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The holiday season is upon us, and we have done the leg work for travelers everywhere and the people who love them. While many travelers appreciate functional items like luggage or neck pillows, nothing beats the timeless joy of a good book. These 31 must-have books to gift travelers of all ages will be sure to inspire wanderlust and ignite a passion for exploration.
Travelers searching for the best books to enjoy a really great read, a road trip love story, or just looking to discover new places to visit can find their next great book from our list below!
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Travel Books by Travelers and for Travelers
Here’s a list of eleven books that will spark wanderlust in any traveler’s heart:
This philosophical dive into the concept of travel isn’t just about the physical journey but the emotional and intellectual one as well. Travel writer De Botton’s introspective prose will make your favorite traveler see their past trips in a new light.
A classic for the free spirit, this novel encapsulates the desire to escape the mundane and discover America. The novel’s characters, including the main character, Sal Paradise, travel extensively throughout the country, making stops in cities such as New York, Denver, San Francisco, and many others. New York City plays a significant role in the story as one of the key settings where the characters experience various adventures and encounters. Its beatnik energy will appeal to anyone with a sense of adventure.
Weiner searches the world to understand where happiness resides. This book will inspire travelers to find their own corners of contentment around the globe.
This travel memoir recounts the author’s trek across the Pacific Crest Trail, weaving in personal stories of loss and redemption. It’s a beautiful testament to the healing power of nature.
Bryson brings his trademark wit and humor to his travels in Australia. This one’s for the traveler who loves a good laugh, fascinating history, and quirky anecdotes.
While not strictly about travel, this philosophical novel revolves around a shepherd’s journey to find a treasure in Egypt. It’s a tale of dreams, destiny, and personal legend that resonates deeply with those on their own quest.
Iyer gives readers an intimate look into the travels and teachings of the Dalai Lama. It’s a poignant reflection on spirituality, globalization, and the journey of life.
This travelogue chronicles Theroux’s epic train journey from London through Asia and back. The evocative descriptions and character portraits make it a favorite for train travel enthusiasts.
Adams retraces the steps of Hiram Bingham III, the man who popularized Machu Picchu. It’s an entertaining mix of history, personal adventure, and humor that will resonate with explorers at heart.
- Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton
This is not just a book; it’s a treasure trove of the world’s most unusual places, including hidden wonders like the lost cities of the Middle East. It’s perfect for the traveler who thinks they’ve seen it all and seeks the extraordinary in every corner of the globe.
Paul Theroux, a renowned travel writer, embarks on a journey through Africa, starting in Cape Town, South Africa, and traveling northward through Namibia, Angola, and other African countries. Along the way, he provides vivid descriptions of the landscapes, people, and cultures he encounters, offering a deeply insightful and thought-provoking exploration of the African continent.
Best Travel Books For The Coffee Table
There’s something about flipping through a coffee table book on a winter day by the fire, especially when it showcases the world in all its glory. The following titles not only make for beautiful home décor but also spark conversations, memories, and future adventures.
Here’s a list of ten coffee table books that will transport the adventurer in your life to dreamy destinations:
Filled with vivid photographs and travel tips, this book from the trusted folks at National Geographic promises 225 of the world’s most spectacular places. It’s a visual treat that will have travelers packing their bags in no time.
A collection of the popular “36 Hours” columns, this book is a whirlwind tour of the globe from South Africa to South America. It’s a perfect blend of beautiful imagery and succinct itineraries for quick getaways.
This holiday season, let your gift take your favorite traveler on a journey. No passport required.
For those who dream of the sea and sand, Malin’s aerial shots of beaches from around the world will captivate and inspire. The perspective, color, and composition make every page a delight.
A countdown of epic proportions, it’s a travel challenge and visual diary rolled into one. Perfect for wanderlusters building their bucket list.
This book captures the essence of Paris through color-themed photographs. A whimsical journey through the City of Lights, it’ll charm anyone who’s been to Paris or dreams of going.
An ode to simplicity and the great outdoors, this collection of the coziest, most inviting cabins from around the world is pure escapism for the rustic traveler.
Illustrations of window views from across the globe paired with personal essays. It’s a thoughtful exploration of place, perspective, and introspection.
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Aarons’ photos are a nostalgic trip to glamorous pools from the Mediterranean to Beverly Hills. For the traveler who loves a splash of luxury.
A blend of cartography and storytelling, this book dives into the tales of fifty remote islands. It’s a journey to the most isolated corners of the globe, all from your couch.
A tribute to indigenous cultures, Nelson’s photographs are both a celebration and a poignant reminder of the world’s disappearing tribes. A stunning, thought-provoking choice for the culturally curious traveler.
Best Travel Books For Kids
Gifting to young travelers? Dive into this curated list of books filled with the spirit of adventure and wonder. Perfect for that young explorer who’s always dreaming about their next big adventure or looking to learn about the world.
Here are our 10 favorite travel books for kids:
This vibrant book is a whirlwind tour of 200 countries. Bursting with fun facts, vivid photos, and bite-sized information, it’ll be a favorite for curious young minds wanting to explore every corner of the globe.
A fantastic introduction to museums from around the world. With its ‘lift the flap’ format, children can uncover the world’s most fascinating treasures including a lost city or two.
Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic, this book challenges young travelers with intricate puzzles depicting various world wonders. An entertaining brain workout!
More than just a book of maps, it’s beautifully illustrated and provides cultural, geographical, and historical insights on different countries. It’s a visual treat that young globetrotters will adore.
Based on the real-life adventures of Alastair Humphreys, this trilogy follows a boy named Tom who decides to cycle around the world. A wonderful tale of adventure and determination.
This beautifully illustrated book takes readers on a global city tour, lifting flaps to discover the sights, sounds, and people of each place. It’s an interactive way to explore the world.
- Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco
This book is a treasure trove of the world’s most awe-inspiring places, from caves of glowworms in New Zealand to the Silk Road. It’s perfect for young minds curious about the world’s wonders.
This engaging activity book features maps and over 1,000 stickers, letting kids create their own visual journey around the globe. It’s both fun and educational!
This large-format book introduces kids to festivities, wonders, and attractions across continents. The detailed illustrations and fascinating trivia make it an instant favorite.
A beloved series that has stood the test of time. Jack and Annie, the protagonists, go on time-traveling adventures to different parts of the world and periods in history, offering young readers a blend of fun, adventure, and learning.
The holidays are a time for reflection, connection, and anticipation of the year ahead. These books not only serve as a source of inspiration for future travels but also as a way to relive past adventures. This holiday season, let your gift take your favorite traveler on a journey. No passport required.
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