50 best travel books that will spark your imagination during the COVID-19 lockdown

50 best travel books that will spark your imagination during the COVID-19 lockdown

Our borders might be sealed for traveling, but, luckily, our imagination can walk us through wherever we want. What is better to stimulate our imagination and fill the hunger for travel but a well-written book? 50 best travel books that will inspire us to travel when things go back to normal. Books that will allow us pursuit adventures in places we only visit in our wildest dreams. Books that remind us of our travel experiences or simply make us laugh, excited and keep our curiosity alive.

Top 100 Virtual Tours Around The World [2020]

Our 50 best travel books for travel inspiration: 

 Global – best travel books of all times;

  1.     The Art of Travel /By Alain de Botton.

Anyone can tell us where we ought to travel. Still, only de Botton will tell us in his brutally honest and philosophical way how and why. With the intelligence and casual charm, he considers the pleasures of anticipation and reminding us every little element is part of the whole adventure.  

  1.     Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road/ By Kate Harries

Kate Harries’s memoir of her journey by bicycle along the Silk Road. Harries is helping her readers, aiming to answer to one of our biggest questions as travelers. Where do you go when you feel that millions have already visited every place on earth before you?

The farther Harries traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within. 

  1. Love with a Chance of Drowning/ By Torre DeRoche

A travel blogger memoir of Torre DeRoche, who leaves her allied way of life to stay on a sailboat with someone she just met. Telling about their adventure across the South Pacific together. The way DeRoche describes the people, the scenery, and her experience makes us, the readers, want to follow in her footsteps. 

Best american travel books
Best American travel books
  1. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide/ By Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain saw more of the globe than nearly anyone. His travels from his hometown, New York to a tribal longhouse in Borneo, will astonish you. From cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, Paris, and Shanghai to Tanzania and so many places beyond. Bourdain’s life experience is collected into this fun and frank guide to some of the most fascinating hidden gems around the world. 

  1.     Pocket Atlas of Remote Islands: Fifty Islands I Have Not Visited and Never Will/ By  Judith Schalansky

 Schalansky creates a story around each island, using historical events and significant reports. It is, again, a book to remind us that there’s still so much left of this world to see. 

  1. Worldwalk/ By Steven M Newman

We all recognize the fact that the world of travel is going to change. It is harder to think of budget airline flights. Why not read an inspirational book of someone that traveled mostly by foot.

One man- four years journey. Listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the first person to walk around the world solo, Steve Newman crossed 20 countries and walked some 15,000 miles during his four-year journey.

Nearly everywhere on the five continents he crossed, he found friends that invited him into their homes (sometimes for weeks) and new friends that put him in touch with their friends. Immerse yourself in this story that includes not only his astonishing walk, but also arrests, wars, a short term job in a circus in Greece, and many more adventures.  

  1. On the Road/ By Jack Kerouac

Originally Written in 1957, Jack Kerouac’s classic is a timeless travel novel. On the Road tells the story of a couple of friends, as they leave New York and, whose cross-country road trips are an adventure of meaning and experience. Along the way, they are making friends and partying the night away. Through all his travel adventures, The main character becomes a better, stronger, and more confident person.   

  1. How Not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker/ By Lauren Juliff

How not to travel the world is a useful travel book. Juliff decides to quit her job, sell everything she owned, and travel the world alone. It wasn’t an easy decision. She had so little life experience. Juliff’s travels were full of bad luck and near-death experiences, yet she treated it all in her book with a great deal of humor. It was just as she was about to drop off the rest of her journey when she meets an attractive New Zealander with a chance of love full of obstacles.

How Not to Travel The World is about following your dreams, no matter what. It’s about learning to get out of your comfort zone and falling in love with life on the road. 

  1. Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a Bicycle/ By Dervla Murphy

It is the diary of a trip, taken mostly on a bicycle, by a gritty Irish Woman. Murphy takes us with her through her route; through Yugoslavia, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and ended in New Delhi. She carried a pistol, got sunstroke, and suffered the usual stomach disorders.  

