10 Best Travel Books of All Time

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You can’t learn about the world without reading about it first. And as a voracious reader and an avid traveler, you probably have read your fair share of books on travel. But how do you know which ones are worth reading again? The ones that inspire you to keep traveling? Which really are the best travel books?

While there are many great travel books, not all have stood the test of time – or even succeeded in inspiring another generation of readers and travelers. So, if you’re looking for top travel books, you’ve come to the right place.

10 Best Travel Books of All Time

I’ve compiled a list of 10 fantastic travel books that inspire wanderlust in even the most seasoned traveler. From tales of far-flung adventure to intimate portraits of life in other cultures, these books will ignite your passion for travel.

10 Best Travel Books of All Time with a lady peeking into a book in a colourful bookshop with lots of books behind her
Looking for the best travel reads of all time? Here’s my top 10 best travel books!

Top travel books of all time that will make you add another country to your bucket list

We all want to travel the world. The appeal of the unknown draws us to places we have never been to. Be it the culture, the people, or even the food, we all want to experience different things. We also read books about traveling to inspire us and give us ideas about where and what to see. That is why I have compiled a list of the best travel books of all time that you must read if you are planning to travel the world.

Books about traveling and adventure

As you are thinking about your next vacation, you might be considering an excellent book to take along with you. Or maybe you’re going on a business trip and want something to while away the flight. Or perhaps you’re looking for a book to read that will help you travel the world better. Whatever your reasons for choosing a good travel book, you will find many possibilities on the list below.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer is one of the most captivating travel books. It is a true story about a naive young man named Christopher McCandless who gives up everything he owns, burns all his money and academic certificates, and hitchhikes to the Alaskan wilderness. He sets off on an adventure with no idea what he’s doing, and his final act is to starve to death. It is a story of a man who thinks he is prepared for the wilderness but is entirely unprepared. The book is a chilling reminder to travelers to plan well, consult, prepare before leaving home, and, if possible, find a guide.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist is an essential travel book because it’s a book about following your dreams. It shows the journey of a young shepherd boy who is an aspiring treasure hunter. The boy wants to find hidden treasures and live an exciting life. He learns a lot about life on his journey, discovers his true self, and finds happiness. The book encourages people to pursue their dreams, especially when the path is unclear.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road is an American novel by Jack Kerouac, first published in 1957. It is a story about a man who travels around the United States to find himself. Through his poems, essays, and prose, the book shares his experiences travelling to new places, not just as a tourist, but as a writer, a state of mind, and a person. Many people don’t see this book as a travel book per se, but they can’t deny that it speaks volumes about travelling.

Lady reading one of the best travel books on my list on the beach in a blue bikini and straw hat
Make sure to take these best travel books with you on your holiday too. Will it be the beach?

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton is not just a travel book; it is a smart read on how to travel better. If you plan to travel more and want to get the most out of your trips, this book is for you. The book is an intelligent look at travel and how it can help us live better lives. It looks at the history of travel from the perspective of a philosopher and gives an insight into how cultures have developed by interacting with different parts of the world.

The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto “Che” Guevara

The Motorcycle Diaries may be a travel book, but it is more about a young man’s journey into the unknown. As a young medical graduate, the narrator shows us that there’s more beyond education. The book is about the freedom of the open road, the inspiration of the great outdoors, finding good friends, and finding yourself. You should read the book if you consider going on a motorcycle road trip. It has a lot of valuable lessons for all bikers.

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Wild, by Cheryl Strayed, is a genuinely remarkable travel book full of raw and uncompromising honesty. The author takes us on a journey that is both compelling and authentic. She shares her emotions, fears, and vulnerabilities with the reader while she walks the Pacific Crest Trail, making the reader feel like they are walking the trail right alongside her. Strayed’s book isn’t just about hiking; it’s about life and the challenges we all encounter. It isn’t just about loss but also about what it takes to move on to the next stage of life.

Girl in chequered shirt reading a travel book on the bus
Bus rides are the perfect time to read one of these best travel books to pass the time

My best travel writer of all time has to be Don George. In four decades as a travel writer and editor, Don has visited more than 90 countries on five continents. My favourite story of his is about his experiences in Cambodia. You can find this story and others in his book, The Way of Wanderlust.

A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle

A Year in Provence is a memoir by Peter Mayle. It is about his life in France for the year leading up to his wedding. The book describes his life as a newlywed and his adventures with his wife. Mayle describes how he learns to appreciate the simple pleasures in his new surroundings, such as sitting on the patio at night, sipping an ice-cold wine, and watching the sun setting over the Mediterranean Sea. Although this book is not strictly a travel book, it does contain many descriptions of places that tourists can visit.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat Pray Love is a wonderful travel book that helps you to discover the journey within. It is about a woman who went through a divorce and needed to find something deep within her, so she traveled the world to find out who she was and what she stood for. This is a book that will help you to discover yourself and your values. 

The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway

The Sun Also Rises, published in 1926 by Ernest Hemingway, is a fabulous travel book. Like more conventional travel books, it takes the reader on a journey. However, in Hemingway’s case, it is a journey into one man’s soul. It is a story of America’s Lost Generation and their journeys in search of meaning in life. Not all the reader’s stops will be pleasant, but the destination is worth the ride.

Tracks by Robyn Davidson

Robyn Davidson’s Tracks is an amazing read and an excellent example of a travel book. It is an incredible tale of self-discovery and endurance, as Robyn Davidson travels from Alice Springs, Northern Territory of Australia, to the Indian Ocean with only four camels for company. At the time, Robyn Davidson was in her early twenties and a recent college graduate. It is worth reading for anyone, especially students who have always wanted to go on an adventure or get out of their comfort zones.

What are your best travel books?

Picking the best travel books of all time is a difficult task. There are many amazing options to choose from, but I have narrowed them down to the top 10. Whether you are an avid reader or an occasional reader, whether you’re looking for a classic tale of adventure or a more introspective look at the world around us, these 10 travel books are sure to inspire. So, pack your bags and get ready for some armchair travel – you’re in for a treat!

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