You can never go wrong with a work of Anthony Bourdain. He has a lot of material but this has got to be one of the best travel books that will quench your thirst not only for good (and exotic) food but also for travel in general!
After all, Anthony just has a certain way with words — honest and sometimes crass but totally engaging, that it just makes you want to pack your bags and go.
The title of this book says it all: it presents to you a number of remote places with all the information you’ll need — from maps (that cartography-lovers will like) to fascinating narratives.

“The Universe is an unsettlingly big place, a fact which for the sake of a quiet life most people tend to ignore.”

I’m sure you’ve already heard of this book given that it was adapted into a Hollywood movie wherein Julia Roberts was the main star. A lot of people have a love and hate relationship with this book, but I leave it up to you to decide what side you’re on!

Every chapter of this book tells a story of its own and it’s a bit of a philosophical scrapbook per se that helps explain why people travel so that you, as a reader, can also gain a deeper understanding on why you do the same.

Best Travel Books: Novels & Stories

A Cook’s Tour: Global Adventures in Extreme Cuisines by Anthony Bourdain

It’s a bit ironic though because it’s a bit of an anti-travel book given how utterly bizarre and isolated these places are, but it sure leaves you to wonder while feeding your imagination!

Add this book and it will help you come up with even bigger adventures right from your own backyard and beyond — but not too far! It surely makes you see the truth that adventure is everywhere, you just need to ‘look’.
In fact, it may be non-fiction but you’ll feel utterly awed by the sheer endurance and optimism that these men have exhibited all throughout their hellish journey — it’s definitely one of the best travel books that you MUST read in this lifetime.

A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby

“Your sole responsibility on Earth, as long as your legs last each day, is to breathe, pedal, breathe—and look around.”
“…an awfully large part of travel these days is to see things while you still can.”

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

One of Paulo Coelho’s masterpieces, ‘The Alchemist’ is a best-seller for a reason — it truly is one of the most life-changing books that you’ll ever read!

Have you seen my latest vlog?
Likewise, you’ve probably already read a lot of travel blog posts and articles online about the cheapest places to travel in the world… but it doesn’t hurt to read through this guide as well!

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage by Alfred Lansing

Written by a foreign correspondent who is a self-declared ‘grump’, Eric sets out to travel the globe in search for the happiest places — the result? Some of the happiest countries include India, Bhutan, and Iceland. So, he asks himself… what makes them happy?

Written by the famous travel blogger behind, this book might not be a gem of a find especially if you’re already a seasoned traveler — but if you’re not, this is an absolute MUST read!
“I decided that travel was flight and pursuit in equal parts.

Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Of course, more than being amazing mediums for inspiring us to travel the world, books are also a great way to pass time during long flights and train rides, as well as a great tool for helping us understand a destination a whole lot better.

Want to get off the beaten path? You should grab this book to discover 700 of the strangest and most mysterious places in the world that are natural wonders of their own right.
After all, this has been recommended by a number of big websites such as National Geographic and Forbes.

In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

“The destination was not really the point. The true desire was to get away—to go!”

“Life offers you a thousand chances… all you have to do is take one.”
To help you pack light for your travels, I have included links to the travel books’ Kindle and iPad file versions (.epub, .mobi, etc.) for you to download!

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road by Kate Harris

As a correspondent for Outside magazine, Kate Siber partnered with National Geographic to share the ultimate hiker’s bucket list that is a fit for beginners and experts alike!

And in case you don’t know, the Hindu Kush is not a simple walk in the park — it’s an 800km-long mountain range hike that stretches from Afghanistan into Tajikistan.
Shantaram tells the story of Lin, an escaped convict who took refuge in Bombay while running a clinic in one of the city’s poorest slums. You will follow along with his encounters of love, friendship, betrayal, and poverty among many others as he tries to search for redemption. I especially love the way he describes India, as it reminds me of my adventures there as well!

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

Ever wondered how you can take a long time off to travel the world?

This is a short yet fun novel (the first of the trilogy) that documents Peter Gethers’ life with his adorable Scottish Fold cat named Norton as they travel to Paris, Fire Island, and Manhattan — but dog-lovers shouldn’t shy away from this book because it’s MORE than just a story about a cat!
“The value of your travels does not hinge on how many stamps you have in your passport when you get home.

