It’s a refreshing feeling to tear yourself away from the screens. I still love picking out a new travel book and getting lost in it. There’s something about hard copy – the detail, the incredible photography… the feeling. And let’s be honest, a published author has more credibility than most bloggers out there (hence why this blogger is telling you about them). These are my top inspiring travel books – the ones I refer to over and over. And over.
1. FOR THE EVERYTHING TRAVELLER: Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travels: the 500 best places on the planet… ranked
The world’s top 500 places, ranked?! I was dying to know! This is the matriarch of my inspiring travel books. It’s the type of book you see and need to have (well I do, anyway).
This book has all the obvious places like Angkor Wat, Machu Picchu, and the Grand Canyon, but also many, many more that I’ve never heard of. It gets you multiplying the countries you want to visit, and even adding ones you’ve never really considered, like Bolivia.
From natural wonders to mosques, museums to mountains, national parks to old towns, and islands to architectural stunners, if you’ve got the travel bug, you’ll be impressed by this book. I counted how many I’ve been to for this article (kidding, I counted right after I bought the book, I’m that person) and the number is 64. So only 436 left to go. I better get packing.
Buy Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist here.
2. FOR THE BUCKET LISTER: The Great Global Bucket List: One-of-a-kind Travel Experiences by Robin Esrock
I’m pretty jealous of Robin Esrock. The guy has done everything. This book lists and tells the stories behind his top bucket list adventures, arranged by continent. These “one-of-a-kind experiences” focus on adventure, natural wonders, events, and doing crazy shit for kicks.
Robin Esrock is Canadian. I love the humour, wit, and honesty he injects into the 409 pages of this book. Written more like a collection of short stories than a travel guide, Robin’s pithy anecdotes and personal flavour make it a highly enjoyable read.
Some of the experiences are not for the faint of heart – they’re physical, daring, or “out there.” Like cage diving with crocodiles, bungeeing off a TV tower, or camping in Antarctica. But some are good ol’ traditional bucket list fun, like sleeping in a castle, seeing the Northern lights, and floating in the Dead Sea. Either way, bucket listers are sure to find a few new ideas.
Buy The Great Global Bucket List here.
3. FOR THE FAMILY TRAVELLER: Lonely Planet’s Travel with children
Another Lonely Planet title, because I’ve been a loyal fan for many years. I’ve tried most of the different guidebooks, and keep going back to LP. They’re the best at recommending hot up-and-coming destinations before others do, and I love them for that.
This book has a spread for most of the world’s family friendly travel countries – about 80. For each country, it lists the top experiences and things to do with children, why you should consider travelling there, and important information related to health, food, when to go, and getting around. Prior to the country pages, it has a detailed section called “the Art of Travelling with Children,” including getting ready to go, during the journey, coming home, activity-based places (hiking, wildlife, etc.) and theme destinations.
It’s awesome to gain the reassurance that, yes in fact, Oman is a great place to take children (who knew?). Our young kids have been to seven countries, and we’ll definitely use this book to help us decide on more.
Buy Lonely Planet’s Travel with Children here.
4. FOR THE WORLD’S TOP SPOTS: Unforgettable Places to See Before you Die by Steve Davey
I’ve had this book for years and have gone back to it over and over. It lists 40 of the world’s top gems – many of which are in fact, UNFORGETTABLE. I know there are hundreds of articles online listing similar places, but what I love about this book is the detail and photography.
Similar to the first book on this list, there are predictable places like the Taj Mahal, Petra, and Venice (reinforcement that yes, you do really need to go there). But again, there are a few places you would never guess, like Samarkand, Uzbekistan. Not somewhere high on my list, but you probably didn’t know it has some of the finest architecture in the Islamic world. Nor did I.
Buy Unforgettable Places to see Before You Die here.
5. FOR THE MAGAZINE LOVER: Condé Nast Traveler
Ok, this isn’t a book, but it deserves a spot in this article because I’m a frequent buyer and have snagged many travel ideas from it. Condé Nast is my favourite travel magazine. It’s always ahead of the curve with the trendiest travel destinations and best new hotels. It also features perfectly alluring headlines and travel lists (I love lists).
Perusing Condé Nast can just as easily be enjoyed in your pyjamas after an exhausting day with the kids as it can while sunbathing on the beach with a mojito in Cuba. It’s geared towards luxury travel and many of the places it recommends are expensive, but we all have #travelgoals, right? I especially enjoy its annual Readers’ Choice Awards, where travellers rank the world’s best hotels, resorts, cities, islands, airlines, airports, and cruise lines.
Don’t recycle your copies of Condé Nast, as you’ll likely want to refer to them again.
Well there you have it, my most inspiring travel books, the literature that has fuelled many of my journeys. I hope you’ll consider picking up one or more of these awesome titles to help plan your next adventure.
Delve into some of the places I’ve checked out from the pages of these books by reading my Top 10 Exhilarating YOLO Travel Experiences.
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