The 16 Best Travel Coffee Table Books of 2022

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TripSavvy's Pick

Palm Springs Modernist is a standout because it covers one of my favorite and most frequent destinations, a desert city whose vibe has the power to transform my entire mindset, even though it’s just 120 miles from home. We recommend Travel Home: Design with a Global Spirit for the budding interior designer.

Even the most mobile jet-setters spend some time at home—especially when a global pandemic leaves many travelers around the world temporarily grounded. So make your home the kind of place that inspires and indulges your wanderlust every day.

Start by stacking up a few coffee table books packed with stunning photographs to take you on a journey right from the comfort of your sofa. Our collection of travel-themed coffee table books captures places, people, culture, and experiences, with images from iconic travel photographers, including Slim Arons and Gray Malin. These make ideal gifts for travelers and photo fans. And they make great gifts for yourself, investments that inspire your travels and keep your wanderlust burning brightly even as you kick your feet up at home.

Here are the best coffee table books for travelers.

The Rundown

Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors at Amazon

Stories and photography celebrating Black people's relationships to the outdoors.

Outlandish: Fuel Your Epic at Amazon

An outdoor guide, backcountry recipe book, and photography collection all in one.

Paris Chic by Alexandra Senes at Amazon

This book shows the human side of one of the most stylish cities on the planet.

Travel Home: Design with a Global Spirit by Caitlin Flemming and Julie Goebel at Amazon

Get inspired to curate interiors that reflect your most cherished places and experiences.

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval at Amazon

If you like Wes Anderson movies, you need this book in your life.

Escape by Gray Malin at Amazon

Escape to beaches and mountains through Gray Malin's evocative photography.

The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small by Kath Stathers at Amazon

Let this book help inspire you to build your own bucket list.

Cereal City Guide: London by Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton at Amazon

Go beyond the tourist stops with this local guide to London.

Poolside With Slim Aarons by Slim Aarons at Amazon

Flip through for a luxe trip through the Caribbean, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, and more.

Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Trips by National Geographic at Amazon

National Geographic's best-selling travel guide contains 500 destinations and experiences worldwide.

Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter at Amazon

Inform your next desert trip with this book's modernist furniture shopping guide.

Los Angeles. Portrait of a City by Kevin Starr, David L. Ulin, and Jim Heimann at Amazon

This comprehensive collection journeys through the city's cultural and political history.

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton at Amazon

Derived from Brandon Stanton's blog, this book includes more than 500 deeply personal stories.

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton at Amazon

Unlike a traditional guidebook, Atlas Obscura focuses instead on outlandish curiosities.

Turquoise Coast by Kinay at Amazon

Dive into the Turkish riviera's scenery and folklore with this stunning book.

She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild by Gale Straub at Amazon

Travel photography combines with the personal stories of 40 women on their journeys through nature.

Nature Swagger: Stories and Visions of Black Joy in the Outdoors by Rue Mapp

Rue Mapp, the founder and CEO of Outdoor Afro, put together a beautiful and inspiring collection of photography, first-person stories, poems, and essays celebrating Black people's connection with the outdoors. We love everything about this hardcover masterpiece.

Price at time of publish: $25

Outlandish: Fuel Your Epic by Morgan Sjogren

Part field guide, part backcountry recipe book, and part photography book, we love everything about this book written by self-proclaimed running bum, Morgan Sjogren. This is a coffee table must for anyone interested in adventure or backcountry travel.

Price at time of publish: $25

Paris Chic by Alexandra Senes

Paris is the metropolitan embodiment of chicness. And this book captures that with everyday Parisian scenes: bistros, alleyways, artist studios, and more. Author Alexandra Senes and photographer Oliver Pilcher show the human side of one of the most stylish cities on the planet.

Price at time of publish: $95

Travel Home: Design with a Global Spirit by Caitlin Flemming and Julie Goebel

This book is for the globetrotters intent on bringing stunning style and cultural inspiration from around the globe into the design of their homes. Get inspired to curate gracious interiors that reflect your most cherished places and experiences. And peek into 20 sophisticated homes of designers who did the same.

Price at time of publish: $45

Accidentally Wes Anderson by Wally Koval

If you like Wes Anderson movies, you need this book in your life. Wally Koval’s New York Times-bestselling collection of photographs, authorized by the iconic filmmaker, captures the real-life places around the world that look like they’re plucked right out of Anderson’s movies. All are presented alongside the human stories behind the images.

Price at time of publish: $38

Escape by Gray Malin

Gray Malin is well known for his evocative overhead beach photography; this book expands on the niche, taking it beyond the beach to locales worldwide. Yes, you get Bora Bora—but also snow in Aspen, dry plains in Namibia, and other remarkably colorful places.

Price at time of publish: $45

The Bucket List: 1000 Adventures Big & Small by Kath Stathers

Sure, the whole notion of a “bucket list” is derived from the idea of eventually dying, but what’s a more optimistic exercise than planning to experience the world’s most magical places before you go? Let this book help inspire you to build your own bucket list—from beautiful beaches to world-class museums and more.

Price at time of publish: $35

Cereal City Guide: London by Rosa Park and Rich Stapleton

The founders of indie travel and style magazine Cereal bring you this carefully curated book covering what to do in the English capital city. Far from just the top-trafficked sightseeing stops, this list is a well-edited collection of local shops, galleries, architectural points of interest, day trips outside the city, and more.

