Travel books are not only entertaining and insightful but they open up a world of experience for us. Also, they make really good movies.
We have teamed up with some of our travel expert buddies to bring you 33 of the best travel books that you must read in 2022.
Even if you are not planning to travel soon, by reading these books you are bound to get the travel bug. And that is precisely what we want! Enjoy reading and get out there, you only live once!
Jupiters Travels, Ted Simon
Dave of Silverbackpacker
This is the story of Ted Simon, the guy who hopped on his old Triumph motorcycle called Jupiter and rode around the world, taking four years to do it. Not only that, but he did so in the ’70s, when things like that were unheard of, taking him through 45 countries on a 78,000-mile journey of a lifetime. He lived with peasants and presidents, spent time in prison, and slept in palaces along the way. He was already an accomplished writer, so he had no trouble documenting this colossal journey along the way. Riding through wars and revolutions, Ted Simon’s travel book has inspired many to travel over the years.
Favorite quote: “I am learning, as I make my way through my first continent, that it is remarkably easy to do things, and much more frightening to contemplate them“
Around the World in 80 Trains, Monisha Rajesh
Sarah of Life Part2 & Beyond
I am a complete train nerd and loved this book Around The World In 80 Trains. This awesome travel book describes the writer’s seven-month adventure covering 45,000 miles. Her journey takes her first across Europe to Moscow, where she ends up in some amusing but nightmarish situations. From there, she embarks on the Trans-Mongolian Express – a dream of mine to do. I loved this section of the book. Her journey then takes her through Asia, before flying to Canada and recommending her train journey through the States. A truly fascinating and fun read.
Favorite quote: “Trains are rolling libraries of information, and all it takes is to reach out to passengers to bind together their tales.”
A Fly Girl, Amanda Epe
Kay of The Awkward Traveller
If you’re a fan of traveling, then you’ve experienced the flight life, at least in some capacity. But have you ever been interested in the behind-the-scenes of what it’s like practically living in the air? “A Fly Girl” offers first-hand insight into what it was like being a flight attendant in the 90s, as well as touching on some of the social structures and political history of the places Epe visited. It is a story of exploration, but also personal growth and the journey to becoming a global citizen. And of course, all the juicy gossip that comes with the job.
Favorite quote: “Chicken or beef?”
Into the Wild, Jon Krakauer
Martina of PlacesofJuma
Into the Wild is definitely a fantastic travel book. It is written by Jon Krakauer, who reconstructs the life of Chris McCandless, a man who tragically died in 1992. While reading, you will dive into the beautiful and at the same time so sad life of a traveler. It’s all about the searching for freedom that leads a young man to leave modern society behind. It depicts him traveling through the USA, meeting new interesting friends, and visiting amazing places. At the very end, he went to Alaska to find peace in the deepest nature. He hiked through Denali National Park, where he found an abandoned bus which was actually his final base camp. Hey stayed 112 days in Alaska’s wilderness when he met his lonely death.
Favorite quote: “Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past”
The Roads To Sata, Alan Booth
Jonny of Backpackingman
The Roads To Sata is one of the best travel books you can read to try and understand Japanese culture. It follows the author as he walks across Japan for roughly four months from the northern part of Hokkaido to Cape Sata in Kyushu, in the far south. Along the way, he meets different characters and describes the stunning scenery of Japan intermixed with the disdain of modern industrial development, as well as many of the cultural differences in the country. If you have any interest in traveling through Japan then this is a must-read.
Favorite quote: “You can’t understand Japan.”
Like Water for Chocolate, Laura Esquivel
Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo
For some Mexican travel inspiration, look no further than Like Water for Chocolate by the Mexican author, Laura Esquivel. Each chapter of this “magical realism” novel starts out with a traditional Mexican food recipe. These will inspire you to cook, or even travel to places like Oaxaca or Puebla, Mexico — some of the country’s top foodie destinations. Like Water for Chocolate is set in a pueblo (small village) near the Mexico-U.S. border. It follows the life of Josefita AKA Tita, in a novel mixing ancient traditions with a present-day young woman’s coming of age. Due to an ancient family tradition forbidding the youngest daughter from marrying, Tita, the youngest, can’t wed her love, Pedro. In a cruel twist of fate, Pedro marries Rosaura, Tita’s sister. To lessen her pain, Tita taps into another ancient family tradition: cooking. She uses food as a creative outlet but also hopes her delicious cooking will woo Pedro back.
