10 Inspiring Travel Books To Read Next

by | 18 Jun 2020

We recently shared some of our team’s favourite travel films, and we loved the passion they felt for the film genre that’s been keeping their travel dreams alive. We’d also like to share their top pick of travel books used to inspire their next travel adventure or to travel back in time. Some are about travelling, others are just set in a beautiful location. From coffee table books with incredible images, to a perfect read for kicking back and relaxing on your next holiday. Either way, we hope you add one, or all of these to your reading list.

© 2018 Macmillan Publishers

1. The Seven Sisters by Lucinda Riley

The first novel of an incredible series, The Seven Sisters starts in a castle called Atlantis on Lake Geneva, where the sisters discover their billionaire adoptive father has died. He leaves them each clues and coordinates to lead them to discover their own origin. This bestseller follows the journey of one of the sisters, Maia as she travels to Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and is one of romance and self-discovery, as well as admiring the magic of Brazil. We not only recommend this book, but we’re sure you’ll get hooked and enjoy the ability each book has to transport you to each of the girls’ origin country – Norway, England, Australia, Spain and Kenya.

“A great read if you like travel, romance and history. In a nutshell there are six sisters (the seventh one is missing) all adopted from different parts of the world. When their adoptive father passes away he leaves them each a clue to their original heritage and each of the six book follows their journey to discover who they are. In lockdown I have discovered a few amazing new places.”

Insight Review by Kelly J, Sales, Johannesburg

© 2014 Sourcebooks

2. Paris Letters by Janine McLeod

This book truly inspires wanderlust, even being the reason Sales Manager Emina took a year off work to travel the world as a young adult. A beautiful true story of a woman who decides to quit her job and live in Paris for two years, to achieve freedom. As she falls in love, with Paris and a local butcher, Janice looks to do whatever she can to make this dream last forever. Romance, idyllic Paris and a few clever insights into what it takes to change your life, what more could you want in a book?

“This is the book that inspired me to take a year off to travel the world (during my first adult life crisis). A beautiful true story of a woman who decided to quit her job and live in Paris for a year. It is somewhat your typical romance novel with a few clever insights into what it takes to completely change your life.”

Insight Review by Emina H, Sales, Brisbane

© 2008 Virago UK

3. Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite Van Geldermalsen

A book about a New Zealand born nurse who falls in love and marries a Bedouin souvenir seller from Petra, Jordan. This beautiful love story deals with how she learns the daily practices and culture of Bedouin women. As Marguerite learns more about the Bedouin traditions and becomes a part of the community, we too as readers learn to appreciate different cultures and better understand life in Jordan.

“A great read. It delves into the daily life of Bedouin women, their traditions and how Marguerite feels herself becoming part of the Bedouin community.”

Insight Review by Rosie G, Sales, Auckland

© 2012 Roli books

4. Around India in 80 Trains by Monisha Rajesh

This book will transport you to colourful India, through various incredible places connected by the country’s large train network. The story follows the author’s own story, of woman who once lived in India as a young girl before her family moved to England. She returns to India with a map of the Indian Railways and a mission to travel around India on 80 trains, covering huge 40,000km. Monisha is also fascinated with the wide range of people she meets across the variety of different types of trains, from commuter and toy trains to world renowned luxury trains.

“The title says it all and the tales of the journey’s are great. Reading this has made me take more trains on my travels in India, and one day I’ll get around to doing the Dibrugarh-Kanyakumari Vivek Express train – the longest train journey in the country, the entire journey lasts 85 hours – if  it’s running on time!”

Insight review by Sarah C, Custom Groups, London

© 1995 William Morrow and Company

5. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson 

Follow the story of the American author Bill Bryson taking a final road trip around Britain before moving back the United States, after nearly two decades spent on British soil. Exploring beautiful scenery and cultural heritage of Britain, he realises just how much love he holds for his adopted home.

“This book highlights how the UK is filled with many hidden gems and interesting people. It was the first book I read by Bryson and I have since gone on to read most of his books with particular favourites being ‘Down Under’ and ‘Neither Here nor There’. The stories make for easy reading and his clever observation of these countries and the people he meets gives the reader some classic laugh out loud moments!”

Insight Review by Beverley R, Marketing, London

© 2007 Riverhead Books

6. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Just as we loved the film, we also loved getting carried away in the book about one woman’s search for herself and happiness. Not only does this trip make us dream of eating all the carbs in Italy, meditating in India and looking out over spectacular rice-paddy fields in Indonesia, but it’s a reminder of how important a women’s independence and sense of self is, especially following a divorce.

“One woman’s search for everything traveling across Italy, India and Indonesia. It is a biographical memoir of the author’s trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels. A self discovery and travel book which has been made into a movie – both equally pleasant to read and watch…”

Insight Review by Dijana B, Service Desk, Toronto


© 2015 Herron &​ Murray

7. New York, Grand Tour Series by Peter Murray

Coffee table books have the ability to inspire us to travel just as much, if not more than novels. This hardback has some of our favourite pictures of the iconic New York City. Each page delves into a new neighbourhood or iconic landmark, both natural and manmade, with stunning images and informational blurbs to accompany. At a time where New York is not how we remember, it’s heart-warming to be reminded of the magic of the city of lights.

© 2013 Lonely Planet

8. Beautiful World by Lonely Planet

A stunning collection of some of the world’s best travel photography, taking you to some of the world’s most spectacular sights, from uncovered and remote to renowned. Get inspired from the sofa, you’ll be transported to the Northern Lights and bustling cities, marvel at carved canyons and witness wildlife, this aptly named book really does remind us of the beauty of the world, and why we have such a passion for travel.

© 2014 Vintage Classics

9. Bombay Stories by Sa’adat Hasan Manto

Another magical escape to bustling India, this time to Bombay, as this book compiles the authors personal stories from his many years working in the city as a journalist during the 1930’s and 1940’s. Each short story explores the energy of the city and the variety of people living there, including the people of the city’s less desirable underbelly.

© 1999 Penguin Books

10. On the Road by Jack Kerouac

If a road trip is more your style, ‘On The Road’ will take you there. The 1957 novel is based on the author’s own travels with his friends across the USA. Written almost as a diary, the novel details a tale of adventure, partying and mischief, as he journeys from New York City west, wherever the road takes him. He is fiercely independent and holds a powerful sense of freedom to change plans and follow newfound friends.

These books help inspire us, to discover something new or reflect on trips of our past. Regardless, we hope you take the time to escape in one of our favourite travel books.

Alex is the Editor of Insightful, and has over 10 years' experience as a writer and editor within the travel industry. In his professional travels, he has been all over the world – from road-tripping in Australia and New Zealand, to eating his way around the Canadian Maritimes and criss-crossing Italy from Sardinia to Emilia-Romagna.