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While travelers typically like to explore by foot, there’s nothing like a good travel book to fuel your wanderlust and transport you across the world. Whether you want to escape the stressors of everyday life or plan your next trip, our ever-growing pile of recommended travel books offer a welcome escape. Here are the best travel books in 2020 so far, along with a few tried-and-tested classics that never get old.
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Sailing to the Edge of Time is a personal account and chronicle of sailing life. It is often amusing, poignant, terrifying and inspiring all in one, offering riveting accounts of his adventures around the world, from crossing the Atlantic and the Pacific to a narrow escape from a coup in Yemen. Also included are practical tips and advice, along with ways to live life more adventurously and fully.
A Long Petal of the Sea: A Novel is a New York Times bestseller, following two young people as they flee the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War. In search of a place to call home, the novel spans across decades and continents, detailing life as they start over in a new continent and patiently await the day when they will be exiles no more.
Eat, Pray, #FML is a fascinating story about a woman who has been cheated on and starts a new fairytale romance, one that leads to a planned month-long vacation in Italy. A mix of processing trauma, healing and humor, the entertaining story details her solo adventures in Europe. You’ll find yourself rooting for her along her travels while she embarks on her journey of soul searching.
Secrets of the Savanna is a riveting real-life adventure, with Mark and Delia Owens describe the dramatic story of their last years in Africa. In the midst of fighting to save elephants and villagers, the award-winning zoologists describe their work in remote locations in Zambia and a young elephant named Gift.
The Falcon Thief is a true-crime adventure about wildlife detective determined to stop a rogue who trades in rare birds and their eggs. Learn about the globe-trotting smuggler that spent two decades capturing endangered raptors and the UK detective that worked to protect the world’s bird of prey. Readers will travel to Patagonia, Zimbabwe and the Arctic Circle in this epic adventure.
Written by travel writer Sophy Roberts, The Lost Pianos of Siberia traces the movements and history of these grand European instruments, dating from the time of Catherine the Great. It offers beautiful descriptions of the vast region and the people who populate it, including the bell-ringing veterans and piano-tuning families that show us the importance of music to Siberia.
Hidden Places takes readers on a wild, and beautifully illustrated, journey through 25 most obscured locations. Flip through the whimsical pages to find secret citadels, jungle-covered landscapes and underwater ruins. Trek through forgotten cities to discover secret escapes and unique places.
If you are daydreaming about the last time you visited Italy, A Month in Siena is a must-read. Read about Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hisham Matar’s month-long stay in the beautiful Tuscan city and learn about the relationship between art and life. Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and Evening Standard, it also includes beautiful full-color reproductions of the artworks.
Not just for hiking enthusiasts, Wanderlust USA: The Great American Hike is a great pick for nature lovers. It’s an easy choice for those who want to daydream about taking nature treks in the United States, highlighting everything from day hikes to epic expeditions. The photograph book beautifully showcases images of postcard-perfect landscapes throughout the nation, from the redwoods in California to the Atlantic cliffs in Maine.
Written by legendary Taiwanese author Sanmao, Stories of the Sahara has been translated into English for the first time. The story recalls free-spirited Sanmao embarking on an epic adventure across the Sahara. The travelogue takes us into adventures of the unknown, the joys of wanderlust and the deeper search for meaning and contentment.
Wherever You Go: A Guide to Mindful, Sustainable, and Life-Changing Travel is written by the former CEO of Lonely Planet, offering a fascinating insight into what it’s like to travel the world as a career. Along with personal tips, the engaging book draws on interviews with travel legends where they discuss their favorite places and worst misadventures.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die: The World as You’ve Never Seen It Before is a visual journey of the world. A newer version of Schult’s original coffee-table travel book in 2003, it adds 544 pages of lively text highlighting some of the world’s most fascinating destinations. You’ll be inspired by the gorgeous landscapes and find yourself poring over the 1,000 all-new photographs.
You might have seen the film with Leonardo DiCaprio, but The Beach, by Alex Garland is way better. It’s a thrilling tale about backpackers and their search for paradise in Thailand, with many travelers identifying with the character’s quest to do something “off the beaten path”. This classic travel book and the spellbinding story take you on a wild journey to a hidden lagoon in the sea.
If you love travel books, there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Bill Bryson. One of the most prolific and recognized names in travel writing, his book In A Sunburned Country takes you on a journey through Australia. From east to west, the writer takes you through tiny mining towns and quiet coastal cities, and adds a bit of humor, curiosity and trivia in its tales.
The Geography of Bliss was written by writer and NPR correspondent Eric Weiner, who set out on a year-long journey to find the world’s happiest places. Traveling to places like Switzerland, Iceland, Denmark and, some of his most memorable moments are in Moldova (the world’s most unhappy place) and Bhutan, which created a Gross National Happiness. With humor and engaging wit, he aims to answer the question, “What makes a society happy?.”