9 Great Books to Read During Travel

Though there’s no impending rule stating that a backpacker’s journey isn’t complete without a read or two, there could as well be. How else would you survive a night long bus, a relaxing day at the beach, a stopover? Most backpackers know that paperbacks can be as precious as smartphones during travel (we’d even say just as necessary).

To help get you started, we’ve compiled a list of 9 great books to read during your next horizon-enhancing trip.

Where to Buy
World Walk
On the Road
The Beach
In A Sunburned Country
A Year of Living Danishly
Walking The Nile
The Geography of Bliss
Cruising Altitude

1. World Walk

This book tells the story of Steven NewMan, a newspaper writer who packed his stuff while he was 28 years old and begin a 4-year journey across the globe. What’s interesting is that he did it all on foot, walking across 5 continents and seeing 22 countries. He shares the intriguing stories of the individuals he met on the way, as well as the adventures he experienced. The book could offer some motivation for those looking into budget-friendly backpacking.

2. On the Road

Authored in 1957, On the Road is a timeless travel classic by Jack Kerouac. The narrative is based on the popular character “Sal.” Sal leaves NYC and goes to the west, making new friends, partying at nights, and riding rails. The character’s desire to explore the world is a theme that’ll resonate with the majority of backpackers. What you’ll especially love about Sal’s story is that throughout his adventures, he becomes a stronger, better, and more confident individual. A perfect read for those who are planning to globetrot and would just like to go where the wind takes them.

3. The Beach

Written by Alex Garland, the beach is a story of backpackers and their quest to find a paradise. The paradise here means to get off the beaten path and explore something different, but in the end, it’s all illusion. It’s a good read to know how the search for the perfect backpacking destination can end up running the entire experience and may convince a few of us to just ride the wave rather than wait for the perfect opportunity to come up.

4. In A Sunburned Country

It’s challenging to choose just one read by Bill Bryson because all of them are just so good. He’s one of the most renowned authors in the travel writing niche. In A Sunburned Country reveals travel through Australia and takes you from the east of down under to the most west, through the coastal cities, mining towns, and everything in between. There’s a lot of trivia packaged in his tale as he goes around awestruck and at moments in fear (thanks to big spiders and jellyfish). This book may just inspire you to pack your bags up and go to Australia.

5. A Year of Living Danishly

After her husband gets an employment offer in one of the Lego offices in Demark, the author Helen Russell decides to go with him, earn via freelancing, and try to know what makes Danes one of the happiest people on earth. From interior design and taxes to education and childcare, the funny story by Helen is bound to keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s hilarious and portrays a great story of someone who is new in a country and is trying to blend in. Perhaps you’ve already been to Denmark. Maybe you have loads of Danish friends. Whatever the case, you’d find this book quite interesting to read and recommend to others.

6. Walking The Nile

While you can read this book at any time and place, it’s particularly interesting to read on the Nile. The book goes in depth about the Author’s quest to cover the Nile on foot and it’s quite challenging to imagine that it was done in real. It’s also going to provide good insight into Africa and the must-visit countries while keeping you hooked along the way. It’s an ideal road for those looking up a good challenge or has their tickets booked Africa. UK backpackers might have seen Channel 4’s TV show but this book is far far superior.

7. The Geography of Bliss

NPR correspondent and author named Eric Weiner went away from home for a year to find the happiest places in the world. He goes to destinations like Qatar, Iceland, India, and Denmark during his journey, and though he never discovers the secret to why some nations are happy and places like Moldova aren’t, his travel tales make for a lighthearted and exciting read. And when attempting to answer “what makes societies happy?” the author has some great facts related to cultural experiences and interactions.

8. Cruising Altitude

Heather Pole’s book is all about working as a flight attendant. It’s a quick insight into what life is like at 38,000 feet. Reading it may inspire you to think differently about attendants. You learn about the training they go through, the way they have to deal with pilots, and day to day things that happen when they’re up in the air. It also has some funny moments and should give backpackers some additional appreciation for how much crap the flight attendants have to bear and how hard they work.

9. Vagabonding

Written by the vagabonding guru Rolf Potts, this book is a great read for long-term travelers. Rolf went a decade traveling across the road, and his read contains lots of practical advice, read-worthy quotes, and valuable insights. From planning a life on the road to saving money, this is a good read for newbie backpackers. It also delves into the psychology and why of long-term traveling in a way that no other book is likely to come close to.

While there’s a lot you can do to kill time during travel, reading a book is a productive way to cover your journey. The names above are totally worth their “weight” in your backpack and should fuel your wanderlust in the most exciting of ways.