50 Great Travel Books: Choose One.


Read travel books while you are traveling: on a bus, train, airplane, or in a bungalow.

Or read a book at home that makes you want to travel.

Why do you like reading travel books?

I made this compilation of the most popular travel books. They have stories that we all can enjoy and feel connected.

You will find a short description of each book so you can get an idea of the topic.

If it resonates with you, click on the title – it will take you to Amazon. There, you will find a longer description.

Moreover, if there is a Kindle version, you can read the first ten pages, or listen to the audiobook if it’s available.

girls reading travel books

You might find three different formats: audiobook, Kindle, and paperback.

Make sure you choose the right format when you buy a book.

But not all the books have three formats. Sometimes they have only one.

What kind of travel books?

Ninety percent of the books are true stories about travelers’ adventures. A few are fiction, and others are about general recommendations.

I divided the selection into three parts.

Female Travel Books
Philosophy Travel Books
Best Travel Books

Warning! This list will make you buy three or more books.

Meanwhile, you still have some books to read on your table or Kindle.

The good news is that it will be fun anyway.

travel books

Female Travel Books


In general, you will experience a quite different trip depending on if you are a man or a woman, especially in countries such as India, Malaysia, Morocco, and many others.

That’s why I wanted to make a section about it, but also because my female backpacker friends suggested I do so.

Having said that, these books share stories we all can relate to, women or men.

A Thousand New Beginnings: Tales of Solo Female Travel Through Southeast Asia


A Thousand New Beginnings: Tales of Solo Female Travel Through Southeast Asia


Book Description

This is the story of a 26-year-old girl who left her old life with a steady job and boyfriend behind in order to travel through Southeast Asia completely on her own.

Over the course of the next year and thousands of miles, hundreds of new beginnings and new friendships, she found that more than traveling the world outside, she traveled the world within.

This book is a collection of excerpts from her diary and blog during that time in which she found that traveling alone made all the difference in the world.

Girls Who Travel


Girls Who Travel


Book Description

Wise, witty, and hilarious, Girls Who Travel is an unforgettable novel about the highs and lows of getting what you want—and how it’s the things you least expect that can change your life.

Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals by Wendy Dale


Avoiding Prison and Other Noble Vacation Goals by Wendy Dale


Book Description

From salsa dancing in a rum-induced haze and struggling to exercise in Colombia (“the guerillas were using the track again today”), to crossing international borders unconventionally and dodging bombs in Lebanon (“the good news was that they were ‘small bombs’”).

Wendy somehow manages to find herself in the midst of hysterical, adventurous, and often illegal situations.

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa


beyond the sky and the earth


Book Description

Jamie Zeppa was 24 when she left a stagnant life at home and signed a contract to teach for two years in the Buddhist hermit kingdom of Bhutan.

Much more than just a travel memoir, Beyond the Sky and the Earth is the story of her time in a Himalayan village, immersed in Bhutanese culture and the wonders of new and lasting love.

Cruising Attitude by Heather Poole


cruising attitude


Book Description

Real-life flight attendant Heather Poole has written a charming and funny insider’s account of life and work in the not-always-friendly skies. 

Cruising Attitude is a Coffee, Tea, or Me? for the 21st century, as the author parlays her fifteen years of flight experience into a delightful account of crazy airline passengers and crew drama, of overcrowded crashpads in “Crew Gardens” Queens and finding love at 35,000 feet.

Poole not only shares great stories, but also explains the ins and outs of flying, as seen from the flight attendant’s jump seat.

Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert


eat pray love


Typical question:

Is it better the book or the movie?

Book Description

This beautifully written, heartfelt memoir touched a nerve among both readers and reviewers.

Elizabeth Gilbert tells how she made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life.

Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Gilbert explored the art of pleasure in Italy and the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Love with a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche.


love with a chance of drowning


Have you ever been in a similar situation? What would you do?

Book Description

City girl Torre DeRoche isn’t looking for love, but a chance encounter in a San Francisco bar sparks an instant connection with a soulful Argentinean man who unexpectedly sweeps her off her feet.

The problem? He’s just about to cast the dock lines and voyage around the world on his small sailboat, and Torre is terrified of deep water.

