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16 Books That Make You Want To Travel

Information verified correct on December 10th, 2016

Not currently experiencing wanderlust? These books will change that… and make you want to hit the “book” button ASAP.

Sometimes, all you need is a good book to inspire you to travel.We’ve included 10 of our favourites here, from classics to modern novels. Start reading them now and prepare to whip out your credit card in anticipation of your next journey.

Books may take you on a journey through your imagination, but a flight will take you on the journey of a lifetime.


Top 16 books that will inspire you to travel

1. The Alchemist – 25th Anniversary Edition – by Paulo Coelho (Hardback, 2013)

One of the most well-read and acclaimed books of today, The Alchemist is a tale of magical realism that will inspire you to travel and follow your dreams.

The story follows Santiago, a young Andalusian shepherd boy, who chooses to follow his heart and break free of his flock to journey far and wide in search of treasure.

It’s not so much the journey but the people he meets on the way who help guide him towards the treasure within himself.

  • Originally published: 1988
  • Country: Brazil
  • Genre: Quest, adventure fiction, drama, fantasy

2. A Walk In The Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson (Paperback, 2015)

No stranger to the travel novel genre, practically any Bryson novel you pick up will make you want to pack up and ship out.

The latest one causing a stir (not least because it was recently turned into a movie) is A Walk In The Woods, which follows Bryson’s personal journey along the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine.

As you can expect, the trail boasts spectacular vistas of mountain ranges, forests and lakes. He also includes a bevy of history about the trail. A must for adventure seekers.

  • Originally published: 1998
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Travel writing, autobiography

3. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (Paperback, 2007)

Another book-turned-movie, Into The Wild is the heavily lauded biography of Christopher Johnson McCandless, who decides to “go bush” after graduating, leaving behind all his worldly possessions to hitchhike to Alaska and live in the wilderness.

Despite his untimely end, it’s his wish to remove himself of his worldly possessions and connect with nature that is the stuff that adventure seekers are made of.

  • Originally published: 1996
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Biography, true travel essay

4. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne (Paperback, 2014)

An oldie but a goodie. If we could only choose one classic novel about travelling, Around the World in 80 Days would be it.

Penned in the 19th century by science-fiction writer Jules Verne, it’s the fictional tale of Phileas Fogg, who wagers that he can circumnavigate the globe in 80 days in his hot air balloon.

Taking off in London, he undertakes this adventure with his valet, but will they make it back in time?

  • Originally published: 1873
  • Country: UK
  • Genre: Adventure fiction

5. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (Paperback, 2008)

You only have to look at the slew of books about railway journeys (The World’s Most Exotic Railway Journeys, The Railway, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star) to know that there’s more than a handful out there.

If you need a place to start, Theroux’s The Great Railway Bazaar is a good place. It embarks on some of the most renowned train routes the continent has to offer, including the Direct-Orient Express, Hikari Super Express and the Trans-Siberian Express.

Who needs a plane when you can travel by rail?

  • Originally published: 1975
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Travel writing

6. The Beach by Alex Garland (Paperback, 2011)

The Beach reads much like Treasure Island meets Lord of the Flies.

It follows the tale of Richard, who lands on the sands of a mysterious island in East Asia armed with a treasure map.

At first glance, the island is a utopia, but paradise is never what it seems and Richard quickly learns there’s something much more terrifying and frightening about the island than first glance would suggest.

  • Originally published: 1996
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Modern fiction

7. On The Road by Jack Kerouac (Paperback, 2000)

Written during the height of the beatnik period, On The Road follows Sam Paradise and his mystical friend, Dean Moriarty, as they travel across the United States searching for fulfilment in everything from alcohol and drugs to women and music.

It’s the chase of the American dream that fuels this novel amidst the background ‘50s culture and youthful freedom.

A modern classic that perfectly captures the era it is written around.

  • Originally published: 1957
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Modern fiction, Beat generation

8. Travels With Charley: In Search of America by John Steinbeck (Hardback, 1980)

Here’s one for travellers who love their four-legged friend. Travels With Charley is another soul-searching road trip across the United States of America, but it’s so beautifully written that it can to be included  on this list.

With his French poodle by his side, Steinbeck rediscovers himself as he drives his truck across all 40 states, experiencing everything from racism to love along the way.