Favorite quote: “Anything could be true or false, depending on whether one believed it“.
Radio Shangri-La, Lisa Napoli
Athul of Our Backpack Tales
Radio Shangri-la is about the author’s travels to Bhutan to help set up one of the first youth-oriented radio stations in Bhutan, Kuzoo FM. Bhutan is home to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery and some other very beautiful Buddhist temples in the world. The book shows the author’s personal growth and change in life and it connects so well with the changes being made to life in Bhutan. At the time the book was written, Bhutan had very recently opened its doors to tourists. Modernization is still on its way, but that’s the best thing about Bhutan – its people protect their culture and environment so fiercely, it’s just beautiful! This travel book shares a lot about this mysterious country hidden in the mountains and is a great read for anyone planning to visit Bhutan in the future.
Step by Step, Simon Reeve
Ben of Ticket 4 Two Please
Step by Step is one of those 2022 travel books where as soon as you pick it up, you don’t want to put it down until you’ve consumed every word. For those not familiar with Simon Reeve, he is an esteemed UK broadcaster and journalist that is perhaps best known for his countless BBC travel programs and documentaries. Step by Step is an intimate recount of Reeve’s career and life, beginning with his turbulent upbringing in inner-city London and ending with his excursions around the Indian Ocean. From dodging deadly diseases in Africa to interviewing senior Taliban members in the Middle East, Step by Step is a human journey that you will love reading about.
Favorite quote: “Anything could be true or false, depending on whether one believed it”.
Round Ireland with a Fridge, Tony Hawks
Alison of ExplorationSolo
Round Ireland with a Fridge chronicles the true story of British comedian Tony Hawks as he hitchhikes around Ireland with a fridge. What starts as a drunken bet becomes an inspiring tale of what happens when you follow your heart and do something crazy rather than live with the “what ifs”. From the beginning, the author grabs your attention with his mix of humor and brutal honesty. He simultaneously highlights the quirky side of Ireland and the people that live there while openly baring his thoughts and emotions. It’s a well-written story that’s funny, touching, and relatable.
Favorite quote: “I liked the idea of doing all you could to reduce the chances of you, as an old person, saying “if only”.
Swahili For the Broken Hearted, Peter Moore
Angie of Where Angie Wanders
Peter Moore is a seasoned traveler who always seems to be at the center of some crazy situations. In this book, he takes us on a whirlwind tour following a relationship break-up starting in Cairo and ending in Cape Town. He sets off to find himself but on his journey encounters a wild hyena with bad breath, escapes a riot by hiding in a coffin shop, finds himself crossing the treacherous Sani Pass, the highest in Africa, and somehow acting as an extra in a film. A light-hearted and humorous look at the life of a traveler!
Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams
Ada of Beyond the Yellow Brick Road
Part travel memoir, part history book, Turn Right at Machu Picchu is the perfect travel read for anyone traveling to Peru or wanting to learn more about Incan culture. In it, author Mark Adams follows in the footsteps of Machu Picchu’s “discoverer” Hiram Bingham through dense Peruvian jungle and little-used backroads. Along the way, he searches for answers to questions like what was Machu Picchu? and why do we still care about it? With just the right mix of humor and self-discovery, Adams reckons with the colonialist rhetoric surrounding beloved destinations like Machu Picchu while taking readers on a memorable journey.
Long Way Round, Ewan McGregor & Charley Boorman
Niels of Tromso Dog Sledding Tours
Picture this. You, your best mate, 19,000 miles, two motorcycles, and a map with a redline starting in London (UK) and ending in New York (USA). Everything that happens in between is what the Long Way Round is all about! From churches filled with skulls to parties in Ukraine with mafia-like intentions to experience the beautiful landscapes of Mongolia and the rough wilderness of Eastern Russia. This book has it all. Two mates with two bikes that go cross-country to push their machines and themselves to the limit. The result is a fantastic book that is a true inspiration for any adventure long-distance biker out there!
Favorite quote: “What have we let ourselves in for? I mean this is, really is the back and beyond of absolutely nowhere. I mean It’s just extraordinary.”