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost, by Rachel Friedman


the good girl's guide to getting lost


Book Description

Rachel Friedman has always been the consummate good girl who does well in school and plays it safe, so the college grad surprises no one more than herself when, on a whim, she buys a ticket to Ireland, a place she has never visited.

There she forms an unlikely bond with a free-spirited Australian girl, who fills her life with newfound friends, and gives birth to a previously unrealized passion for adventure.

How NOT To Travel The World By Lauren Juliff


how not to travel the world


Book Description

I had no life experience, zero common sense and had never eaten rice. I suffered from debilitating anxiety, was battling an eating disorder and had just had my heartbroken.

I thought by leaving to travel the world I would instantly become a glamorous and savvy backpacker…

Lands of lost borders. A journey on the silk road by Kate Harris


lands of lost borders


Book Description

In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend Mel.

Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, she realized that an explorer, in any day and age, is the kind of person who refuses to live between the lines.

A Woman Alone. Travel Tales From Around The Globe


a woman alone


Book Description

The idea of a journey without companions is too daunting for most travelers. Not so the women of this collection. These contemporary pioneers savor the ultimate freedom of solo travel.

In A Woman Alone, women share their funny, thrilling, occasionally terrifying, ultimately transformative stories of navigating some of the most unusual destinations on the globe.

Tales of a Female Nomad, Rita Golden Gelman


tales of a female nomad


Book Description

Rita Golden is an ordinary woman who is living an extraordinary existence.

At the age of forty-eight, on the verge of a divorce, Rita left an elegant life in L.A. to follow her dream of traveling the world, connecting with people in cultures all over the globe.

Rita’s example encourages us all to dust off our dreams and rediscover the joy, the exuberance, and the hidden spirit that so many of us bury when we become adults.

Driving Miss Norma: An Inspirational Story About What Really Matters at the End of Life by Tim Bauerschmidt


driving miss norma


I didn’t read this book, but the description made me laugh out loud. I added it to my endless list of books to read.

Book Description

When Miss Norma was diagnosed with uterine cancer, she was advised to undergo surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy.

But instead of confining herself to a hospital bed for what could be her last stay, Miss Norma—newly widowed after nearly seven decades of marriage—rose to her full height of five feet and told the doctor, “I’m ninety years old. I’m hitting the road.”

Holy Cow, Sarah MacDonald


holy cow


Book Description

In her twenties, journalist Sarah Macdonald backpacked around India and came away with a lasting impression of heat, pollution and poverty.

So when an airport beggar read her palm and told her she would return to India—and for love—she screamed, “Never!” and gave the country, and him, the finger.

But eleven years later, the prophecy comes true.

Philosophy Travel Books


All travel books have a philosophical aspect to them.

However, the main topic of these books is philosophy. We can also say that they are related to traveling.

In this case, it’s an inner trip.

For some reason, many travelers love these books – like myself – probably because they bring you to an amazing journey.

The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho.


the pilgrimage


Book Description

Step inside this captivating account of Paulo Coelho’s pilgrimage along the road to Santiago.

This fascinating parable explores the need to find one’s own path. In the end, we discover that the extraordinary is always found in the ordinary and simple ways of everyday people.

Part adventure story, part guide to self-discovery, this compelling tale delivers the perfect combination of enchantment and insight.

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho


the alchemist


Book Description

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.

What Makes You Not a Buddhist by Dongsar Jamyang


what makes you not a buddhist


Book Description

So you think you’re a Buddhist? Think again.

Tibetan Buddhist master Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, one of the most creative and innovative lamas teaching today, throws down the gauntlet to the Buddhist world, challenging common misconceptions, stereotypes, and fantasies.

With wit and irony, Khyentse urges readers to move beyond the superficial trappings of Buddhism—beyond the romance with beads, incense, or exotic robes—straight to the heart of what the Buddha taught.

Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel


destination earth


Book Description

More a guide to travel than a travel guide, Destination Earth transforms how you view travel and its relation to Life.

It also provides a philosophical framework for embarking on more meaningful and purposeful travels, whether it is an around the world journey, or an exploration of a region, or even a city.

Travel As Transformation By Gregory V. Diehl


travel as a transformetion


Book Description

From living in a van on the streets of San Diego to growing chocolate with indigenous tribes in Central America, to teaching in the Middle East and volunteering in Africa.

Best-selling author Gregory V. Diehl has followed a worldly and unconventional path through life.

