Are you an avid reader who loves to explore the world? If so, then this post is for you! Here, I compiled a list of 20 of the best travel books that will transport you to different places and cultures around the globe.
From stories about an old man in rural Virginia to tales of immigrant families in Oklahoma trying to make it in a new country, to Anthony Bourdain’s amazing adventures around the world, these books will take you on unforgettable journeys around the world.
Besides these travel books, I’ ve also included comprehensive guides such as The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World and Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel – both of which are key resources for any aspiring traveler. So whether you are a seasoned traveler or just beginning your journey, these books are sure to provide you with invaluable gems of knowledge and inspiration.
If you are like me and love listening to audiobooks on your travels, here is a collection some of the best audiobooks for road trips. Happy exploring!
Table of Contents
1. In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
In a Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson takes readers on an entertaining journey through Australia. He introduces the reader to the sun-drenched landscape and its friendly inhabitants, as well as its abundant variety of wildlife – some of which can be quite dangerous.
Throughout his travels, Bryson marvels at Australia’s diverse beauty and culture and shares his witty observations with the reader. Anyone who loves to travel will be captivated by In a Sunburned Country, a funny and insightful exploration of one of the world’s most unique countries.
2. Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback, by Bernice Ende
Bernice Ende’s extraordinary journey on horseback across North America began in 2005 when she was 51. Since then, she has ridden over 29,000 miles across the Great Plains, Southwest deserts, Cascade Range and Rocky Mountains – all alone. In 2014-2016, she made history by becoming the first person to make a single coast-to-coast and back ride, garnering accolades from the Long Riders’ Guild and admiration from those she encountered.
In her book Lady Long Rider: Alone Across America on Horseback, Ende chronicles her inspiring journey of self-discovery to find a sense of community and love of place that unites us all.
3. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places, by National Geographic
Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places, by National Geographic is a photographic tour of some of the world’s most spectacular destinations. This book features vivid images taken by National Geographic’s world-class photographers, in addition to captivating text.
The photographs offer insight into natural wonders, man-made marvels, and a variety of cultural attractions from ancient sites to iconic cities. With its detailed service information for each location, this book provides everything you need to know for the most authentic and rewarding experience.
4. Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, by Anthony Bourdain
Medium Raw: A Bloody Valentine to the World of Food and the People Who Cook, by Anthony Bourdain is an entertaining book that takes aim at some of the biggest names in the foodie world. With his trademark wit and irreverence, Bourdain offers up biting criticism of celebrity chefs, Top Chef winners and losers, and more.
He also provides unique insights into the restaurant industry, with a focus on its human side. This book is sure to be a hit for any food lover—or for anyone just looking for an insightful and humorous read. So pack your knives and forks, grab some Bourdain-approved snacks, and get ready to explore one of the most interesting culinary worlds out there with Medium Raw.
5. Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival, by Jeffrey Gettleman
Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival by Jeffrey Gettleman is a captivating story of both passion and pain. The tale follows the main character’s journey from a 19-year-old college student to a seasoned war correspondent for the New York Times’ East Africa bureau. Along the way, the reader is taken through a range of emotions as Gettleman’s two loves – Africa and his girlfriend – compete for his affections.
With vivid accounts of life in different parts of the world, Love, Africa is both an emotional coming-of-age story and a fascinating memoir that will leave you with a newfound appreciation for the power of love, adventure, and finding yourself in unexpected places. It is a must-read for anyone looking to be taken on an unforgettable journey.
Love, Africa: A Memoir of Romance, War, and Survival by Jeffrey Gettleman will make you laugh out loud one minute and gasp with horror the next as it takes readers through the author’s incredible journey.
6. The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small, by Kath Stathers
The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small, by Kath Stathers is an inspiring travel guide inviting readers to build experiences that will last a lifetime. The book contains over 300 captivating photographs and information on the best places to visit around the world.
Each chapter provides geographically unique ideas suitable for travelers of any age, with activities ranging from globetrotting and wildlife encounters to extreme sports, music, dance, legacy building, food and drink. Make sure to pack this book next time you head off on an adventure – it could just help your travel bucket list grow even longer!
7. 100 Drives, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to Do, What to See, by Joe Yogerst
This book is an essential guide for anyone planning a road trip across the United States and Canada. It provides 100 classic and off-the-beaten track drives, along with detailed maps, itineraries and activities to experience along the way.
