The 40 Best Travel Books of all time!

Need some Inspiration to Travel? Looking for Adventure and Excitement? Seeking a little Soul-Searching? We have the book for you.  We put together one of the largest lists of the best travel books that has something for everyone.  From scary real-life adventures to fictional child books, our list of the best travel books will give you something to sink your literary teeth into.  Just click on any book icon to see it on Amazon. 


Click on one of the categories below to help you find your best travel book!

The best travel books for Adventure and Excitement

Best Travel Books - Into the Wild

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Starting our list of the Best Travel Books is this cautionary real life story follows a young man from a well-off family who, after college, donates all his $25,000 of savings to charity, burns the cash in his wallet, and hitch-hikes to Alaska where he seeks to live of the land in the wild.  A literary classic and recommended reading for most high-schoolers, this book will keep you on your seat and help you overcome any fears you have about starting your next travel adventure.

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Best Travel Books - On the Road

Through colorful characters and shifting landscapes, Kerouac uses his fictional characters to tell an ever shifting friendship that zig-zags the United States. From bus rides to hitch-hiking, these characters travel west with hopes of finding excitement from stable “normal” life. The search for Normal life is one that is never satiated.

The Best Travel Books - Into thin Air - Jon Krakauer

A true story about one of the deadliest days on everest where several groups get pinned down by a terrible blizzard. This emotional and gripping story will transplant you from your comfortable location to one of the least hospitable locations on the earth. Once a few chapters in, you will likely have an increased heart rate and late nights until you finish the book.

The Best Travel Books - The Martian by Andy Weir

This Martian, which is now major motion picture, is any Sci-Fi lover’s dream. This story is about an astronaut, Mark Watney, who is stranded on Mars. His struggle to stay alive and all the problems that he incurs are complex but exciting. You’ll be holding your breath, and the book tightly as surprizes and the struggle to stay alive are palpable. The method of writing is as if the reader is reading his journal, which allows you to understand the stress and emotions the character, Mark Watney, is experiencing.

Best Travel Books - A walk in the woods - Bill Bryson

A humorous travel memoir from Bill Bryson, which is now a major motion picture with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Bill’s journey through the wilderness along the Appalachian Trail, with no outdoor experience, is a recipe for disaster. Additionally his friend, Stephen, has no experience either. The two of them attack this, mid-life-crisis journey as the best two out of shape men can. Humor, wit, and a few taxi’s help them along the way.

Best Travel Books - Alone on the ice: The greatest survival story in the history of exploration - David Roberts

As part of the Australasian Arctic Expedition in January 1913, Douglas Mawson, leader of the expedition, finds himself alone and near starvation. His will to survive is driven by a line of poetry that drives him, sometimes only crawling, back to his team. This thrilling and unbelievable account showcases how the human will to survive is one of the strongest forces in the universe.

This is the Coldest book on our list of best travel books.

The Best Travel Books - Amazing adventures of a Nobody - Leon Logothestis

Determined to change his unhappy life, Leon Logothetis, decides to partake in a strange life-changing journey across the US. Allowing himself only five dollars per day, he is challanged with surving on people’s kindness alone. Along his journey he meets some loving and some not-so friendly characters. Many Americans would say this journey is impossible, but Leon shows that the basics of humanity, love and kindness, are still prevelant and ubiquitous.

The best travel books for a Long Flight

Most people know this as a Johnny Dep movie but it started out as Hunter S. Thompson’s best literary work.  It is the best chronicle of drug-soaked, addle-brained, rollicking good times ever committed to the printed page. As two friends partake on one of the strangest weekend long journeys in American pop culture.

Most travelers aren’t dreaming of a trip to Las Vegas but this barbiturate filled book will open your mind to the craziness of travel and how partners can be a blessing and a curse at times. (but mainly a blessing)

Best Travel Books - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

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If you’re looking for inspiration to travel the world, why not read about people who’ve traveled the galaxy. Follow Author, a normal “earth-person” and his alien friend through all sorts of far-fetched issues and new worlds . This travel book will help you get over the idea of traveling 8 hours on a flight to Brazil or packing your bag for Yosemite National Park.

The Best Travel Books - The Hitchhiker

Stepping out of his comfort zone, John Grisham writes a very different story about a “has-been” football player who moves to Italy to play Italian football. This story journeys through the character, Rick’s, struggle. If you’re traveling to Italy, it’s a must read. Through this journey, you’ll swear you can smell the pizza and the vinyards of the tuscan area. A lively and enjoyable transition of Rick’s character as he initially is only interested in his American ways and the Italian women.

