As we approach the end of the year, it’s a perfect time to start thinking about the best books to read while traveling. Or perhaps you are trying to find books to give the traveler in your life this Christmas season. Whatever your reason, I’ve assembled a massive list of the best books to read when traveling.
I’ve divided this list of books to read while traveling into several key categories, as noted in the list below:
- The Best Travel Books of all Time
- New Releases – Best Travel Books 2018
- Inspiration to Travel – feed the wanderlust
- Books for Business Travelers – motivation, career growth, and more
- Adventure, Crime & Mystery books to read while traveling
- Science Fiction & Fantasy – the epic quest to read while on the road
- Non Fiction Books to Read When Traveling
Please note that this post contains affiliate links. This means that some of the links earn me a commission for your purchase. This comes with no additional cost to you and helps me keep this blog afloat.
Best Travel Books of all Time
Let’s start first with the very best travel books of all time. These are timeless classics or relatively fresh, but powerful travel books. They speak to the soul, touch the heart, or provide brilliantly useful travel information. They inspire us to travel, to chase our wanderlust, to connect and to explore this beautiful amazing planet we live on.
On the Road –Jack Kerouac
For my money, On the Road remains the preeminent road trip book. Friendship, jazz, mankind, philosophy and adventure await readers of this beatnick novel. Kerouac’s simple prose is easy to consume and the deeper meanings sneak up on without warning.
Any serious traveler will have read this book and you should too.
Vagabonding – Rolf Potts
Vagabonding gets over 16,000 searches a month from people bored in the daily grind jobs, to those seeking something more in life. This budget-traveler guide offers tips and methods to simply go.
If you have a serious case of Wanderlust, this book should be added to your collection.
The Lord of the Rings Series – J. R. R. Tolkien
My mother first introduced me to this series as child. I was a strong reader, as a kid, and dove into this series headfirst, quickly becoming enamored with it’s wild tales of adventures. It may be, perhaps, the greatest quest ever told on paper.
The Lord of the Rings series remains an easy addition to the best books to read while traveling.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
Mark Twain’s timeless classic about a boy and his travels continues to capture every young boys imagination. Huck Finn was probably the first “travel story” I read as a young boy and I carry it’s exciting narratives, rich characters and most importantly it’s deep sense of adventure around every corner with me today.
The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn should be, in my humble opinion, a “must read” book for any traveler and remains a solid addition to the books to read when traveling list.
The Travels of Marco Polo – Marco Polo
The great explorer, Marco Polo, may have created the best travel journal of all time, in this self title book. His vivid descriptions of the far east from foods to traditions to cultures stirred the imaginations of readers who could literally only dream of such places. It remains a strong contribution to the travel writing realm.
Heck, Polo may well have been our first Travel Blogger! 🙂
It was incredibly difficult to pick the Top 5 Best Travel Books of all Time given there are so many wonderful books about travel in circulation.
New Releases – Best Travel Books 2018
Each year amazing travel books get published, feeding our travel heart’s desire to see the world, experience it’s beauty, find love, seek adventure and so much more. We travel to live. To love. We travel because we HAVE TO travel. Here are a few of the best new releases, or the Best Travel Books 2018.
From Amazon: “Do you ever wonder what it takes to save your own life? Or even just your sanity when times are hard? This Is How I Save My Life will help you discover who you really are. While Amy’s story began as the search for a physical cure from Lyme disease; it turned out to be so much more. It turned out to be about life–how we get through when it seems impossible, and even find some humor in it all.”
The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience – Jennifer Pharr Davis
From Amazon: “Jennifer Pharr Davis, a record holder of the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian Trail, reveals the secrets and habits behind endurance as she chronicles her incredible accomplishments in the world of endurance hiking, backpacking, and trail running. With a storyteller’s ear for fascinating detail and description, Davis takes readers along as she trains and sets her record, analyzing and trail-testing the theories and methodologies espoused by her star-studded roster of mentors“
From Amazon: “Scott Jurek is one of the world’s best known and most beloved ultrarunners. Renowned for his remarkable endurance and speed, accomplished on a vegan diet, he’s finished first in nearly all of ultrarunning’s elite events over the course of his career. But after two decades of racing, training, speaking, and touring, Jurek felt an urgent need to discover something new about himself. He embarked on a wholly unique challenge, one that would force him to grow as a person and as an athlete: breaking the speed record for the Appalachian Trail. North is the story of the 2,189-mile journey that nearly shattered him“
From Amazon: “The Eat, Pray, Love for busy executives, Take Off Your Shoes invites the reader to join a journey of self-rediscovery. If 10% Happier made you more mindful, and Wild more adventuresome, Take Off Your Shoes will ground you and help you find your soul.“
As you might expect, there are also SO many delicious books about travel to choose from in 2018, but I trust this list of Best Travel Books 2018 will get you started!