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Some of the most curious spots mentioned are New Zealand’s glowworm caves, Turkmenistan’s hole of fire called the Gates of Hall, and many others — perfect for filling up your travel bucket list!

Table of Contents
“The journey is part of the experience – an expression of the seriousness of one’s intent.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Although this could also be a part of the first section above (given that it is a book that retells the number of misfortunes that the author has encountered), I’ve decided to put it in this guide book section because there is definitely a LOT to learn from this book — by basically NOT doing what Lauren did, haha!

Check out these best travel movies of all time that you absolutely need to watch!
With the dizzying number of choices out there, I’m sure you’d want a shortlist of the best travel books of all time that you MUST read! So as a start, I hope that this personalized list could be of some help to you and I’ve decided to group them into two sections: novels and guide books.

The Art of Travel by Alain De Botton

Are you into movies instead?

Nevertheless, it’s a beautiful novel, albeit depressing and careless at times, and it will capture you with its mesmerizing moments of exploration.
There are a number of things that help feed our wanderlust, namely people’s fascinating stories, meaningful travel quotes, catchy songs, Instagrammable shots, exhilarating movies — and of course, the best travel books!

The Beach by Alex Garland

Across the North American continent, Jack and his friend Neal went on a quest for adventure and knowledge. Take note that the story was set a long time ago, and it centers on the American ‘bohemian’ lifestyle back in the 40s so there are glaring issues of sexism and racism at some points.

Also turned into a movie (but with a different plot altogether), this book is the story of the author who ended up buying an abandoned house in Italy’s Tuscany and began to restore it.
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The Cat Who Went To Paris (Norton the Cat) by Peter Gethers

“If I’d learnt one thing from travelling, it was that the way to get things done was to go ahead and do them.”
There are mixed reviews about this book, but if you give it a try, you might just fall in love with the restlessness and thirst for adventure that the author has.

The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner

This is one of the best travel books that will entertain you and inspire a sense of wonder for India!

This may be published way back in 1959, but the tale of Ernest Shackleton as he tried to reach the South Pole is one of the greatest adventure stories you’ll ever read!
You will follow along as she discovers local customs given that she acknowledges the fact of how she’s an ‘outsider’ — from people to food encounters, you’ll be swept away by the poetic style of Frances’ writing.

The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux

Nevertheless, this can still be an entertaining read as you follow someone’s clumsy though quite fruitful journey to self-discovery.

“..there is more to life than just pleasure. We want to achieve our happiness and not just experience it.”
I absolutely love how organized this book is given that all the hikes are arranged by continent with other important info such as essential gear, hiking fees, level of difficulty, the best time to go, and many others.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

“It’s a great adventure, your life, and it has only just begun…”

Read through this book and you’ll find out why! Mixd with scientific data and funny anecdotes, you’re sure to learn a lot from the world’s happiest places!
Basically, the story starts when Arthur Dent was saved moments before Earth was destroyed by Ford Prefect, a researcher for the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy which holds all the details about every planet in the universe. Together, you’ll follow them on their journey through space which I’m sure will fuel your wanderlust even further!

BONUS: Other Great TraveL Novels

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This is one of the best travel books that is mesmerizing on every page; the plot may be simple (a backpacker named Richard finds his way to Bangkok and then eventually whisked away to a secret off-limits island that is said to be a perfect utopia), but the way it is written will make you feel that you’ve gone on a spectacular adventure yourself. It turns dark at some point, but it will still capture your yearning and fuel your wanderlust!

It covers a lot of basic tips and budget tips that will surely help you travel cheaper, longer and smarter.

Best Travel Guide Books

100 Hikes of a Lifetime by Kate Siber

It covers a lot of basic tips and budget tips that will surely help you travel cheaper, longer and smarter.

In a Sunburned Country focuses on Bill’s experiences in good ol’ Australia, the ‘Land Down Under’, and you will love the self-deprecating humor that he uses (especially with the country’s famed wildlife that can easily kill you) — but of course, you will also love the knowledge he will impart and you might just go on a similar trip yourself!
“Fortitudine vincimus — by endurance we conquer.
The first of the 4 other books in this popular series and it might just be one of the most whimsical yet entertaining reads you’ll ever have, especially with the clever storytelling of the author!

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