This coming year, both my partner Tom and I are committed to reading at least two books every month. Slightly ambitious, yes. Doable? Definitely. This year, I will be alternating between business and start-up books but naturally, travel books are on the top of my list. Every time I put down a travel book, I am left inspired, in awe, and often just itching to pack my bags and go.

Whether you’re just looking for some travel inspiration or want to scratch a few books off the list this year, here are a few of my personal recommendations on the best travel books to inspire your inner wanderlust. Lastly, for those vagabonds like me who sadly don’t have room to store and lug hard copies of books, I am also attaching the links to download them for your kindle/ iPad. Happy reading and I hope you enjoy them!

The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost | Rachel Friedman

I love this book mostly because it’s so relatable! Rachel Friedman is the typical goody two shoes who has lived all her life by the books. On a whim, she decides to buy a ticket to Ireland where she met a free-spirited Australian girl who inspires her to travel to Australia and South America. It is a funny and honest memoir of how she breaks free from her shell as she travels across three continents, learning how to live in the moment.

“I imagine the people whose lives are most intertwined with mine, and I realize life has gone on without me. The planet has not imploded because I, the girl who has always done what is expected of her, decided not to, just this once.” Click Here For More Details

On the Road| Jack Kerouac

Naturally, no best travel books list would be complete without Jack Kerouac’s On the Road. The book’s whimsical storytelling will transport you through America post-World War, bringing you back to the golden age of exploration. It is a mix of poetry, jazz, travel and drugs, taking you through a rollercoaster of emotions.

“The best teacher is experience and not through someone’s distorted point of view” Click Here For More Details

Shantaram | Gregory David Roberts

Although this was a pretty hefty read (it took me a while to plow through it), it was definitely a fascinating read. The book is a mix of both fact and fiction and based on an Australian bank robber and heroin addict who escapes prison and flees to the slums of Bombay India. In India, he recovers from his addiction, ends up opening a local clinic, working for the Bombay Maffia, then becomes a guerrilla in the war against Russia in Afghanistan. While parts of it is true, the story takes you to a world of wonder, fear, and contempt.

“Sometimes we love with nothing more than hope. Sometimes we cry with everything except tears.” Click Here For More Details 

The Beach | Alex Garland

First things first, the book is so much better than the movie.  Alex Garland has nailed the feeling of why travelers go off the beaten path, in search of a place they can call paradise. This book can evoke a serious case of wanderlust as he transports you to a time before mass tourism has taken over Thailand.

“Trust me, it’s paradise. This is where the hungry come to feed. For mine is the generation that travels the globe and searches for something we haven’t tried before. So never refuse an invitation, never resist the unfamiliar, never fail to be polite & never outstay the welcome. Just keep your mind open and suck in the experience— And if it hurts, you know what? It’s probably worth it.” Click Here For More Details 

Editor’s Note: Adventure Guides | Anna Faustino (me!)

No best travel books list would be complete without mentioning a few of our OWN books. So excuse the shameless plug but if you’re heading to either Thailand or the Philippines, check out our newly published Adventure Guides which will give you the inside scoop on the best things to see and do based from our years of experience traveling around Southeast Asia. From the best beaches and islands to visit, all the way down to the best mountains and scuba diving spots. If I say so myself, they are pretty epic! We’re also releasing other guides for other destinations in Southeast Asia so be on the lookout for that. Click Here For More Detailsebooks

Atlas Obscura | Foer, Thuras, Morton

While this doesn’t really fall under the travel fiction category, I love, love, LOVE this book. Atlas Obscura features some of the lesser known places in the world that range from weird to obscure. It’s a bucket list for hardcore adventurers and travelers who are sick of the usual I want to see the Eiffel tower while in Paris. It features the Gates of Hell in Turkmenistan, a bone museum in Italy, and other off the beaten path destinations. It’s inspiring, badass, and everything we love about obscure travel. Really, check this one out, guys! Click Here For More Details 

The Lost Girls | Baggett, Corbett, Pressner

This memoir is a light and easy read written by three friends in their mid-twenties who leave their corporate jobs in New York to pursue their dream of traveling the world. It takes them to ashrams, hostel hookups, and everything else that falls in between long term travel. While it won’t win the Pulitzer and is not one of the most well-written things I’ve read, it’s lighthearted and entertaining.

“Were the paths that we were heading down the right ones for us- or were we simply staying the course because we thought we should? Was the road most frequently traveled the one that we wanted to follow?”Click Here For More Details

In a Sunburned Country | Bill Bryson

Known for his hilarious humor and knack for shedding light on traveling to a new place, this award-winning author has perfectly captured the essence of Australia. I enjoyed this book as it really puts a twist and humorous perspective to traveling Australia. His approach is factual, interesting, and really really funny, without resorting to the usual stereotypes of “I’m-from-Australia-and-I-love-beer”. Bill Bryson tells it all from dangerous critters, stunning beaches, to the strife and history of the aboriginals.

