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Ultimate Gift Guide: Wanderlust Books for Travel Lovers 2024

Look no further if you’re looking for the perfect gift for your wanderlust-minded loved one! Whether they’re a seasoned traveler or an armchair explorer, our ultimate guide to books for travel lovers gives you all the inspiration needed to find that special something.

Table of Contents

From timeless classics to thrilling escapism, these titles will take them on a journey without ever having to leave home. With a selection of novels and nonfiction reads designed to evoke wanderlust in even the most sedentary reader, this gift guide has something new for every budget and taste.

So, if you want your favorite person’s eyes to light up with excitement when they unwrap their present this season, check out our top picks for those who love journeying through stories – wherever it might take them!

List of books for travel lovers that would be great for a gift

Kindle Paperweight

It is the perfect gift for the traveler who prefers to travel light. It is waterproof, adjustable light, and has up to 10 weeks of battery life to make traveling easy. The Kindle Paperweight makes it easy to take more books in one place, without having to pack multiple books. Just upload and read!

Top 10 Books for Travel Lovers

1. The Innocents Abroad, by Mark Twain

Mark Twain’s classic travel book captures the essence of a grand voyage through foreign lands. As one of the most-read books in American history, it offers a humorous glimpse into Twain’s adventures and the cultural nuances of different countries, making it a perfect book for those bitten by the travel bug.

2. The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

Paulo Coelho’s masterpiece, “The Alchemist,” is a New York Times bestseller that tells the mystical story of Santiago, a young man who dreams of discovering a lost city filled with treasures. This inspiring novel is a testament to the transformative power of our dreams and the importance of listening to our hearts.

3. Eat Pray Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert’s profoundly moving travel memoir chronicles her quest for self-discovery following a difficult divorce. From indulging in Italy’s culinary delights to seeking spiritual solace in India and finding balance in Bali, Gilbert’s journey resonates with anyone seeking to step outside their comfort zone and start a new life.

It was made into a motion picture starring Julia Roberts in 2010.

4. In The Kingdom of Men, by Kim Barnes

Set against the oil-rich Middle East backdrop, this gripping novel explores the complexities of life in a foreign land. It’s a great read for those interested in the intersection of love, power, and cultural conflict.

5. Behind the Bar: 50 Cocktail Recipes from the World’s Most Iconic Hotels, by Alia Akkam

Stir your wanderlust with Alia Akkam’s guide to the world’s iconic hotel bars. This book is a must-have for anyone who enjoys the art of travel and the joy of discovering the world’s most interesting facts through its varied libations.

6. This Contested Land: The Storied Past and Uncertain Future of America’s National Monuments, by McKenzie Long

Explore America’s national monuments with McKenzie Long as she delves into their storied pasts and uncertain futures. This travel memoir is a tribute to the United States’ natural wonders and a call to protect them. It’s a great travel book for those who cherish the wild landscapes of the Pacific Crest Trail, the Appalachian Trail, and other treasures.

7. 1,000 Perfect Weekends: Great Getaways Around the Globe, by National Geographic

Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or planning your first trip, National Geographic’s guide offers a bucket list of destinations to inspire your next escape. From the vibrant streets of New York City to the tranquil beaches of Costa Rica, each weekend adventure is a step towards fulfilling your travel dreams.

8. Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer’s compelling true story of Christopher McCandless’s solo trip into the Alaskan wilderness is a profound reflection on the allure of nature and the quest for a life unencumbered by society’s expectations. It’s a must-read for travel lovers and anyone who has ever yearned to explore the great unknown.

9. Frommer’s 500 Places to Take Your Kids Before They Grow Up, by Holly Hughes

This guidebook is an invaluable resource for those embarking on family adventures. Holly Hughes offers many ideas for educational and fun trips that will create lifelong memories and foster a love for travel in young hearts.

10. 100 Hikes of a Lifetime: The World’s Ultimate Scenic Trails, by Kate Siber

Kate Siber’s beautifully illustrated book is the perfect companion for anyone who dreams of long trips on foot, from the rugged beauty of South Africa’s Cape Town to the ancient mysteries of Machu Picchu. It’s a wonderful book celebrating the joy of discovering the world one step at a time.

