The Top Travel Books to Inspire Adventure

Rebecca Formoso
January 16, 2024

We asked our Community and Staff for some of their favorite travel books. We've comprised a list of 10 books that may help spark adventure in your life. Our list has a variety of suggestions from historical fiction, to memoirs, to nonfiction!

1. 36 Hours

Author: New York Times

Summary: “36 Hours” is a series by the New York Times that breaks down cities accross the world and tells you how to spend 36 hours in each. The book provides recommendations on restaurants, sites, and things to do and has books for the USA & Canada, Europe, Asia, and Oceania. This is your guide for a jam-packed adventure that delivers a full sense of a single place's opportunities and personalities over a well-plotted two-night stay.

2. What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding

Author: Kristin Newman

Summary: Not ready to settle down and in need of an escape from her fast-paced job as a sitcom writer, Kristin Newman focused on mastering the art of “vacationing”. Along the way, she fell madly in love with the planet and men who could provide the emotional connection she wanted without costing her the freedom she desperately needed.

3. Next Year in Havana

Author: Chanel Cleetin

Summary: After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity—and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution. The book follows two important timelines that are set in the upper class society of 1959 and 2017 Cuba.

4. Best in Travel

Author: Lonely Planet

Summary: An annual bestseller and a year's worth of inspiration from lists that rank the top countries, cities, regions, sites, and more. Its pictures have you longing to travel and the easy breezy reading gives you digestible information on top travel destinations.

5. Love & Gelato

Author: Jenna Evans Welch

Summary: Lina has just lost her mother who's undying wish was that her daughter go to Italy and meet a father she never knew about. Lina discovers her mother’s diary and follows her adventures through Italy. This book is a fun summer read about drama, romance and adventure. It entices you to go to Italy, taste the cuisine, and experience the culture.

6. Wild

Author: Cheryl Strayed

Summary: At 22, she thought she had lost everything. In the wake of her mother’s death, her family scattered and her own marriage was soon destroyed. Four years later, with nothing more to lose, she made the most impulsive decision of her life. With no experience or training, driven only by blind will, she would hike the Pacific Crest Trail alone in an effort to find herself.

7. Mountains Beyond Mountains

Author: Tracy Kidder

Summary: In medical school, Paul found his life’s calling: to cure infectious diseases and to bring the lifesaving tools of modern medicine to those who need them most. Paul’s journey takes us from Harvard to Haiti, Peru, Cuba, and Russia as he changes minds and practices through his dedication to the philosophy that “the only real nation is humanity.”

8. Lost City of the Incas

Author: Hiram Bingham III

Summary: Early in the 20th century, Bingham ventured into the wild and then unknown country of the Eastern Peruvian Andes and came upon the Inca city that made him famous: Machu Picchu. In the span of one short season he went on to discover two more lost cities.

9. The Alchemist

Author: Paulo Coelho

Summary: Santiago yearns to travel in search of a worldly treasure. His quest leads him to riches far different—and far more satisfying—than he ever imagined. Santiago's journey teaches us about the essential wisdom of listening to our hearts, of recognizing opportunity, and learning to read the omens strewn along life's path, and, most importantly, to follow our dreams.

10. Into the Wild

Author: Jon Krakauer

Summary: In 1992 a young man from a well-to-do family hitchhiked to Alaska and walked alone into the wilderness. He had given $25,000 in savings to charity, abandoned his car and most of his possessions, burned all the cash in his wallet, and invented a new life for himself.

Honorable Mentions

  1. Born to Run by Christopher McDougal
  2. AWOL on the Appalachian Trail by David Miller
  3. Vegabonding An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel by Rolf Potts
  4. Life's Too Short to Go So F*cking Slow: Lessons from an Epic Friendship That Went the Distance by Lacke Susan
  5. No Summit out of Sight: The True Story of the Youngest Person to Climb the Seven Summits by Jordan Romero

Check out our USA trips including Yosemite, Joshua Tree, Zion, & Bryce Canyon National Parks.

Rebecca Formoso
Rebecca is a U30X trip leader in Europe and Asia. She grew up in the Philippines and has been living in Spain since 2012. She loves to play sports, take pictures, and go on new adventures.


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