Good Travel Reads (And Where to Read Them)

by Emma Hackwood

Whether you prefer tablet or hardcover, books are always the perfect way to travel vicariously; but what’s even better is to find the perfect backdrop to go with that perfect book. With Mother’s Day fast approaching, we’ve compiled a list of books to help Mom travel vicariously, (and with a Flight Centre Gift Card taped to the back cover, this year you can truly give the Gift of Travel).


1. The Book: Out of Africa – Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)

Follow the true stories of Karen Blixen (under the pen name of Isak Dinesen) and her life running a four thousand acre coffee plantation in the hills near Nairobi. Out of Africa paints a beautiful picture of Karen’s love for the landscape and people of Africa.

Where to Read It: In your luxury tent on your African Safari.
There’s no better way to relax than a good book in your fully furnished tent while listening to the sounds of the savannah outside the canvas walls…

2. The Book: My Life in France – Julia Child

The story of Julia Child’s time in France and how she fell in love with the city and the food; filled with behind-the-scenes photos by Julia’s husband Paul, follow the drama of Julia’s battle to be recognized and the extraordinary success she became

Where to Read It: At an outdoor café in Paris.
Where else to read about a great chef’s love of food than while enjoying the Parisian fare yourself while watching the city walk past you.

3. The Book: Eat, Pray, Love – Elizabeth Gilbert

The inspiring true story of Elizabeth Gilbert as she leaves behind her life in America to discover happiness through her journey to three contrasting countries; Italy, India, and Indonesia.

Where to Read It: On a beach in Bali.
Soak up the Indonesian sun while drinking in Elizabeth’s tale, and then learn from the locals as she did. Or, follow in Elizabeth’s footsteps and take a trip to all three countries.

4. The Book: In a Sunburned Country – Bill Bryson

Legendary travel writer Bill Bryson shares his journey across Australia. From train journeys to surfer’s paradise to braving the desert, Bryson brings his humour and knowledge to the Outback and beyond.

Where to Read It: On board the Indian Pacific Railway.
Kill some train time while you follow Bill’s journey from Sydney to Perth, literally and figuratively. If you can take your eyes off the scenery, that is.

5. The Book: On the Road – Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac’s rambling novel of his journey across North America, On the Road paints a picture of Kerouac’s love of America. The novel defines the feeling of longing for freedom.

Where to Read It: Road-tripping Route 66
How else to gain that feeling of freedom so greatly defined in this novel than driving with the windows down, feet on the dashboard, with someone else at the wheel.

6. The Book: A Thousand Days in Venice – Marlena De Blasi

The true story of falling in love with a stranger and a city, this novel tells the tale of chef Marlena De Blasi’s decision to pick up her life in America to marry a man she’s known for only months. Follow Marlena’s own recipes and her journey of living in a foreign country.
Where to Read It: On a park bench overlooking Piazza San Marco
Soak in the romance of Marlena’s journey while you soak in the romance of the city, watching the bustle of Venice’s busiest square from the shelter of your little park bench surrounded by pigeons.

7. The Book: Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

The beloved story of the orphan who adopted an island and our hearts, Anne of Green Gables paints such a beautiful picture of Prince Edward Island that it’s impossible not to love it as much as Anne Shirley does.

Where to Read It: In a Canoe/at a Cottage
Become engulfed by Anne’s imagination while floating on the “Lake of Shining Waters”, and then take a tour of the real Green Gables in Avonlea.

8. The Book: On Mexican Time: A New Life in San Miguel – Tony Cohan

The beautiful story of how Tony and his wife left their bustling busy life in Los Angeles for a run down, 250 year old hacienda in San Miguel, Mexico. Telling the story of the country and the people that engulfed their lives, On Mexican Time will make you fall in love with Mexico as Tony and Masako did.

Where to Read It: The Lagunilla Market in Mexico City
Rather than missing out on the culture of Mexico on a resort beach, venture into Mexico City to really take in the colours, smells, and flavours of Mexico. Find a bench, let the city bustle around you, and fall in love with Mexico along with Tony.

9. The Book: 36 Views of Mount Fuji – Cathy N. Davidson

A story told through a variety of cherished moments and small revelations that work together to create an all-encompassing view of Japan. Cathy Davidson tells the story of her journey to Japan in 1980, and how it changed her view of the culture and the people.

Where to Read It: On the train along the Tokaido Line
The line between Tokyo and Osaka provides amazing views of Mount Fuji, and especially Shin-Fuji station. While you’re waiting for your train, or killing time on the journey, immerse yourself in Cathy’s tales of the beautiful country you find yourself in.

10. The Book: Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson

Ex-pat Bill Bryson takes a journey across Britain, his home for the last 20 years, before heading back to his mother country, America. Bill’s social commentary and unapologetic love for Britain come shining through his signature wit and satire.

Where to Read It: In Leicester Square Gardens
Just around the corner from the ‘Times Square of London’ Leicester Square Gardens is a beautiful place to relax, and chuckle to yourself at Bill’s witty commentary as you witness it unfolding in front of you.


Was there a book that inspired you to travel? Share it with us in the comment section below!

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