The Best-Ever Travel Books That Belong on Your Literary Bucket List

Updated 06/28/18
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It's not always possible to plan the bucket list adventures of your dreams, but if you listen to the wisdom of Marcel Proust, you'll realize that travel doesn't have to involve jetting to a faraway land. The French novelist once wrote, "The real voyage of discovery consists, not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes." After all, a shift in perspective is all it takes to appreciate the world from an entirely new vantage point. 

If you're in the depths of regret for not booking a summer getaway, we've found 13 ways to take your mind on a mini vacation from the comfort of your couch. Pick one of these travel tomes to learn to see the world with new eyes, and let your mind be transported to Iceland, the Australian outback, Mumbai, and other pockets of the globe. Yes, your next trip is just a page turn away. 

Best travel books
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Eric Weiner The Geography of Bliss $11
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Destination: Iceland, Switzerland, India, and more

In his curious combination of travel, psychology, and self-help, author Eric Weiner uncovers insights from different cultures in the pursuit of happiness.

Emma Straub The Vacationers $10
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Destination: Mallorca, Spain

If you've ever been on a grown-up family vacation, you'll likely relate to some of the themes in this fictional book, which follows an American family on a two-week getaway to Mallorca.

Cheryl Strayed Wild $9
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Destination: The Pacific Crest Trail in California, Oregon, and Washington

Fans of Reese Witherspoon's big-screen portrayal of this true story will love the original novel, in which acclaimed author and Dear Sugar host Cheryl Strayed recounts the 1100-mile solo hike that changed her life. 

Gregory David Roberts Shantaram $11
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Destination: India

Gregory David Roberts's novel is a vivid, tumultuous tale about an escaped Australian prisoner who travels to Bombay (now known as Mumbai) and finds a new life and unexpected friendships in the slums.

Jennifer Baggett, Holly C. Corbett, and Amanda Pressner The Lost Girls $11
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Destination: Kenya, India, New Zealand, and more

In this true story, three friends in their late 20s question their path toward marriage and mortgages and decide to leave their lives in New York and backpack around the world.

Rachel Friedman The Good Girl's Guide to Getting Lost $12
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Destination: Australia, South America, and more

Consummate "good girl" Rachel Friedman ventures to Ireland, where she strikes an unlikely friendship and embarks on an adventure around the world. 

Bill Bryson The Best American Travel Writing 2016 $12
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Destination: Multiple locations around the world

A collection of intriguing and inspiring travel stories curated by best-selling author Bill Bryson, this is the perfect choice if you can't decide on a book.

Alex Garland The Beach $34
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Destination: Thailand

This adventure-packed novel is for the backpacker at heart; it's about a small community of travelers who discover a secret secluded beach on a remote island in Thailand.

Robyn Davidson Tracks $23
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Destination: The Australian outback

Loved Wild? Robyn Davidson's real-life recount of her epic solo camel trek through the Australian desert should be next on your reading list. 

Paulo Coelho The Alchemist $10
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Destination: Spain and Egypt

The Alchemist is more than just a story about the physical act of traveling. One of the best-selling books in the world, it follows the story of a Spanish shepherd who has a prophecy about finding treasure in Egypt and the journey of self-discovery that takes place as he tries to fulfill his dream. 

Jack Kerouac On the Road $11
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Destination: USA

Kerouac's gem is a great American classic about the adventures of a free-spirited traveler and his friends as they road-trip across the country in the 1950s.

Jon Krakauer Into the Wild $11
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Destination: USA

Unlike many other book-to-film adaptations, this iconic travel story differs greatly from its big-screen portrayal. The non-fiction book is a first-person essay about author Job Krakauer's journey through the wilderness to escape the modern trappings of everyday life and explore the natural beauty of Alaska.

Bill Bryson In a Sunburned Country $12
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Destination: Australia 

If you've dreamed of visiting the pristine beaches, dense bushland, and dusty deserts of Australia but can't brave the long-haul flight, this book is for you. Famed novelist Bill Bryson explores the vast country in a vivid first-person account. 

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