From an exploration of Northwest vineyards to a winter wonderland on Alberta’s Icefields Parkway, travelers are sure to find something of interest. With tips and advice from an expert, this book is the perfect companion for anyone looking to hit the open road. So pack your car and get ready for an adventure!
8. Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster, by Jon Krakauer
Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster is a gripping and harrowing detailed account of the deadliest season in the history of Everest. On assignment for Outside Magazine to report on the growing commercialization of climbing Mount Everest, Krakauer, an accomplished climber himself, made his ascent as a client of Rob Hall, the most respected high-altitude guide in the world.
As Krakauer reached the summit, a storm began to roll in, taking with it six of his fellow climbers and forcing him into an exhausting and dangerous descent that he would not soon forget. Krakauer examines what motivates so many people – himself included – to push the limits and risk life and limb for such an endeavor. His recount of what happened on the roof of the world is a gripping, heart-wrenching but ultimately inspiring tale that will stay with readers long after they have finished reading.
9. 50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do, by National Geographic, Joe Yogerst
This comprehensive travel guide from National Geographic and Joe Yogerst showcases the best travel experiences in every U.S. state and Canada’s provinces and territories. From national parks to dude ranches, beaches to out-of-the-way museums, this book provides readers with detailed information about each destination as well as fascinating facts about each area—perfect for any traveler eager to explore the U.S. and Canada! With 50 States, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do, you’ll be able to plan an unforgettable journey around North America.
10. The Alchemist, 25th Anniversary: A Fable About Following Your Dream, by Paulo Coelho
“A special 25th anniversary edition of the extraordinary international bestseller, including a new Foreword by Paulo Coelho.
Combining magic, mysticism, wisdom and wonder into an inspiring tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist has become a modern classic, selling millions of copies around the world and transforming the lives of countless readers across generations.
Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest will lead him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago’s journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity and learning to read the omens strewn along life’s path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.”
11. Journeys of a Lifetime, Second Edition: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, by National Geographic, George Stone
Journeys of a Lifetime, Second Edition: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips, by National Geographic and George Stone, is an updated 10th anniversary edition that explores the best trips of National Geographic’s legendary travel writers from around the globe. With 16 new pages and updated information throughout, this book offers diverse options for travelers including trekking, mountain biking and more.
Featuring stunning photography, full-color maps and practical tips for each chapter, Journeys of a Lifetime, Second Edition is the perfect resource for travelers who crave adventurous trips around the world. From secrets for following in the footsteps of film and TV heroes to discovering hot new museums around the globe, this luxurious volume is a lifelong resource that readers will treasure for years to come.
12. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, by Anthony Bourdain, Laurie Woolever
World Travel: An Irreverent Guide, by Anthony Bourdain and Laurie Woolever, is a comprehensive guide to the world’s most enchanting locations. Through vivid descriptions and insider advice, readers are invited to explore places visited by Bourdain, such as New York City, Borneo, Buenos Aires, Paris, Shanghai, Tanzania, and Oman’s Empty Quarter.
In addition to Bourdain’s invaluable travel tips, the book also contains essays from his friends, family, and colleagues offering insight on what it was like to travel with him. It is illustrated by Wesley Allsbrook and provides valuable information such as how to get there, where to stay, what to eat, and what to avoid.
Whether you are a seasoned traveler or just someone who loves to explore the world through books, World Travel is the perfect guide for experiencing all of the beautiful places that Bourdain visited in his lifetime. It is sure to be an invaluable resource for anyone wishing to travel like Anthony Bourdain.
13. The Art of Travel, by Alain De Botton
The Art of Travel, by Alain De Botton, is a book that explores the pleasures of travel and gives readers the tools to extract maximum satisfaction from their journeys. Drawing on his own experiences as well as insights from great writers and thinkers such as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, Alexander von Humboldt, and Xavier de Maistre, de Botton offers readers an exploration of the motivations and rewards of travel.
From the allure of the exotic to the appreciation of everyday scenes, The Art of Travel is a comprehensive guide for travelers that will help them make meaningful connections with their surroundings. It encourages readers to take time to observe and reflect upon the beauty that surrounds them, so they can imprint it on their memory and keep these moments with them at home.
14. Rick Steves Paris, by Rick Steves, Steve Smith, Gene Openshaw
Rick Steves Paris, by Rick Steves, Steve Smith, and Gene Openshaw is a comprehensive guide to exploring the city of Paris. With this book, travelers can get the most out of their time and money while visiting the City of Lights. It features top sights like Notre-Dame, the Louvre, and the Palace of Versailles, along with off-the-beaten-path gems.