The Best Travel Books - Playing for Pizza

Out of africa is a memoir by Baroness Karen von Blixen-Finecke that recounts events when Bilxen first made Kenya her home. Living on a struggling coffee plantation and troubled with an unfaithful husband, she finds herself at a crossroads of life. Independent and capable she must find her new voice and way of life.

The Best Travel Books - Out of Africa - Karen Blixen

This classic story follows two childhood sweethearts through a unique love story. Henry is diagnosed with Chrono-Displacement Disorder: peiodically his genetic clock resets and he finds himself misplaced in time, pulled to moments of emotional gravity in his life. His frequent and random disappearances are straining on Henry and Clare’s marriage. The story shares the effects this disorder has on their passionate love from both sided of the relationship.

The Best Travel Books - The Time Traveler

Another book that taps into our childhood wonder, The adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a must read for anyone, traveler or not. If you haven’t read this, catch up on you 7th grade syllabus and follow this wonderfully imaginative re-creation of boyish adventures along the might Mississippi River. This “childrens” book addresses some very deep issues, such as, slavery, civilized society, and dignity among human beings. This quotable story, will white wash you with humor and ford new creativity across the river of life. Not only is this one of the best travel books it’s also one of the best childrens books.

The Best Travel Books - The adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain

With a quest for life, in 1937, Ernest Hemingway traveled to spain to cover the civil war for the North American Newspaper Alliance. This trip helped inspire Ernest, one of American’s best literary authors, to write this timeless classic. It follows an American, Robert Jordan, who is fighting in the mountains of spain, through his trials of loyalty and courage. Struggles of love and defeat are intertwined in this dramatic story. Reading this story pays tribute to the trailblazer Ernest Hemingway was.

The Best Travel Books - For Whom the Bell Tolls - Ernest Hemingway

The best travel books to Inspire Travel

The Best Travel Books - Tales of a Female Nomad - Rita Golden Gelman

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Nomads come in all ages, Rita Golden Gelman, at 48 and on the verge of a divorce, decided to dissolve here possessions and follow her dreams of traveling the world. This story, a New York Times Best Seller and one of the best travel books, follows her while she lives in a Mexican village, sleeps with sea lions in the Galapagos, and calls a small tiki hutt home. This life fulfilling journey reminds all of us to throw caution to the wind, and pursue our dreams, whatever they may be.

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The Best Travel Books - Vagabonding - Potts

A trailblazer himself Rolf Potts has traveled the world numerous times on a shoestring budget.  As he states it, “Vagabonding is about taking time off from your normal life—from six weeks to four months to two years—to discover and experience the world on your own terms.”  This book is a must for any potential or current traveler.  Written in a unique style, this book can be read from front to back and referenced as a ‘How to’ for traveling problems.

This is a book you will read multiple times, before and during your next trip.

Best Travel Books - The Beach

Spellbinding and hallucinogenic, The Beach by Alex Garland — both a national bestseller and his debut — is a highly accomplished and suspenseful novel that fixates on a generation in their twenties, who, burdened with the legacy of the preceding generation and saturated by popular culture, long for an unruined landscape, but find it difficult to experience the world firsthand. – Amazon

Best Travel Books - Bliss

This humorous self-help guide, The Geography of Bliss takes the you from America to Iceland to India in search of happiness, or, in the crabby author’s case, moments of “un-unhappiness.” The book uses an interesting mixture of travel, psychology, science and humor to investigate not what happiness is, but where it is. Are Swiss people happier because it is the most democratic country in the world? Do citizens of Qatar, awash in petrodollars, find joy in all that cash? Is the King of Bhutan a visionary for his initiative to calculate Gross National Happiness? Why is Asheville, North Carolina so damn happy? With engaging wit and surprising insights, Eric Weiner answers those questions and many others, offering travelers of all moods some interesting new ideas for sunnier destinations and dispositions.

The Best Travel Books - The Art of Travel - Alain de Botton

Most people explain where to travel, through a unique and witty way, Alain explains why and how to travel. De Botton uses late artists to help motivate us to gain the gumption for travel. In a unique fashion he uses painters, Van Gogh, to help us see where to travel and philosophers to help us with our own self-help.

The Best Travel Books - Turn Right at Machu Picchu - Mark Adams

Determined to identify the truth about the “hero” who found Machu Picchu, Mark Adams retraces the steps of the original explorers. While Mark is an experienced travel editor, this journey streches his comfort zone as he experiences camping and rustic guides during this full of life adventure.

