Reading while traveling

Farhad Karimli 13 January 2020 1235 views 15 min. read
Table of contents

The way to get to know the world, discover different places, and get familiar with the exciting destinations of our planet is not just through traveling. You can obtain all the listed by reading a book. As the English philosopher, historian, political figure, and writer, founder of empiricism Francis Bacon said that books are the ships of thoughts, wandering through the waves of time and carrying their precious cargo from generation to generation. Being a passenger of this ship, you can travel from centuries to centuries, from countries to countries, from cultures to cultures. How to travel with books? We offer you the best books about travel so you can also get a chance to become a passenger on this ship.

What are the benefits of reading a book?

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We get familiar with the cultures we will get to know while traveling in advance by reading a book. We know the culture, the peculiarities of places and start to love them by reading a book. Then it becomes easier to adapt to the culture of the destination country. It does not seem to us strange as we have already have modeled that culture in our heads in advance; on the contrary, it overlaps with our expectations.

Travel books increase our courage

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Another country, less money, people we don't know or understand, and the food we will try for the first time. Of course, it scares us. But by reading the travel books that have been written by people who have so far mastered their courage and started to travel, we can muster up our courage, overcome our fears, and fulfill our desire to go despite all the difficulties.

Becoming familiar with the city map 

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If you are wondering why do people read travel books? One of the best and foremost things about travel books is that we have preliminary information about the city we are going to visit. Imagine you have traveled to a town and you don’t know what to do. Due to the travel books you read, you know in advance where you will stay, what you will eat, where you will go, which vehicle to choose, and how to communicate with people. As a result, you will be familiar with the city as if you’ve been here for some time, without fear or hesitation.

Now let’s see the best books about travel. Some of the must read travel books listed are fiction, some are memories of travelers, and some are works having a separate theme on travel plotline. Let’s get acquainted with them:

Saffet Emre Tonguc - 101 must-see places in Europe

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The book gives information about 101 destinations to visit in forty European countries, as well as exploring ancient Ottoman traces in these areas. This one of the best books to read for travel describes museums, libraries, historical monuments, landscapes, restaurants, and more. Moreover, it answers the questions comprehensively “Where to stay in any city?” and “What to eat in any city?” One of the advantages of this Europe travel book is its richness in pictures. In addition to the places where go in 40 countries, the author also writes about areas of entertainment and shopping. Tonguc’s work should come first in the list of books that a traveler should read.

Ernesto “Che” Guevara - The Motorcycle Diaries

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At the age of 23, Argentine Marxist, revolutionary, politician Ernesto Che Guevera, travels to South America on a motorcycle with Alberto Granado. With a desire to explore America, Che starts to write a diary while traveling. This one of the best books about travel, based on Che’s diary, provides extensive and detailed information about the areas they have overcome while traveling, the lifestyle of the people in those areas, and the different cultures.

Sarihans - Pedalımda 5 ulke (Five Countries on my treadle)

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“A dream, two teachers, five countries, dozens of cities, hundreds of villages, thousands of colors, festivals, millions of treadles, billions of people ...” As the description of the travel book explains, it is about the travel of a family on a bike. The couple, Inci Sarihan and Soner Sarihan have overcome the kilometers of the road by bike and written down their memories, the cities they have visited, places they overnighted, the restaurants they had food in, and the hundreds of sites they admired. The writing style of this world travel book will appeal to you and increase your interest in travel.

Evliya Celebi - Seyahetname (Book of Travel)

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Celebi ibn Dervis Mehmed Zilli has been in Europe, West Asia, and Egypt for over 50 years and has written a 10-volume “Seyahetname.” The book covers accurate, extensive information about the geography, history, literature of the places where the author traveled, the culture, language, religion, art, way of life, etc. of people living in these places. This book also includes mosques, libraries, cuisines of various nations, folk games, etc. The “Book of Travel” was first published in 1848 at Kahire Bulak. The first six volumes were published by 1902, the seventh and eighth volumes in 1928, and the ninth and tenth volumes in 1935-1938 years. This magnificent 10-volume work, translated into more than 20 different languages, was included in UNESCO’s World Library in 2013. What books to buy for travel? You already know!

