9 Travel Books That Will Spark Your Wanderlust

Whether you prefer a weekend road trip or an extended tour of a foreign country, travel can be a fun way to learn more about the world around us. Not everyone can afford to travel as much as they'd like to, but with books like the nine listed below, you can see exotic places through the eyes of talented writers, and maybe get some inspiration for your next vacation. When you click links from this website, we may receive advertising revenue to support our research. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

9 Travel Books That Will Spark Your Wanderlust

Title Author(s) Place(s) Travelled More by the Author
1. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding Kristin Newman Israel, Finland, Argentina, and more N/A
2. The Lunatic Express Carl Hoffman Dangerous modes of transportation The Last Wild Men of Borneo Savage Harvest
3. The Naked Tourist Lawrence Osborne Southeast Asia Only to Sleep Beautiful Animals
4. The Sky Below Scott Parazynski & Susy Flory Outer Space Thunder Dog The Good, the Bad, and the Grace of God
5. The Yellow Envelope Kim Dinan Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and more Life On Fire So Many Stories
6. Rick Steves Scandinavia Rick Steves Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Estonia Rick Steves Italy Rick Steves Paris
7. Butter Chicken In Ludhiana Pankaj Mishra India Age of Anger From the Ruins of Empire
8. The Geography of Genius Eric Weiner Vienna, Florence, Athens, and more The Geography of Bliss Man Seeks God
9. Best Tent Camping: New York State Catharine Wells, Aaron Starmer, & Tim Starmer New York State The Riverman The Whisper

Things To Bring on Your Next Vacation

  • Travel size toiletries that won't take up too much space
  • Keep your dirty clothes separate from the clean ones with a laundry bag
  • A money belt for easy access to cash & cards
  • If you're traveling with kids, you might want to bring along some games
  • Depending on your preference, either a backpack or some nice luggage
  • Cozy pillows can improve any long flight or car trip
  • If you're going to a country where you don't know the language, a translator can be a big help
  • A travel mug for your coffee or tea

Rick Steves on the Value of Travel

In Depth

Whether you want to learn about other cultures, see historic sights, discover unfamiliar territory, or simply cross an item off your bucket list, traveling can give you a sense of wonder and adventure, and a fresh outlook on life. In no particular order, we've compiled nine travel books that will spark your wanderlust.

First at #1, is "What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding" by Kristin Newman, who's written for hit shows such as "How I Met Your Mother" and "That 70's Show." She talks about life in her twenties and thirties, which was spent mostly traveling abroad, as opposed to getting married and having kids, like most of her peers. From celebrating New Year's in Paris, partying in Amsterdam, and even flirting with Israeli bartenders and Finnish poker players, her story will interest women who have the same thirst for life, and are not afraid to go against the grain and forge their own path.

Next at #2, is "The Lunatic Express" by Carl Hoffman. Determined to experience the world through the eyes of the poor, the journalist takes readers along on his six-month quest for the most unsafe conveyances around the globe, breaking the notion that travel is purely a pleasurable pursuit reserved for those who can afford it. He ventures with some of the poorest citizens of third world nations in Asia, Africa, and South America, from riding one of the worst airlines in Cuba, to overcrowded ferries in Bangladesh that kill thousands each year. Hoffman shakes readers' sense of security, showing what travel means to the underprivileged.

Hoffman shakes readers' sense of security, showing what travel means to the underprivileged.

At #3, is "The Naked Tourist" by Lawrence Osborne. With his deep aversion to anything that remotely resembles tourism, the travel writer rids himself of the tourist experience in a six-month journey across Southeast Asia, and to the uncharted rain-forest of Papua New Guinea. He then lives among the Kombai tribe, and immerses himself in their culture, where outsiders are met with extreme hostility. This book challenges readers to seek real adventure beyond resorts and spas, and explore what it truly means to be stripped bare of one's comforts.

In at #4, is "The Sky Below" by Scott Parazynski. Not only has the author reached the highest peak of Mount Everest, he's also been involved in five NASA missions and seven space walks. The astronaut, physician, and explorer shares his compelling expeditions, including the perils and successes of his adventures. This book shows readers a man's determination to explore, which tested his resilience, endurance, devotion to his passion, and humility.

At #5, is "The Yellow Envelope" by Kim Dinan. With a failing marriage and a job she dislikes, Kim decides to travel around the world with her husband for two years to start anew. Her boss gives her a yellow envelope with $1,000 cash as a farewell gift, on the condition that they should give it away during their trip. As they travel through Bali, Ecuador, India, and Nepal, the couple is met with marital challenges at every step, along with the question of who to give the money to.

As they travel through Bali, Ecuador, India, and Nepal, the couple is met with marital challenges at every step, along with the question of who to give the money to.

Coming in at #6, is "Rick Steves' Scandinavia." This guidebook paints a picture of Europe's dreamy lands, from Denmark and Norway, to Sweden, Finland, and Estonia. With a humorous tone, Steves indulges readers with scenic views across the archipelago, including capital cities of Oslo, Copenhagen, and Stockholm. The book lays out recommended dining spots and bang-for-your-buck hotels. It also vividly describes the experience in each destination, and provides itinerary suggestions that suit the travelers' preference based on length of trip.

Next at #7, is "Butter Chicken in Ludhiana," by Pankaj Mishra. In this book, Mishra wanders off and takes readers to small towns across India, including Kottayam, Bangalore, Bihar, and Calcutta, with no itinerary, nor maps, just an eye for the culture, the people, and what transformation their society is experiencing. Unlike western travel writers, Mishra brings with him a local perspective of his home country, in between tradition and modernization, as well as a deeper look at the aspirational Indian middle class.

At #8, is "The Geography of Genius" by Eric Weiner. In this book, the author examines places like Athens, Vienna, and Silicon Valley, where he sets out to prove his theory that geography plays a huge role in cultivating ingenuity and innovation. He believes that although we are often inspired by nature, an urbanized environment is conducive to creativity. With a combination of scientific research and humorous personal insights, as well as non-scientific case studies, he supports his theory by identifying what constitutes a creative environment, and what gives way for intellectual development to flourish.

He believes that although we are often inspired by nature, an urbanized environment is conducive to creativity.

And last but not least at #9, is "Best Tent Camping: New York State" by Catharine Starmer. Whether you live in the Empire State or are planning to visit, exploring the vast wilderness of New York offers a great escape from city life. Starmer lists out her top camp-out recommendations in all of the state's regions, such as Long Island, Hudson Valley, the Adirondacks, Leatherstocking, St. Lawrence River, the Finger Lakes, and Western NY. This guide provides campers with a quick reference on where and when to go, complete with a historical background of each place and what type of wildlife to expect.