The Best Travel Books of 2019 to Read Before Your Trip




Experiencing different cultures, tasting exotic culinary dishes, shopping in local marketplaces and marveling at amazing scenery and items that you don’t get at home are just some of the reasons why we love to travel. Of course, escaping the everyday responsibilities is a nice perk too! But while you’re enjoying all the amazing things when traveling abroad, there’s one other activity that you can take advantage of while traveling: getting lost in the best travel books.

Reading is a fabulous way to pass the time while commuting from A to B. Whether it’s on a train, plane, or cab ride, time can fly by when you’re engrossed in a good book. So, when you head to the store to get supplies for your next trip, save room on your credit card or bring some extra money for one or more of the best books about travel.

It’s time to choose which book should take with you on your adventure!

reading on the beach

Fun Books About Travel

If you simply want to be entertained, consider taking one of the following best travel books with you (and don’t forget to use Piggy to find discount codes and cash back offers too!):

Around the World in 80 Trains

This “travelogue” will take you along a 45,000-mile journey with Monisha Rajesh, who chronicles her travels across the world on – you guessed it – 80 trains. “Around the World in 80 Trains” is Rajesh’s smart, witty, charming, and highly entertaining tales of her incredible eye-opening experience traveling through the most exotic places on the planet by train, from Tibet’s Qinghai railway to the legendary Venice Simplon-Orient-Express.


There might be a lot to see above ground, but have you ever stopped to wonder about lies beneath? In the book “Underground,” journalist Will Hunt, inspired by his experience exploring a local abandoned tunnel as a teen, takes readers on some incredible trips into the world’s underground regions. His discoveries include nuclear bunkers, caves, and even ancient cities. If you’re a fan of archeology, mythology, anthropology, natural history, neuroscience, and philosophy, then this novel is for you.

The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca

Inspired by the travels to Morocco throughout author Tahir Shah’s childhood years, “The Caliph’s House: A Year in Casablanca” describes how his childhood vacations inspired him to move from his home in England to Casablanca. The book is filled with exciting descriptions and takes the reader through all the ups and downs of the move, including dealing with thieves and corruption along the way. You’ll be jumping out of your seat at the intricate details of the adventures throughout the story.

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reading a book in the sand


The New Nomadic Age

This book covers the extraordinary and unique life of new and modern urban nomad cultures that have emerged in our world today. “The New Nomadic Age,” edited by Yannis Hamilakis, takes us on a journey to explain the multinationalism of such migratory lines and a generation that makes itself at home in all parts of the world, and why it should be something for all of us to accept and embrace.

Woodstock: Three Days That Rocked The World

If you’re not old enough to have had the privilege to be part of the three-day festival in Woodstock that is now a fabric of our history, you’ve likely at least heard of it. It truly defined a generation and an era. “Woodstock” discusses the social impact of this iconic music festival, drawing from interviews with those who were there, and details all the nitty-gritty that happened during those 72 hours of American history.

1,000 Places To See Before You Die

Author Patricia Schultz created this book as a fun Bucket List, for those who’ve made a lifestyle out of travelling the world, and those who just wish they could. There’s probably no way you get to every single place listed here, but the descriptions make you feel as if you had experienced the culture.

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preparing to travel

List of Travel Books to Change Your World View

Some books about travel are meant to entertain, while others are designed to open up the minds of readers. The latter include the following list of travel books:

The Rings of Saturn

This book is a vibrant account of author W.G. Sebald’s walking tour of Suffolk on the eastern coast of England. It will keep you hanging on every word, never wanting the pages, chapters, or book itself to end. “The Rings of Saturn” details the author’s journey along this mystical part of the world and the things that he comes across, including poor waterside towns, hilly terrain, temples, and WWII bombings. It’s been hailed a “masterpiece” by critics and is certainly one that should make your short list of best travel books to read.

The Art of Travel

If you’re looking for a little direction about where you should be traveling, read this book that’s meant to inspire travel. You’ll be told not only where to travel, but why. Alain de Botton, the author of “The Art of Travel,” will take you on not only his journeys, but those of others, including artist Vincent Van Gogh, biologist Alexander von Humboldt, and fellow world traveler and poet William Wordsworth.

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The Alchemist

Paulo Coelho’s novel is about someone who takes time out to travel and search for the world’s best places to see and restaurants to dine in. But this book is so much more than that. Instead, it’s a book about self-discovery and reflection, told through the character Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who dreams of treasures. The riches he stumbles upon are much more valuable than he could ever imagine.

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

Another “travelogue” to add to your list of travel books is “Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road,” a meditation on remote places that are rarely – if ever – written about. It intelligently and emotionally captures author Kate Harris’s journey by bicycle along Silk Road, a trip that challenges the limitations that we tend to put on ourselves and the environment.

planning travel

Best Travel Books to Guide Your Travel Planning

Social media has made it much easier to get information about your destination, but when you’re abroad, you’re not always going to be able to go online and pull up a travel website. Having an actual guidebook or two with you can make your travels a little easier and less stressful. Here are a few of the best travel books to guide you throughout your trip:

Lonely Planet China

If you’re still in the planning phase of your travels to China, consider grabbing a copy of “Lonely Planet China,” a great read if you’re still not entirely sure about where to go in this vast country. It’s perhaps the most thorough book for this purpose and covers the majority of the area, so it leaves nothing out.

Best for West Coast: Lonely Planet West Coast Australia

Planning a trip to Australia? Before you go, pick up a copy of “Lonely Planet West Coast Australia,” a book about travel that has insider tips for doing whatever the locals do. It’s also got several itineraries and upfront pricing, so you’ll be totally prepared for your travels.

Enjoying India: The Essential Handbook

The title says it all: this book is an essential guide to take with you if traveling to India. If you’re particularly interested in ensuring that you’re culturally sensitive when visiting and you want to remain confident about where to go and what to do, this guide will fill in all the gaps that other guide books might leave out.

With all of these best travel books waiting to be read, you’ll have no shortage of entertainment, education, and enlightenment while vacationing abroad and seeing the world.

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