In addition to sightseeing tips, this book also provides readers with cultural insights from local experts, self-guided walking tours of popular neighborhoods, and detailed maps for exploring on the go. It also includes valuable advice about how to beat the crowds, skip lines, and avoid tourist traps.
With over 700 bible-thin pages, travelers can see everything the city has to offer without weighing themselves down. Whether you’re traveling solo or with a group, make the most of your time in Paris with Rick Steves Paris!
15. Moon USA State by State: The Best Things to Do in Every State for Your Travel Bucket List, by Moon Travel Guides
Moon USA State by State: The Best Things to Do in Every State for Your Travel Bucket List, by Moon Travel Guides, is a comprehensive guide that gives travelers insight into the unique personalities of each state in the US, from Washington DC to Puerto Rico.
The book offers a top 3 list of experiences for each state, unforgettable outdoor adventures — like visits to national parks, hikes to waterfalls and volcanoes, and more — road trip ideas, local flavors from coast to coast, historical background, lesser-known local favorites, a foldout poster map with checklists to track your adventures, and much more. With Moon USA State by State as your guidebook companion, you can be sure to experience the best of each state on your travel bucket list.
16. Let’s Get Lost: the world’s most stunning remote locations, by Finn Beales
Let’s Get Lost: the world’s most stunning remote locations, by Finn Beales, is an inspirational and awe-inspiring collection of over 200 spectacular shots of remote and beautiful places taken by some of instagram’s most talented photographers. The book showcases a range of stunning landscapes, from off-grid coastal views, rugged mountain landscapes and majestic forests to expansive wildernesses, and tells the stories behind these remarkable locations.
Whether you’re an intrepid adventurer or an armchair traveller, Let’s Get Lost will transport you to some of the remotest and most magnificent places on Earth and inspire your wanderlust for when restrictions are lifted.
17. Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat-Moon
William Least Heat-Moon’s Blue Highways: A Journey into America is a travelogue of his journey across the United States and its backroads. He set out with a desire to explore small towns that are mostly unknown and rarely get on maps, such as Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; and Whynot, Mississippi.
Throughout the book, he encounters many different people who share their stories and reveal a unique portrait of American life—from the story of an old man living in rural Virginia to the tale of an immigrant family in Oklahoma trying to make it in a new country.
The book is filled with rich descriptions of the people and places Heat-Moon encountered, and his stories of adventure and discovery ultimately reveal a deeper understanding of the true American experience. Blue Highways is an unforgettable journey into America’s backroads that readers won’t soon forget.
18. The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, by Lonely Planet
The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World, by Lonely Planet is an ultimate guide to exploring the world. It profiles every United Nations-approved country in the world, as well as a few more principalities and dependencies, with detailed information on when to visit, what to see and do, and how to learn more about the country’s culture.
This comprehensive guide is accompanied by 850 images, including photographic portraits of people, beautiful landscape photographs and vibrant street photography – giving you a truly complete picture of each location. With maps and statistics included for every entry, The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World is an essential resource for any budding traveller.
19. I’m Travelling Alone: Holger Munch & Mia Kruger, Book 1, by Samuel Bjork
When six-year-old girl is found dead, hanging from a tree with an airline tag that reads “I’m Travelling Alone” around her neck, Oslo Police’s veteran investigator Holger Munch is charged with reassembling his homicide unit. In order to do so, Munch must convince his former partner Mia Krügerj – a brilliant and troubled investigator- to return from her solitary island where she has retreated with plans to take her own life.
Reviewing the evidence, Mia finds something no one else has noticed: a thin line carved into the dead girl’s fingernail- the number one. Realizing that this could be a clue leading to more children in danger, Mia is determined to cast aside her own demons and confront the most terrifying serial killer of her career.
20. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts
Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts is an essential guide for aspiring long-term travelers looking to get the most out of their journey. The handbook provides extensive information on the practicalities of taking extended periods of time away from one’s normal life, including financing, selecting a destination, dealing with adversity and eventually re-assimilating back into life at home.
With chapters devoted to specific tools and strategies for living abroad—such as working or volunteering overseas–the book is sure to provide invaluable advice for anyone looking to embark on an unforgettable journey.
Whether you’re a novice traveler or a seasoned adventurer, Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel has something for everyone. With words of wisdom from travel veterans and stories from experienced travelers, this handbook will help give you the confidence and knowledge necessary for an unforgettable long-term journey around the globe.