The Best Travel Books

If you have an interest in traveling, or know someone who does, my idea of an incredible gift is a book! I know that I love reading in my downtime while I’m traveling.  Sometimes, traveling can get difficult and you long for more excitement or ideas of what to do.  Pick up one of the best travel books and they will inspire you in ways you’ve never imagines.  These are just a few of the magical books out there that will give you information or ideas about your next destination, and some will give you serious wanderlust.

You may have heard of some of these locations, but once you take a look into the natural beauty, the amazing architecture, the food and entertainment, you will be longing to go there for your next trip.  Don’t just be a tourist.  Gain lots of information about the local culture and activities that will take you to unique and beautiful places.  Love to hike?  Grab a few guide or destination books and let them encourage your next big hiking trip.  You might even be able to get your friends to come along if you have the right information, and these books will provide just that.  Have a look.

You can always count on National Geographic to provide incredible imagery and wonderful descriptions of all the beautiful places they’ve listed in the book.  There are many man made and natural wonders discussed, and from all around the world.  It will provide you with the best information on accommodation, food, and other travel necessities as well, to ensure you have a great and life changing trip.  Soon enough after reading this, you’ll be on a plane to witness the beauty of this world for yourself!  This book comes in Kindle or Hardcover options.

This is a great book for the explorer, not the tourist.  Do you know someone who loves going off the beaten path?  This fascinating book will awe you with pictures, maps, explanations, and more of natural wonders, mysterious architechural structures, and incredible events all around the world.  You probably have never heard of many of the wonders in this book, and whether you plan to go out there and find them, or simply read and dream, this is the book for you.  Grab this book and prepare to enter a world you’ve never known.  This book comes in Kindle or Hardcover options.  It is a large 480 page book, so it may be difficult to carry around while traveling in Hardcover.

Check out this bestseller by Lonely Planet if National Parks are your thing.  America has many beautiful parks and natural wonders that are overlooked by so many!  Even if you live in the US, and have never left the country, there is so much to explore in your own backyard.  Grab this book and take a road trip.  You will be hungry for more.  Take a break from busy, stressful life.  With this book, you’ll have detailed information about what to see and do, and is a fantastic resource if you plan to hike, as it includes a lot of information on available trails, wildlife to look for, as well as itineraries to help you plan a successful trip! It covers all 59 National Parks in America.  This book is practical and will fill you with wanderlust…what could be better? This book comes in Kindle or Hardcover options.

Interested in learning more about long term traveling? Maybe you have a loved one who is gallivanting around the world, and you don’t understand why.  Whether you’re planning on becoming a long term traveler, or just trying to understand what goes through their mind, this book will help in incredible ways.  It will act as a guide for how to do anything from work and travel overseas, to financing your trip.  There are sections to help you become acquainted with living life as a traveler, and also how to adjust to life back home if you eventually get there. This book will inspire and teach, and will give reason as to why traveling is such a life changing experience.  Take a look at this incredible book and experience the journey that we do as a long term traveler.  It might even inspire you to try it out yourself! This book comes in Kindle or Paperback options.

If you enjoy reading memoirs, this is a fantastic one that will not only entertain you but have you dreaming about your own travels, or if you haven’t traveled, dreaming about the crazy life that is traveling.  The author gets a serious case of wanderlust as she wants desperately to escape the monotonous life of baby showers, weddings, and full time jobs.  She escapes by traveling for several weeks each year, not only experiencing incredible natural beauty, but writes about her experience with attractive locals everywhere she goes.  Love while traveling can be real, messy, and makes for wonderful stories that may seem incredulous to some.  If you need a light-hearted, honest book about the life of traveling, check out her memoir.  Available as Kindle edition, Paperback, and on CD.

