By Mary Charie / 17/10/2017


Best Books To Read When Travelling - Must-Reads Whilst On The Road

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UPDATED: June 2018

When your days are actually filled with exciting activities, it’s hard to find time to read. Unless you’re stuck at the airport or bored in your long bus ride, you will find yourself picking up your book one way or another. Personally, I love reading novels related to my next destination, both fiction and nonfiction. It doesn’t give me expectation, but the feeling of finding myself standing right at the spot which the book described gave me satisfaction.

So, I decided to ask my fellow travel bloggers what book would they suggest when you are travelling. Here’s what they have to say:

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Books to Read While Travelling

By Paul Theroux
Suggested by Carol of Way Faring Views

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

Paul Theroux is inarguably the best travel writer alive today. He has taken his readers by train through four continents, by kayak through the South Pacific and into many dark corners of strange cultures. He is cranky, curious and always willing to tackle an epic quest.

Any of his books will inspire travel but the Tao of Travel is his literary traveler’s handbook. It offers ruminations on the nature of travel and the value of being elsewhere. It includes selections from his own works as well as bits from other great travel writers like Henry Fielding Evelyn Waugh and Henry David Thoreau. It’s a book that you can dip into and out of as the mood strikes and it will always inspire you to hit the road.

By Lucy Foley
Suggested by Justine of Wanderer of the World

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

When travelling, I always carry a good book with me. In fact, I would deem a book almost as important as my camera or travel journal! On a recent trip to San Francisco, I found what I believe to be the perfect travel read: The Book of Lost & Found by Lucy Foley.

Firstly, I love a book that is a book within a book – call it Inception for bibliophiles! Thus, admittedly, it was the title that drew me in initially. After reading it though, I established the reasons why it was the perfect travel companion.

It involves mystery, romance and travel across England, Paris and Corsica (3 of my most favourite travel destinations). Also, when travelling, I like a book that has relatively short chapters and one that is easy to follow even if not reading throughout my entire vacation. After all, I find myself sightseeing during the day and only reading before bed.

For all of these reasons, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Book of Lost & Found. So hop on down to your local bookshop or library right now!

By Ann VanderHoof
Suggest by Nicole of Family with Latitude

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

It is the story of a Toronto couple, Ann and Steve, who decide to leave it all behind and sail around the Caribbean on their sailboat.  Ann was never a sailor and talks about her hesitation to take such a big leap.  She also talks about their trials and tribulations of learning to be full-time sailors.   But you can see them grow into experts over the 2 years.  Their love of the Caribbean comes through on each page as they visit 16 different island nations, including the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago.

She lavishly describes the sights, scents and most importantly the food.  Not only does she describe the food, she includes recipes from locals in islands as well as some of her own islands influenced recipes.  Mango Bread anyone?  She also includes a dynamite recipe for a true Caribbean style rum punch.  For anyone who has dreamed of sailing off into the sunset, this is the real-life experience of someone who has actually done it. 

By Jason Goodwin
Suggested by Kerstin of The Wandering Austrian

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

I focus so much on reading guidebooks about the places I plan to visit that I am ready for a change when I am actually traveling and I choose to read fiction, usually light entertainment in my favorite genre, mystery. I want to be entertained while I travel or before I fall asleep but also want a book to get me ready to experience the new locale. One example of a perfect mystery when visiting Venice, Italy is The Bellini Card by Jason Goodwin.

It is 1840, and the main character travels from Constantinople to Venice to look for a lost painting, but a killer is at large and threatens the search for the painting. The descriptions of Venice helped me appreciate the city, even more, when I visited. The novel taught me about the history of Venice under Austro-Hungarian rule and got me excited about a trip to Istanbul.

By David Burgess
Suggested by Mary of A Mary Road

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

The Samsara Project is a book I couldn’t put down the moment I started it. David Burgess did a great job in bringing his readers to another world of mystery and crime. The settings were in Wimbledon, London, John Reynolds is a well-known crime journalist somehow hated by the police for how he can get his way around a complicated news and cases. John found himself fascinated and confused with a murder case full of evidence but for any reason couldn’t bring him to any suspect. Along the way, he was able to put together his own team to solve a murder case that is clearly linked to an unexpected unsolved case.