Price at time of publish: $25

Poolside With Slim Aarons by Slim Aarons

Whether you jet-set like the rich and famous or simply aspire to, this book will get your heart pumping for a posh adventure. The pages star the world's most glamorous pools, surrounded by the world's most perfectly tan, oiled-up, teeny-swimsuit-clad globetrotters. Flip through for a luxe trip through the Caribbean, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, and more.

Price at time of publish: $90

Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Trips by National Geographic

National Geographic’s best-selling travel guide contains 500 destinations and experiences across every continent. Think ocean cruising in Antarctica and horse trekking through the Andes, all compiled from the favorite trips of NatGeo travel writers.

Price at time of publish: $40

Palm Springs: A Modernist Paradise by Tim Street-Porter

The pull of Palm Springs has been irresistible for decades, but the desert city’s modernist architecture still defines the destination. This book showcases that iconic design with photos of homes designed by the likes of Richard Neutra, Albert Frey, and Paul Williams. There’s also a resource for modernist furniture shopping to inform your next desert trip.

Price at time of publish: $75

Los Angeles. Portrait of a City by Kevin Starr, David L. Ulin, and Jim Heimann

Beyond the beaches and the Hollywood sign, Los Angeles offers so much to see—and so much to love. This comprehensive collection includes the first known photograph taken in L.A. and journeys through the city’s cultural and political history for a rich and layered portrait.

Price at time of publish: $69

Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton

Sure, New York City has the Chrysler Building and the Empire State—but its real magic lies in its 8 million people. Derived from Brandon Stanton’s blog Humans of New York, this book includes more than 500 vibrant images that tell deeply personal stories, from amusing to heartbreaking.

Price at time of publish: $30

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and Ella Morton

Atlas Obscura’s travel book, which soared to the top of bestseller lists at first publishing, is now in its second edition. It includes more than 100 new places and photographs, 12 city guides, and even a foldout map with a bucket-list itinerary for the ultimate road trip around the world. Unlike a traditional guidebook, this Atlas Obscura gem focuses instead on outlandish curiosities and oddities—like a baobab tree in South Africa so large it has a pub inside with room for 15.

Price at time of publish: $40

Turquoise Coast by Kinay

This stunning book derives its name from the nickname for the Turkish Riviera. It features the region’s scenery and folklore, all captured in eye-popping photography of the shores of the Aegean and Mediterranean Seas. This coastline is such a glorious standout that Mark Antony was said to have chosen it as a wedding gift for Cleopatra. Oliver Pilcher’s photos transport you right onto a yacht to breathe in all that geographic and cultural drama.

Price at time of publish: $93

She Explores: Stories of Life-Changing Adventures on the Road and in the Wild by Gale Straub

This tribute to female voyagers combines travel photography with the personal stories of 40 women on their journeys through nature as they live out of vans, trailers, and trucks, cooking over campfires and sleeping under the stars. In addition to the narratives are trip ideas for readers inspired to do the same.

Price at time of publish: $25

What to Look for in Coffee Table Books

Size

What are the dimensions of your table? And what else do you have on your table? Are you aiming for minimalism? Before exploring coffee table books, you should measure your table and jot down its dimensions. Then, look at the dimensions of every book you're considering to ensure it will take up the perfect amount of space. A single, smaller book might work if you firmly believe that less is more. However, if you prefer a more crowded look, you might want to build a hefty stack and pair it with other travel-related decors.

Aesthetic

While the content of coffee table books is important, they're also designed to be attractive and add to any room they're in. Therefore, it's important to consider the style of the room where you'll be placing these books. You should take into account the room's colors and vibe, whether that be modern, rustic, or somewhere in between, to ensure your books look as though they belong. A book with a vibrant blue cover, for instance, might not look appropriate in a room with many subdued tones.

Price

Because coffee table books tend to be large, hardcover, and high-quality, they can be expensive. Before beginning your search, set a budget, as some luxury books might be sold for $100 or more. It's important to be realistic with yourself when it comes to cost. However, that isn't to say there aren't equally interesting, beautiful coffee table books under $20.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • What is a coffee table book?

    A coffee table book is typically a large, hardcover book meant to be displayed on a small table in a shared space for guests (or you) to peruse casually. They can spark conversations about vacations, road trips, or dream destinations.

  • How should I arrange a coffee table book or books?

    This is up to personal preference and the style that you're trying to curate. However, layering is often a solid bet. Consider stacking two to four books on top of each other. Beside your books, you might place a plant, candle, or tray. You could also top it with travel souvenirs or trinkets from your favorite trips.

  • How should I choose a coffee table book?

    Do you enjoy vibrant landscape photography or reading first-person stories about exploring new cities? Do you prefer serene beaches or snow-covered mountains? Keep in mind your interests when selecting a book to buy so you (and your guests) will stay engaged. Of course, if you want to dive into something new, seek out books with topics you aren't familiar with.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Alesandra Dubin is a frequent traveler and a perpetual wanderluster. She fills her Los Angeles home with art, photos, and mementos from her travels (Morocco, Tahiti, Brazil, Vietnam, Mexico, Turkey, and more) and seeks evocative objects that bring that sense of global adventure into the home.

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