  1. Expedition 196: A Personal Journal from the First Woman on Record to Travel to Every Country in the World/ By Cassie de Pecol

Cassie was only 27 and has already seen the world. Not only is she documented as the first female traveler who has visited 196 countries, but also she did it faster than anyone in history, male or female. In only 18 months!

Cassie was traveling as an ambassador for peace on behalf of IIPT (International Institute for Peace through Tourism). 

Her Journal is thrilling; Expedition 196 views the world through the eyes of one extraordinary young woman who went farther than most people can even imagine. 

Down under travel books;

  1. In a Sunburned Country/ By Bill Bryson

Bill Bryson takes us, readers, on a joyful ride in Australia, far beyond that beaten tourist path. 

It’s not your typical manual, but a must-read if you are planning on going to Australia, or want to get familiar with the place. Bryson is giving you a taste of the place quirks, and people. 

  1.   The Songlines/ By Bruce Chatwin

A classic written by a born wanderer that came to Australia to explore the Aboriginal song and its connection to a nomadic culture. He steps into this landscape for research, which fast extends into a travelogue of touring through the Australian outback.

 Inspirational books set in Italy;

  1.   Eat Pray Love/ By Elizabeth Gilbert

 “One woman’s search for everything.” This extraordinary tale spread over three different locations; Pleasure in Italy, devoting in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between earthly delights and divine fulfillment. Eat Pray Love is an empowering story that helps readers search for their own best selves. The first third of the book describes Italy, mostly Rome and Naples, where the main character stays, and the delicacies she eats. From pizza and pasta to gelato-for me, it was a waking call for another journey to Italy. 

  1.   Under the Tuscan Sun/ By Frances Mayes

The author of this book opens the door to a fascinating new world when she buys and rebuilds an abandoned villa in the spectacular small Tuscan hill town- Cortona. In her poetic and comic language, she brings the reader along as she discovers the simplicity of life in Italy. 

  1.   A Room With A View/ By E.M. Forster

A Room With a View is the story of a young English middle-class girl, Lucy Honeychurch. The tale opens with Lucy, traveling through Europe for the first time, disappointed to find the room she was given at their Florence pension had no view of the river Arno.

While the reader follows Lucy across the streets of Florence and the surrounding countryside, it becomes evident to us, if not to her, that Italy has changed Lucy.

Best travel books set in the UK;

  1.   Notes From A Small Island/ By Bill Bryson

There are plenty of exciting books written by this magnificent author. Right before leaving his home in North Yorkshire to move back to the States with his family, Bill Bryson decided on taking one last trip around Britain. His braver part was his decision to write all about his journey with his typical humor and a great deal of affection. 

  1.   Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)/ By Jerome K. Jerome

This Edition is a new Illustrated Edition with 67 Original Drawings by A. Frederics, a Detailed Map of Tour, and a Photo of the Three Men.

Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)is an account written by Jerome K. Jerome of a boating holiday on the Thames between Kingston and Oxford. You can find Thames guided tours that took their inspiration out of this magnificent classic.

  1.   Absolute Beginners/ By Colin MacInnes

London, 1958. A rare occurrence is creating a bustle:  the teenagers. In this 20’s cult classic, MacInnes captures the spirit of the youth and designs the style bible for anyone interested in modern culture, and the changing face of London in the era of the first race riots and the lead up to the swinging Sixties. 

  1. Low Country Brexit On The Essex Coast/ By Tom Bolton

Tom Bolton walks the muddy, winding coastline of Essex, encountering stunning landscapes. These wind-battered towns are about thirty years behind the rest of the country, but that’s their charm. Covers both landscape and political writing, Low Country interrogates the natural and social environments of Essex.  

