The World’s Cheapest Destinations—21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune by Tim Leffel
In this fourth edition, author Tim Leffel brings The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune, up to date with the latest list of cheapie travel destinations. He makes the argument that choosing your destination wisely is the biggest factor in saving money on a holiday or round-the-world trip.
Leffel is obviously extremely well-traveled and it surfaces in World’s Cheapest Destinations, where he passes on not only the accurate prices of accommodation, transportation, food, and sites, but also gives us an in on the culture and the travel protocol of the countries as well as their strengths and weaknesses.
In the beginning, he also makes a point of touching on some frequently asked questions, which will be really helpful for someone who hasn’t schlepped around Southeast Asia with a backpack before. If you have reservations about whether or not you need to learn a foreign language, if it’s dangerous in so-and-so country, what’s it like for gay and lesbian travelers, or how to afford travel in general, Leffel briefly addresses these issues.
World’s Cheapest Destinations offers some great suggestions of places you might not have thought of and I commend Leffel for pushing people in those directions and challenging them out of their comfort zone.
The author makes a point of stressing that it’s not so important how you travel, but where you travel. Sometimes you can cross an international border and the neighboring country will be four times the price (those are two countries in South America, by the way). Instead of telling you merely what the prices will be in the country, Leffel is particular about telling us what it will be in the neighboring countries as a precaution.
Personally, I place a lot of importance on how to travel in addition to where to travel. Certain travel tricks can save us money. The thing is: if you want to go to Japan, there is no replacement for Japan. There might be a nearby alternative, but if you want to experience Japan, you have to go to Japan. I’m a die-hard budget traveler but I’ve still been to London, Paris, Oslo, and Stockholm.
Your real motivation for travel should be an interest in the country, not just a cheap vacation. But if Leffel’s World’s Cheapest Destinations gets people out of their comfort zones and motivated to traveling to exotic countries, then I commend it. The author also makes the argument that many of the world’s iconic sites are located in cheap countries (think Taj Majal and Macchu Picchu).
Who should get this Book
While some of these destinations might be obvious for the round-the-world vagabond and backpacker, it will be enlightening to many out there with limited international travel experience. That said, even as an experienced traveler, with some 60 countries under my belt (many of them cheapies), I still was able to find the book useful and interesting.
World’s Cheapest Destinations will be helpful for travelers at different stages: newbies who would like to start traveling to other countries for the first time, individuals with some international travel experience who are looking to push their comfort zone a little bit, and folks just looking for a little more luxury without spending more money. This book tells you where and how to look.
Do you want to know what countries they are? So did I.
Review by Stephen Bugno
I was provided with a free copy of World’s Cheapest Destinations for review purposes, but all words and opinions are my own.