Once a month, I put together the books I’ve read into a single review post. Alternatively, see plenty of previous book reviews over here, or see how I rate books.

Also, a quick disclaimer: review copies were provided or downloaded for free, and links may be affiliate links. These reviews cover the version of the book I received, not necessarily the version that’s currently available. A newer or updated version may be available – check for yourself using the links below.

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Two Bucks to Timbuktu – Tom Edwards


Gotta say I love a book with a subtitle like The Ultimate Guide to Extraordinary Adventures Around The World With An Ordinary Bank Account. Not only does it tell you exactly what you’re getting, but it’s a promise no traveler can resist. (As this is from the same man that authored Planes, Trains, and Broken Stringsit’s no surprise he’s had some experience with getting by on a incredibly small budget.)

It was that previous book where I said “Very little in this book could (or should) be construed as advice on how to travel.” This follow-up offers some excellent real-world advice on traveling on an extreme budget, starting with his notion of ‘global-dollars’ and continuing with tried-and-true ideas from his own experience. It’s also written to today’s generation, as a hilarious story of introducing an Aussie to Tinder portrays.

From different methods of traveling to finding shelter (including some of questionable legality), there’s also a great story telling you how not to hitchhike across Europe. He spends a chapter on the Couchsurfing website, correctly emphasizing the mindset you need to make the most of the community, and another chapter on traveling as a musician. The overall emphasis is on thinking outside the box and being willing to trade some comfort for savings.

Another worthy section focuses on making money while on the road – nothing particularly new here, but it’s a well-written section that avoids fluff. The section on destinations focuses on your ability to hitchhike,

If you’re serious about needing to stay on a budget, this is an indispensable guide.

Highly recommended.

Get the paperback or get the e-book.

Bangkok City Travel Dudes Destination Guidebook – Melvin Böcher / Travel Dudes

Bangkok Traveldudes

Despite the awkward title, this guide to Bangkok has plenty going on. Yes, I’ve written my own guides to Bangkok and Thailand, but I appreciated the simple structure covering plenty of points to visiting Bangkok. From specifics on accommodations to restaurants at all price points, there’s plenty of names, address, and websites to get you on the right track.

What you’re not getting here are photos. It’s fairly clear you’re meant to see them on Travel Dudes’ excellent site, so the overall look is a rather Spartan one. There’s also a plethora of links to the official sites for places that have them – a nice touch if your reading device is online – and a lot of great recommendations for restaurants and bars.

With no pictures and few details, it’s about as bare-bones a guide as you can get. Yes, there are street addresses, but the book fails to mention how unhelpful these are in real life (e.g. you can’t typically show them to a taxi driver). There’s no Thai in the book, which doesn’t help the language barrier. I see very few personal anecdotes from the author, and the result is a book that feels more like a generic listing of advice and places researched via the internet.

Recommended, with reservations.

Get the paperback or e-book.

Travel: The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide for Students to make Every Destination a Wild Lifetime Adventure for under $30 a day – Abhishek Kumar

Travel- The Ultimate Budget Travel Guide for Students to make Every Destination a Wild Lifetime Adventure for under $30 a day

Scattershot, extremely general, and more than a little vague, ‘Travel’ seems to tick all the boxes when it comes to gaming Amazon’s system. The goal is laudable – saving money while traveling, and written to students – but offers nothing new that hasn’t been seen a thousand times in a thousand other books. Poor formatting doesn’t help anything – the book uses unlinked endnotes for some reason, and doesn’t bother adding links for the services it recommends.

Basic articles read like SEO-driven fluff do very little to help a student plan a trip, much less offer much in the way of pointers from personal experience. If you’re about to go on your first ever trip and this is literally the first book about traveling that you’ve ever bought, it’s not terrible. For everyone else, you’ll end up feeling disappointed.

Not recommended.

Get it on Amazon.

Your Handbook Guide to Backpacking Abroad – Ashley Deppeler

Your Handbook Guide to Backpacking Abroad - Ashley Deppeler

Chapter one jumps right in and gets started with what happens when you arrive. Aimed squarely at backpackers with useful tips for plenty of first-time travelers, the aim here is to communicate what it takes to be a savvy traveler.

I’m not personally a fan of long sentences, especially ones that end up taking several lines on an e-book reader to complete. Written in British English, the generally good advice gets past patronizing common sense and offers plenty of rules to get by at hostels, while Couchsurfing, while hitchhiking, and so on. An excellent chapter on scams goes into details on identifying and avoiding scams, while another worthy chapter gets into the good-natured spirit of haggling.

A few formatting and editing issues aside, this is an easy, short read you can get through in a single sitting. It’s a fairly general guide, and doesn’t really get into the specifics of any destinations. It also ends without any sort of conclusion, which ends up feeling a little jarring. Overall, it’s a worthy read for first-time travelers.

Recommended, for first-time international travelers.

Get the paperback or e-book on Amazon.

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