10 Best Books to Read while Travelling

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One of the best things about travelling is you have ample of time in your hand to treat yourself to some of the best travel literature in the world. Reading about the place you are visiting not just keeps to entertained but also enhances your travelling experience.

I am personally a voracious reader and devour tons of book per year on my reading list. So whenever I get some idle time and a quiet and comfy corner, I take out my Kindle and start reading. 

Out of the books I have read until now, here are the 10 best books to read while travelling that will take your travelling experience to a whole new level of awesomeness.

So, let’s dive right in.

Here’s a list of 10 Best Books to Read while Travelling

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, by J.R.R Tolkien

The Lord of the Rings - best books to read on your hitchhiking journey
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You saw this one coming, didn’t you? I couldn’t think of making a list of travel books without leaving LOTR out (I have read it five times). The journey of Frodo and his friends across the magical and mysterious land of Middle Earth to stop evil lord Sauron is one of the best pieces of fictional writing of the last century.

Reading the Lord of the Rings while travelling is just a different experience altogether. It’s like realizing that there’s a parallel ongoing story of your own joys and struggles while travelling.

LOTR inspired many people around the world to travel, so it’s it comes as no surprise that the LOTR books are talked about on every second blog post, Booktubers list and Travel vloggers around the world.

On the Road, by Jack Kerouac

On the Road by John Kerouac
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If you are a backpacker then you must read this book and if you are not, then after reading this book you would surely want to be one. On the Road is the author’s Jack Kerouac’s own account of his crazy solo adventures backpacking across the west US after the second world war.

He narrates his story through his fictional character Sal, who leaves New York City and sets to the west along the beautiful landscapes making friends, riding the rails and partying all night long. The story is beautifully set at the backdrop of stunning Mountain West, music, poetic literature and drug abuse.

The book is divided into five chapters and each chapter reveals how each and every experience turns Sal from an insecure and self-doubting person to a better, more confident and mature person. This transition that Sal makes throughout his journey is what made me relate to the story on a personal level and I am sure after reading this book you will too.

Suggested read: 10 Best Countries for an Amazing Solo Hitchhiking Experience

Shantaram, by Gregory David Roberts

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts - best books to read on your hitchhiking journey
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Shantaram is loosely based on the life of Gregory, an armed robber and criminal who manages to escape from a prison in Australia and settles in Bombay. The story is part real and part exaggeration of his experiences in India.

The opening line of the book sets the tone perfectly for what to expect from the story and in a way is also the message the author wants to convey. This 944-page novel reads like an epic gangster drama and a memoir of a man struggling for survival in the slums of the vibrant city of Bombay (now called Mumbai). The story follows Lin (Gregory’s alter ego in the book) from his beginning as a small thief to the upper echelons of the Mumbai underworld.

Shantaram is epic in its magnitude. It has got everything from love, sex, drugs, mafia, Bollywood to moments of joy, grief, sorrow and betrayal. Reading Shantaram is like watching a gangster thriller movie where you are always at the edge of your seats, but at the end, it’s also about the author’s profound love for India and his learnings from his time in the country.

Vagabonding, by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts
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This is the handbook for people looking for long-term travelling. No other book has come so close in aptly describing the why, how and the philosophy behind long-term travelling i.e Vagabonding.

Rolf has compiled his 10 years of experience on the road with simplicity and clarity that hikes the reader’s interest with each and every chapter. This book contains valuable insights on how to finance your travels, face adversities, determine destination and adjust your life on the road.

Vagabonding is the best travel book that will equip you for not just a one long-trip but also for the rest of your life.

Suggested read: 10 Best Movies to Watch on Your Hitchhiking Journey

A Moveable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
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A Moveable Feast is Ernest Hemingway’s ode to the mesmerising and enchanting city of Paris. The book was published posthumously after Hemingway’s death and is a memoir describing the time he spent in Paris as a young writer.

Hemingway’s description of Paris is as beautiful and elegant as the city itself, sprinkled with stories of the events that took place during his time there. He also vividly catalogues the hotels, cafe’s and theatres that he frequented in Paris and the profound impact that Paris had in his life as a writer.

