Surrounded by beautiful Instagram feeds, bite-sized travel clips, and deep-dive shows focusing on one country or even one city, we’re reminded again and again that there’s a world outside our immediate purview.
Before the TV and internet, books were a prime way to learn about the unexplored places a walk, drive, or plane ride away from us. Even though their use and popularity has been usurped by that of online travel guides, we still think books are a useful, tactile, and romantic way to gather travel inspiration.
More than a simple coffee table decoration to flip through carelessly, travel books offer both aesthetic and functional appeal. Alongside full-page photographic spreads, you’ll learn more about the histories, stories, things to do, and dishes to eat in different destinations around the world.
These 18 travel books are full of so many interesting, exciting, and unique ideas that you’ll feel like you have no choice but to transform from armchair traveler to real-life traveler. If you need help or inspiration to figure out where to travel next, read one of the books below.
Captions are provided by Amazon and edited for grammar and length.
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For the outdoor explorer: ‘100 Parks, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do’ by Joe Yogerst
For the international foodie: ‘Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Eats’ by Lonely Planet Food
For the young traveler thinking about going solo: ‘The Solo Travel Handbook’ by Lonely Planet
For the traveler who only has time to read one book: ‘Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders’ by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton
For the train traveler: ‘Amazing Train Journeys’ by Lonely Planet
For the domestic traveler: ‘1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die’ by Patricia Schultz
For the traveler who thinks they’ve seen it all: ‘Secret Marvels of the World: 360 Extraordinary Places You Never Knew Existed and Where to Find Them’ by Lonely Planet
For the geography-obsessed traveler: ‘Atlas of the World’ by Oxford University Press, Keith Lye, and Wil Tirion
For the national park pass holder: ‘Moon USA National Parks: The Complete Guide to All 59 Parks’ by Becky Lomax
For the hungry roadtripper: ‘Roadfood, 10th Edition: An Eater’s Guide to More Than 1,000 of the Best Local Hot Spots and Hidden Gems Across America’ by Jane and Michael Stern
For the curious, experiential traveler: ‘The Bucket List: 1,000 Adventures Big & Small’ by Kath Stathers
For the outdoorsy woman: ‘She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild’ by Gale Straub
For the introspective traveler: ‘Destination Earth: A New Philosophy of Travel by a World-Traveler’ by Nicos Hadjicostis
For travelers who let their stomachs lead the way: ‘Great American Eating Experiences: Local Specialties, Favorite Restaurants, Food Festivals, Diners, Roadside Stands, and More’ by National Geographic
For the ambitious road warrior: ‘National Geographic Guide to Scenic Highways and Byways, 5th Edition: The 300 Best Drives in the U.S’ by National Geographic
For lovers of Nat Geo: ‘Journeys of a Lifetime, Second Edition: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips’ by National Geographic
For anyone looking for a new perspective: ‘Overview: A New Perspective of Earth’ by Benjamin Grant
For anyone who’s considering quitting their day job to travel: ‘Not Afraid of the Fall: 114 Days Through 38 Cities in 15 Countries’ by Kyle James