Reading travel books can definitely satisfy your wanderlust. But travel books can also educate you on areas that you want to visit, or places you've already been.
So head to your library, load up your Kindle, borrow from a friend, or plug into an audio book service. Let's satisfy your wanderlust by reading tales of adventure in far-flung places.
My Mum is an avid reader - I raid her bookshelf frequently!
Travel books that enlighten.
I remember reading Dominique Lapiere's, 'City of Joy' after I'd visited Calcutta in 1992. I'm not sure if reading it before would have been more helpful with opening my eyes into the city of such extremes or whether it could have tainted my view.
Calcutta was jarring enough to visit, with the poverty culture shock incredibly in your face. But this book gave me an insight into the culture and lives of the people living in the slums, and more understanding and empathy for the desperate situations they found themselves in, while simply trying to create a better life for themselves and their family.
Travel stories that seem to speak to me.
Right now I'm enjoying reading about midlife travel. Quite possibly because I'm writing in that genre, but I think it's also where I'm at.
They're women my age doing incredible things and leading the way. They're inspiring, bucking the trends and as Rita Golden Gelman says, in 'Tales of a Female Nomad', - "There's more than one way to do life."
I love reading about how other people travel and it sparks interest in me to do things differently. Whether it be slow travel, learning the language, taking cooking classes - it all about making the travel experience more fulfilling and getting to know the locals better.
Travel books that educate.
Travel books are certainly great for informing you of the places you are visiting. They introduce and educate you on the politics, social norms, and the culture of the region.
Before I travelled to Croatia I read 'Goodbye Sarajevo' by Atka Reid and Hana Schofield. The book gave me huge insight into the Croatian War of Independence from 1991-1885. The impact on children, families and communities was heart-wrenching. When I visited the fortress high above Dubrovnik, saw the broken walls of the Old Town, and saw the photos in the gallery of the War Photo Ltd it all started to come together.
For me, gaining insight to a region is much more important than it used to be in my younger travels.
The new (orange) tiled rooftops in Dubrovnik - replaced after the bombardment of this UNESCO site.
Travel books that take you to a different place.
I love reading books based in a different country. I have often been so completely absorbed in it that I start talking like the locals (my poor family!)
Some stories just lightly transport you to a French village, a bakery, and you become enthralled with the local scene - the food, the accents, the sights which are so different from home.
Travel books that awaken us to social issues through stories.
For me, a good travel book has to have great stories. Make it too scientific with data and I'll be asleep.
I love books that explain history and social issues in a country through stories. It brings things alive for me.
On our family trip to the southern states of America, I'd previously read Jodi Picoult's "Small Great Things", on the racial issues, prejudice and hate. Teaming this book with visiting The National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, and The Whitney Plantation which tells the story of the enslaved people on this sugar plantation in Louisiana, was one hell of an eye-opener in to the issues.
The tragic spot where Dr Martin Luther King was shot.
Read a book to give you some great travel vibes.
A great travel book really does give you great travel vibes. Plus it's an extreme way to travel light!
I know it's no substitute for the real places, but it is another next-best-thing.
If you're struggling to find a good travel book - ask your friends and family what they're reading. If you are in a Facebook travel group - ask the people in there. They'll have some great suggestions.
If you are feeling a bit down about not travelling, escape with a good book. Read about some places you'd like to explore.
If reading doesn't give you your travel fix - I have plenty of other ideas in this blog on getting your travel fix while not travelling.
So that's a few ideas to get your travel fix. It's certainly helped me - so hopefully it will help you too.
Happy travel reading,