Of course, it should be easy to buy gifts for someone going travelling. Buy them a travel book. But which one? I love to receive books about travelling. Whether it is large photo books with inspiring pictures to gaze at and imagine myself in exotic places. Or travel stories with personal and often funny experiences. I love them all. Travel guide books can also be useful gifts for people going travelling. I read guide books about places before I’ve even planned to go there. In fact, it’s one of the places I get my inspiration to travel from. So, this is my list of travel-related book gifts for someone going travelling. Hopefully, your gift will inspire someone you know to travel. They’ll thank you for it! Although you can always buy them for yourself as well, of course!
Generally, it’s easier to buy someone a travel book if you know their plans. If you want to give someone great travel ideas but aren’t sure exactly where they want to go then try an area guide book. Here are some of my favourites grouped by area. Click on any of the book covers to go directly to Amazon to find out more or to purchase your chosen books.
Europe Travel Books
I have all three of these and they all offer a slightly different perspective on European travel. Of course, I tend to think you can never have too many travel books anyway so I’m always looking for one more. Browsing these books give me such great ideas for travelling in Europe. What’s particularly great is that I find places I wouldn’t have put on my list otherwise. This is the great thing about reading more geographically open books. You don’t start with a preconception about where to go. So when you read it and find something really interesting it can form the beginning of some new trip planning. After all, travel is all about discovering new places.
Asia Travel Books
As I have said, reading books about a more general area is great for inspiring travel. If you’re giving someone travel books as a gift then you don’t want to be too specific unless you know their plans. I’ve included two budget guides to Southeast Asia. However, don’t be put off if you don’t travel on a tight budget. They’re more geared to great value for money than the really cheap end of the market. I like them because they have tips on things like using public transport and eating where the locals do. Both things I love to do when I travel.
North America Travel Books
There is so much choice when you look for books on North American travel. I didn’t want to offer up the usual mix of books but I really love this selection. It offers a slightly different approach to travel in North America. The Alaska planner is really great and gives you a mile marker by mile marker guide. I love this idea and it is the perfect companion for an Alaskan road trip.
The two Lonely Planet guidebooks I’ve suggested are both collections of road trips and I think you’ll love them. I do. If you’re a regular reader of the blog then you’ll know that I love road trips. Well, any form of overland travel really but we’ve managed quite a few road trips over the years. I love these trip collections because they can really inspire you. We don’t always follow the trips exactly but we use them to plan our own routes and itineraries. As well as the individual itineraries they also indicate where you can combine two or even three of their routes for a longer road trip.
Finally, I included the book, 1000 places to see in the US and Canada before you die. This is such a fun idea and it also includes so many places that I wouldn’t have considered visiting. Great for anyone even if you think you already know everywhere in the United States that’s worth visiting. Equally, I bet there are a few places in this book you haven’t thought about yet.
South America Travel Books
South America is a large continent and of course, there’s so much to see and do there. So it wasn’t easy deciding which guide books to recommend. I decided on two budget travel guides again for the same reasons as I have noted earlier. It’s a great approach to travel if you really want to get to know a country and its people. I also included the Insight Guide to South America because I love that they also include a free ebook and app with it. Indeed, that’s an idea I’d like to see copied by the other travel guide publishers.
Australia and New Zealand
All in all, there are a lot of books about Australia and New Zealand. So why have I chosen these? Firstly, I recommend Fodor’s Essential New Zealand because it’s a great overview of the country. Secondly, the New Zealand Travel Guide is included because it contains some really insights from local tour guides. It also has some interesting 7-day itineraries which are really useful for trip planning.
Basically, my other three recommended books are road trip itineraries. Both Australia and New Zealand are great countries for driving. These guides will get you started with your trip planning because they give you some great ideas on where to go. I love the Outback Australia guide book because it’s a bit different. It can be so tempting to just stay in the big cities on the coast but Australia has so much more to offer. Instead of hugging the coast, get out on the road and see more of it.
