Travel books are doors to great adventures, a free ticket to different destinations from the comfort of your own home. Not everyone can travel these days but a book can take you to places you have never been before that you may fall in love with. It widens your imagination and opens your eyes to the wonderful world we live in.
Here is a reading list you may consider before, during, or after your next adventure. Each book has its own journey to follow, discover, and learn. As travelers, we look for travel books to inspire wanderlust. And after you have digested the wonders of these books, it's time to pack those bags, book that ticket and explore the 21 new bucket-list experiences around the world.
Table of Contents
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
“You will never be able to escape from your heart. So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.”
This is a story that has the power to transcend centuries and reach the heart of those who contemplate its lessons. It will take you back in time to join the Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, on his journey from the Spanish pastures to the Egyptian pyramids in search of his "Personal Legend."
The story begins with the boy's desire to travel to Andalusia to sell some wool to a merchant, but his ultimate goal is to impress the merchant's beautiful daughter. He meets a gypsy along the road and begs her to interpret a reoccurring dream near the Egyptian pyramids where the treasure is buried.
This is what sets the boy off on his quest to fulfill his "Personal Legend". As you continue reading the book, you will meet a number of interesting characters along the way, including Melchizedek, a wise king; an Englishman who is on his own quest, a crystal merchant, a helpful camel driver, a beautiful desert girl, and, most importantly, the alchemist.
Each one is important in Santiago's life because they become a source of learning for himself and the mysteries of the world.
The shepherd boy learns to listen to his heart throughout his journeys and discovers that his life has come full circle. Throughout the book, there are countless memorable statements and teachings, and each character has something great and pertinent to share. As the reader follows Santiago's journey to listen to his heart. This travel book challenges them to gaze into their own.
This is one of the best travel books. It captures the idea that the real treasure is found in your heart, as what the alchemist emphasized. Hence, if we continue to strive for the best, everything around us will become better, too.
We become a source of inspiration for others. So, fill your heart with good desires, and you become rich like no other.
Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
“If you clear out all of that space in your mind you would have a doorway.”
This is a 2006 memoir of the author, Elizabeth, who is in search of self-discovery after the divorce she had from a toxic relationship.
Gilbert chooses to take a year off to travel after a difficult court settlement, a poisonous affair, and acute depression. She finally comes into an idea to do something she wants to accomplish. She comments that she has chosen to visit three locations that begin with the letter "I", Italy, India, and Indonesia which she interprets as a metaphor for what she expects to find on her journey: a sense of independence.
Liz is already in Italy when the book begins. She wishes that her friend Giovanni would kiss her, despite her pledge of chastity. The memoir does not necessarily follow a chronological order, with flashbacks to Liz's current trips and divorce memories, her relationship with David who is younger than her, and other significant events.
Elizabeth Gilbert does not go into great length about many of the reasons she opted to leave her marriage, but she does state that she does not have any plans to have children., despite the fact that she and her husband had agreed to begin trying to conceive after she turned 30.
Gilbert's marriage is about to end when her husband doesn't want to settle things down; hence, antagonism between them develops. Liz feels bad about the split, but she also jumps into another problematic relationship, further destroying her individuality and self-esteem.
She went to Bali and met a man with whom she asked questions about her life. He emphasizes that she must keep her feet on the ground and check her heart to see the world. He also reads her palm and predicts that she would only bare a child, and all her money will be lost, but recover it quickly and that she will return to Bali.
For Elizabeth Gilbert, this tale is a life-changing experience, and she plans her journey around this prediction. She picks Italy for pleasure, India for spirituality, and Bali to strike a balance between the two goals. Liz falls in love with herself and Felipe at the end of the novel.
Searching for yourself is possibly the most difficult subject to put into writing; however, the easiest genre to critique. If you're too serious, people will criticize you; nevertheless, if you're too frivolous, you risk being dismissed as clichéd.
This is also one of the best travel books worth reading. It is a must-read memoir about the adventure of a woman.
Shantaram - Gregory David Roberts
“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.”
Gregory David Roberts' Shantaram is a long novel, but it's a fascinating read. The reader is warned at the start of the book that he or she will weigh down various philosophical topics throughout the book.
The journey begins when Lindsay, a convict who escaped prison in Australia, lands in Bombay, India. He first met Karla, and he falls in love with her at first sight. Her network of friends has accepted him.
