Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl

Travel books have inspired many to take the plunge and go in search of that ultimate adventure. Reading about other people’s journeys conjure up those feelings of excitement and nervousness as you begin to form new ideas. Then before you know it, you’re exactly where you never expected to be! These books also enable you to relive your own experiences, as well as to live vicariously through the eyes of a fellow adventurer.

Whether you’re looking for a read to accompany you on your trip or something to give you that inspiration to step into the unknown, then find our top picks of travel books below. We’ve created a diverse list of free and paid digital books to help you realize the endless possibilities of travel. From modern-day backpacking adventures to classic 19th-century travel tales, these books are sure to satisfy that wanderlust within you.


Innocents Abroad – Mark Twain

Innocents Abroad - Mark TwainInnocents Abroad is one of Twain’s most famous books that has influenced many adventurers after him. Published in 1867, he referred to this trip as the “Great Pleasure Excursion”. Twain, then aged 32, recounts the journey he took with a group of his American friends from New York to Europe and the Holy Land. This is a read with history, comedy and crass observations. It gives the reader an insight into what it was like to be a young American travelling abroad in the 19th century.

Travel as Transformation: Conquer the Limits of Culture to Discover Your Own Identity – Gregory Diehl

What happens when you put yourself out in the world and discover who you are away from the influences of your usual surroundings? In this book, the author describes his own experiences from being out of his comfort zone. He tells of his transformation on his journey through the world.

“Recall what you cared about before anyone told you what to care about”

The unconventional life that this young American follows is an inspiration for anyone that is feeling trapped by their self-limiting life.

A Girls’ Guide to Travelling Alone – Gemma Thompson

As more and more girls travel alone, this collection of tales from solo women travelers is the perfect guide to set you on the right path to exploring the world. These fun and varied stories from women of all backgrounds will make you laugh, cry, and provide some surprises. They share experiences that will give you a taste of what to expect when traveling, and inspire you to walk the world with confidence.

For more advice, guides, and interviews see Gemma’s popular free online resource A Girls’ Guide Travelling Alone.

Across Asia on a Bicycle – Thomas Gaskell Allen, William Lewis Satchtleben

In 1890, 2 young Americans set out on a journey across Asia on the then-new invention, the modern bicycle. They covered 15,000 miles through various countries. They give a fascinating account of the conditions, people, and setbacks they faced. Even by today’s standards, these 2 brave innocent travelers were ahead of their time. The book contains some interesting  19th-century history about Turkey and China.

Travel the World on $50 a Day – Matt Kepnes

Forget hotels, resorts, and deals! Matt Kepnes has been teaching his followers how to travel on a shoestring through his popular blog for a long time.

By traveling like a local and putting a bit more thought about how to move around, anyone can experience the trip of a lifetime on a budget. So if you believe Kepnes, stop saving and just get up and go!

How not to Travel the World: Adventures of a Disaster-Prone Backpacker – Lauren Juliff

When life can’t get any worse then why not quit your job and go and travel the world. That’s exactly what Lauren Juliff did. However, as the title suggests, a lot of things didn’t go to plan on her journey of discovery. This book is about following your dreams no matter what life throws at you. It’s an inspiring read by an innocent young woman that had to endure a huge learning curve as a backpacker. It’s also very funny!

Essays of Travel – Robert Louis Stevenson

This collection of essays by the famous British poet, novelist, and travel writer very accurately describe people and their surroundings.  They give great testament to Stevenson’s observation skills and humorous writing style. A real treat for the reader.

Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

No travel book list would be complete without something by Bill Bryson. Bill decided to take one last trip around Britain before leaving his North Yorkshire home, where he’d lived for 20 years, and heading back to the States. His humorous social commentary is a pleasure to read as he takes in people from North Scotland right down to the South of Britain. He does enjoy a few beers along the way as well. Cheers Bill!

On The Road – Jack Kerouac

This controversial Beat Generation novel was published in 1957 and caused a stir in the literary world. It is based on trips across the States by Kerouac and his friend Neal Cassady. Set between 1947 and 1950, the book depicts 5 different trips taken by the carefree Sal Paradise and Dean Moriarty. This is a read that definitely feels more like fact than fiction, and would’ve been the perfect companion for a post-WWII American youth looking for escapism. On the Road and other Beat Generation books shaped and influenced American youth culture for decades.

In Morocco – Edith Wharton

During the French colonial period, Edith Wharton traveled to Morocco. Wharton has an extremely descriptive writing style that gives an accurate portrayal of Morocco during the early days of WWI. Even though this book was written over 100 years ago, a lot of Wharton’s observations and descriptions of the country still hold true today.

A Long Way Home – Saroo Brierley

This is not your typical travel book, but a story of an amazing man’s journey back to his birthplace. At the age of 5, Saroo became lost on a train and ended up on the streets of Kolkata where he was taken to an orphanage. Not knowing the name of his family or where he lived, he was eventually adopted an Australian family. Years later, and with the help of Google Earth, he found his long-lost hometown in India. This emotional read was turned into an Oscar-winning movie, Lion, in 2016.

Into the Wild – Jon Krakauer

In 1992, after giving all his savings to charity and leaving most of his possessions, Christopher Johnson McCandless hitchhiked to Alaska and walked into the wild on his own. 4 months later his body was found by a hunter. Jon Krakauer created this international bestseller by retracing the steps of McCandless. The young adventurer survived for over 100 days in the wild and kept a journal of his adventure up until his demise. Sean Penn directed the film adaptation in 2017.

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