Book Review of The World’s Cheapest Destinations: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune

Approximately 90 percent of content on Pit Stops for Kids is U.S. and Canadian-based, written to help families find the best destinations, tips, and experiences in North America. We consider ourselves experts in domestic road trip and outdoor travel, and if you’re here, it’s probably because you’re planning a domestic trip with your kids. But that doesn’t mean we don’t recommend crossing additional borders.

world's cheapest destinations book reviewOne of my goals as a parent who loves travel is to help my kids get as many or more stamps in their passport as I have. So far, my kids are far behind. This is partly due to spending so much of our vacation time exploring North American destinations for this site, but it’s also because I’ve long held onto a common misconception: that international travel is more expensive than domestic travel.

Turns out, I’m dead wrong. Tim Leffel, accomplished travel writer, world traveler, and my editor at Practical Travel Gear, put the fourth edition of his well-received book, THE WORLD’S CHEAPEST DESTINATIONS: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune, in my hands, and I am not too proud to admit I’ve been educated.

I’m pretty adept at frugal family travel, often writing tips on how to eat on the cheap on vacation, set a vacation food budget, and road trip for less, but my vacation dollar (and yours) can only stretch so far in expensive North American countries. The World’s Cheapest Destinations doesn’t focus on how to travel, but rather where to travel, and for those of us who are budget-savvy travelers already, this makes all the difference.

What The World’s Cheapest Destinations will teach you:

If you’re considering international family travel, but assume you can’t afford it, pick up this book. The World’s Cheapest Destinations lists just what it advertises: the cheapest safe, stable countries to visit for as little as $30-40 per day per couple (only slightly more for a family of four). I know what you’re thinking, and no, this type of budget isn’t just for bare-bones hostels, third-class bus rides, and food stands only the most hard-core of world traveling backpackers could endure. In most situations, it represents comfortable travel in areas with reliable transportation, stable infrastructure, and an operating tourism industry. Tim offers no guarantees–there are no guarantees in travel, after all–but instead offers information gleaned from first-hand experience.

Expect to find general information about how to travel frugally in each country: what transportation is best, whether to eat restaurant or street food, how much you can expect to pay for tourist hot spots and museums, and–my favorite–a listing of things you can get for a buck or less. For example, in Thailand, travelers can expect to pay $1 or less for a whole pineapple (chopped up for you), a kilo of season fruit, a coconut with a straw in it, pad thai from a street stall, three local bus rides, or a kilo of your clothes washed and dried (and this is a partial list). Take that, McDonald’s dollar menu.

What it won’t:

This book is not meant to replace a country or city guidebook. You won’t find specific hotel ratings or restaurant listings. Nor does The World’s Cheapest Destinations offer advice specifically to travelers with kids. If you’re considering a frugal international vacation with kids, you’ll have to do as I did: read with your particular family’s needs and limitations in mind. One parent’s comfort level may be vastly different than the next’s. Tim does offer this advice (paraphrased): families traveling with kids should expect to pay a bit more than adults traveling solo or in couples, primarily in the form of upgraded hotel rooms, for safety and comfort.

Pick up THE WORLD’S CHEAPEST DESTINATIONS: 21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune – FOURTH EDITION on Amazon for $15.95 for a paperback or just $8.99 for the kindle edition.