Whether you’re on the plane, train, bus or beach — you always need a good read. Here are my picks for 10 Essential Books for Travellers:
In This Book Review Article You Will Discover:
- Classic Books For Travellers
- New Traveller Favourites
- Off-Beat Picks
Are you looking for some inspiring reads? Something to whet your appetite for adventure? Or maybe just a read to pass the time on your cross-Pacific flight? Well, here is a list of 10 must-read books for any traveller.
No affiliate links — just honest opinions!
Jupiter’s Travels & Dreaming of Jupiter
By Ted Simon
I’ve grouped these two books together as I feel you need to read both to appreciate the scope and nature of author Ted Simon’s travels. The first, Jupiter’s Travels, (1973) is a travelogue of Simon’s four-year solo-motorcycle-tour of the world — at the age of 42. The second, Dreaming of Jupiter, is the result of solo-motorcycle-touring the world once again nearly 30 years later to see how it had — and hadn’t — changed. And it is as amazing as it sounds.
By Alex Garland
You cannot call yourself a backpacker if you haven’t read The Beach (or at least seen the movie a half-dozen times, preferably at a restaurant in Thailand). Having now inspired a generation of hedonists to seek out the beaches of Thailand, The Beach is a tale of a twisted Eden and the pursuit of escapism that is as entertaining as it is compelling.
As Far As My Feet Will Carry Me
By Josef M. Bauer
Surely Clemens Forell’s three-year trek from the Gulags of Siberia to Germany isn’t so much “travelling” as it is a “desperate escape;” but it certainly puts your puny vacation into perspective. This true story follows a soldier, Forell (a pseudonym), after he is sentenced to life in a Siberian lead mine following the end of The Second World War. Unable to bear the sentence, Forell escapes and walks from the far reaches of Russia to his home in Western Europe. Yes — walks.
World War Z
By Max Brooks
Huh? A zombie novel in the mix? Well, I said there would be off-beat picks… World War Z is travel gone mad — follow the main character as he travels the globe piecing together an oral history of the decade-long human-zombie war. It’s an entertaining beach-read and also a good ice-breaker for meeting fellow zombie geeks.
The Sun Also Rises
By Ernest Hemingway
No matter where you travel, you gotta have some Hemingway. And while many of his books are ideal travel reads, this tale of (mostly) American ex-pats living, prolifically loving, fighting and pontificating in Paris and Spain during the 1920s makes The Sun Also Rises his best vacation companion. Among many great scenes, it also includes probably the best bullfight ever put to paper.
Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas
By Hunter S. Thompson
Descend into madness with the original Gonzo journalist himself, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Inspired by Thompson’s actual drug-addled travelling escapades to Las Vegas while writing various stories for Rolling Stone magazine, Fear & Loathing is a deep exploration of society’s underbelly and perverted, post-hippy re-visit of the American Dream. (As long as you don’t mind being stereotyped for reading it…)
Into The Wild
By Jon Krakauer
Whether you admire Christopher McCandless or think him an idiot, Into The Wild is a compelling work of non-fiction that seeks to uncover why a smart, privileged kid would leave everything behind and condemn himself to starvation and death in the wilds of Alaska. Was he a “courageous idealist” or a “reckless fool?” You decide.
Long Way Round
By Ewan McGregor & Charlie Boorman
An RTW (round-the-world) tour via motorcycle is a true all-time ultimate travel accomplishment — even if you have a seven-figure budget and 24-hour support teams. Ewan and Charlie’s jaunt from the UK to New York, the long way, is fun and light — and their travels through Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Siberia particularly are not soon forgotten. (Note: It’s a vastly superior read to the “complain-alogue” that is Long Way Down.)
By Robin L. Graham & Derek L.T. Gill
This classic true story follows a 16-year-old adventurer as he sets out on a solo-circumnavigation of the globe in his sailboat, The Dove. Five years and 55,000 km later, he returned home to California with a wife, a kid and a story that would inspire dreamers and travellers for decades to come. This soulful read will have you trading in your plane ticket for passage on a sloop in no time.
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
By Ernesto Che Guevara
You don’t have to be a communist to enjoy the tale of Ernesto Che Guevara’s youthful jaunt through Latin America — but it probably doesn’t hurt. This famous book alternates tales of comic escapades with insightful internal developments of this future rebel leader. It is perfect for anyone who feels his or her own travels will one-day change the world…
What Are You Favourite Travel Books?
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