10 must-read books to inspire travel

(BPT) - A great book is an essential travel companion. But what if you are months from vacation, low on travel budget, or need inspiration for your next trip?

The Amazon Books Editors have you covered. They read hundreds of thousands of pages a year in order to curate lists of the best books for all kinds of readers.

“Whether you are planning your next vacation or just looking for an escape from your daily life, we have created a list of books that will inspire, educate and take you to a whole new world,” said Chris Schluep, Amazon Books Editor.

Location specific reads: Have a destination in mind? After the plane tickets are purchased and the Airbnb confirmed, your next step should be to choose your book. The Amazon Books editors recommend the list below, inspired by some of the most popular travel destinations.

New York City

In the memoir Insomniac City, author and photographer Bill Hayes pays tribute to his relationship with Oliver Sacks, giving intimate, yet reverent insight into the man the "New York Times" called “the poet laureate of medicine.” It’s also a paean to one of the other loves of his life: New York City. Join Hayes as he gives you a completely different view of the city that never sleeps.


Alaska offers beauty that lures travelers who long for adventure and untouched wilderness. Read "Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube" by Blair Braverman for fantastic insight on what it took for her to live in this unforgiving, yet breathtaking, landscape.


Margaret George brings the backstabbing, cutthroat politics of Roman rulers to vivid life through her atmospheric novel, "Confessions of a Young Nero." This book will transport you to the eternal city at a pivotal time in its history through the eyes of the legendary emperor.


If you're binge-watching the addictive PBS/Masterpiece drama "Victoria" and thinking about a trip to England as a result, check out the book on which the show is based: "Victoria" by Daisy Goodwin. Get ready to dust off your passport!


Want a tropical vacation in your own living room? Try out "Smuggler’s Cove: Exotic Cocktails, Rum, and the Cult of the Tiki." Hawaiian shirts are optional, but you’ll be inspired to pull out the tiny umbrellas and swizzle sticks as you learn more about the lore and legend of tiki, a misunderstood movement in American cultural history.

Experiential travel reads: Many of the best books focus on the adventure of traveling itself. The books below will speak to the explorer in you!

Road tripping

"The Wangs vs. the World" by Jade Chang is about a wealthy Chinese-American family that loses it all and then decides to set out on an epic road trip. You'll laugh out loud as you join this family on this surprisingly hilarious ride, perhaps inspiring your own road trip adventure.

Off the beaten path

Inspiring equal parts wonder and wanderlust, "Atlas Obscura" celebrates over 700 of the strangest and most curious places in the world. Through this book, you’ll visit the dazzling glowworm caves in New Zealand, a baobob tree in South Africa that's so large it has a pub inside, and an eccentric bone museum in Italy.

Escape at home

Bill Bryson’s collection, "The Best American Travel Writing 2016", begins by asking why people like to travel then sets out answering this question through the collected works of contributors who travel for different reasons. Whether traversing the Arctic by dogsled or strolling the streets of a fast-changing Havana, each story offers insights into the world and the human condition.

Low-budget, nature

It started as a far-fetched idea — to hike the entire length of the proposed route of the Keystone XL pipeline to draw attention to global warming. But an idea turns to an irresistible adventure in "Trespassing Across America," by Ken Ilgunas. This memoir is filled with colorful characters and tales of harrowing physical trials.

Girlfriends' getaway

Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London by Lauren Elkin takes readers on a cosmopolitan jaunt inspired by famous urban settings and the famous, groundbreaking women who explored them before her. Elkin charts a path between literature, art, history, and film and the relationships women have with these urban centers.

For additional travel reads, check out the Amazon Book Editors’ favorites on Amazon.com.

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