I love how this book made me feel like a detective whilst losing myself in the story, London is a place I have never been myself but somehow makes me feel connected in every fiction and non-fiction story that I come across to.

By Gregory David Roberts
Suggested by Steffi of Beach Bum Adventure

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

My favourite travel book has got to be Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts. I read it when I was a teenager and I have been wanting to visit India ever since. This April I finally travelled to India and it was absolutely incredible. The book inspired me with its descriptions of daily life there, how people lived in slums, the darker side to places like Mumbai while capturing the vibrant and colourful lives of Indian people. I would definitely recommend reading this book, and I defy you not to want to travel to India after reading it!

By Graeme Simsion
Suggested by Kat of Kats Gone Global

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

The Rosie Project was one my bookclubs favourite books and I’d recommend it for any holiday. It’s a light-hearted and an easy read. Imagine a character like Sheldon from Big Bang that is searching for romance.

The Rosie Project is an awkward romance story set in Australia featuring Don Tillman and Rosie Jarman as the main character. Don has never been on more than one date and decided that he needs to find a partner, there starts the wife project. The book takes you on a wonderful journey about Don, his Asperger’s and learning about human relationships. Don puts the Wife Project on the back burner help Rosie to find her father. As a DNA expert, he might be able to help.

You hope for a love story from the get-go and it’s sweet watching the romance bloom between Don and Rosie who are very different yet oddly similar to each other.

By Alex Garland
Suggest by Chiera of Young and Undecided

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

When I first read ‘The Beach’ by Alex Garland, I was about 14 years old and it drew me in like no other book had at that point. One quote, in particular, I will always remember really affected me” Escape through travel works. Almost from the moment I boarded my flight, life in England became meaningless. Seat-belt signs lit up, problems switched off. Broken armrests took precedence over broken hearts.

By the time the plane was airborne I’d forgotten England even existed.” The narrator, Richard, is an English backpacker and he explains that the reason he set off into the world of travel was that his girlfriend dumped him and he didn’t want to deal. While I don’t condone using travel as a way to avoid dealing with emotions, it’s tempting, isn’t it? Through Richards sarcastic and slightly cynical eyes, you join him in his search for paradise. The perfect travellers’ haven. With some major wanderlust envy, a good old fashion romance and a major literary adrenaline rush, The Beach should be on everyone priority list.

By Gerald Durrell
Suggested by Ana of Merry Go Round Slowly

Why is it one of the best books to read when travelling?

A bookworm as I am, I don’t think I could ever choose one book in any given category, but if you ask me about my favourite travelling book, I have one for you. It is Gerald Durrell’s “My Family and Other Animals” and there is one special condition: you have to read this book while you are in Greece.

The book is about the island of Corfu in Greece and is actually set in the first half of the 20th century, but if you have been to the Greek islands, you already know that the time there is absolutely irrelevant. The sound of singing cicadas, the colour of the water, the olive trees and the hospitality and friendliness of the locals are timeless. And those are exactly the things Durrell writes about – these and his family, who accompanies him on this journey, being (like most of the families) loud, warm, annoying and loving. 

I hope you find something to add to your bookshelf, if you think I missed something, let me know in the comment section below.


Are you ready for your next adventure? Don't forget to pack these best books to read when travelling! #bestbookstoreadwhentraveling #bookstoreadwhentraveling #travelbooks #travelnovelbooks #travelinspiredbooks
Are you ready for your next adventure? Don't forget to pack these best books to read when travelling! #bestbookstoreadwhentraveling #bookstoreadwhentraveling #travelbooks #travelnovelbooks #travelinspiredbooks

About the author

Mary Charie

She's the person behind this blog. Torn between her itchy feet and writing, Mary found herself soaking up in the world of travel blogging. She travels on her own terms and tries to build her own world whilst pushing herself into every corner of life, breaking limit beyond her capabilities.


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