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Editor Pick

Our Best Travel Books for Right Now

Updated: June 14, 2024

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Sherry Mims

Words can whisk us off on a journey in an instant, reminding us of the many extraordinary things to see and do (even if we have to wait for the experience). There are even some well-known literary destinations, such as Concord, Mass., which feature tours of book locations, author homes and even virtual tours for literature lovers.

If you’re feeling a bit of wanderlust these days, then check out what AAA inspectors and editors have recommended as the best travel books around.

Top 5 Travel Books Recommended by AAA Inspectors and AAA Editors

No strangers to travel themselves, our well-read travel professionals have chosen writings from a range of historical figures to travel influencers and Pulitzer Prize-winning authors. The top five books, below, have been selected by number of recommendations and are listed in alphanumeric order:

• 1,000 Places to See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz offers a curated list of 1,000 ideas on where to go from obscure to well-known that she considers bucket list-worthy destinations.

• “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert details the writer’s work toward self-discovery by way of Italy (eating and savoring), India (seeking and praying), and Bali, Indonesia (finding balance and, perhaps, love). This is also one of our favorite travel movies.

• "On the Road” by Jack Kerouac, inspired by his own travels with friends around North America, describes the protagonists’ lives amid the postwar Beat and Countercultural movements and features thinly veiled appearances within the novel of important Beat figures, such as William S. Burroughs, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg.

• "To Shake the Sleeping Self” by Jedidiah Jenkins, whose epic trip first garnered attention on Instagram, chronicles a 14,000-mile bicycle trip from Oregon to Patagonia and reflects along the way on growing up, sexual identity, and, yes, adventures on the road.

• "Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck recounts the late Pulitzer Prize-winning author’s — probably somewhat fictionalized — 1960 road trip to rediscover America and Americans with his canine companion Charley.

The Full List of AAA Inspector and AAA Editor Travel Book Picks

Ready to become a literary traveler? Check out these travel books, including the top five, selected by our inspectors and editors. Most books should be available in your favorite bookshop or accessible from your local library.

• “1,000 Places to See Before You Die” by Patricia Schultz

• “A Blissful Feast: Culinary Adventures in Italy’s Piedmont, Maremma, and Le Marche” by Teresa Lust

• “Anne of Green Gables” series by L.M. Montgomery (where you can plan a literary pilgrimage on Prince Edward Island)

• “A Walk in the Woods” by Bill Bryson

• “A Year in Provence” by Peter Mayle

• “Black Girl in Paris” by Shay Youngblood

• “Desert Solitaire” by Edward Abbey

• “Don’t Stop the Carnival” by Herman Wouk

• “Eat Pray Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert (Also a pick for our best travel movies list)

• “Ghost Rider: Travels On The Healing Road” by Neil Peart

• “Less” by Andrew Sean Greer

• “On the Road” by Jack Kerouac

• “Tales of a Female Nomad” by Rita Golden Gelman

• “The Adventures of Tintin” by Hergé

• “The Sheltering Sky” by Paul Bowles

• “The True History of the Conquest of New Spain” (Historia Verdadera de la Conquista de la Nueva España”) by Bernal Díaz del Castillo

• “To Shake the Sleeping Self” by Jedidiah Jenkins

• “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” by John Steinbeck

• “Undaunted Courage” by Stephen E. Ambrose

• “Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven” by Susan Jane Gilman

• “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” by Robert M. Pirsig

Written by

AAA Travel Editor, Sherry Mims

Sherry is an experienced #AAAEditor and former journalist who enjoys writing informative travel articles and reviews. Her commitment to making meaningful connections with people and places fuels her work for AAA. Favorite activities range from skiing to backpacking abroad and taking ghost tours.

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