“As the saying goes, it takes all kinds to make the world go around, though perhaps some shouldn’t go quite so far around it as others.” Click Here For More Details 

Into the Wild | Jon Krakauer

Unlike most books turned into movies, I actually loved the film. But the book is as inspiring and gripping. Krauker walks you through the life of Christopher Johnson McCandless otherwise known as Alexander Supertramp who gives away his life savings, burns all form of identification, and travels to the Alaskan wilderness. The book was dark, full of idealism, and moving to a point that it will keep you up at night.

“Happiness [is] only real when shared” Click Here For More Details 

Wild | Cheryl Strayed

Gaining popularity after being recognized in Oprah’s book club, and becoming a New York Times Bestseller, Wild is an honest memoir about how travel can spark change, closure, and a new beginning. After hitting rock bottom, the author takes on the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon all the way to Washington State on a quest to find herself.

“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.” Click Here For More Details 

Wanderlust | Elizabeth Eaves

Recounting her tales which spans over 15 years of travel across 5 continents, the author speaks honestly about her love of exploration as she finds herself amidst a string of lovers, travel, and the life in the unknown. I love the honesty that the author conveys as well as the strong voice urging others that it’s okay to live an unconventional life.

“Travel is life-changing. That’s the promise made by a thousand websites and magazines, by philosophers and writers down the ages. Mark Twain said it was fatal to prejudice, and Thomas Jefferson said it made you wise. Anais Nin observed that “we travel, some of us forever, to seek other states, other lives, other souls.” It’s all true. Self-transformation is what I sought and what I found.” Click Here For More Details

Backpacker Business | Nikki Scott

Breaking away from the usual fiction travel genre, I really enjoyed reading this book as the author entails her journey to Southeast Asia which brought about the birth of a successful business, Southeast Asia Backpacker Magazine. Nikki fondly recounts tales of travel and frustration as she tries to launch a business in Asia- something I can definitely relate too. It’s a good mix of hilarious travel insights which are very relatable (hands up if you’ve been on a chicken bus) and practical business woes. Click Here For More Details

Marching Powder |Rusty Young

Marching power is an interesting read about an English drug smuggler, Thomas McFadden who was arrested in Bolivia and thrown in San Pedro Prison. The book gives you a glimpse of prison hierarchy, drugs, and surviving life inside the prison. Everything from the production of top notch cocaine, to how he ended up making is living by giving backpackers tours of the prison.

“Even though I only met many of these people once, I knew that they were real friends. You know how? I had nothing to give them. I couldn’t give them money, I couldn’t give them status, I couldn’t take them to fancy places and buy drinks for them. All I had were my stories and who I was, and that was enough for them to want to stay in contact. For the first time in my life, that was enough.” Click Here For More Details

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas | Hunter Thomas

Before Holywood and Johnny Depp made this book popular, it has already been making its rounds as an epic travel book full of tales of adventure and mischief clouded by the flurry of drugs and alcohol. The book is extremely well written, and witty, perfectly summing up the recklessness of the character as he searches for the elusive “American dream”.

“Maybe it meant something. Maybe not, in the long run, but no explanation, no mix of words or music or memories can touch that sense of knowing that you were there and alive in that corner of time and the world. Whatever it meant.” Click Here For More Details

Turn Right at Machu Picchu | Mark Adams

Travel writer Mark Adams was on a quest to rediscover Machu Picchu, much like Hiram Bingham did 100 years ago. After visiting the place with his son, following the regular tourist trail, he decided to hike, camp, and explore his way through this region. The book is a good mix of historical facts, timelines, and humor.

“If you’ve ever thought, ‘The new Times Square is delightful but would be even better if it were more claustrophobic and nearly impossible to leave’, the Aguas Calientes is calling your name” Click Here For More Details

Long Way Down | McGregor & Boorman

Inspired by their first book The Long Way Round, the duo share their tales from their motorcycle trip from Scotland to South Africa. I loved the first book and enjoyed this one as well. What I love most is that they aren’t pretending to be travel gurus or writers. They are just two down to earth people looking for adventure. This book is perfect for anyone who loves motorcycles and exploration. Click Here For More Details

The Alchemist | Paolo Coelho

This book being one of my favorite travel books of all time has taught me the lesson of listening to your heart and not being afraid to dream. The story revolves around an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel the world. As cliche as it sounds, it’s a book about self-discovery, spirituality, subtly reminding you of what’s important in life.

“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Click Here For More Details

Other Travel Books Worth Mentioning

Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration to beef up your travel reading list. In the same way, if you’re looking for travel books for kids, check out this list for more inspiration. Do you have any other favorite travel books? Let me know in the comments below!


Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out our other articles to get you moving

Inspired? Pin it!Looking for books to inspire you? Here are a few MUST READ travel books to inspire wanderlust.

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