  1.   Mrs. Dalloway/ By Virginia Woolf

A famous classic novel set in London in the 1920s, this book is about the life of the bohemian, or more specifically, of one upper-class lady, Clarissa Dalloway.  The book describes many locations in the city, especially the bohemian Bloomsbury district. This “day in the life” story is told mostly through the thoughts and inner monologues of Mrs. Dalloway as she walks around London and prepares for a party she’s about to host. Her thoughts keep being interrupted by the striking of the most iconic landmark of London-the Big Ben.

 Guernsey inspirational travel book;

  1.   The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society/ By Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows

You can’t read this book without wanting to take the first flight to Guernsey island that describes so magnifically in this letters-like written book.

Guernsey located in the canal between the UK and France, but it has its independent entity. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society used as an alibi when its members caught breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island during the war. The main character begins a remarkable correspondence with the society’s members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and many details of the small yet enchanting island.  

Germany  – An inspirational travel book;

  1.   Book of Clouds/ By Chloe Aridjis

Tatiana, a young female, settles in Berlin and distancing herself from the city’s past. Yet the phantoms of Berlin are seeping in.

Book of Clouds is a portrait of a city in constant change, and of the myths we grab to give meaning to our lives. The main character of this novel is not Tatiana but Berlin itself. Only a few novels support such a sustained analysis of a place, and Aridjis succeeding doing it carefully in her book about Berlin. 

 Africa – Travel book reccomandation;

  1.   Dark Star Safari: Overland from Cairo to Capetown/ By Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux’s book “Dark Star Safari” shows a deeper, vivid side of Africa, a misunderstood continent, as he describes it. Going beyond safaris is where you find the true Africa.

Montenegro – An inspirational travel book; 

  1. The Full Monte: A Fulbright Scholar’s Humorous and Heart-Warming Experience in Montenegro/ By Paul Dishman

A delightful revealing view into Montenegro, the tiny former Communist country was struggling to join the world stage. Dishman’s experience teaching in remote countries turns into a personal journey as he travels to the land of his grandfather and discovers his surprising heritage. 

 Central and South America  – Best travel books;

  1.   The Lost City of the Monkey God: A true story/ By Douglas Preston

The journalist Douglas Preston takes readers on an adventure deep into the Honduran rainforest. In this captivating narrative about the discovery of a lost civilization –reaching its highest development, on the way back from the lost civilization city, in a stunning medical mystery. 

  1. The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon/ By David Grann

In this masterpiece of narrative nonfiction, journalist Grann interweaves the stories of Fawcett’s- a legendary British explore, quest for “Z.” And take his own journey into the deadly jungle as he untangled the greatest exploration mystery of the twentieth century. 

  1. In Patagonia/ By Bruce Chatwin

In Patagonia is a striking account of Chatwin’s journey through Patagonia combine with remarkable bits of history, and memorable anecdotes. Chatwin ended up spontaneously trekking through “the uttermost part of the earth”-that stretch of land at the final southern tip of South America. Also known as the Argentinian region of Patagonia, where he spent six months exploring the wilderness.

Best french travel books
Best French travel books

Excellent books set in France;

  1.   The Cat Who Went to Paris/ By Peter Gethers

Peter opened his heart to the Scottish Fold kitten-Norton, and their adventures to Paris, Fire Island, and in the subways of Manhattan took on the color of legend and mutual love. 

  1.   French Revolutions: Cycling the Tour de France/ By Tim Moore

Full disclosure- I’ve always wanted to see the route of the Tour de France. I was never planning to cycle along the way; I thought more about taking a car and hike the best parts. After reading Moore’s attempt to “conquer” the Tour de France, with his hilarious failures, I want to go there even more.

  1.   A Year in Provence/ By Peter Mayle

A Year in Provence shifting the readers into all the earthly pleasures of Provençal life and let the readers lives at a pace directed by seasons, not by days. Mayle shares with us what it is like to realize a long-cherished dream and move into a 200-year-old stone farmhouse in the remote country of the Lubéron with his wife and two large dogs.

  1.   A Moveable Feast/ By Ernest Hemingway

Hemingway’s classic memoir of Paris of the 1920s. It is a literary feast, brilliantly provoking the enthusiastic mood of Paris after World War I and the youthful spirit, chaotic creativity, and the eagerness that Hemingway himself illustrates.

