around the world. People as young as high school graduates head overseas in droves for long-term trips. As you read this paragraph right now, millions of people are trekking around the world and discovering foreign lands. And if millions of eighteen-year-olds on a round-the-world trip came home in one piece, I realized there was no reason I wouldn''t either. There''s nothing I can''t do that anyone else can do. And the same goes for you.

You won''t be the first person to leave home and explore the jungles of Asia. There is a well-worn travel trail around the world where you''ll be able to find support and comfort from other travelers. Columbus had reason to be afraid. He had no idea where he was going and he was the first person to go that way. He blazed a trail. You''re going on a trail that has already been blazed. That realization helped take away some of my fear because I knew there would be other travelers on the road to comfort me.

You Are Just as Capable as Everyone Else

I''m smart, I''m capable, and I have common sense. If other people could travel the world, why couldn''t I? I realized there was no reason I wouldn''t be capable of making my way around the world. I''m just as good as everyone else. And so are you. Early in my travels, I managed to turn up in Bangkok without knowing one person and live and thrive there for close to a year. I made friends, I found a girlfriend, I had an apartment, and I even learned Thai. It was sink or swim, and I swam. I recently navigated my way through Ukraine, a country where few people speak English and even fewer signs are in the Roman alphabet, as they use the Cyrillic script there. Then there are little things like figuring out a local subway, using a map to navigate unknown streets, and making yourself understood without learning the local language. I once went "choo choo" to a taxi driver to make it understood I needed to go to the train station. It worked. Nobody steps out into the world knowing it all. They pick it up along the way. Don''t doubt yourself. You get by in your regular life just fine. The same will be true when you travel.

The World Isn''t as Dangerous as the Media Says

CNN, FOX News, and other major media outlets often make the world outside our borders look like a pretty scary place, where you''d be crazy to leave the safety of the United States. They paint a picture of a world filled with violence, anti-Americanism, rampant natural disasters, and lots of crime. But in all my years of traveling, I have never encountered any problem or suffered from any anti-Americanism. One of the main reasons why the world seems so dangerous is because we have instant communication now. Whenever anything happens, we can know about it right away through twenty-four-hour news, Twitter, or Facebook. Earthquakes have always happened, but we could never find out about them instantaneously through online media before.

My mother constantly tells me when I go anywhere in the world to "be careful," as if the world is a big scary place. She''ll tell me how nervous she is if I end up in a country that she once heard about in the news . . . in 1975. I try to tell her that the world is not that scary and I could get mugged just as easily in New York, Miami, or Houston as I could in London, Beijing, or Brazil and sometimes she''ll agree, stating "I guess you have a point." Many of my old coworkers do the same. My friend was going to join me in Thailand, and when she told her coworkers that, they replied, "Why would you want to go there? Hawaii has beaches and do they even have electricity in Thailand?"

We believe what we hear on TV so easily because we don''t hear otherwise. I remember watching The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and he often did a sketch called "Jay Walking" in which he would ask Americans questions about foreign leaders or countries, and most people were stumped. According to the Pew Research Center''s State of the Media 2010, only 10.5 percent of news coverage is related to international affairs. That is shockingly low. It''s no surprise to me that so many people know so little about the world, when they are exposed to such little information.

However, realize that everyone around the world wants the same things that you want. They all have jobs, families, and things to do. They want their kids to be safe, earn money, and be allowed to live life. They want to be left alone. They aren''t looking for trouble. Travelers from all corners of the world are crossing paths every day without any problems. In any city in the world, use your street smarts to avoid dodgy situations, and you will be fine. Parts of New York City can be just as unsafe as other parts of the world.

As a whole, the world is no more or less safe than any part of the United States. Using common sense, you will not encounter any problems you can''t find in an American city.

You Will Make Friends

People always ask me how to make friends on the road. They tell me they''re not very social and that it''s hard for them to meet and talk to strangers. After all, not everyone can walk up to a stranger and say hello. You might spend the first few days traveling by yourself, afraid of making the first contact. I was really shy when I hit the road. I could talk my friends'' ears off, but when meeting a stranger, I grew silent. Now I have no problems talking to people, and I can thank travel for learning that skill.

The good news is that when you travel, you are never alone. There are many solo travelers making their way across the world who are in the same boat as you. They want companionship. They want friends. You''ll find people who will come up and talk to you out of the blue. When people see me sitting alone in a hostel, they walk up to me and ask if I''d like to join them. I was recently having a beer in Bangkok, and another guest at my hostel came up to

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