Looking for a good book to read during your next trip abroad? We’ve compiled a list of 12 novels for you to choose from, whether your looking for inspiration or entertainment. Happy reading!
1. The Art of Travel by Alian de Botton
This philosophical look at travel explores why people feel the need to traverse the world. Alian de Botton analyzes our inherent need to travel and the disappointment we often feel when romanticized trips don’t live up to their high expectations. Take the time to ponder traveling before setting off on your own adventure by reading The Art of Travel.
2. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle by Dervla Murphy
As the title suggests, Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle, is a novel recalling one woman’s solo journey across Europe and the Middle East. Dervla Murphy’s adventure with her trusty bicycle is filled with trials and obstacles that make it difficult to stop reading.
3. The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain
No list of travel novels is complete without at least one tale by Mark Twain. The Innocents Abroad is a novel that was originally a series of travel articles Mark Twain wrote for a San Fransisco newspaper. His travels took him through Europe and the Holy Land in the Middle East. Twain takes on stereotypes as he shares his thoughts on culture in this satirical novel.
4. The Size of the World by Jeff Greenwald
The Size of the World is a travel novel by an incredibly experienced world traveler. After having already ventured through most of the world, Greenwald realized that airplanes were ruining the potential for true global adventure. He decided to travel the world sans flight, and the results make for an excellent travel read.
5. A House in Bali by James Murdoch
A House in Bali is a novel by a classically trained America musician who fell in love with the music of Bali. While band nerds may have an extra appreciation for this novel, it is a great read for anyone interested in travel or Bali. Murdoch spent eight years living in Bali and composing his thoughts on the local culture and music.
6. Brazilian Adventure by Peter Fleming
This humorous novel is the account of a man who joined an expedition to find the missing Colonel Fawcett in Brazil. While Fleming felt the journey would be a fun adventure and escape from reality, he quickly realized that he was in for an interesting trip when things went wrong. Brazilian Adventure is a good-humored travel novel that’s hard to put down.
7. Two Towns in Provence by M.F.K. Fisher
Two Towns in Provence is a memoir that tells of life in the French provincial capital of Aix-en-Provence. Fisher goes through two centuries of the province to explore the history and nature of its people. This is a must read for those interested in traveling to France.
8. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Bill Bryson is another notable travel author who’s penned novels documenting his travels through Australia, the Appalachian Trail and more. In his novel Notes from a Small Island, Bryson describes England through the eyes of an American Midwestern man. After spending nearly 20 years in Britain, Bryson analyzes the country in this witty novel.
9. The Backpacker by John Harris
The Backpacker is a memoir that tells the journey John Harris took around the world with a risky travel partner. This novel includes parties, drugs and cons, making it an incredibly interesting read filled with dangerous adventure.
10. The Beach by Alex Garland
Having inspired a movie featuring Leonardo Di Caprio, The Beach is a thrilling novel that may make you think twice about traveling. After hearing folklore of a secret island said to be a real life Eden, protagonist Richard journeys to find the secluded spot. When he finds the island Richard realizes that paradise comes with a price. While this novel may be more horrifying than inspiring, it is still a terrific read for travelers.
11. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
This coming of age novel follows Kerouac’s years of traveling through North America and befriending some interesting characters along the way. Written with a jazz-like, scatting rhythm, this philosophical novel marks the Beatnik generation of the ’50s and ’60s and their journeys of spiritual self-discovery. On the Road is a classic, must-read travel novel.
12. Wild by Cheryl Strayed
Wild is a memoir about a young woman who finds herself after the death of her mother and the deterioration of her marriage plunges her into a state of despair. Having no prior experience with long-term hiking, Strayed decides to take a solo trip across the United States along the Pacific Crest Trail. This memoir tells the tale of a 26-year-old woman redefining herself through a testing journey.
Have a book in mind that’s not on the list? Tell us about it in the comments below!