The way we see it, a great travel book does not have to be specifically about travel. The best travel books are the page-turners that accompany us on long train rides, the inspiring stories that take us on internal journeys, or the action-packed adventures that whisk us away to another place, even if we are reading them from our couch at home.
With help from members of The Budget-Minded Traveler Community, we’ve compiled a list of over 40 of what we believe to be the best travel books out there. These are great starting points to help find inspiration to plan a trip, “get away” for a staycation, or pass the time on the train between destinations.
Pack one of these books in your carry-on, Kindle, or Audible account and get psyched for the adventure that awaits.
This post contains affiliate links.
Already enjoy Audible? Gift it to someone else (the gift that keeps on giving)
Want more entertainment suggestions from our community? Check out our Best Travel Songs Playlist
The Best Travel Books According to the BMT Community
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”Dr Seusse
- Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert (We’ll start with it because no list of best travel books would be complete without it.)
- The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner
- Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts (See our Tribute to Vagabonding)
- The Art of Travel, by Alain De Botton
- How Not to Travel the World, by Lauren Juliff
- Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe and In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
- All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft, by Geraldine DeRuiter
“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”Mason Cooley
- The DaVinci Code, Angels and Demons, and The Lost Symbol, by Dan Brown (pretty much anything by Dan Brown)
- The Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini
- The Broker, Playing for Pizza, and The Testament, by John Grisham (these all take place overseas)
- The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Art of Non-Conformity and The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
“That’s the thing about books. They let you travel without moving your feet.”Jhumpa Lahiri
- Night Train to Lisbon, by Pascal Mercier
- The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium Series), by Stieg Larsson
- The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho
- Life of Pi, by Yann Martel
- Memoirs of a Geisha, by Arthur Golden
- The Jack West Jr Series, by Matthew Reilly
“A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading.”William Styron
- Wild and Brave Enough, by Cheryl Strayed
- Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson
- Honeymoon with My Brother: A Memoir, by Franz Wisner
- The Girl Who Came Home, by Hazel Gaynor
- The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, by Robin S. Sharma
- Stranger World, by Jack Castle
- The Ridiculous Race, by Steve Hely
“I read. I travel. I become.”Derek Walcott
- Long Walk to Freedom, by Nelson Mandela
- Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts
- What is the What, by David Eggers
- Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan
- Destiny of the Republic, by Candice Millard
- Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
- Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure, by Sarah Mcdonald
- Getting Stoned with Savages: A Trip Through the Islands of Fiji and Vanuatu, by J. Maarten Troost
“Travel far, pay no fare. A book can take you anywhere.”Anne Morrow Lindbergh
- The Kindness Diaries: One Man’s Quest to Ignite Goodwill and Transform Lives Around the World, by Leon Logothetis
- Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes
- What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding, by Kristin Newman
- Less, by Andrew Sean Greer
- Shave My Spider! Six Months Around the Weirdest Bits of Asia: A Comedy Memoir, by Tony James Slater
- Travels, by Micheal Crichton
- Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World, by Rita Golden Gelman
- Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time, by Mark Adams
“A book is a magical thing that lets you travel to far-away places without ever leaving your chair.”Katrina Mayer
- Wanderlust: A Love Affair with Five Continents by Elisabeth Eaves
- Beyond the Horizon: The First Human-Powered Expedition to Circle the Globe and Rowed Trip: A Journey by Oar from Scotland to Syria by Colin Angus
- People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks
- The Lost Girls by Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, Amanda Pressner
- To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life with No Regret by Jedidiah Jenkins
- Where the Crawdad’s Sing by Delia Owens
- Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey
If we missed a book that you love, please share it in the comments below. Join the BMT Facebook Community and contribute to the next community post!
By Brittany Quaglieri with help from the Budget-Minded Traveler Community
Ready to Book Your Trip?
Some of these links are affiliate links.
Use these BMT-approved travel resources to plan your best budget-friendly trip yet!
Flights – Learn our tried and true strategies for finding the cheapest flights.
Accommodations – Using Booking.com to search for hostels and budget hotels has many benefits, including free cancelation and member upgrades.
Travel Insurance – Now more than ever, we encourage the purchase of travel insurance for every trip. Insurance protects you against cancellations, lost luggage, theft, injury, and illness. Compare plans at:
Activities – Find amazing things to do that won’t break the bank in destinations worldwide on Viator.
Need an international SIM card? We suggest pre-ordering from SimOptions.