Top 5 Travel Books You Need to Read

Our list of the top 5 travel books that every veteran, freshly initiated or wannabe traveller, needs to read.

In order to present just five, this list was so ruthlessly cut from the many wonderful books related to travel out there, it’s a wonder the type isn’t bleeding. The selection was made with genre and style in mind - there is a mix of how-to guide, biographical, philosophical and inspirational reads.

With something for every kind of traveller, reader and mood in this list, get comfy in that armchair, train, plane or automobile and enjoy the ride. 

  1. Overlanders’ Handbook, Chris Scott

    An extremely comprehensive guide, written by Chris and several well experienced contributors, on planning and undertaking a vehicle-dependent overland journey. What’s great about this guide is, in addition to all the practical tips, it covers the continents meaning the information is also specific and applicable to just about any corner of the globe you plan on navigating across. I can say from experience that this guide can get a person out of trouble – it was an invaluable source of information for my overland expedition. This book is the peace of mind that an overlander needs - like knowing that one person who has connections to everyone and can speak several languages. It even gives you tips on how to document your journey with clever photography pointers and more. 

  2. Dark Star Safari, Louis Theroux

    Travelling from Cairo to Cape Town, Theroux recounts his journey down the African continent using any mode available, including but not limited to, a dugout canoe, cattle truck and armed convoy. Along the way, he meets and talks to people from a broad cross-section of the world’s second largest continent. What results is his meditations on the history, political environment and beauty of Africa. A well written, detailed and witty account of a journey not many can take themselves – Theroux provides the means. 

  3. Travel As Transformation, Gregory V. Diehl

    A travel book that asks the reader to be more than a shallow tourist. It tells us through the authors spiritual transformation that travel is more than just selfies and self-gratification. Travel has a transformational power unlike anything else that should, and can, be used by anyone. Travel also has the ability to resonate beyond our personal journey in the way our transformed selves behave in the wider world. So, let’s travel with a purpose other than receiving “likes”. 

  4. Microadventures, Alistair Humphreys

    “A microadventure is an adventure that is short, simple, local, cheap – yet still fun, exciting, challenging, refreshing and rewarding.”
    Adventure is only a state of mind, says Alastair, author of Microadventures. I couldn’t agree more. This book is a good reminder that we don’t need to travel with the expectations of others packed on our backs. We travel and have adventures in order to explore something or someplace that is of interest to us so that we might expand our personal horizons. This is true adventure.

  5. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush, Eric Newby

    This one is a classic from the 1950s. This means, along with the sharp wit of Newby, we get a valuable insight into the world before air travel was common place and before the wars that plague us today had begun. Indeed, part of Newby’s account takes place in Afghanistan, a country that we have come to assume has always known strife – this is not true. The other great thing about this novel is the fact that its adventurers are complete travel novices and yet they don’t hesitate to embark on an unusual journey that will push their limits, but enrich their lives. It should be enough to inspire anyone to give just about anything a go.

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