8 Travel Books Our Editors Are Reading Now

If you're not traveling at the moment—saving up for your next trip, taking a break from flying, or otherwise unable to travel—that doesn't mean you have to stop dreaming about your next destination. As travel editors, we're constantly searching for ways to explore far-off places even when we're grounded for a bit, and these travel books—a mixture of personal essays, historical fiction, and thought-provoking reads—help keep that wanderlust alive from the comfort of home.

01 of 08

The Shadow of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

the shadow of the wind

 Courtesy of Amazon

My aunt gave me "The Shadow of the Wind" as a gift before I studied abroad in Barcelona, and the book never fails to transport me back to Spain. The thriller follows Daniel, a bookseller’s ten-year-old son, on a decade-long journey to discover the origins of a mysterious novel titled "The Shadow of the Wind." And although the story switches between two very different eras—pre- and post-Spanish Civil War—the perfectly conjured Barcelona remains constant, its maze of gothic backstreets as easy to get lost in for a 10-year-old on a mission as a college kid far from home. —Molly Fergus, VP & general manager

02 of 08

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

fellowship of the ring

 Courtesy of Amazon

Sure, this fantasy epic takes place in an entirely fictional world, but hear me out. As you join young Frodo Baggins on his journey through Middle-earth to destroy the One Ring, Tolkien describes the landscape in such a way it’s like you’re practically there (which to me, looks a lot like New Zealand and has me planning a trip to Hobbiton). And you know that often-quoted, wanderlusty line “Not all those who wander are lost”? We can credit that one to "The Fellowship." — Elizabeth Preske, associate editor

03 of 08

Travel As a Political Act by Rick Steves

travel as a political act

Courtesy of Amazon 

Rick Steves might be known for his travel planning expertise from his guidebooks and TV show, but this book is my favorite of his as it tackles a different side of travel. Rather than helping you map out your trip, he writes about how travel helps us to learn from other people, countries, and cultures firsthand, which helps us become more educated and empathetic about the issues people face worldwide. He also explains how we can act on those lessons learned abroad when we return home, from etiquette to political elections, to make the world a more understanding and open-minded place. —Jamie Hergenrader, senior editor

04 of 08

A Woman Alone: Travel Tales From Around the Globe (Multiple Writers)

a woman alone

Courtesy of Amazon 

This is a great collection of essays by women who have traveled the world solo. For anyone considering solo travel, this book is an inspiring and encouraging first step. The writers detail their myriad experiences, including high points of exploring beautiful destinations and low points of navigating frightening situations. Still, the spectrum of stories synthesizes to make the point that even when travel gets complicated, it's always worthwhile, especially on your own. Take on the world by yourself, or from the safety of your own couch with this inspiring read. —Taylor McIntyre, visual editor

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05 of 08

Rich People Problems by Kevin Kwan

rich people problems

Courtesy of Amazon 

For a glimpse into the opulent lives of Singapore's ultra-rich (think vivid descriptions of their glamorous outfits and luxurious homes), pick up this novel by Kevin Kwan, the third in the "Crazy Rich Asians" trilogy. The book opens on Harbour Island in the Bahamas but takes you on a journey to East Java, Indonesia and Davos, Switzerland—and that's just in the first chapter! Every chapter starts with a location and the whirlwind family drama takes readers around the world and into elite and exclusive real-world spaces like The Helena May, a ladies club in Hong Kong. If you still want more drama and luxury after finishing it, watch the movie "Crazy Rich Asians." —Sherri Gardner, assistant editor

06 of 08

What I Was Doing While You Were Breeding by Kristin Newman

what i was doing while you were breeding

Courtesy of Amazon 

This humorous (and real) book was written by an L.A.-based sitcom writer who, while friends were shopping for bridal gowns and chasing toddlers, headed out solo for weeks at a time. In the book, Newman regales of adventurous tales both solo and with fleeting love interests, like an Argentinean almost-priest and a Finn in the Dominican Republic. The book captures how travel shapes us, and the importance of saying "yes" to destinations, meals, and experiences that might push us out of our comfort zones. "You say yes because it is the only way to really experience another place and let it change you," says Newman. —Laura Ratliff, editorial director

07 of 08

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

On the Road

Courtesy of Amazon

This seminal travel book drove me to want to see more of the United States. And more than anything I had read up to that point, I felt like I was in every dreamlike scene, from the late-night diner meals of only ice cream and apple pie to the raucous bus rides and rapid-fire conversations and experiences. It eventually energized me to take my own long-distance bus trips across the country and to see and meet people and places that had been hidden to me previously. —Todd Coleman, creative content director

08 of 08

The Night Tiger by Yangsze Choo

the night tiger

 Courtesy of Amazon

If you are a fan of historical fiction mixed with a little bit of fantasy, "The Night Tiger" by Yangsze Choo is not to be missed. Set in 1930s Malaysia, the story follows Ji Lin, a young woman secretly working in a dancehall to pay her parents' bills, and Ren, an 11-year-old boy seeking out his previous master's severed finger—a final wish made before he died. The story is filled with folklore, superstitions, and mystery, and it takes you on an exciting adventure across the country through bustling villages and ominous jungles. —Emily Manchester, senior analyst, SEO & growth