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15 Best Books For Travel Lovers (Who Need a Shot of Wanderlust)

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It took me a while…but I recently realized that books aren’t just for nerds…

Books are freaking awesome! They’re literally like a sneak peek into someone else’s mind. You get to learn a lifetime-worth of wisdom and insights…all condensed down into a few hours of reading. How cool is that?

It’s also one of the most popular activities to pass downtime while traveling. Reading about the place you’re traveling to takes your trip to another level.

Whether you’re looking for yourself or need travel gift ideas for someone else, the following is a list of the best books for travel lovers. Some are physical books, most have eBook options, but they ALL are sure to inspire. 

#1.) The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small

The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small (Bucket Lists)

In life, it’s easy to fall into ruts and get so lost in our To Do list that we forget about our dreams. That’s what The Bucket List book aims to prevent.

Perfect for the coffee table, this book of 1000 adventure ideas will keep your traveler’s wanderlust tank full whenever they’re at home.

#2.) National Geographic Atlas of the World

National Geographic Atlas of the World, Tenth Edition

Here’s another one for the coffee table. (You definitely don’t want to carry this bad boy around in your luggage).

This big and beautiful book covers everything you’d ever want to know about the world—maps, flags, facts, population, climate, health…you name it, you can probably find it in this book. 

#3.) Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel (2022 Edition)

Lonely Planet Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2022 16

The world is constantly changing. Destinations are constantly changing. Travel is constantly changing. 

In Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2022 Edition, your traveler will learn all the best places to travel RIGHT NOW. It includes all the newest attractions, the “best-value” destinations of 2022, and the latest info on what to see and where to stay.

#4.) 50 Places to Bike Before You Die by Chris Santella

Fifty Places to Bike Before You Die: Biking Experts Share the World's Greatest Destinations

Here’s another bucket list book—this time, for cyclists who love to travel. 

This book is filled with info and beautiful photos of the top cycling routes both within the US, and worldwide. 

Wouldn’t it be cool if they got inspired by your gift, and went on one bucket list bike ride every year for the next 50 years?

#5.) How to Travel the World on $50 a Day by Matt Kepnes

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter

This is the book that inspired me to leave it all behind to travel the world back in 2015. It literally changed the trajectory of my entire life. 

I’d highly recommend it for any aspiring traveler who wants to live an extraordinary life (without breaking the bank).

#6.) Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

Vagabonding is another popular book that teaches exactly how to take a break from “normal” life and take an extended trip around the world. 

It goes over everything needed for a successful long-term trip—from saving money, choosing a destination, and adapting a traveler mindset…to working overseas, overcoming common travel obstacles, and coming back home.

#7.) The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist

This peculiar little book is jam-packed with wisdom nuggets about travel and life. I just finished it a few months ago, and it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read.

It’s all about learning to follow our dreams and is one of the most popular books to read while traveling (seriously, if you stay in a hostel with a bookshelf, this will probably be on it).

#8.) Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

Into the Wild

Into the Wild is a true story of a man who wanted ultimate adventure and freedom. He abandoned his possessions and disappeared into the Alaskan wilderness by himself to start a new life.

This book is both inspiring and heartbreaking—perfect for travelers off on their own adventures. (This is also one of the best movies for travel lovers as well!)

#9.) The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach

Is your traveler headed to Thailand? If so, this crazy book will make a great travel present. 

The Beach is about a backpacker in search of a mysterious hidden island paradise in Thailand. Once he finds it, things take a weird and totally unexpected turn…but I won’t spoil it for you! 

If you’re shopping for someone who loves the water, check out these other awesome beach gifts as well.

#10.) The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.

This classic book is probably responsible for 90% of the digital nomads out there today. 

It opens the reader’s mind to a whole new way of thinking about work—that you can build your work around your life of travel (versus the other way around).

While some of the specific tactics are a bit outdated, the underlying message is as inspirational and life-changing as ever.

#11.) Overview: A New Perspective of Earth

Overview: A New Perspective of Earth

Your traveler may have witnessed breathtaking sites all over the world…but they’ve never seen them from this point of view.

This unique book is full of beautiful satellite images of our planet—images that tell a story of how we as humans have changed the face of the Earth.

Another great option for the coffee table.

#12.) Lonely Planet’s Secret Marvels of the World

Lonely Planet Secret Marvels of the World 1: 360 extraordinary places you never knew existed and where to find them

We’ve all heard of places like Machu Picchu, The Great Wall of China, and the Taj Mahal…but there are tons of weird and fascinating places around the world that nobody talks about.

Nobody except for Lonely Planet’s Secret Marvels of the World book. 

This unique book is filled with 360 intriguing places that your traveler doesn’t even know exist!

#13.) Lonely Planet’s You Only Live Once

Lonely Planet You Only Live Once 1: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in all of us

You Only Live Once is more than just a bucket list of must-see destinations. It’s a manual for living an extraordinary life. 

This book will inspire your traveler to step outside their comfort zone, grow, and live every second to the fullest.

#14.) Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure

Lonely Planet's Atlas of Adventure 1

If you’re looking for a travel gift for a hardcore adventurer, Lonely Planet’s Atlas of Adventure will not disappoint.

This book is filled with adventurous activities (and tips for doing them) in over 150 different countries. 

From surfing to dune boarding to kloofing (hiking and swimming through a ravine #WordOfTheDay), this book will keep your adventurer busy for years to come.

#15.) Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel Adult Coloring Book

Lonely Planet Ultimate Travel Coloring Book 1

Coloring isn’t just for kids! In fact, adult coloring is actually weirdly therapeutic. And if that adult likes to travel, this Lonely Planet coloring books is a quirky travel gift that’ll be put to good use.

This coloring book is filled with 100 different detailed drawings of some of the greatest places on earth—a perfect activity for travelers to kill time on rest days. 

Best Books for Travelers Recap

All of us travel-lovers fall into ruts every now and then, letting our inspiration tank dry up.

All the books on this list are designed to re-spark that wanderlust.

Whether it’s for yourself or a gift for a fellow traveler, it’s impossible to read these and NOT get the travel itch.

Read at your own risk!

Mitch's Travel Recommendations:
Travel Planning Resources - Everything you need to plan your trip on one convenient page.
Going Cheap Flights Newsletter - Get flight deals from your airport up to 90% off sent straight to your inbox.
Safetywing Insurance - This cheap travel insurance has saved me over $15,000 in medical bills. - Book accommodation without adding your credit card (in case you need to cancel).
Trusted House Sitters - Take care of pets in exchange for free (sometimes luxury) accommodation.
Flexjobs - Find remote jobs without having to sift through crappy ones.
Skillshare - Free trial to take unlimited classes that teach digital nomad skills.
Wise - Send and receive money abroad cheaply (great for freelancers).


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