Fantastic books set in the USA;

  1.   The Call of the Wild/ By Jack London

The Call of the Wild main character, Buck, is half St. Bernard and half Scotch Shepherd dog. Raised as a domesticated dog on a ranch in southern California, Buck is stolen from his owner and sold into the brutal life of an Alaskan sled dog. He must adjust and master his new life in the wild, by reverting to ancestral instincts. London’s story shows readers the Alaskan wilderness at its best and worst times. It will make you fall in love with the domestic Buck and the new and improve wild Buck. 

  1.   Wicked Baltimore: Charm City Sin and Scandal/ By Lauren R. Silberman.

 While tourists make the Inner Harbor one of the most traveled areas in the country. But if they would take their chances and walk a few streets north to The Block on Baltimore Street, they would see an area once famous for its burlesque shows. It is only the locals who would know to continue north on St. Paul to the Owl Bar. The Owl Bar is a former speakeasy that still proudly displays some of its Prohibition-era paraphernalia. Wicked Baltimore is a must-read when thinking about Baltimore as an item of your bucket list.

  1.   Stranger on a Train: Daydreaming and Smoking Around America with Interruptions/ By Jenny Diski

Stranger on a Train is a combination of travelogue and memoir, a portrait of America and Americans that is at the same time a ruthless look in the mirror. Traveling and remembering both involve confronting strangers. Strangers we have just met and those we once were—and acknowledging the play of closeness and separation that this book offers. 

  1.   Into the Wild/ By Jon Krakauer

In April 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska. He walked alone into the wilderness north of Mt. McKinley. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself. Not a single reader could let down this book, which later on appeared on the wide screens as a masterpiece film. 

  1.   Wild/ By Cheryl Strayed

At twenty-two, Cheryl Strayed thought she had lost everything. With nothing more to lose, she made an impulsive decision. With no training, driven only by her will, she would hike more than a thousand miles of the Pacific Crest Trail. Over a thousand miles from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State. She would do it alone. Wild effectively captures the terrors and pleasures of this young woman march ahead against all the odds on a journey that ultimately healed her.

  1.   Walking Baltimore: An Insider’s Guide to 33 Historic Neighborhoods, Waterfront Districts, and Hidden Treasures in Charm City/ By Evan Balkan

If the last book about Baltimore wasn’t enough to trigger your mind and make Baltimore an item in your bucket list, you should read the following as well. Balkan includes some of Baltimore’s most famous historic neighborhoods. He also covers lesser-known and far-flung corners, revealing what makes Baltimore such a wonderful and fascinating destination.

With little bits of trivia and fun facts, you’ll have fun while learning about Baltimore.

  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance/ By Robert M. Pirsig

A captivating account of a man and his son takes a motorcycle trip across America. But this is not an elementary trip at all. For every corner, through mountain and desert, rain and wind, torrid heat and biting cold, their journey leads them to new vistas of self-discovery. 

  1.   The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn/ By Mark Twain

The young Huckleberry Finn needs to run away from his miserable life and decides he has only one option left. Fakes his death and hops a raft down the Mississippi River. Instead of carrying him far from trouble, though, Huck’s raft delivers him to a place of moral uncertainty.

Mark Twain is revealing through Huck’s journey several locations and interesting characters along the Mississippi River. Along with the troubled history of the American South, where slavery held sway long after the Civil War ended. Huck’s relationship with runaway slave Jim forces him to confront his beliefs about friendship and freedom.

 China – Fantastic travel books; 

  1.   First Pass Under Heaven: One man’s 4000-kilometer trek along the Great Wall of China/ By Nathan Gray

Gray’s story is remarkable. Uncovering the Wall’s profound history and revealing insights into China’s geopolitical climate, as he shares his journey of physical, mental, and emotional triumph. The fact that even the military pursued him makes his story more appealing. 