Holy Cow! An Indian adventure, Sarah MacDonald
Nilima of The Traveling CA
Such an interesting name- that itself literally invites you to pick it up! Sarah Macdonald- a professional working in Australia as a journalist & radio presenter- left her career & joined her boyfriend working in New Delhi, India. Here, she brings out the extreme contrast between the ways of living- among countries & as a housewife against her working female lifestyle in India. It’s a journey of her trying to find herself narrated comically. We learn more about the diversity of this large country as seen by a foreigner from a different culture as she travels across India. India has a rich tradition of festivals. The extravagant temple celebrations of Kerala, servitude in the Golden Temple awed her with its beauty. The book narrates her spiritual adventure across India. She was going through a turbulent time personally & these spiritual experiences finally helped her gain inner peace.
The Lost Girls, Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, & Amanda Pressner
Nina of Nina Out and About
The Lost Girls is one of the best travel books for female travelers. It tells the story of three friends who left their unfulfilling dream jobs behind to take an adult gap year. Over the course of the year, the three explore all corners of the globe. But things don’t always go smoothly. With each chapter is written by a different one of the friends, you’ll experience their different perspectives, the rocky misunderstandings, and the times when things went horribly wrong. They’re brutally honest, sharing travel horror stories you sometimes wish they’d hide. This book makes female travel feel accessible. It turns the Insta-perfect idea on its head and allows you to make mistakes or even want to give up. But ultimately, it inspires you to live your travel dreams.
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Laura of What’s Hot?
The Little Prince is one of the earliest travel stories we are introduced to as children. A young prince travels from planet to planet, learning about something new at each one – loneliness, friendship, love, and loss. Although it appears to be a children’s book, it’s really adults who benefit most from this tale as it shows us the value of looking at things with fresh eyes, without prejudice. It reveals the ridiculousness of certain societal norms forcing us to reconsider what is “normal”. It shows us what we can learn from new cultures that at first seem strange before we realize the beauty in them, a valuable lesson for our real-world travels.
Favorite quote: “The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or touched, they are felt with the heart.”
A Walk in the Woods, Bill Bryson
Missy of Travels with Missy
A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson is the story of a middle-aged man who upon learning that the Appalachian trail runs through his back garden decides that there’s no time like the present and sets off to walk the entire 3,500 km. With minimal training and joined occasionally by his friend Katz, Bryson charms readers with his knowledge of the trail, encounters with wild animals, and a lot of hilarity. A Walk in the Woods will leave a lasting impression on you, long after you’ve closed the final pages. You may even find yourself Googling access routes to the Appalachian trail!
Favorite quote: “There is no point in hurrying because you are not actually going anywhere. However far or long you plod, you are always in the same place: in the woods.”
Graham of My Voyage Scotland
Walk in the footsteps of Braveheart and Robert the Bruce with The Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands and Islands. Packed with information on historic sites, breath-taking landscapes, and lively pubs and restaurants, this authoritative travel guide will have you experience all that Scotland has to offer. This Scottish book has in-depth coverage of all the best attractions, helping you make the most of your trip – whether you’re hiking through the glens, touring historic castles, or exploring vibrant cities like Glasgow and Edinburgh. So get ready for an adventure – with The Rough Guide to Scottish Highlands and Islands by your side, you won’t miss a thing!
Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer
Elizabeth of Three Week Traveller
Into Thin Air really inspired me to visit Mount Everest. The book takes you on a real-life story of the 1996 disaster of Mount Everest climb. It is known that Everest Mountain is a dangerous destination and super expensive, yet many people are still drawn to visit – willing to take the risk and spend thousands. 8 people died including tour guests and experienced climbers. There is also a movie inspired by this book titled “Into Thin Air: Death on Everest”. While I didn’t go to the top, I hiked to the Base Camp which took 15 days, there I saw pro climbers preparing for the adventure.
Favorite quote: “But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care.“
The Big Five For Life, John Strelecky
Phil of Journication
The book is about how a dissatisfied employee meets the charismatic Thomas, who leads his entrepreneur according to special principles. At the core are the guiding questions “What is your purpose?” And what are your “Big Five” in life, that is, what are you determined to achieve in your time? What are you on fire for? The Big Five inspired me to create the BIG5 in my travel blog: Every city has them, the places, activities, and culinary BIG5 you shouldn’t miss. The book is especially effective when traveling because you can think about the big questions in life – and the Big Five – detached from the hectic everyday life and its fixed frameworks and routines. I especially enjoyed the book while exploring the Montenegro highlights and the surrounding Balkan countries. The book is very easy to read and the guiding questions are tied into a wonderful story. So great even after a stressful day of sightseeing.