Lindsay must survive, and he does it by securing drugs from foreigners. On both ends of the transaction, he receives a commission. When his visa runs out, he stays in the slums of India and opens a medical clinic for the locals.
Abdel Khader Khan, the Bombay mafia's council's head, notices him. He gets himself imprisoned after assisting in one of Karla's scams. He joins the Bombay mafia and Khader after being released. He gets involved in various operations in the black market for them and eventually ends himself in Afghanistan transporting guns and other supplies to the mujaheddin forces.
He rises up the Bombay mafia's ranks, doing several rich business transactions for them, and he becomes a member of such a mafia group.
Shantaram is a remarkable novel about a man's quest for identity and finding one's meaning. The characters have numerous talks about a variety of philosophical topics. Lindsay is a character that reflects people who are trying to do things to forgive themselves for all the mistakes done in life.
Lindsay, like many others in the book, is looking for answers. Despite the job he had in the past, he is a decent and caring person. He accepts people as they are rather than attempting to alter them. He values them for whoever they are, regardless of their socioeconomic level. He is the same as everyone else.
This is one of the books that inspire readers to accept people from different walks of life. It is a story that emphasizes forgiveness of ourselves for all the mistakes done in life.
Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
“Happiness [is] only real when shared.”
This novel revolves around the story of Chris Johnson McCandless, a young man who belongs to a well-to-do family who hitchhiked to Alaska and began his adventures in April 1992. He trekked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. was his given name.
He'd donated $25,000 in funds to charity, sold his belongings and his car, destroyed his wallet, and started over. A moose hunter discovered his body four months later, decomposing. The haunting story of Into the Wild tells how he dies.
McCandless set off on a vision quest similar to those undertaken by his heroes Jack London and John Muir shortly after graduating from college in 1991. He abandoned his automobile in the Mojave Desert, removed the registration plates, and torched all of his belongings.
He'd change his name to Alexander Supertramp, and he'd be free to revel in nature's raw, unfiltered experiences, free of money and possessions. McCandless threw the maps away because he needed a blank place on the map. He disappeared into the wilderness, abandoning his distraught parents and sister.
McCandless set off on a vision of adventures similar to those undertaken by his heroes Jack London and John Muir. He abandoned his automobile in the Mojave Desert, removed the registration plates, and torched all of his belongings.
He'd change his name to Alexander Supertramp, and he'd be free to revel in nature's raw, unfiltered experiences, free of money and possessions. McCandless threw the maps because he needed a blank place on them. He disappeared into the wilderness, abandoning his distraught parents and sister.
He delves deep into an innately captivating enigma to reveal the broader puzzles it contains the tremendous draw of imagination to American wilderness; the attractiveness of high-risk activities to young men of a certain mindset; the complex, fraught relationship between dads and sons.
This is one of the best travel books that revolve around self-discovery which inspired his wanderlust. He took this travel without hesitation and it ended his life.
Wild - Cheryl Strayed
“The universe, I'd learned, was never, ever kidding. It would take whatever it wanted and it would never give it back.”
Cheryl Strayed, 22 years old, believed that she lost everything. Her family dispersed once her mother died, and her own marriage quickly fell apart.
With little to lose, she made the rashest decision of her life four years later.
She would travel more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State – and she would do it alone, with no expertise or training.
Wild effectively conveys the fears and delights of one young lady going forth against all odds on a journey that enraged, strengthened, and finally healed her.
Cheryl Strayed's story is both inspiring and tragic. She tells the stories about her Pacific Crest Trail journey and the major life events that led her to the route. We have a glimpse of her family's hardships and how she reacted as one of the girls sleeping with a lot of guys, causing her marriage to fall apart.
She didn't try to disguise or sugarcoat the fact that she was living the destruction of her life. Her actions were abhorrent, separating her from former Cheryl but bringing her closer to Chery in the present time.
Her story is authentic and raw, and while nothing particularly "interesting" occurs to her on the adventure she's taking, you'll be riveted from beginning to end.
In this travel book, Cheryl doesn't hold back when it comes to describing how difficult a three-month solo walk is for girls who have never tried it and you'll be able to follow along as she loses her toenails one by one on her travel.
This is a tale that may surprise you and exceed your expectations. It makes you feel like holding your family or people close to you while yet making you want to run into the wilderness with nothing but the clothes on your back.