The Best Travel Books - Gulliver

Another literary classic that many read in grammar school, is about the journeys of a ship’s surgeon Lemuel Gulliver. Throughout his travels, he finds himself in a world where he is a giant among ant-sized humans and in another world where he is ant-sized among giant men. This book, written for children, is an excellent read for any potential traveler. We all grow up physically, but this book helps us hold on to our childhood wonder during our time of wander.

The Best Travel Books - A short walk in the Hindu Kush - Eric Newby

Traveling through a land that is now untouchable by many westerners, Eric Newby travels through some of the most beautiful and remote wildernesses on earth. During his legendary trip from Mayfair to Afganistan, Eric endures countless hardships that would have sent any experienced adventurer retreating for safety. This 1956 journey, allows us to see the beauty in a world that, now, seems ugly and tainted by religious and political turmoil.

The best travel books for Soul Searching

This literary classic still remains current even though it was published more than 30 years ago. It’s a strange, unique, and very entertaining railway odyssey that has become a favorite among travelers.  Theroux recounts his experience while on Asia’s fabled traines, the Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local, the Frontier Mail, the Golden Arrow to Kuala Lumpur, the Mandalay Express, the Trans-Siberian Express while he travels from London to Tokyo then back via the Trans-Siberian.  Filled with humor and wit this book will help your travel time pass with ease.

The Best Travel Books - The Great Railway Bazaar - Paul Theroux

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Written after Paulo Coelho’s famous Alchemist, this fantastical story finds the main character, also called “Paul Coelho” traversing the Trans-Siberian Railway yearning to fill his empty spiritual tank. Along the journey he meets a young female violinist named Hillal, who he realized he had a past with…..

Traversing 7 timezones this story will make for a seamless and enjoyable timezone passing.

Best Travel Books - Aleph

Like most travelers, Elizabeth was seaking meaning; meaning to her marriage, meaning to god, and the meaning to life. Leaving her troubled marriage at the start, this spritual journey takes Elizabeth across the world experiencing life through the practice of over indulging. She over indulges in food in Italy, over indulges in prayer in India, and over indulges in love in Bali. This best selling book has guided many new travelers to seek foreign lands. In some places it has built new tourist locations as cult-type follwers pursue to trace her footsteps. This book is great for anyone looking for inspiration to try new lands and cultures!

The Best Travel Books - Eat Pray Love - Elizabeth Gilbert

After his grandmothers death, Bruce Chatwin traveled to a spot he had always dreamed about, Pategonia. This was the “farthest place to which man walked from his place of origin’ During his journey he meets decendants of the nomadic men and women who originally established the southernmost part of Argentina and Chile as home. His journey through history is at times chaotic but still inspiring and philosophical.

The Best Travel Books - In Patagonia - Bruce Chitin

This real life story about Heinrich’s experiences in Tibet between 1944 and 1951 has been made into a major motion picture. The Dalai Lama said, “Heinrich Harrer will always be remembered by the Tibetan People.” Heinrich, a adventure junky who loved mountain climbing and skiing which takes him to India to scale Eiger North Face wall. With Britain and Germany at war, he ends up in a detention camp. After escaping, he travels to where “no outsiders were allowed inside”, Tibet. His facination with this country fuels his passion to acomplish his unattainable goal of enter Tibet. While in Tibet, he is befriended by the Dalai Lama himeslf and becomes his tutor and becomes a salaried employee of the government. This story also highlights China’s invasion of Tibet and the horrible treatment of the local people all in pursuit of valuable minerals and land.

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The Best Travel Books - Seven Years in Tibet - Heinrich Harrer

Taking a break from med school in 1952, Enersto Guevara “Che” and his friend Alberto Grando decide to take an 8000 km trip and travel South America on a motorcycle. As a collection of diary entries written during the trip, the story illustrates the events of Che and Alberto’s journey. This life-changing trip, Che and Alberto, experience the gritty part of cities which change and mold the views of a future revolutionary leader.

The Best Travel Books - The Motorcycle Diaries - Che Guevara

The only Author with two books in our list of the best travel books, Paul Coelho continues to reshape lives and minds with his wonderful writing. The Alchemist has changed countless peoples lives and reshaped shaped culture with it’s inspirational message. This magical story follows Santiago as he finds numerous treasures which help teach the reader about wisdom, listening to our hearts, reading omens, and like most traveling wishes, following our dreams.