Further enriching the lives of travel lovers, here are additional recommendations that weave together the art of travel writing and the joy of discovery:

11. The Beach, by Alex Garland

is a modern classic of travel literature and a thrilling adventure set in the hidden paradises of Thailand.

12. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, A Traveler’s Life List, by Patricia Schultz

The ultimate bucket list for globetrotters is Schultz’s life list, offering many must-see destinations and experiences.

13. The Bang-Bang Club: The Making of the New South Africa, by Greg Marinovich

A raw and intense depiction of four photographers capturing the tumultuous end of apartheid in South Africa, this book offers a window into a significant period of recent history and the power of photojournalism.

14. Finding Gobi: A Little Dog with a Very Big Heart, by Dion Leonard

is a heartwarming true story about an ultramarathon runner and the stray dog who joined him on a grueling race through the Gobi Desert, illustrating the unexpected bonds that form on the road.

15. 100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do, by Joe Yogerst

A National Geographic guide showcasing the best parks in North America, this book is a treasure trove for travel lovers looking to explore the continent’s natural beauty and engage in many outdoor activities.

For those who are drawn to the transformative experiences that travel can offer, consider these additional titles:

16. A Walk in the Woods, by Bill Bryson

Join Bill Bryson on his humorous and insightful journey along the Appalachian Trail, where he encounters a cast of quirky characters and the rich tapestry of American wilderness.

17. Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel, by Rolf Potts

Rolf Potts’s philosophical guide to long-term travel is a must-read for anyone considering a nomadic life or simply looking to travel more meaningfully.

18. Turn Right at Machu Picchu, by Mark Adams

Follow Mark Adams as he retraces the steps of explorer Hiram Bingham III in this travel writing gem, offering a blend of adventure, history, and wit.

19. The Lost City of Z, by David Grann

David Grann’s gripping account of Percy Fawcett’s quest for an ancient civilization in the Amazon is a testament to the enduring allure of exploration and the mysteries that still await in the depths of the jungle.

20. The Geography of Bliss, by Eric Weiner

Travel writer Eric Weiner takes readers on a journey to some of the world’s happiest places, examining the connection between geography and joy.

21. On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

This seminal work of the Beat Generation captures the spirit of a post-war America as Kerouac’s alter ego, Sal Paradise, embarks on a road trip that symbolizes freedom and discovery.

22. Dark Star Safari, by Paul Theroux

Theroux takes readers on an overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town, traversing the length of Africa and uncovering the continent’s complex realities. This travel memoir is a profound reflection on the changes that have swept through Africa and the enduring spirit of its people.

23. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

In this powerful memoir, Cheryl Strayed recounts her solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail, a transformative journey that helped her heal and find new strength after a personal tragedy.

24. How to Travel the World on $50 a Day: Third Edition: Travel Cheaper, Longer, Smarter, by Matt Kepnes

Matt Kepnes, also known as Nomadic Matt, provides practical advice and tips for traveling on a budget without sacrificing the richness of the experience.

25. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway

While not a travel book per se, Hemingway’s novel captures the ambiance of post-World War I Europe and the lifestyle of the expatriate community, making it a classic read for those who appreciate the art of travel and the allure of foreign lands.

26. The Art of Travel, by Alain de Botton

de Botton explores the philosophical aspects of travel, questioning why we travel and how to learn to appreciate our destinations more deeply.

27. In a Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson

It is the driest, flattest, hottest, most infertile, and climatically aggressive of all the inhabited continents, and still, Australia teems with life – a large portion of it quite deadly. Australia has more things that can kill you in a very nasty way than anywhere else.