A must-read travel book to inspire your wanderlust. You may explore your country and have a great trip to the city or to the beach. Traveling solo may sound boring but you may search about the culture, food, or travelers of such country.
A Walk in the Woods - Bill Bryson
“That's the trouble with losing your mind; by the time it's gone, it's too late to get it back.”
Bryson begins his trip from his hometown in Hanover, New Hampshire, by purchasing a variety of hiking equipment at a sports goods store. Despite the fact that he doesn't have any idea what gear to bring, Bryson intends to hike the entire 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail.
He'll begin his adventure on Springer Mountain in Georgia and end on Maine's Mt. Katahdin. Stephen Katz, Bryson's friend, is with him for the majority of the voyage, and he is just as unprepared as Bryson- bringing a duffel bag of Snickers and his lack of fitness.
Along their journey together in this book, they encountered many travelers. From Amicalola falls to Smokey Mountains, to Clingman's Dome, until they reach a flatter trail in Roanoke in Virginia.
In this easier trail of adventure, they have met people that separated the pair in their journeys. After starting a relationship with a woman who has been married, Katz is forced to hide from her enraged husband.
The pair finish the first stage of their adventure in Front Royal, Virginia, after a few mishaps and a dubious rest stop. The men separate ways at this point in the story but make arrangements to reunite for the summer to hike Maine's Hundred Mile Wilderness.
The stories involved in this travel book by Bill Bryson will inspire wanderlust. Bill Bryson gives us this trip to enjoy and relate to. Readers are drawn in by the sense of adventure and the urge to get out of their comfort zones. We adore following Bryson and his insignificant buddy because neither of them is serious in the obnoxious way that all crazy hobbyists are, even non-athletic couch potatoes like yourself (yours truly) may get part in the trip.
This is an inspiration to seemingly not athletic travelers to go hiking for adventure in every country or around the world and get inspired by the locals you may meet along the way.
On the Road - Jack Kerouac
“Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”
This story revolves around Sal Paradise's tale in the city. Sal Paradise remembers meeting Dean Moriarty, who had come to New York City with his new wife Marylou. He requested Sal to teach him writing.
Dean's unbridled excitement for life hit Sal, and they became friends, with Dean later meeting Sal's close buddy Carlo Marx. Dean and Carlo left for the west not long after. Sal felt compelled and followed them. He boarded a bus from Chicago to San Francisco to visit his friend Remi Boncoeur.
He hitchhiked west from Chicago, stopping for ice cream and apple pie along the way. He met Eddie, his fellow traveler, and they began to travel together as he proceeded to catch buses and hitchhike.
When it began to rain, Sal offered Eddie a wool shirt, but when they came across a farmer's trailer with only capacity for one passenger, Eddie left Sal behind. Sal grabbed a trip in a truck that had a trailer full of homeless people. Sal purchased a bottle of whiskey and divided it with the other hitchhikers as the truck came to a stop.
In his journeys, he met different people. Some of them became his friends. This is a classic novel about America and the Beat Generation, chronicling Jack Kerouac's years on the road. As "Sal Paradise" and "Dean Moriarty," the two tour the country in search of self-knowledge and experience with Neal Cassady, "a sideburned hero of the icy West."
On the Road of Jack Kerouac is an inspirational travel book of lasting importance thanks to Kerouac's compassion for humanity, love of America, and sense of language as jazz. Since its first publication, this iconic tale of freedom and longing has inspired every generation, defining what it meant to be a "Beat."
A Cook's Tour - Anthony Bourdain
"What would be the perfect meal?"
This is the New York Times bestselling account of a trip around the world looking for the world's greatest culinary adventures.
Traveling is one of the things that internationally successful author Anthony Bourdain enjoys more than cooking. Tony embarks on a trip for his gastronomic holy grail, turning the concept of "perfection" inside down. A Cooks' Tour follows America's most daring and fearless cook from California to Cambodia in search of the "perfect meal"
Fans of Anthony Bourdain will enjoy revisiting this classic travel and culinary memoir.
Tony Bourdain's travel across the world in search of the ideal dinner is chronicled in A Cook's Tour. Bourdain was clearly aware of the status of his 44-year-old knees after a career spent standing at restaurant stoves, but with the unanticipated jackpot as collateral, he presumably decided he needed a little more wind under his wings.
