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Last Updated on 19/11/2021

Though the whole world was forced to hole up in their homes for the past two years, things are finally starting to look up. 

Borders are reopening and plenty of Britons are looking forward to visiting their dream destinations, both familiar and unexplored. But for some, it isn’t easy to simply reinvigorate one’s wanderlust and desire to travel; especially after being stuck in one place for so long. 

Writer Jewel Burton shares her top 10 must-read travel books that are sure to get you packing your bags and booking that ticket.

10 Books to Inspire Your Next Travel Destinations

Stack of books with a pair of sunglasses on a beach with beach huts behind for travel books.

Find books to inspire your next travel destinations

1. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

Blue cover with a paper plane for travel books

Eric Weiner takes readers across the globe on a yearlong journey in search of the world’s happiest places.

 While the current list of the happiest countries on earth is topped by Finland, The Geography of Bliss also allows us to explore Iceland, Qatar, Denmark, India, and even Moldova, one of the world’s unhappiest places. 

What exactly makes some places happier than others? Eric faces new people and experiences in his pursuit of the answer and takes us along for the ride.

2. Around the World in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh

Book cover for around the world in 80 trains

This title won the National Geographic Traveller Award for Best Travel Book and was shortlisted for the Stanford Dolman Travel Book of the Year Award. 

Monisha Rajesh set off on a journey around the world’s circumference through 80 long train journeys. From Tibet’s Qinghai railway in the skies to the grandeur of the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express, Monisha and her fiance, Jem, embarked on an unforgettable adventure. 

The title also offers rich commentary on life, history, and culture.

3. World Travel: An Irreverent Guide by Anthony Bourdain

Cover featuring blue writing and a black and white image of Anthony Bourdain.

The well-loved television host and writer had many passions, one of which was travelling. 

Scribd states how Anthony Bourdain’s guide to world travel serves as a doorway to some of the world’s most fascinating locations, from hidden pockets in his hometown, New York, the cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, to the desert solitude of Oman’s Empty Quarter.

World Travel is an entertaining, practical, yet fun guide to the late writer’s favourite places, and is great for veteran explorers, enthusiasts, and newcomers to the world of travelling.

4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pay, Love book cover

This travel memoir has touched a lot of readers, as well as those who were able to watch its film adaptation. Elizabeth Gilbert tells of how she made the difficult leap of faith to leave behind her marriage, house, and career to search for what she truly wanted from life. 

Elizabeth journeys to learn about the pleasures of Italy, the art of devotion in India, and seek a balance between the two in Bali. Eat, Pray, Love is endearing and painfully honest sometimes, and maybe that’s just what we need.

5. In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Colourful book cover with an illustration of a crocodile.

Like Bill Bryson’s previous national bestseller, A Walk in the Woods, this title is yet another incredible travelogue — this time exploring the majestic country-continent of Australia. 

While most people know Australia as the country with hot weather, peculiar wildlife, and prickly shrubbery, Bill Bryson’s In A Sunburned Country takes readers beyond the ragged tourist path into gleaming cities with cold beer, cheerful Australians, and constant sunshine.

6. Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez

Blue cover by Barry Lopez for travel books.

Arctic Dreams by Barry Lopez also introduces us to a perilous place with a harsh climate. But contrasting the previous book’s location, the focus of this one is the unrelenting cold of the North. But the Arctic is more than that; it has its frozen forests, seas of ice, and of course, the beautiful aurora borealis. 

Barry examines the history and culture of the North’s indigenous, as well as the fate of the underprepared, and often doomed, polar explorers. 

Despite this, Arctic Dreams will make you long to be one of the daredevils exploring the endless arctic environments.

7. Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time by Mark Adams

Colourful book cover with an illustration of Machu Picchu by Mark Adams

This New York Times bestselling travel memoir was written by Mark Adams, an unadventurous adventurer who attempts to recreate the original Machu Picchu expedition

In 1911, Yale University professor Hiram Bingham climbed the Andres Mountains of Peru and discovered the existence of Machu Picchu. Our modern protagonist Mark, however, had never even spent a night in a tent before taking on the challenge. 

Turn Right at Machu Picchu is funny, entertaining, and, overall, a wonderful look into one of today’s most famous landscapes.

8. Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector García and Francesc Miralles

Light blue book cover with white blossom and a branch illustration.

Rather than a book focused on the sights and destinations, this one could be a great read for those seeking to know more about Japanese people and their culture. 

Ikigai, or the Japanese term for a life purpose, is composed of what you love, what you’re good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. 

The next time you visit Japan, this knowledge might bring new meaning to your encounters with artisans, Zen philosophy, religion, and even cuisine. Perhaps this is the ultimate secret to living a long, fulfilling life.

9. Honouring High Places: The Mountain Life of Junko Tabei by Junko Tabei

Black and white book cover with a mountaineer

Honouring High Places features a collection of stories focusing on the wonderful culture of mountaineering. 

The book opens with one of the highest places on the planet: Mount Everest. 

Junko then relives her frail childhood, and how she eventually overcame this as she founded the Ladies Climbing Club in 1969, and how the first all-women’s expedition faced disaster, but still pushed onwards to conquer the peak of Sagarmatha.

10. Siren Land by Norman Douglas

Black and white image of a town with yellow writing on top.

One of the older works in this list, Siren Land can be considered a masterpiece in international literature. 

Captivated by Southern Italy, Norman Douglas highlights the hills of Sorrento, the cliff of Crapolla, the hill of Saint Mary of the Snow, and the Minerva promontory, and of course, Capri and the siren isles. 

Norman was able to capture the atmosphere of these locations, the people’s innate vocation for hospitality, and the magic that settled over this quaint town.

Final Thoughts On the Top 10 Travel Books 

A travel diary with a map and two other books, a coffee, glasses and a plant.

Did any of our entries get you itching to travel? We hope so! For more ideas, check out our list of ‘31 Best Responsible Tourism Destinations for Nature Lovers’, where we go from New Zealand to Singapore and more. 

Because once you get the travel bug, we guarantee you’ll be on your way soon!

Exclusively written for by Jewel Burton

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