Leaving his California home as a teenager, he fully immersed himself, living and working, in 45 countries across the globe – all by age 28.

Best Travel Books


Here, you will find several kinds of books. They all have one thing in common: they are true stories about people having some incredible traveling adventures.

American Shaolin by Matthew Polly.


american shaoling


Book Description

Growing up a ninety-eight-pound weakling tormented by bullies in the schoolyards of Kansas, Matthew Polly dreamed of one day journeying to the Shaolin Temple in China to become the toughest fighter in the world, like Caine in his favorite 1970s TV series Kung Fu. 

American Shaolin is the story of the two years Matthew spent in China living, studying, and performing with the Shaolin monks.

A Cook’s Tour: In Search of the Perfect Meal by Anthony Bourdain.


a cook's tour


Do you like cooking and traveling?

Book Description

Dodging minefields in Cambodia, diving into the icy waters outside a Russian bath, Chef Bourdain travels the world over in search of the ultimate meal.

The only thing Anthony Bourdain loves as much as cooking is traveling, and A Cook’s Tour is the shotgun marriage of his two greatest passions.

Inspired by the question, ‘What would be the perfect meal?’, Anthony sets out on a quest for his culinary holy grail.

Around Africa on my Bicycle by Riaan Manser.


around africa on my bicycle


Book Description

In a world first, almost incredibly, Riaan Manser rode a bicycle right around the continent of Africa.

It took him two years, two months and fifteen days. He rode 36 500 kilometers through 34 different countries. In Around Africa on my Bicycle, Manser tells the story of this epic journey.

It is a story of blood, sweat, toil, and tears. It is a story of triumph and occasional disaster. Of nights out under the stars, of searing heat and rain, of endless miles of Africa and of pressing on and never surrendering whatever the odds.

Mostly, however, it is the story of one man’s courage and determination to escape the mundane and see the continent he loves and feels so much a part of.

Danziger’s Travels: Beyond Forbidden Frontiers by Nick Danziger.


danziger's travels


Book Description

A bestseller when it was first published nearly a decade ago, Danziger’s Travels is a riveting account of a daring 18–month journey from Istanbul to Peking.

It’s written by a young British photographer who walked and hitchhiked his way across six frontiers without a visa. Featuring 40 color photos.

I’m Off Then: Losing and Finding Myself on the Camino de Santiago by Hape Kerkeling.


i'm off then


Book Description

Overweight, overworked, and physically unfit, Kerkeling was an unlikely candidate to make the arduous pilgrimage across the French Alps to the Spanish Shrine of St. James, a 1,200-year-old journey undertaken by nearly 100,000 people every year.

But that didn’t stop him from getting off the couch and walking. Along the way, lonely and searching for meaning, he began the journal that turned into this utterly frank, engaging book.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer


into the wild


In this case, I would say that both the book and the movie are great. It’s obvious that they changed a few things, but if you ignore that, you will be able to enjoy both.

Book Description

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley.

His name was Christopher Johnson McCandless. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

Jupiters Travels: Four Years Around the World on a Triumph by Ted Simon


jupitar`s travel


Book Description

Simon rode a motorcycle around the world in the seventies, when such a thing was unheard of.

In four years he covered 78,000 miles through 45 countries, living with peasants and presidents, in prisons and palaces, through wars and revolutions.

What distinguishes this book is that Simon was already an accomplished writer. In 25 years this book has changed many lives, and inspired many to travel, including Ewan McGregor.

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman


long way round


Book Description

It started as a daydream. Poring over a map of the world at home one quiet Saturday afternoon, Ewan McGregor noticed that it was possible to ride all the way round the world, with just one short hop across the Bering Strait from Russia to Alaska.

It was a revelation he couldn’t get out of his head. So he picked up the phone and called his fellow actor-slash-biker friend Charley Boorman and told him it was time to hit the road.

Rick Steves’ Postcards from Europe: Travel Tales from America’s Favorite Guidebook Writer by Rick Steves


postcards from europe


Europe from an American point of view.

Book Description

A journal of Rick’s favorite European stories, his traveling life, and how he started his business, all told in that funny, down-to-earth style that makes Rick America’s favorite travel writer. 

Rick Steves’ Postcards from Europe takes you on a European vacation, complete with the sights, sounds, tastes, and people of Europe, without ever leaving that comfy sofa or the relative safety of your own car.

Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer


seven years in tibet

Book Description

A landmark in travel writing, this is the incredible true story of Heinrich Harrer’s escape across the Himalayas to Tibet, set against the backdrop of the Second World War.

Heinrich Harrer, already one of the greatest mountaineers of his time, was climbing in the Himalayas when war broke out in Europe.

He was imprisoned by the British in India but succeeded in escaping and fled to Tibet. Settling in Lhasa, the Forbidden City, where he became a friend and tutor to the Dalai Lama, Heinrich Harrer spent seven years gaining a more profound understanding of Tibet and the Tibetans than any Westerner before him.

The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton


the art of travel


Book Description

Even as de Botton takes the reader along on his own peregrinations, he also cites such distinguished fellow-travelers as Baudelaire, Wordsworth, Van Gogh, the biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and the 18th-century eccentric Xavier de Maistre, who cataloged the wonders of his bedroom.

The Art of Travel is a wise and utterly original book. Don’t leave home without it.

The Kindness of Strangers: Penniless Across America by Mike McIntyre.


the kindness of strangers penniless across america


Book Description

Stuck in a job he no longer found fulfilling, journalist Mike McIntyre felt his life was quickly passing him by.

So one day he hit the road to trek from one end of the country to the other with little more than the clothes on his back and without a single penny in his pocket.

Through his travels, he found varying degrees of kindness in strangers from all walks of life.

He discovered more about people and values and life on the road than he’d ever thought possible.

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac


on the road


Book Description

Inspired by Jack Kerouac’s adventures with Neal Cassady, On the Road tells the story of two friends whose cross-country road trips are a quest for meaning and true experience.

On the Road is the quintessential American vision of freedom and hope, a book that changed American literature and changed anyone who has ever picked it up.

The Beach, by Alex Garland


the beach


I didn’t fully understand this book the first time I read it. That was many years ago.

After I had been backpacking around South East Asia, I understood it quite well. That feeling …

The movie is quite good, too. Leonardo DiCaprio is great.

Book Description

The Khao San Road, Bangkok — first stop for the hordes of rootless young Westerners traveling in Southeast Asia.

On Richard’s first night there, in a low-budget guest house, a fellow traveler slashes his wrists, bequeathing to Richard a meticulously drawn map to “the Beach”.

Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts





Book Description

There’s nothing like vagabonding: 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.

In this one-of-a-kind handbook, veteran travel writer Rolf Potts explains how anyone armed with an independent spirit can achieve the dream of extended overseas travel.

In A Sunburned Country By Bill Bryson


in a sunburned country


Book Description

In a Sunburned Country is a delectably funny, fact-filled and adventurous performance by a writer who combines humor, wonder, and unflagging curiosity.

Wherever Bryson goes he finds Australians who are cheerful, extroverted, and unfailingly obliging.

They are the beaming products of a land with clean, safe cities, cold beer, and constant sunshine.

Australia is an immense and fortunate land, and it has found in Bryson its perfect guide.

Microadventures By Alastair Humphreys


micro adventures


A nice way to look at life.

Book Description

A microadventure takes the spirit of a big adventure and squeezes it into a day or even a few hours.

The point of a microadventure is that you don’t need lots of time and money to meet a new challenge.

This practical guide is filled with ideas for microadventures – for you to experience on your own or with friends and family – and over 150 stunning photographs, plus tips and advice on safety and kit.

Dark Star Safari By Paul Theroux


dark star safari


Book Description

In Dark Star Safari the wittily observant and endearingly irascible Paul Theroux takes readers the length of Africa by rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train.

In the course of his epic and enlightening journey, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.

Marching Powder, Rusty Young


marching powder


This is not a backpacking experience that I would recommend to you.

Book Description

Rusty Young was backpacking in South America when he heard about Thomas McFadden, a convicted English drug trafficker who ran tours inside Bolivia’s notorious San Pedro prison.

Intrigued, the young Australian journalist went to La Paz and joined one of Thomas’s illegal tours.

The Kindness of Strangers, Kate Adie


the kindness of strangers


Book Description

This book encompasses Adie’s reporting from, inter alia, Northern Ireland, the Middle East, Tiananmen Square and, of course, the Gulf War of 1991.