Ignoring such dangers – yet curiously obsessed with them – Bill Bryson journeyed to Australia and promptly fell in love with the country. And who can blame him? The people are cheerful, extroverted, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging: their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water; the food is excellent; the beer is cold, and the sun nearly always shines. Life doesn’t get much better than this…

28. The Motorcycle Diaries, by Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara

Before he became a revolutionary icon, Che Guevara embarked on a youthful road trip across South America. This journey shaped his political beliefs and his view of Latin American identity

29. Under the Tuscan Sun, by Frances Mayes

This enchanting account of renovating a villa in the Italian countryside celebrates new beginnings, delicious food, and the joys of immersing oneself in a different culture.

30. The Great Railway Bazaar, by Paul Theroux

Paul Theroux’s classic account of his four-month train journey across Asia offers an engaging and evocative look at the diversity of landscapes, people, and experiences that train travel can offer.

These titles represent a wide range of travel experiences, from solo journeys and cultural explorations to historical adventures and personal transformations. Each book offers a unique perspective on the world and how travel can enrich our lives.

31. The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca, by Tahir Shah

In this travel memoir, Tahir Shah shares his experiences moving his family to Morocco and their cultural challenges and discoveries while renovating a traditional house in Casablanca.

32. Blue Highways: A Journey into America, by William Least Heat-Moon

Heat-Moon takes readers off the interstate and onto the back roads of America. His journey along the “blue highways” on the map reveals the heart and soul of the country’s small towns and forgotten byways.

33. The Valleys of the Assassins: and Other Persian Travels, by Freya Stark

Freya Stark’s account of her travels in the Middle East during the early 20th century is a testament to her intrepid spirit and deep understanding of the region’s culture and history.

34. A Year in Provence, by Peter Mayle

Peter Mayle’s charming narrative of his first year living in the South of France paints a vivid picture of Provencal life, its challenges, and the enduring appeal of its cuisine and landscape.

35. Travels with Charley: In Search of America, by John Steinbeck

Steinbeck’s travelogue, detailing his road trip across the United States with his poodle, Charley, offers insights into the American character and the diversity of the country’s landscapes and people.

36. The Geography of Genius, by Eric Weiner

Weiner explores the idea that certain places, at certain times, produce clusters of brilliant minds and great ideas. This book is a travelogue that takes readers to cities that have been hotbeds of genius throughout history.

37. The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America, by Bill Bryson

Bryson’s witty and poignant return to the America of his youth is a journey through the heartland, exploring the quirks and charms of small-town life.

38. River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler

Hessler’s memoir of his time as a Peace Corps volunteer in China provides a nuanced, compassionate, and humorous look at a country undergoing rapid change.

39. The Girl in the Picture: The Story of Kim Phuc, the Photograph, and the Vietnam War, by Denise Chong

A poignant narrative provides a detailed account of Kim Phuc, the young girl immortalized in a harrowing photograph during the Vietnam War. The book traces Kim’s journey from the moment captured by photojournalist Nick Ut to her life beyond the war, highlighting themes of resilience, reconciliation, and hope. It offers a personal and historical exploration of the enduring effects of war and the power of a single image to resonate across generations.

40. Kindle or Audible Gift Card

Don’t know what books your traveler has read? Give them an Amazon Gift Card in a Gift Box.

To wrap up our ultimate gift guide for travel lovers, we’ve shared some inspiring and captivating books to gift! From The Alchemist to Finding Gobi, each story shared gives an inside look into the culture and character of various countries and people.

Books can strengthen our fascination, appreciation, and respect for other cultures while allowing us to explore more of the world without leaving home. In addition, they’re a unique way to give meaningful gifts that will last a lifetime!

So if you’re searching for a special present for loved ones who love to travel – or are looking for something exciting to read yourself – this is the perfect gift guide. If you’re looking for even more travel gift ideas, read our blog post on Travel Essentials for further guidance on what every traveler should have in their backpack!

Our Trusted Resources


Booking.com: for booking accommodations

Fare Drop: for finding the best airfare deals.

Viator or Get Your Guide: for all my activities

Discover Cars: for car rentals

Airalo: for eSIM card

Trainline: for booking train tickets

Karen Kane & prAna: great sources for travel clothes

Columbia: great clothes and accessories for outdoor adventures.

International Drivers Permit: for getting your IDP

Travelex: for Travel Insurance

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