We think travel is incredible – which is why we do it so much! Yet there are often times on the road where we’re left with not much to do (train journeys, for example). That’s why we find that a good book is one of the things you should never travel without, and what better theme than travel?
Here are some of the best travel books (we think) for engaging your wanderlust when you’re traveling.
Into the Wild by John Krakauer
An incredible novel about one man’s journey into the Alaskan wilderness. The story is that of Christopher McCandless, who gave up his life in order to head out into the wild and live on his own. The story itself became so popular that it was eventually turned into a movie back in 2007. For anyone who truly feels the wanderlust of travel, the book is both an incredible read and a cautionary tale.
Despite experiencing many different things and coming face to face with more than a few unique characters, Christopher’s journey does not end well. Based on a true story, a lot of people know how it ends, but that shouldn’t stop you from picking this book up. After all, the journey is more important than the destination, right?
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Kerouac’s beat generation love letter to travel is all about exploring 1940’s rural America. For lots of those who read this, the destinations were just in their backyard and not halfway around the world. Set against a backdrop of jazz and some of the less pleasant sides to society, On the Road made its way to becoming a cultural icon and a story almost any American teenager could tell you about – especially if they’re filled with wanderlust.
Whilst you may not be up for repeating the protagonist, Sal Paradise’s journey, you’ll find yourself realizing that travel and wanderlust doesn’t just mean heading halfway around the world. It can mean just heading a couple of miles “that’a’way”.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Ok, so this might not be your standard travel book. It certainly doesn’t give us any real, valuable travel information. It does, however, provide us with the feeling we all have about wanderlust. Much like how it can feel for us when we travel, the book’s main character Max ventures into the deepest darkest jungle you could imagine. There, he meets the wild things and more than a few problems.
Despite being a children’s book, it can easily be taken as a metaphor for traveling. Coming face to face with strange – and at times scary – things, can cause us to break out our own wild side. Yet the moral of this story is that there is always a home to return to – no matter how far away you go.
Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
A story about breaking past your limits and finding new adventures to conquer, Jonathan Livingston Seagull is one of the best travel books we think you could possibly read to really fuel your wanderlust. Whilst all the other seagulls around Jonathan Livingston Seagull just want to catch and fight about food, Jonathon wants to do more. He wants to fly higher, fly further, and explore new places.
Eventually, Jonathan discovers new places and comes to learn so much about flying that he ascends to a ‘higher plane of existence’, where he learns that flying and knowledge of it is what can lead to happiness and prosperity.
Like Jonathan’s mission to fly, travel is filled with lessons and experiences which help us to grow and people and improve the world around us. Much like Jonathan becomes a teacher, those with lots of travel experience try to share their own knowledge and understanding through travel blogs about budget travel, or unique destinations, and more. If you haven’t already started your own journey towards becoming a flying seagull, this book will inspire you too.
The Beach by Alex Garland
Back to reality and Alex Garland’s novel about a group of backpackers in Thailand who discover a paradise island, is more than enough to encourage us to break out of our 9-5 lives. However, not everything goes perfectly, with Garland showing us the darker side of backpacking and travel before you reach the last page.
How NOT To Travel The World by Lauren Juliff
Taking a more practical approach, How NOT to Travel The World is all about what you shouldn’t be doing when you’re out there traveling. It’s a great book for first-time and experienced travelers alike. After all, we’ve found that even the most experienced traveler can find themselves getting into trouble without realizing it.
The book does a great job of instilling confidence as well.
Anything Lonely Planet by Lonely Planet
Before you head off to your next destination, it’s highly recommended that you pick up your destination’s Lonely Planet guide. Usually taking up more space and weight than you really want to sacrifice in your suitcase, we’ve found digital versions work a lot better than traditional bound volumes.
Yet Lonely Planet’s guides are sometimes the key to discovering new adventures you would otherwise miss. Sure, having access to the internet is a big help, but a conveniently placed guidebook is more than occasionally helpful. Moreover, with many of Lonely Planet’s guides covering whole countries, it’s a great place to scan when you’re between destinations. We’ve often found more than a few extra things to do by scanning its pages. You can do the same.
How to Travel the World On $50 A Day by Matt Kepnes
If you’re looking for a book which tells you how to actually travel – and how to do so without spending a fortune, then Matt Kepnes book is one of the best. You might know Matt as the founder of the website Nomadic Matt – a great travel blog in its own right. This book is basically all the important bits rolled into one.
He keeps the tone relatable enough that you can keep up, yet unique enough that you can’t find a lot of the tips elsewhere.
Travel is about different things for different people. For us, it’s about a sense of freedom and exploration, and that’s exactly what these travel books encapsulate. Making it from point A to point B is more than just a search for a destination, it’s also about a journey to be enjoyed in and of itself. We hope you enjoy the journey, this book will offer you from the front cover to the back.