Books to Read Before Travelling
Books to Read Before Travelling


What makes a good travel book? Is it the number of awards it is conferred with? What is more important is the number of miles it is able to make your mind travel – the great distances your mind is able to visit and explore. A great travel book is one that will inspire you to go on a journey to experience firsthand all the amazing stories it tells you. Here are some of the best travel books ever written:

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Best Travel Books Ever Written – Among the Russians – Colin Thubron

For a slice of the last few turbulent years of USSR, “Among the Russians” is a good book to pick up. It paints the Russia of the past in a poetic canvas with a profound admiration of its iconography, architecture, culture and people. This insightful book can easily captivate any traveler in the various shapes and textures of the enigmatic Russian culture.


Best Travel Books Ever Written – Arabian Sands – Wilfred Thesiger

Definitely not your typical Arabian Nights story, “Arabian Sands” is a record of a bizarre journey through the arid landscape of the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula. In this travel book, the author recounts his experiences as he traveled among remote tribes who consider it their onus to put down Christian “infidels” – experiences laden with hardships and unlikely friendships.

Best Travel Books Ever Written – Lands of Lost Borders: Out of Bounds on the Silk Road – Kate Harris

“Lands of Lost Borders” is both a meditative and animated travel narrative that entwines deep reflection and rousing adventure with chronicles of exploration and science. It offers readers an excursion into a world that cannot be mapped exhaustively.

Marching Powder – Rusty Young

Here’s a book that will give you a glimpse of the life in a prison in Bolivia. While many of us might wonder if there is any truth behind entire families living with inmates in lavish apartments inside a prison, this is just one of the real world “absurdities” that one can find in “Marching Powder”. The book is a great reminder that backpacking the world can open our senses to a barrage of incongruities that can change our outlook of travel.

The Alchemist – Paulo Coelho

“The Alchemist” is a modern classic that continues to shape the lives of its readers. This modern masterpiece centers on an Andalusian shepherd who dreams of going to places to search for extravagant treasures. However, the shepherd uncovers a different collection of treasures along his way. Definitely something that you can reflect on – whether you are about to go on in a journey, while you are in a journey or after you have come home from a journey.

The Art of Travel – Alain de Botton

A lot of people can name places for us to visit, but only a select few can tell us why we should be there and how we can get there. Alain de Botton’s “The Art of Travel” takes us deeper into pleasures behind the anticipation of travel, the charm of the unusual and the meaning behind taking note of the minute details of a journey. “The Art of Travel” is a clever and downright original read that can transform your perspective of traveling.

The Beach – Alex Garland

English author Alex Garland takes us into a search for a fabled, serene beach that is virtually isolated and untouched by tourism. This backpacker story is set in Thailand and centers on the time spent by a backpacker in some remote beach, along with other backpackers from different parts of the globe.

The Rings of Saturn – W. G. Sebald

This 1995 novel is a first-person narrative that accounts a Suffolk walking tour. The book not only gives descriptions of all the sights and people encountered during the walking tour, but also touches on several tidbits from history and literature that are somehow intertwined with the main topic of the book. In 1998, an English version of the book was published, and in 2012, a movie (“Patience”) based on “The Rings of Saturn” was released.

The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway

“The Sun Also Rises” is a modernist novel that features Parisian café life, a Pyrenees fishing trip and bullfighting in Pamplona. This book not only takes one on a virtual travel from Paris to Pamplona, but also through themes of love, death, revival and masculinity.

Worldwalk – Steven Newman

“Worldwalk” chronicles the experiences of Steven Newman as he journeyed through more than countries in different continents – on foot! The book is packed with profound stories about the people the author met during his “walk” and the adventures he encountered (including arrests and animal attacks). “Worldwalk” is an exciting account of independent budget backpacking adventures laced with lessons on love and hope.