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The Best Travel Books - The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho

“I experienced that sinking feeling you get when you know you have conned yourself into doing something difficult and there’s no going back.” Armed with only 4 camels and a dog for company, Robyn endured swelting heat, poisonous snakes during her journey across the hostile Australian desert. A compelling and candid story, Tracks is the story of her odyssey of discovery and transformation.

The Best Travel Books - Tracks - Robyn Davidson

Spending fourteen months in one of the most remote locations in the world, Antarctica, Gavin, with few distractions and little human interaction experiences the darkness of winter and the pertetual sunshine of the sumer. Here he explores the hardships of living at temperatures of 50 below and unwelcoming weather changes. Through all these hardships, he identifies closely with the friendship the penguin community offers on this lonely continent.

The Best Travel Books - Empire Antarctica - Gavin Francis

The best travel books for Travel tips and Life Tips

The Best Travel Books - The Magic of Thinking Big - Schwartz

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Yes, this isn’t a “travel” book but it is a mind changing book and that’s what travel is all about, Right?  This book will help change your thought process on problems and your capability.  It helped motivate us to take the leap to vagabonding.

In this book Dr. Schwartz presents a carefully designed program for getting the most out of your job, your marriage and family life, and your community.  He challenges your thought processes and gives you the tools to change your mindset towards successful thinking.

Best Travel Books - Adventure Capitalist

In a wold where we want financial stability, Conor Woodman bucked the trend as he quit his job, sold his house, and took up the ultimate commercial challenge; to get around the world in 80 trades and come back with a profit. Inspired by historical merchants Marco Polo and Iban Battuta, his adventure is filled with bartering for Sudanese camels, Zambian coffee, Chinese Jade, and South African Wine.  This book will make you realize that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.

The Best Travel Books - 1001 Places to see before you die - Patricia Schultz

More of a coffee table book than a novel, this New York Times best seller is a must for any travelers home. It will act as a bucket list of places seen and to be seen. This book will help you plan your next trip, be it to the Andes or to India. With 1001 sites, the list would be a major guantlet for anyone to complete.

The Best Travel Books - Do Travel Writers go to Hell? - Thomas Kohnstamm

In a wold where we want financial stability, Conor Woodman bucked the trend as he quit his job, sold his house, and took up the ultimate commercial challenge; to get around the world in 80 trades and come back with a profit. Inspired by historical merchants Marco Polo and Iban Battuta, his adventure is filled with bartering for Sudanese camels, Zambian coffee, Chinese Jade, and South African Wine.  This book will make you realize that you can accomplish anything you put your mind to.

The Best Travel Books - Unlikely Destinations - The Lonely Planet Story - Tony Wheeler and Maureen Wheeler

Born in 1973, Lonely planet has quickly established itself as a major publisher. This part autobiography, part business history, and part travel book traces Tony and Maureen’s bumpy story into travel history. As trailblazers they wrote Across Asia on the Cheap which was a major success and a pseudo-bible for backpackers. Fast forward 30 years, this couple has seen tough times and great times that help build their business motto. The journey of Lonely Planet and it’s rise to success is a must read for any business person, traveler, or traveling-business person.

The Best Travel Books - The Art of Travel Alain de Botton

This must read for any travler is the perfect guide to intelligent travel. De Botton argues, “where we go, is far less important than an awareness of why we are on the move at all.” A fundamental understanding of any long term travelers. The Art of Travel is an enjoyable thought provoking book filled with inspiration of past explorers, philosphers, and artists. De Botton’s tone is playful but informative and clear.

The Best Travel Books - Deep Economy - Bill Mckibben

Bill McKibben is an environmentalist who promotes sustainable economy in close knit communities. His idea of Deep Economy, defined by Mckibben as one that “cares less about the quantity than about quality; that takes as its goal the production of human satisfaction as much as surplus material; that is focused on the idea that it might endure and considers durability at least as important as increases in size.” In this book he challenges the long-standing presumption that “more” is “better” for economic growth. He also challenges that it is unstainable and unrealistic.

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The Best Travel Books - Four Hour Work Week - Tim Ferriss

A demi-god among many vagabonders, Tim Ferriss was a trailblazer for new anti-establishment movement of the tropical 9-5 workers. This entertaining, New York Times best seller, self-help book should be opened with caution. Many people have quit their jobs and changed their lifestyles after reading the Four Hour Work Week. In this book, Ferriss utilized successful case studies to prove that the typical 9-5 does not have to be followed by everyone. This book gives you the tools and motivation to start your own business and travel the world. It is a must read for anyone unhappy with their current job or a future traveler.