Searching for an American classic? Or maybe some inspirational writing that makes you live vicariously through the tales? Throughout the many years of reading, thousands of travel books have hit the market. However, there are a handful of classics that may take you on a journey through the Sahara Desert or the bustling streets on New York City. Put on your reading spectacles and time travel with the best travel books of all time.
On the Road | Jack Kerouac (1957)Hit the American highway with this all-time classic, celebrating two of America’s greatest inventions – jazz and the automobile. The book features a series of road trips, actually taken by Kerouac and friends, post World War II. Transport yourself from New York to Denver to San Francisco to L.A. as the narrator, Sal Paradise, speaks to you in literally prose. Poetry, drugs and driving – couldn’t get any better than this.
The Beach | Alex Garland (1996)Want to take a trip to London and Thailand? Get ready to explore the tale’s of a British backpacker in search for paradise on earth. The young ad hoc culture is creatively expressed through drugs, tans, thrill-seeking and semi-enlightenment. The post-book film inspired the gap year students to explore Southeast Asia, but this book is escapism as its best.
The Great Railway Bazaar | Paul Theroux (1975)The author expresses and inspires readers the best way to discover a culture is to travel via train. This was his first, and maybe his finest, book, which is a four-month journey through Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The book features some of the world’s best railway systems including the Trans-Siberian and India’s Grand Trunk Express.
Into the Wild | Jon Krakauer (1996)The mysterious story of Christopher McCandless, recent college graduate, escapes the materialistic world, and enters the unknown Alaskan landscapes. The riveting tale of his life-off-the-grid journey explores the mystery between nature and mind. The surprise ending leaves readers feeling ghostly yet thankful to be alive.
Fear and Loathing Las Vegas | Hunter S. Thompson (1971)What stays in Vegas did not remain a secret in this book. Take a psychedelic journey through “gonzo journalism” with one of Thompson’s best. The stories are based on Thompson’s journey of traveling to Vegas and covering stories for Rolling Stone Magazine. In the book. The story features characters Raoul Duke and attorney, Dr. Gonzo, to chase the American dream in a drug-induced haze while reflecting on the failures of the 1960’s lifestyle and counterculture movement.
The Sun Also Rises | Ernest Hemingway (1926)This remarkable novel is about Americans abroad following World War I. His words could not better describe the European lifestyle including drinking Pernod in Paris cafes to fishing in a mountain stream in Pyrenees to adventures in Pamplona. For the window to historical France and Spain, and the ebb and flow of American expats, this is a must-read book.
In a Sunburned Country | Bill Bryson (2000)This nonfiction trip to Australia encounters everything – snakes, sharks, crocs and of course, Aussie-rules football. The humorous and insightful read captures the essence and stereotypes fueled by Foster’s beer ads. He found Australia to be an entirely different place, and rightfully so, not many countries bulk population lives on the coast with a harsh, hot and empty interior.
Elizabeth is a fitness professional, workshop presenter and freelance writer. She is an active traveler who treks the globe looking for interesting stories to write and places to photograph. Her most significant travel achievements include living and volunteering in Australia twice and studied yoga in India.