The very extensive book will open your eyes to the idea of their being  beauty in EVERY country, no matter where it is in the world.  This is a great book to share with your family, to teach that even in a war torn and governmentally distressed world, there are beautiful thing, places, and people out there.  Travel will open your mind to different cultures and will change your perspective.  Let this book be your first step.  Lonely Planet does a great job at increasing your need to wander the earth,  Best for a cozy night next to the fireplace, curl up and allow this book to take you anywhere in the world you’d like to go.  This book is available as Paperback or Hardcover options.

If you’re looking specifically for a travel guide to your destination, Lonely Planet has a world of choices. Making sure all of the information is up to date, you’re able to find detailed maps, itineraries, and much more!  There are tips that help you budget your trip, as well as live like a local.  When you’re going to a country that you’re completely unfamiliar with, have a guide book with all the information you need is crucial.  If you’re ever stuck in a situation where you’re unable to use your phone, having a travel guide is potentially life saving.  Check out all of Lonely Planet’s options.  Available on Kindle or as a Paperback book.

Are you worried that you’ll never be able to travel because you don’t have enough money?  Here it is: you can travel without breaking the bank.  With Matt Kepnes’ Book on traveling on $50 a day,  He has years and years of experience traveling, and you can trust that he will teach you the ways of the budget wanderer.  This book is filled to the brim with helpful information and tips, and can get you going on a fantastic trip you won’t regret.  Whether you have nothing in the bank, or just enough to get by, even you are capable of traveling.  Check this out and be inspired.  Available on Kindle or as a Paperback.

This bestseller is one of my personal favorites.  As controversial as it is, this book definitely had an influence on me and my decision to put my life on hold and home and just leave to discover what is out there in the world.  It is truly inspiring for many, and leaves others shaking their heads in disbelief.  It teaches you to really consider what is the most important things in your life, and how you are capable of taking a huge step out of your comfort zone.  It also teaches you the importance of being prepared in the worst situations.  Into the Wild has a lesson for everyone, whether you agree with it or not.  Go on a journey with this book, and see how it affects you.  Available as Kindle, Hardcover, and Paperback formats.

What are your favorite books or travel guides?  I’m always on the lookout for more.  Let me know if you think I should add more to my list!


  1. Interesting books on the list. I think I would love to read the vagabonding book, it sounds like a lot of inspiration. Of course I also think that Atlas obscura might be a good book for traveling. I usually don’t go to all the tourist places, I try to go my own way.

  2. Hi Lauren, thanks for the travel reading list. I think you have a fair collection there. I’ve travelled a bit myself. I’ve actually lived in Thailand for the last eight years. Travelling is great but you haven’t really experienced a country until you’ve lived and worked there I think. This is why I like the look of the vagabonding book. Do you have any more you could add to the list?? Thanks.

    • Oh wow, that must be incredible to live in Thailand! I hope to someday. I agree completely, it’s much more life changing to see the world through a local’s eyes, rather than just as a tourist! Yes, I will be adding many more!

  3. Hello Lauren
    As someone who traveled quite extensively when I was younger, anything to do with travel books is always a must read.
    As someone who is always counting pennies when I travel, (not exactly to pinch pennies but to make it possible to travel more)books like travel the world in 50 days are a must read.
    As my kids are now out of the nest, im looking forward to start traveling again, there is this thrill into arriving in a new country, new language and culture that I never get tired of.
    Something that has always fascinated me but I never got to doing was traveling to Africa, are there any books you can recommend?
    Thanks for your answer.

    • I’m glad you’ll be traveling again! Sounds like the perfect opportunity to see some new places, and hopefully your kids have caught the travel bug as well!

      Do you know which countries in Africa you’d like to visit? To start, I can recommend Fodor’s The Complete Guide to African Safaris, this will give you extensive information on safaris in a number of African countries, no matter your budget. It includes maps, recommendations on where to eat and to stay, and will give you must sees in Africa that will make your trip memorable. For travel guides, a great place to start is Lonely Planet Africa, which will provide you with great detailed information on many of the countries, and from there you can find specific travel guides from Lonely Planet to the countries you feel like visiting, but this is a smart place to start to get an overview of what you may be interested in.

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