  1.   Red Dust: A Path Through China/ By Ma Jian

Ma Jian takes off from his personal almost tragic life in Beijing to immerse himself in the remotest parts of China. His journey lasted three years and take him through smog-choked cities and mountain villages, from episodes of barbarity to havens of serenity.

Wonderful books that will make you fall in love with Israel;

  1. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal/ By Christopher Moore

This hilarious and bold story will make you fall in love with Israel, and maybe even start planning your trip to the north of this tiny country.

Wandering through the hills surrounding the Kinneret will deliver reminders of the people who walked the same locations years before. Regardless of what you believe about Jesus, whether he was a savior or a simple man, his time spent in the Galilee and surrounding areas is well documented.

In this hilarious fiction, Moore shares the most fantastic tale never told: the life of Christ as seen by his childhood pal, Biff. 

  1.   Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City/ By Guy Delisle

Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City- is a brilliant comic, Delisle examines the complexities of a city that represents so much to so many. He elegantly explores the impact of the conflict on the lives of people on both sides of the wall.

When observing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations that call Jerusalem home, Delisle’s drawn line is both sensitive and fair, assuming nothing and drawing everything. 

  1.   Someone to Run With/ By David Grossman

A shy, sixteen-year-old Assaf is having the worst summer of his life.

One morning, Assaf’s routine is disrupted by an absurd task: to find the owner of a stray yellow labrador. Meantime, on the opposite side of town, Tamar, a talented young singer, a lone wolf with a passionate soul, engage in an equally unpromising mission: to rescue a teenage drug addict from the Jerusalem underworld and, eventually, to find her dog. The adventures of the two main characters will charm you all over the streets of dusty Jerusalem and will make you want to tour these streets with them. 

Spain – Inspirational book for travelers;

  1.   The Sun Also Rises/ By Ernest Hemingway

This is a story about English-speaking expats who travel from Paris to Spain.

Where you can find a few points of interest that till these days are highlights spots in Madrid. Not to mention the value you will have after reading this book, you will surely get to understand many essential things about Madrid’s culture. 

India – 2 top travel books;

  1.   River Dog: A Journey Down the Brahmaputra/ By Mark Shand

In River Dog, celebrated travel writer Mark Shand chronicles his attempt to complete the “last great Asian adventure.” Lively and evocative, it is a marvelous account of an epic journey and a touching portrait of the friendship between a traveler and his dog. 

  1.   The Jungle Book/ By Rudyard Kipling

Children everywhere have read and loved this masterpiece by Rudyard Kipling.

Who wouldn’t want to experience India like Mowgli did?!

The ales of Mowgli, the boy, raised by animals in the exotic jungles of India.   

 Inspirational travel adventurers books;

  1.   Badlands: A Tourist on the Axis of Evil/ By Tony Wheeler

Badlands is a witty first-hand account written by the founder of Lonely Planet. Wheeler is taking readers to travels through places often seen as having some of the most dangerous rules in the world. Places like Afghanistan, Albania, Burma, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Taking into account each country’s attitude to human rights, he asks, ‘what makes a country truly evil?’ and ‘how bad is really bad?’

  1.   The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice―Crossing Antarctica Alone/ By Colin O’Brady

Perhaps the most remarkable memoir I read this decade. Colin O’Brady was the first to cross the landmass of Antarctica alone, without any support and completely human-powered. 

  1.   Microadventures: Local Discoveries for Great Escapes/ By Alastair Humphreys

This picturesque guide book came to my knowledge right on time in this madness of locked borders, and lockdowns.

The purpose of a micro-adventure is that you don’t need lots of time and money to meet a new challenge, and you can gain these new challenges close to home. This practical guide filled with ideas for micro-adventures like sleeping on a hilltop or going for a wild swim. There are also over 150 stunning photographs, plus tips and advice on safety and kit.

What are your best travel books?

 We would appreciate that if you have another recommendation for a travel book, please add it in the comments. We are looking to create a larger list for the next article – the 100 best travel books.

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