Inspiration to Travel – feed the wanderlust; Books to read while traveling
At various times in our life we get the urge to sell everything and simply wander. To pursue the deepest journeys, to wander. We call this phenomenon wanderlust.
Here are some of the best books to read while traveling that feed your wanderlust and inspire you to travel:
- Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer
- Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia – Elizabeth Gilbert
- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail – Cheryl Strayed
- The Beach – Alex Garland
- A Walk Across America – Peter Jenkins
Books for Business Travelers – motivation, career growth, and more
My own travel blog is from the perspective of a business traveler. I am on the road most weeks of a month, traveling for work to various places across this great USA. I am also in a sales leadership role and part of my job as a leader is to stay current on trends, techniques and tips for becoming the best employee, leader or professional I can.
Thus, I make sure that non-fiction books targeted at business professionals are a part of my annual reading list.
Here are a few books that have shaped my professional career and life while on the road for work:
- How to Win Friends & Influence People – Dale Carnegie
- Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action – Simon Sinek
- The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership Workbook: Follow Them and People Will Follow You – John Maxwell
- Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know – Zig Ziglar
- The First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter, Updated and Expanded – Michael Watkins
What’s your favorite motivational book or leadership book to read while you travel for work? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter so hit me up and share your best business travel book!
Adventure, Crime & Mystery books to read when traveling
Sometimes when you are traveling you just need a good page turner. No deeper meaning, no higher purpose, or soul searching. You just want to escape to another place. A place of intrigue, of suspense or maybe a gory crime. Maybe it’s spy novel. Or a suspense novel. Maybe even a good crime novel.
Whatever your reason, here are some great adventure & mystery books to read while traveling.
- The Sum of All Fears – Tom Clancy
- Bloodline: A Sigma Force Novel – James Rollins
- Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, Book 1) – Lee Child
- The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
- Sphere – Michael Crichton
- Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn
Who’s your favorite author in these genres? We’d love to hear from you! Please hit us up on social media and share some of your favorite books to read when traveling in the mystery, crime and adventure series.
Science Fiction, Fantasy & Travel
Far away worlds, futuristic craft, time travel and fantastic aliens. They drive our wildest imagination, giving us tiny glimpse into a future that is sometimes frightening and dystopian and other times hopeful.
Or perhaps it’s a jaunt into a magical kingdom with talking dragons, heroic wizards and clever thieves. Whatever your fancy, science fiction and fantasy provide some of the best travel experiences ever put to paper.
It’s been said (although I cannot for the life of me remember by whom) that a good fantasy novel just needs a band of motley characters, a magical kingdom and a quest. Yes, a quest; a journey, a mission, a reason to get on the road.
Some of the BEST travel stories of all time have been told in the pages of fantasy and science fiction.
Here we find a short list (that should be longer) of amazing science fiction and fantasy stories that are wonderful companions to accompany you while you travel. Here are some of the best science fiction and fantasy books to read while traveling:
- The Belgariad Series – David Eddings.
- Wheel of Time Series – Robert Jordan
- The Horse and His Boy – C.S. Lewis
- The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure – William Goldman
- Interview with the Vampire – Anne Rice
- Science Fiction
Note: While J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterpiece, The Lord of Rings is first among these, I already covered it in the Best Travel Books of all time, earlier. That’s how much I think about that series, btw.
Honestly, I could go on forever with this section. There are just too many amazing science fiction and fantasy novels worth consideration on your books to read when traveling list. But, I forced myself to stop.
If you are craving more sci-fi or fantasy genre books to read while while you are traveling, here is a definitive list:
Non-Fiction Books to Read When Traveling
Sometimes we just need to learn. Whether it’s an exciting narrative of from an archaeology hunt, a spiritual expose, or historical account, a non-fiction book sometimes just hits the spot. Here are a few great books to read while traveling.
- The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon – David Grann
- The Lost City of the Monkey God – Douglas Preston
- Generation Kill – Evan Wright
- Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction – David Sheff
- Wild at Heart – John Eldridge
Reading has been a part of human civilization since we first put a charcoal ember to a cave wall.
We want to document our journeys and experience other peoples adventures and the stories woven for us in great books give us the opportunity to travel to places and times we might never get to visit.
I hope this list of great books to read while traveling is bookmarked in your browser and you are loading your Kindle up now in prep for your next journey!
For other great content from the CBoardingGroup check out some of our more popular posts:
- The Ultimate List of the Best Travel Blogs – 2018 Edition
- Airport Travel Tips: 7 ways to optimize your airport experience
- 101 Travel Hacks for the Business Traveler – the Best Business Travel Hacks