  • Originally published: 1962
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Travel writing

9. The Motorcycle Diaries by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guerara (Paperback, 2004)

This historical novel draws directly from the life of 23-year-old Che Guevara before the days of the Cuban Revolution. Together with his friend Mial and a 500cc Norton motorbike, they embark on a rambunctious hijinks tour of South America.

From Argentina and Chile to Peru and Venezuela, The Motorcycle Diaries is an exciting peek into the youthful and fancy-free life of the man who would become a national hero.

  • Originally published: 1995
  • Country: Cuba
  • Genre: Autobiography

10. The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera (Paperback, 1985)

A smartly written and compelling novel, originally written in Czech and published in French, it details the lives of two women, two men and a dog in Prague during the 1960s and 1970s.

Although based in Prague, Kundera’s novel juxtaposes Prague, Geneva, Thailand and the United States in a witty and philosophical read.

  • Originally published: 1984
  • Country: France
  • Genre: Philosophical fiction

11. The Paris Wife by Paula McLain (eBook, 2012)

Don’t be surprised if you start looking up Hemingway’s Paris tours after you finish reading this book or read The Sun Also Rises. It’s OK. We did it too. Beautifully written to the backdrop of Paris in the 1920s, this piece of historical fiction reimagines the life of Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley as they leave Chicago for Paris.

Through love, betrayal and heartbreak, they journey from becoming the golden couple in the fabled “lost generation” of personalities (Ezra Pound, F. Scott Fitzgerald) to witnessing the bonds of their marriage slowly unravel.

  • Originally published: 2001
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Historical fiction

12. Bel-Ami by Guy de Maupassant (Paperback, 1975)

Not to be confused with the Bel Ami boys of Europe-erotica fame (NSFW, seriously), this classic details corruption in Paris during the late 19th century through the eyes of Georges Duroy, a young journalist whose hopes and dreams are dashed by the reality around him.

Despite the author’s  frank and cynical voice, this book finds joy in humanity and the breathtaking scenery of Paris.

  • Originally published: 1885
  • Country: France
  • Genre: Historical fiction

13. Round Ireland With A Fridge by Tony Hawks (Paperback, 2011)

Bred in a similar way to Around the World in 80 Days, this international bestseller saw Tony Hawks wager a bet that he could hitchhike around Ireland… with a fridge.

Needless to say, he accomplished it, but not without collecting a hilarious tale or two along the way. From Dublin to Dublin, Hawks and his trusty domestic appliance spent a month on the road, meeting princes and kings (one real, one fake) and surfing the afternoon away. Together, naturally. It’s a fun read and an adventure worth pursuing. Well, without the fridge…

  • Originally published: 1998
  • Country: UK
  • Genre: Historical fiction

14. Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (Paperback, 2007)

The self-empowering autobiography that inspired a movie starring Julia Roberts is one that is sure to inspire many a female to pack her bags and do some soul-searching.

After thirtysomething Elizabeth finds herself miserable in her married life, she divorces her husband and embarks on a physical and spiritual journey through Rome, India and Bali, where she finds her path to happiness.

  • Originally published: 2006
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Autobiography

15. The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner (Paperback, 2009)

Think of this as a male version of Eat, Pray, Love with humour thrown in.

Weiner embarks on a whirlwind journey from America to Iceland to India and beyond in the pursuit of happiness, drawing on psychology and science, history and humour, to tease out the correlation – if there is one – between happiness and location.

  • Originally published: 2008
  • Country: USA
  • Genre: Non-fiction

16. Do Not Pass Go: From the Old Kent Road to Mayfair by Tim Moore (Paperback, 2003)

Fun, informative and playful, you’ll want to do one of two things after you devour this book: 1) Pull out your copy of Monopoly for a rousing family night in or, 2) book a flight to London to visit each and every landmark on the Monopoly board for real. You might even do both.

Moore’s fantastic read takes the Monopoly board set and breaks it down location by location, providing fun facts about each and outlining how the city has developed since the game’s launch in 1935.

  • Originally published: 2002
  • Country: UK
  • Genre: Non-fiction, pictorial works

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Stephanie Yip

Stephanie is a journalist, avid traveller and all-round bargain hunter. If there's an online coupon code, deal or cheap flight available, she'll know about it. And she'll let you know about it, too.

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