31 Must-Have Books About Travel For All Ages 

by | Nov 7, 2023 | Travel Tips

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As a lifelong bibliophile with more than a thousand titles on my Goodreads shelf and even more on my actual shelves, I know a thing or two about good reading. Books about travel are some of my favorites to read. Reading takes us to places we can’t physically get to. Reading about travel introduces us to people who love a good adventure.

There are so many wonderful books that combine the love of reading with the love of travel… and I just have to share!

Travelers searching for the best books to enjoy a 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:

 

  1. The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton

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.

   

  1. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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.

   

  1. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Weiner searches the world to understand where happiness resides. This book will inspire travelers to find their own corners of contentment around the globe.

 

Woman in hammock reading

Lazy days call for beach reads. @Shutterstock

   

  1. Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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.

   

  1. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

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.

   

  1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

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.

 

Man reads a book on a mountain overlooking a forest

Sometimes, climbing a mountain is our only chance to find a quiet reading spot. @Shutterstock

 

  1. The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Pico Iyer

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.

   

  1. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

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.

   

  1. Turn Right at Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

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.

 

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  1. 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.

 

  1. The Last Train to Zona Verde by Paul Theroux

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.

 

books of maps ona coffee table along with camera with a note that reads "The World Awaits"

A gift where every page whispers, “Where will we go next?”

 

Best Travel Books For The Coffee Table

There’s something about flipping through a coffee table book on a lazy day, especially when the book is full of pictures that will take the reader on a colorful journey around the world. 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 adventurers to dreamy destinations:

 

  1. Destinations of a Lifetime by National Geographic

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.

 

  1. The New York Times: 36 Hours, World by Barbara Ireland

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.

 

 

  1. Beaches by Gray Malin

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.

 

  1. Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travel: Our List of the 500 Best Places to See… Ranked

A countdown of epic proportions, it’s a travel challenge and visual diary rolled into one. Perfect for wanderlusters building their bucket list.

 

Woman reading on a lane with light filtering in forming a soft glow

Flying through the sky and soaring through stories. @Shutterstock

 

  1. Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson

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.

 

  1. Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere by Zach Klein

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.

 

  1. Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views by Matteo Pericoli

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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  1. Poolside with Slim Aarons by Slim Aarons

Aarons’ photos are a nostalgic trip to glamorous pools from the Mediterranean to Beverly Hills. For the traveler who loves a splash of luxury.

 

  1. Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Never Set Foot On and Never Will by Judith Schalansky

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 father and daughter share a book in a cozy setting

A good story can bring family closer together. A great reason to keep books within reach on the coffee table! @Shutterstock

 

  1. Before They Pass Away by Jimmy Nelson

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:

 

  1. The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet 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.

 

  1. The Incredible Cabinet of Wonders by Lonely Planet Kids

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.

 

two young explorers dressed in adventure gear read a book

When you and your adventure buddy find a treasure map in a book and start planning your next epic quest. @Shutterstock

 

  1. Around the World in 80 Puzzles by Aleksandra Artymowska

Inspired by Jules Verne’s classic, this book challenges young travelers with intricate puzzles depicting various world wonders. An entertaining brain workout!

 

  1. Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski

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.

 

  1. The Boy Who Biked the World by Alastair Humphreys

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.

 

adorable baby studying a book

“Wait, there’s a place called ‘Pancake Rocks’ in New Zealand? I need to see this! ” @Shutterstock

 

  1. Walk This World by Jenny Broom and Lotta Nieminen

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.

 

  1. 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.

 

  1. World Atlas Sticker Activity Book by National Geographic Kids

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!

 

Grandpa reading to his twin granddaughters surprised and laughing

When the twins learned there is a town called “Ding Dong” in Texas. Geography can be all kinds of silly. @Shutterstock

 

  1. Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams and Lucy Letherland

This large-format book introduces kids to festivities, wonders, and attractions across continents. The detailed illustrations and fascinating trivia make it an instant favorite.

 

  1. Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne

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.

These books not only serve as a source of inspiration for future travels but also as a way to relive past adventures. These books are guaranteed to take you or your favorite traveler on a journey. No passport required. It’s serious magic, and we LOVE it!

 

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Steffy McCourt is a mom to three active and awesome boys, two budgies, one cockatiel, and a mischievous corgi. Currently an ELA Teacher in Plymouth, Michigan, she also writes for parenting magazines and education websites. She just recently launched her own travel website, www.mifamilytravel.com; a tribute to the state of Michigan. She has an MS in Educational Leadership from Butler University and a BA in English from Indiana University.