It offers a compelling combination of vivid frontline reporting and evocative writing and reveals the extraordinarily demanding life of the woman who is always at the heart of the action.

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Robert M. Pirsig


zen and the art of motorcycle maintanance


Book Description

A narration of a summer motorcycle trip undertaken by a father and his son, the book becomes a personal and philosophical odyssey into fundamental questions of how to live.

Resonant with the confusions of existence, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance is a touching and transcendent book of life.

A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson


a walk in the woods


Book Description

In the company of his friend Stephen Katz, Bill Bryson set off to hike the Appalachian Trail, the longest continuous footpath in the world.

Facing savage weather, merciless insects, unreliable maps and a fickle companion whose profoundest wish was to go to a motel and watch The X-Files, Bryson gamely struggled through the wilderness to achieve a lifetime’s ambition – not to die outdoors.

Ascent Into Hell: Mount Everest by Fergus White


ascent into hell


I read this book around seven years ago. I would not say it’s a travel book, but more about mountaineering.

Nevertheless, it’s a true story, and I enjoyed reading it.

Book Description

This book plunges the reader into a land of subzero temperatures, asphyxiating air, and ever-increasing danger.

Base Camp and the Himalayan world above it come to life in this riveting, true novel. The inner workings of an Everest expedition team and what it takes to climb the world’s highest mountain are laid bare.

Some return from the death zone injured. Some do not return at all.

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back Door: The Travel Skills Handbook by Rick Steves


europe through back dor


Book Description

After 30+ years of exploring Europe, Rick considers this travel skills handbook his life’s work, and with his expert introductions to the top destinations in Europe, choosing your next trip will be easy and stress-free.

Using the travel skills in this book, you’ll experience the culture like a local, spend less money, and have more fun.

How to Run Away From Home: And Bring Your Family With You by Adam Dailey


how to run away from home


Book Description

Adam Dailey’s history as a professional athlete, entrepreneur, sports marketer, and speaker has shown that he’s always followed his passion.

When he put his professional life on hold to take a twelve month “family sabbatical,” the future of his business was uncertain and his young school-aged son was struggling with a sensory disorder.

But instead of waiting for a “right time” that might never come, Adam, his wife, and their four small children set off on an epic global trek.

Take Risks: One Couple’s Journey to Quit Their Jobs and Hit the Open Road by Joe Russo


take risks


Book Description

What if you could walk away from the pressures and stresses of corporate life, and live outside of the routines and restrictions?

What if you could choose where you live on a daily basis, have a beach view on Monday and a view of the mountains on Friday?

These were the questions Joe and Kait Russo asked themselves as they faced endless corporate meetings, inconvenient business trips, and the crushing stress of ‘making it.’

It all changed when Kait asked Joe, “What if we sold our house and got an RV?”

The Four Hour Work Week, Tim Ferris


the 4 hour work week


This book is for people who want to be a Digital Nomad. It’s popular and has a lot of good reviews. It’s on my list too. 

Book Description

Whether your dream is escaping the rat race, experiencing high-end world travel, earning a monthly five-figure income with zero management, or just living more and working less, this book is the blueprint.

This is a step-by-step guide to luxury lifestyle. Updated and expanded.

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere by John Wiseman


sas survival handbook


Ok, this is a bit over the top. But to be honest, I read this book before I started backpacking. I, fortunately, didn’t need to use its knowledge.

Book Description

Revised to reflect the latest in survival knowledge and technology, and covering new topics such as urban survival and terrorism, the multimillion-copy worldwide bestseller SAS Survival Handbook by John “Lofty” Wiseman is the definitive resource for all campers, hikers, and outdoor adventurers.

From basic campcraft and navigation to fear management and strategies for coping with any type of disaster.

Stories of Love and Sex Around The World


stories of love and sex


While I was traveling around India I had the idea of writing a book, or two. This is the result.

Book Description

Have you ever dreamt about traveling around the world and meeting people from different countries?

It doesn’t always go well, but it is always interesting.

Around five years ago, I made the decision to go to Australia.

It took a lot of guts. It was the first stop of my trip. When I arrived, I looked at the sky, and I thought, I like it!

I didn’t mean Australia –which I also like– I meant the feeling of freedom. That feeling will always be with me.



50 Great Travel Books: Choose One.
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