Nomadic Matt's How to Travel the World on $50 a Day

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
Jan 07, 2015 / 0 comments

It's a well-known fact: learn from experts, and you gain a world of experience and knowledge. Case in point: a new book by a long-time traveler (and former ESL educator - check out our interview with him about his book, How to Teach English Overseas) Matt Kepnes. Matt's site,, is a treasure trove of travel genius. He quit his job and left for a life filled with travel. I woulnd't be far off when I say that his advice, site, and work have influenced millions of travelers - his article on why we travel is inspiration, indeed!

We met Matt at the first TBEX, a travel blogging conference, in Chicago. Years later, he's penned several books and been a resource like no other. So when I learned his revised and updated book was coming out, I was eager to get a look. Entitled How to Travel the World on $50 a Day, it's an excellent guide for both new and experienced travelers. 


Nomadic Matt's How to Travel the World on $50 a Day


Here's what you'll find inside...hard-earned travel advice from someone who has traveled the world - and knows how to share it. Once an educator, always an educator - Matt shares the details of traveling in an extremely readable format. Once I opened the book, I could NOT put it down. BBC Travel notes that it is "the bible for budget travelers," but it is so much more than that. It's a guide to living well while not spending a lot of money - so that you can travel MORE. Whether you're a student, a family traveling, or on sabbatical, there is much to learn from Matt. This remarkable book includes three main categories:


Tips for planning your trip

  •     Getting over your fears
  •     Is travel really too expensive?
  •     Banking overseas
  •     Getting the right credit card
  •     Airline tickets
  •     Buying a backpack
  •     Travel insurance
  •     Get a travel discount card
  •     What to do with your stuff


On the road expenses

  •     The savings mind-set
  •     Tips for saving money on accommodations
  •     Tips for saving money on food and beverages
  •     Tips for saving money on transportation
  •     Tips for saving money on activities


Breaking it down by region

  •     Europe
  •     Australia
  •     NZ
  •     Southeast Asia
  •     Central America
  •     South America
  •     China
  •     India
  •     Japan

The book also includes sections on putting it all together, travel companies, suggested packing list, and necessary vaccinations.

While the first two are important and worth their weight in gold, it is the regional sections of the book that really shine. Each one covers accommodations, food, transportation, activities, and an honest answer to how much money you'll need in that area. This is, by far, the most useful global compendium of travel knowledge I've ever read. Matt provides his own expertise, and shares that of other well-traveled writers to create a comprehensive guide to traveling well for less anywhere in the world. Highly recommended!


We were lucky enough to catch up with Matt and ask him about the book, inspiration, research, travel advice, learning, and more. Here's what he had to say...


Nomadic Matt on How to Travel the World on $50 a Day


Please tell us about your book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day...

This book was written to help people travel around the world on a budget. It takes people through the planning stages and then gives advice on how to save money anywhere before giving destination-specific advice. The book is for long term travelers, too. Most of the information can be used for a trip of any length. After all, we all have to save money on flights, accommodation, and sightseeing in Australia, right? It is designed to help people travel more on less.


What inspired you to write this book?

Too many people think travel is expensive and can only be done a couple of times per year. I want to dispel that myth. Travel has gotten a lot more affordable over the last few years as new websites, apps, and the rise of the sharing economy has made it easier to bypass traditional modes of travel and get better deals. I want people to travel more and I wrote this book to make it happen.


Being an educator, I'm all about the research - what was it like, to research this book?

Most of this book comes from experience, but putting that experience into words is always a little difficult. A lot of fact and price checking was involved, as well as getting quotes from others about their experience. It took months to organize all the content in a way that was easily digestible form. There's a lot of information up in my head and you don't realize how hard it is to write down until you try to.


Nomadic Matt, from his book, How to Travel the World on $50 a Day


Global citizenship is the term everyone is talking about! How does travel build global citizens - and why is it important?

I think that this is just one of those funky terms people throw around. No one is really a global citizen but by traveling more, you can realize that people share a lot of the same hopes and desires as you do and that we're all in it together. You begin to see more of the similarities between people than the differences.


You've been traveling for a long time, and I know from your newsletters that you're slowing down a bit, and not traveling full-time - which is why your book (and website, and experiences) fit everyone! What is your best travel advice for: new travelers, family travelers, experienced travelers, and expats?

My advice for all travelers is to be flexible. That's the best thing you can do. If you are flexible with where you want to go and when, you'll be able to get a lot of great deals. Travel deals exist in abundance but if you are narrowly focused on one place or one time, you'll probably overpay. Go where the deals are and save money.


How can travelers best learn about the cultures they are visiting?

Find ways to connect with the locals. Hospitality networks are great at meeting locals who you can not only stay with but also show you around. Most of the sites have meet-ups, too, so you can meet lots of locals.  I like cultural walking tours as well as food walks. Go where there are not tourists, find locals, and you'll learn about the culture.


Nomadic Matt, author of How to Travel the World for $50 a Day


What's up next for you?

I'll be doing a forty city book tour across the states until May and then I'll be heading to Europe and Australia in the fall. In between, I hope to visit Iceland again and South America at the end of the year. Your readers can find out more about the book tour here:





Note: We received a review copy of the book from the publisher - thank you!