After yakitori with intoxicated salarymen, it would signify wonderfully sophisticated kaiseki traditions in Japan. Glasgow's deep-fried Mars Bars and London's Gordon Ramsay In Saigon, a cobra's heart is still pulsating. Drink. Danger. Guns.
All with a TV team in tow for the accompanying series—22 episodes of video gold, with plenty of don't-try-this-at-home pictures of Tony having some stomach problems at 4 a.m.
If you are looking for travel guides in the quest for your "perfect meal", this is for you. It will be a good inspiration for those people who love to eat meals across any culture. From North to South, you can travel the world to satisfy your tastebuds.
This book is inspiring travelers who are into cooking to see what the world can offer. It may be from Italy to Australia, as long as you have the heart for food, you will collect inspiring travel guides to answer your wanderlust.
The Beach - Alex Garland
“Don’t talk about going traveling. Book a ticket, get a visa, pack a bag and it just happens”
Alex Garland's novel depicts a slightly delusional and optimistic English visitor who travels to Thailand in search of a utopia. Garland's first novel, was praised for representing the aspirations and fears of Generation X (people who were born between 1965 to 1983).
This book begins with Richard, the protagonist, recounting how he learned about it on Ko Sanh Road at the same time staying in a cheap Bangkok hotel. Daffy, his next-door neighbor, pinned a map to his door one day. The map led to pristine salty water with no indications of human use and a part of the National Park that tourists are not allowed to access. Daffy was discovered dead the next day, perhaps by suicide.
Richard opts to follow Daffy's map. He's joined by Étienne and Françoise, a French couple he met at the hotel. Richard keeps the map a secret from the cops so no one could see him going there.
The trio locates a fisherman prepared to transport them from the beach. After they have traveled a kilometer, they must swim the remaining distance. They've reached an understanding. While waiting for the fisherman, they meet Zeph and Sammy, an American couple, and they eventually become very helpful.
When they get on the island, landing on the gorgeous beach is not as simple as they had hoped. They must scale steep terrain before hiding from the armed guards of the marijuana swarm. It's a beaten path to take. They are able to flee. Finally, they run across Jed who offers his help to take them to the beach.
When they arrived there, they saw a micro-colony of happy-go-lucky people. They are intoxicated with drugs and they have parties most of the time- a different culture from the outside world. Even though this place is considered a "secret", people arrived there from time to time.
Many events happened in that place. Meanwhile, Richard discovers that Daffy, who doesn't like the micro-colony anymore, left the map with Richard on purpose so that the colony would be wrecked by the influx of tourists.
When their lives are in danger, Étienne, Jed, Françoise, and Keaty run into the pitch-black forest with Richard. They all flee aboard the abandoned raft of the Americans on the shore when they first arrived. Richard is living in England at the end of the novel, working a mundane job and thankful to be alive.
This is one of the best travel books to accompany you while you're on your trip. Alex Garland explores the utopian dream, the risks of human selfishness, authenticity, and the heinous extent to which humans will go to survive.
Vacationland - John Hodgman
“There's no peace in dying, but there's peace when it's done.”
Vacationland compiles these real-life adventures of the world, and you'll learn about the terrors of the purpose of the mustache, freshwater clams, and animals to keep domesticated versus those to kill with traps and poison. There's also some guidance on how to handle it if coastal Maine people try to make you a sacrifice to their bizarre god.
It is a painful and real story of one human who is about to be in his forties, those years when men should not act like brilliant prospective youngsters they once were and settle into the failing bodies of the wiser, odd dads that they are. However, they still have the wanderlust to travel in a country.
Vacationland is divided into extensive meditations into two vacation homes: Hodgman's parents located in Western Massachusetts and another bought later in life in his wife's homeland Maine.
The two halves of the book correspond to the character of the lands they contain: the first is more chaotic and warmer, focusing on recollections of the author's earlier life, while the second is more barren, even as Hodgman is cautious to keep a home fire blazing against the coming cold.
John accounts for the journeys people had in this book. As readers, you can reflect on the things you enjoyed when you were still young.
Feed Your Wanderlust
"The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page" ~ Saint Augustine
These are some of the best travel books we recommend you grab for your next trip. As for the kids, you can read our article on the 7 great travel books for kids. Books are one of the best ways to let your imagination run wild. Pair them with the 22 most beautiful places in the world and you have a getaway made in heaven.