Africa Travel Books
Africa is a huge and very diverse country and it’s rather difficult to find a guide book which covers it all well. As I have noted already in this blog, I’m a big fan of Lonely Planet guidebooks. So I’ve included their Africa book. It’s a great overview and will also give you a good idea of which African countries to consider. However, be warned. Reading these travel books is quite addictive and I now have quite a lot of African countries on my bucket list because of this.
Many people who plan to visit Africa are thinking of a safari holiday. So I’ve included this excellent guide to all things African safari related. I was very surprised at just how many options there are and for all budgets.
Finally, I’ve include Essential South Africa. I know South Africa is the first African country that a lot of people want to visit. With good reason. It’s a fascinating place with some amazing scenery, wildlife and sights. This travel guide book will give you a good idea of what’s on offer.
I wanted to include a Middle East guidebook but actually, there aren’t that many available. So, I included my favourite Lonely Planet Guide. As always, it gives a great overview of the region and suggests some itineraries for visiting depending on how long you want to be away. I think you’ll find it a great introduction to the Middle East.
Help them build a bucket list
Of course, everyone should have a bucket list of places to go. Unfortunately, mine keeps getting longer and longer but I’m working my way through it. To build a really good bucket list you need some quality inspiration. A 1000 places to see before you die is the worldwide companion to the North America and Canada version I mentioned earlier in this article. They’re great books and worthy of a read even if you’re not planning on travelling anywhere. Nothing wrong with a bit of armchair travel now and again.
The second book is unashamedly aimed at helping you build a bucket list. I like it because it includes big and small adventures so there’s something for everyone. Not all bucket list travels have to be months long or terribly exotic.
Fabulous Photo Travel Books
One of my favourite types of travel book. The coffee table photo travel book. These books are all marvellously inspiring collections of amazing photographs and wonderful travel suggestions. National Geographic does this better than anyone in my opinion. These make fabulous gifts for someone going travelling or for anybody who aspires to travel more. Leave them out on the coffee table when you have guests and they’ll inspire endless whistful conversations. Before you know it you’ll all be planning your next trip.
If you’re buying gifts for someone going travelling then a good choice is a travelogue. These books give you a really personal view of how another traveller has experienced a country. I love reading these. In this section, I’ve included all my favourite travel writers.
Firstly, Levison Wood. I first heard of Levison when he appeared on the TV in Walking the Nile. That kind of long-distance walking is not something I would ever do. However, I loved seeing his experiences and especially his interactions with people along the way. I think this is one of the things you get from this kind of travel narrative. That personal touch. Real-life travel stories.
Secondly, Michael Palin. He is something of a travel hero of mine. It was Michael Palin and his TV series Around the World in 80 Days which inspired our own around the world without flying adventure. There are lots of books linked to his various travel TV series and I recommend them all. However, here I’ve included his diaries. This is a fascinating man with an amazing way with words. Read about his travelling life as only he can tell it.
Finally, Bill Bryson. Last but not least as they say. What can I say about Bill Bryson? I love his books. These are just a small selection of them and if you can afford it and have the time then I urge you to buy and read them all. He is funny, irreverent and a marvellous observer of people. I read In a Sunburned Country as we travelled across the United States on our way to Australia. Parts of it are so funny I laughed out loud despite reading it in public. He really captures the essence of Australia. In his own unique way of course. I think that it is absolutely the funniest travel book that I have ever read.
Similarly, A Walk in the Woods, about his time spent walking the Appalachian Trail and The Road to Little Dribbling about his time in the UK will have you doubled up with laughter. If ever anyone could inspire someone to travel then it’s Bill Bryson.
Inspire your friends with my free ebook
If you want to inspire your friends to travel more without any cost to yourself at all then send them a link to my free ebook. All they have to do is subscribe to the 6oclocktrain newsletter and they’ll receive a free copy of my ebook, Where to Travel When. It’s a great little book. Well, not so little actually. It’s over 80 pages of great travel ideas all with suggestions on when is the best time to go. Now, that’s a great gift that won’t cost you a penny!
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