How to Travel the World on 50$ a Day? by Matt Kepnes

How to Travel the world on 50$ a day by Matt Kepnes
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If you think that the title of the book is cheesy and is promising way too much than it can deliver, then you are not alone. Before I picked up this book, I had similar apprehensions about this book, but believe me, I couldn’t have been so wrong. 

This book just hit all my doubts out of the park. If you are a hitchhiker or considering any kind of budget travelling then this is ‘the manual’ for you. Written by Matt Kepnes, founder of the travel blog Nomadic Matt and a hardcore budget traveller, this book demystifies the common myths regarding travelling.

Matt has hitchhiked in more than 60 countries so far and been into situations that most of us will probably never encounter in our lives. Matt reveals the tips, tricks and secrets on how to plan a trip that is cheap, comfortable and a enjoyable.

Full Tilt: From Ireland to India with a Bicycle, by Dervla Murphy

Full Tilt: Ireland to India with a bicycle by Dervla Murphy
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Full Tilt follows the extraordinary and courageous journey of Dervla, a young woman of 31 years old, who travelled from Ireland to India alone on a bicycle only with her backpack and a .25 calibre gun.

Dervla set out in 1963 to finally fulfil her lifelong dream to travel to India and explore various cultures, people, language, food and way of living. The book is based on her daily memories she penned down in her travel diary and narrates her insane adventures riding through Persia, Afghanistan and over the Himalayas to Pakistan and India. 

Unafraid of the adversities and unwanted attention that came her way, Dervla trudged her path facing extreme weathers, tough-terrains, starving wolves and a bunch of lecherous Kurds in Persia. 

Dervla’s story is the story of a woman with courage, patience, life on the road, people, places, life across various borders, but above all it is a story of a woman who didn’t give up on her dreams.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed

Wild by Cheryl Strayed
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After a series of disastrous events in her life in which she lost her mother and faced a divorce, Cheryl set on a hiking trip across the Pacific Crest Trail all by herself. The most mind-boggling thing about her journey was that she succeeded in doing so without any formal training.

Cheryl has meticulously described the dangers, struggles and fears as a lone woman on a thousand-mile trip as well as the pleasure that you get in doing so.

At its core, Wild is about a woman coming to terms with her losses in life and eventually learning to move forward by strengthening and ultimately healing her life by travelling.

Love with A Chance of Drowning, by Torre Deroche

Love with a chance of drowning by Torre DeRoche
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I am not really into chick travel love stories but this one was one hell of a good book. The book is a travel memoir of Torre’s crazy adventurous sail across the Pacific along with her new boyfriend.

After getting frustrated with her day job in Australia, Torre set off to San Francisco where she met a young dashing man who was about set to sail across the Pacific and savour the sea-life and exotic islands that would come across in his way.

Inspired by the beautiful description of the voyage, the sea-phobic Torre decided to follow her boyfriend into this adventure without a second thought. What follows next is a hilarious and sometimes witty and romantic story of her overcoming fear of the sea and learning to be a fearless adventurer.

‘Love with a Chance of Drowning’ is at its heart a light-hearted story of a person who proves that if you are courageous enough to step outside your comfort zone, the world and its possibilities become infinitely larger.

Suggested read: 11 Safety Tips for an Amazing Hitchhiking Experience

The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
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I remember the hype around this book at the time it was first published. It featured everywhere on blogs, YouTube videos, Instagram, Facebook and every other place on the internet which had something to do with books.

No wonder I had to read it, and I did and it was eye-opening as well as one of the best spiritual experiences I had in a long time. Alchemist tells the story of a young shepherd named Santiago who dreams of leaving everything in search of a worldly treasure.

It is this quest in which he discovers riches far more different and satisfying than he would have ever imagined. Santiago’s mystical travel story teaches us to listen to the voice within us and recognize that one opportunity that will change your life for the good. 


Books are a wonderful source of inspiration to learn and explore what the world has to offer to us. I hope these books inspire the wanderer in you to travel and enjoy the beautiful things in the world. So, which book on this list are you going to pick first? or Have you already read some of these books? We would love to know what you think about this list and get some awesome travel book recommendations from you in the comment section.

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About the author
James Williams
James has been travel lover since childhood. Reading and traveling have been spiritual experiences for him. Learning about new places, cultures, and ways of life and sharing his own experiences and learnings has always been his passion.

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