In case you hadn’t realised, armchair travelling is the new way to holiday in 2020. Whether it be taking a virtual cruise or enjoying a thrilling read, exploring the world from the comfort of your living room is undoubtedly one of this year’s biggest and most unexpected trends.

Talking of thrilling reads, come rain or shine books give us the power to cross vast oceans and climb the tallest mountains. They give us the ability to unleash our imagination as we explore far-flung destinations and tales of adventure and enlightenment.

So, to help us beat the monotony of lockdown, we’ve compiled our shortlist of life-changing travel books that will enrich the soul and inspire your wanderlust.

1. Lands of Lost Borders
by Kate Harris

Best travel books: Land of Lost Borders

A brilliant and fierce debut, Lands of Lost Borders is an enthralling travelogue and memoir of Kate and Mel’s journey by bicycle along the Silk Road. A story that is both illuminating and thought-provoking, it reminds us of our connection with nature and challenges the very limits we place on ourselves. 

2. The Great Railway Bazaar
by Paul Theroux

Best travel books: The Great Railway Bazaar

As the title suggests, The Great Railway Bazaar tells the story of Theroux’s epic rail journey from London across Europe through India and Asia. The Orient Express, the Khyber Pass Local and the Delhi Mail from Jaipur are just a handful of trains that will carry you across the globe on this four-month adventure.

3. The Alchemist
by Paulo Coelho

Best travel books: The Alchemist

An international bestseller, The Alchemist tells the mystical story of Santiago, an Andalusian shepherd boy who yearns to travel to the Egyptian pyramids in search of treasure. However, his quest for travel leads him to bounties far more enriching than he could have dreamed of. An inspiring and thought-provoking tale of self-discovery, The Alchemist will touch your soul and leave you reaching for your dreams. Founder of curated libraries company, libraryessential.com, Beatrice Petit Bon comments: “I love the empowering message built into the enjoyable pilgrimage narrative. It teaches you to take life into your own hands.”

4. Into Thin Air
by Jon Krakauer

Best travel books: Into Thin Air

Told through the eyes of Krakauer himself, Into Thin Air is a gripping tale recounting the true events of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster. A book full of adventure in the extreme, it highlights the challenges and dangers of climbing Everest, along with the emotional toll this can take on the human psyche, especially when disaster strikes.

5. Wild
by Cheryl Strayed

Best travel books: Wild

Told with suspense, warmth and humour, Wild powerfully captures the story of a troubled young woman who, after losing everything, embarks on a solo hike along the Pacific Crest Trail in the US. A story of courage and healing, set in the glorious scenery of the North West Pacific Coast, Wild will leave you deep in thought as you plan your own journey of self-discovery.

6. The Lost City of the Monkey God
by Douglas Preston

Best travel books: Lost City of the Monkey God

Something for those in search of a mystery, The Lost City of the Monkey God joins acclaimed journalist Douglas Preston as he retraces the path of Theodore Morde, a daring journalist who returned from the Honduran rainforest with hundreds of artefacts from the Lost City but committed suicide without revealing its location. A true-life adventure that takes readers in search of a lost civilization…one believed to hold immense wealth yet result in certain death for anyone who finds it.

7. The Geography of Bliss
by Eric Weiner

Best travel books: Geography of Bliss

A unique tale that combines travel, data, psychology and humour, The Geography of Bliss takes us across the globe from America to India, not in search of what happiness is, but where it is. Enlightening us with treasures from some of the world’s happiest nations, even the seasoned traveller will find some interesting and new ideas to help inspire not just their wanderlust, but their outlook on life, too.

8. Love with a Chance of Drowning: A Memoir
by Torre DeRoche

Best travel books: Love with a chance of drowning

Set against a backdrop of the world’s most beautiful destinations, Love with a Chance of Drowning charts the travels of Torre, a San Francisco city girl who throws caution to the wind and sets sail on a voyage after a chance encounter with the man of her dreams. A tale both exhilarating and terrifying, this love story turned travel memoir will have you craving for your own South Pacific adventure.