Sometimes a little armchair traveling is in order. Whether you’re preparing for your next trip, relaxing after one you just took, or you simply love reading about all things travel in the times that you have no excursions planned, this list will transport you around the world and back again -- no passport required.
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
The Alchemist is on just about every travel book list out there, so we had to include it in ours as well. This novel follows a young Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago as he travels from Spain to Egypt. The journey begins with the quest for worldly treasure, but with every chance encounter and obstacle, it becomes more about the journey along the way.
The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton
Travel can be a daydream, but it is a multifaceted experience. Sometimes it’s difficult. Sometimes it’s even boring. Alain de Botton writes about all parts of the travel experience, from why we travel to what happens when we get there.
The Beach by Alex Garland
If you’ve ever longed to go backpacking through Southeast Asia (or you want to reflect on the time that you did!), Garland’s The Beach is an insightful novel about one man’s journey doing just that. Despite the name, it’s no light reading; The Beach is a tale of disillusionment and repercussions, all in the course of “getting off the beaten path.”
The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner
Eric Weiner, longtime NPR foreign correspondent, sets off on a journey to find the happiest places on Earth. Over the course of a year, he travels to places that are statistically the happiest on earth, trying to learn the secrets of bliss.
How Not to Travel the World by Lauren Juliff
Even if you think you’re a confused traveler, you’ve probably never bumbled as much as travel blogger Lauren Juliff. From accidentally swallowing a cockroach to getting swept up in a tsunami, Lauren leads the reader through her (now) hilarious misadventures.
The Kindness of Strangers by Kate Adie
The Kindness of Strangers is another one written from the perspective of a news correspondent. Kate Adie, a fourteen-year war zone correspondent for the BBC, delves into her experiences in the Middle East, China, Northern Ireland, and more places in her gripping autobiography.
Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris
Fueled by the desire to explore the rugged unknown and discover her own path, Kate Harris sets off for a year of cycling on the Silk Road. She and her friend, Mel, cycle over hundreds of miles, meeting other wandering souls along the way.
Letters from Steven: Stories from the First Solo Walk Around the World by Steven Newman
Reflections on solo travel sometimes capture the reader in ways that group travel does not. In 1983, Steven Newman set off on what was to become a four-year trek around the globe. This is his 20,000-mile story.
Marching Powder by Rusty Young
This true story follows the path Rusty Young and Thomas McFadden; the latter is a convicted British drug dealer providing illegal tours inside a Bolivian prison. Young was backpacking through South America when he heard about the inmate’s illegal tours and was intrigued by the story. Naturally, he bribed the prison guards to let him stay in the prison and learn more.
Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes by Alastair Humphreys
You don’t have to fly across the world to have an adventure. In Humphrey’s book, he gives readers the steps to taking what he calls “microadventures,” or quick trips that you can take on weekends or evenings after work.
The Penguin Lessons: What I Learned from a Remarkable Bird by Tom Michell
One of the most wonderful things about travel is the friends you make around the world. In Tom’s case, one of his greatest new friendships was with a penguin from Uruguay. After Tom rescues the bird from an oil slick, it refuses to leave his side -- so he takes him along in his journey.
In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
This book is credited for sparking wanderlust for Australia across the globe. Bryson’s journey across the country winds through small towns and major cities, coastal grottos, and remote forests. He leaves no detail forgotten on his trek through the Land Down Under.
Unlikely Destinations: The LP Story by Tony and Maureen Wheeler (founders of Lonely Planet)
You probably have one of their guides on your bookshelf. I can almost guarantee you’ve read a post or two from their website. Unlikely Destinations: The LP Story chronicles the early days of the Lonely Planet business, giving readers an inside look at how one of the most widely-known names in the travel industry got its start.
Ready to start your own adventure? Let us know!
Author: Debra Harris
As founder of Life’s Journey Travel, I’m deeply passionate about creating custom travel experiences that allow my clients to truly savor the journey.