Skip to main content

Words to Travel By

From stirring memoirs to riveting fiction, these nine compelling reads might just inspire your next great vacation.

Timeless tales transport and transform us much like travel does. From treasured classics to fresh new voices, these page-turners will take you on a meaningful journey whether you’re summering athome or exploring the world. 

“The Adventures of Tintin” by Hergé  

A celebrated series of graphic novels from Belgian cartoonist Hergé, this 24-book collection is a fun read for travelers of all ages. Action-packed adventures center around Tintin, a young Belgian reporter, his faithful fox-terrier, Snowy, and a troupe of friends as they journey around the world solving mysteries and battling foe in both real and fictitious locations.  

“The Innocents Abroad” by Mark Twain 

Twain’s 1867 travelogue is one of the best-selling travel books of all time for a reason. With razor-sharp wit and insight, the American humorist entertains and edifies readers with a vivid account of his ‘great pleasure excursion’ that took him on a transatlantic steamship voyage to Europe and the Holy Land.  

“Wild” by Cheryl Strayed 

When Strayed’s life unraveled in the wake of her mother’s death, she sought salvation on 1,100 unforgiving miles of the rugged Pacific Crest Trail. This all-engrossing memoir takes us on a three-month journey through the hardships and joys of solo hiking and into the deepest corners of the writer’s heart as she taps into the healing power of nature and solace.  

“Around the World in Eighty Days” by Jules Verne 

This classic adventure novel published in 1872 follows protagonist Phileas Fogg as he races to circumnavigate the globe in 80 days or risks losing his personal fortune on a bet. His travels take him to far-flung locales and on various forms of transport including an elephant in India, a steamer in the Pacific Ocean and the transcontinental railroad in the United States. 

“From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily, and Finding Home” by Tembi Locke 

Locke’s poignant memoir tackles love, loss and Italian cooking. Set against the backdrop of the cobblestone streets of Florence and the lush Sicilian countryside, the author chronicles her love story with an Italian chef, the cross-cultural and interracial struggles they overcome to forge a life together, and ultimately, the meaning of family in the face of sorrow.    

"In a Sunburned Country" by Bill Bryson

 

You can’t go wrong picking up any one of Bryson’s many travel tales (“A Walk in the Woods,” “Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe”), and his report on Australia is no exception. Traveling ‘down under,’ Bryson takes readers on a rollicking ride through the country as he discovers the friendliest of locals, the deadliest animals and the most beautiful landscapes.   

“Next Year in Havana” by Chanel Cleeton 

This vibrant novel has all the fixings for a great summer read: passion, secrets and Cuba. The story narrates the parallel lives of nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez, a debutante in late 1950’s Havana, and her granddaughter, freelance writer Marisol Ferrera, who travels from Miami to Cuba to scatter her ashes. While there, she discovers more about her grandmother, her culture and herself in the process. 

“Exit West” by Mohsin Hamid  

A finalist for the Booker Prize, Hamid’s lyrical novel tells the story of two lovers who escape their war-torn city through magic doors. The various portals take characters to different locations across the globe, giving readers a glimpse of places as varied as Mykonos and Marrakesh to Namibia and San Diego from the perspective of a refugee. 

 "All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes" by Maya Angelou

 

Powerhouse poet, memoirist and civil rights activist Maya Angelou recounts the years she spent in Accra, Ghana in the mid-1960’s working as a journalist at a local newspaper and an administrator at the University of Ghana. The fifth installment of her seven-volume memoir explores racial and cultural identity as an African-American expat living in Africa.