Eat, Pray, Love, Elizabeth Gilbert
Laura of What’s Hot?
Eat, Pray, Love tells the story of journalist Elizabeth Gilbert as she goes on a journey of self-discovery and travel after her divorce. What may seem like fiction is actually a very real tale and Elizabeth travels to Italy, India, and Indonesia in an attempt to find herself. In Italy, she learns to eat and enjoy life to the full. In India, she discovers spirituality and learns to pray. And in Indonesia, she discovers love. This self-discovery book demonstrates the power of travel and how restorative it can be at any stage of life. It will inspire you to hop on a plane and just go!
The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels
The Alchemist is a novel by Paulo Coelho and tells the story of a young Andalusian shepherd boy, Santiago, who goes on a journey to the pyramids of Egypt on a quest for treasure and to realize his ‘personal legend’. A personal legend is “what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is”. Along the way, he runs into many obstacles and hurdles, turning his journey into an adventure. The Alchemist is a novel which should be read by everyone! It teaches us to pursue our dreams by following what our heart desires.
Excess Baggage, Tracey Carisch
Casandra of Karpiak Caravan
You’ll never look at your luggage the same way again after reading this quirky travel book. In this candid and insightful account, Tracey Carisch shares her family’s extraordinary 18-month adventure around the planet. They navigate trials as they encounter unique people who teach them about themselves while abroad–and when something goes wrong (it always does), there are plenty of laughs to be found. This is a story that will make you laugh out loud and it will also help bring lessons learned on international travel straight into everyday life. This book offers insight into how we can better appreciate our own lives back home – without ever having to leave home for an international expedition yourself.
Shogun, James Clavell
Cristina of Honest Travel Stories
Shogun is not only a travel book but also a personal development one, as the main character goes a long way from the first page to the last word. If you’re preparing for your trip to Japan, you must use this book as inspiration. It will get you there faster than the flight. And if you want even more reasons to read it, just know that even in the 1600s, Japan was way ahead of the rest of the world: the cleanliness, the code of honor, and the respect for each other were the key factors that made Japan what it is today. And you get to read about it before you get to experience it.
Favorite quote: “A man’s fate is a man’s fate and life is but an illusion.”
The Solo Travel Handbook, Lonely Planet
Dan of Layer Culture
When looking for the best travel books in 2022 don’t miss out on a chance to read the Solo Travel Handbook by Lonely Planet. If you find yourself lacking in confidence or have always feared traveling by yourself, this book will give you endless reasons on why you should travel alone and fulfill all your dreams today. Some of the featured topics give you solid advice on planning your itinerary, finding cheap flights, organizing money, how to meet fellow travelers, and staying safe while being solo. After traveling South America alone I have used many of these tips and found it very rewarding to explore one of the most fastening continents in the world all by myself.
Crazy Rich Asians, Kevin Kwan
Disha of Disha Discovers
Crazy Rich Asians travel book tells the story of a young woman who goes to Asia to meet her boyfriend’s family. She expects it to be like any other visit. However, she discovers that her boyfriend is actually the heir to one of the most prosperous families in Asia. The author takes readers on a wild journey through the opulent lives of Singapore’s wealthiest families. You’ll feel like you’re right there with the main characters as they explore Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, and beyond. If you’re looking to escape into a world of unimaginable luxury and exotic destinations, then this inspirational travel book is for you.
Favorite quote: “He would never give up trying. He would take an impossible situation and make everything possible.”
Taste: My Life Through Food, Stanley Tucci
Shireen of The Happy Days Travels
Italian-American Actor, Writer, Producer, and family man Stanley Tucci recently released a book, Taste: My Life Through Food which is a part-memoir and part-recipe book. It’s a great book to feed your wanderlust as well as feed your watering mouths with his descriptions of foods and Italian recipes! Taste: My Life Through Food takes us on a journey through Tucci’s life from his childhood in New York and Italy to his career as an actor in France, Iceland, and Italy and a glimpse into his life with his family in the USA, UK, and various holiday destinations around the world. Read this full review of Taste to travel to the places. The way Tucci discusses food and recipes, especially Italian food, not only transports the reader to an Italian family table for dinner but makes the reader want to book a flight straight to Italy to sample the dishes Tucci so lovingly describes.
Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Guevara
Babs of Mums on FlipFlops
The Motorcycle Diaries does not only describe the heartwarming journey of two young friends but also gives an insight into the reasons why Che Guevara became the man and communist leader we all know. Ernesto and his friend Alberto set off to explore South America they’ve read so much about and they do it on the back of a motorcycle called ‘la Poderosa’ (the Powerful). For many young backpackers, their trip is very recognizable, as they too discover South America from Argentina to Colombia or vice versa (on the so-called Gringo Trail). But more than ‘just’ a travel diary, this book helps you understand the social and economic backgrounds of the countries you’ll be traveling to.
Favorite quote: “the sea has always been a confidant, a friend absorbing all it is told and never revealing those secrets; always giving the best advice — its meaningful noises can be interpreted any way you choose.”
My Brilliant Friend, Elena Ferrante
Caroline of Veggie Wayfarer
The series (4 books in total) is a veritable coming-of-age story where we follow two lifelong friends Elena and Lila as they grow up in one of the poorest neighborhoods in Napoli. My brilliant friend is the first of the series set in the 1950s. It helps readers get a better understanding of the grit, dirt, and shady practices that built the Napoli of today. An essential read to gain a deeper understanding of this region.
The Beach, Alex Garland
Jeff of Life of Y
The Beach is one of those essential travel books that all backpackers simply have to read at least once in their lives. The story revolves around a young backpacker, Richard, and his search for a legendary untouched beach in Thailand. I took a battered, second-hand copy of The Beach with me on my first ever backpacking trip (to Thailand of course) where I read about Richard and his crazy adventures whilst having my own epic journey! Any traveler who is interested in visiting Southeast Asia or wants a taste of the backpacker lifestyle will surely love this book.
The Little Bookshop on the Seine, Rebecca Raisin
Amber of She’s Catching Flights
The Little Bookshop on the Seine is a cute story that follows Sarah Smith and her move to Paris, France from the USA. Sarah owns a bookstore in a small town, and she does a swap with her friend Sophie who owns a busy bookstore in Paris. They decide to take over each other’s shops to change up their lives for a few months around Christmas. During the book, you get to follow Sarah outside of the bookshop as she gets to know the area of Paris that she now lives in. The writer makes it feel like you’re right there in Paris with Sarah and the friends she makes along the way.
Beyond Possible, Nimsdai Purja
Joydeep of The Gypsy Chiring
Heard of Nimsdai Purja? Nimsdai was born in Nepal. He served in the Gurkha Forces and UK Special Forces and eventually left the job to pursue his dream of climbing all the mountains above 8000m in just 7 months. The previous record was eight years. In his autobiographical book Beyond Possible: One Soldier, Fourteen Peaks- My life in the Death Zone, he not only shares his inspiring journey from childhood but also the struggle, determination, and the power of self-belief that made this dream project possible. What I loved the most about the book is the fact that it depicted the story of a group of Nepalese Mountaineers achieving the impossible. The book will take you to the mesmerizing landscapes of Nepal and the thrilling, daunting, and awe-inspiring work of the Sherpas in the mountains. His book has inspired me to pursue my dream of mountaineering and for which I go on more treks in India now.
Favorite quote: “Giving up is not in the blood, Sir. It is not in the blood.”
The Backpacker, John Harris
Victoria of Guide your Travel
The Backpacker by John Harris is the perfect adventure read for those wanting to explore South East Asia. The book is all about self-discovery and looking for more than life and might just make you want to travel more. It’s based on a true story although that’s sometimes a little bit hard to believe since the book takes so many wild twists and turns. John and his girlfriend are traveling through India when they meet a mysterious traveler who tells them to go to Thailand with him. John decides to leave his old life behind and take a chance on this stranger.
The Geography Of Bliss, Eric Weiner
The geography of bliss is one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. It follows the adventures of a journalist who makes it his mission to visit the “happiest” and “least happy” countries in the world according to the World Happiness Index. It investigates what makes a place happy and what doesn’t which opens the reader up to question their own society and happiness levels. As someone who lives in Port Fairy, Australia, I was disappointed to find that my country wasn’t visited as part of his journey but there are a lot of often visited places like Thailand, Iceland, the USA, the Netherlands, and more.
Over to you!
Travel is something really special. It inspires us, educates us, and changes us. In this uncertain time, while we might not be able to travel as much as we want to, we should strive to keep that travel bug burning in us. One way to do this is by reading travel books.
Do you love reading about travel, let us know what your favorite travel readers are in the comments below.