Marco Polo - The Travels of Marco Polo

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Italian traveler Marco Polo wrote his travel memoirs as a book in 1298. There is comprehensive information about the geography, history, ethnography, and natural resources of the countries Marco traveled to. This one of the inspiring travel books to read, known in various European countries, has been translated into many languages. Some travelers have even decided to travel, inspired by the book “The Travels of Marco Polo.”

Bruce Chatwin - In Patagonia

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According to “The Daily Telegraph,” Patagonia, where diesel-producing fungus found, has always been in the spotlight in Europe and the world. Traveling to Patagonia is the dream of every nature-loving traveler. Bruce Chatwin’s “In Patagonia” increases the love for this place five times. In the travel book, the traveler, who travels to Patagonia, gives comprehensive information on the landscape he has seen, the plants, the mysterious forests, the beauty is hidden in the mountains, the narrow and adrenaline routes.

Peter Aufschnaiter - Seven Years in Tibet

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Still, want to know how to travel with books? Here is one of the best books to read for travel. After escaping from captivity, the heroes of the book come to Tibet and begin to live there. The movie, with the same name filmed based on the book, describes the Tibetan highlands, dense forests, green plains, living beings, populations, their employment, agriculture, and, in short, the Tibetan mysterious way of life, along with the plotline of the work. 

Elizabeth Gilbert - Eat, Pray, Love

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Another book in the list of must read travel books is Eat, Pray, Love. Elizabeth, a New York-based writer, begins her journey to find out the meaning of life and true love after her divorce. Travel consists of 3 parts: eating, praying and loving. In the first part of the world travel book, she goes to Rome, famous for its food. According to part 2, the next stop is India, well-known for its religious beliefs. In the last part, our hero continues her search for love in Bali. The movie with the same name based on the book has so beautifully described the countries traveled that it is impossible not to have a desire to travel, interest, and love those countries.

Gizem Altın -  Bir Bilet Al (Buy a ticket)

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25-year-old Gizem writes about a 5-week European journey by train. As you read this Europe travel book, you will be traveling along with the author. French vineyards, breakfast in Athens, sunsets in Spain, and the Alpine peaks in Italy will vibrate in front of you, and your desire to travel to Europe soon will increase.

Murat Belge - Istanbul Gezi Rehberi (Istanbul Travel Guide) 

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Istanbul is one of the oldest cities in the world. What makes this city, hiding the history so different from other cities? What books to buy for travel in Turkey? In his Istanbul travel guide book “Istanbul Travel Guide,” Murat Belge excellently writes about the unique beauty of Istanbul, its unique styles and traditions, and how the trip can leave you with fond memories. 

Barıs Bakır - Sırt Cantamda Avrupa (Europe in My Backpack)

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Gizem Altın’s book “Buy a Ticket” has been written so exciting and motivating that many young travelers fall into the arms of Europe. Barış Bakır, the author of the book “Sırt Cantamda Avrupa” (Europe in My Backpack), was one of those travelers. The book contains memories of the author traveling to Paris, Venice, Rome, and Athens. Moreover, the travel guide book includes the answers to even less serious questions that may come to mind during traveling to Europe. While reading the book, you will wake up in Paris with the author, sail in the streets in Venice, watch the gladiators in Rome, and hear the words of world philosophers in Athens.

Benian Culhaoglu - Tek Basina Dunya Gezisi (Traveling the World Solo) 

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Are you afraid of traveling alone? Is it annoying to travel alone? Then this one of the inspirational travel books will be a source of motivation for you. Benian Culhaoglu’s book, “Traveling the World Solo,” based on his travel experience in 40 countries on four continents, correctly answers the question “How to travel the world alone?” Thus, the first of the advantages of solo traveling is the ability to travel without limits and freely. While traveling alone, we can do whatever we want and create unforgettable memories in our lives. We can also eat whatever we want in the restaurant we prefer, stay in the place we like, and go wherever we want. Briefly, there will be no divergence while traveling alone, so we can enjoy our time as we wish.

Moreover, the book answers questions such as what should be in our bag when traveling and also is the answer to what are the benefits of reading a book? There are things that, at first, seem unnecessary to us, but they are the essential thing in travel. Benian Culhaoglu answered all the questions about the journey.

Akdogan Ozkan - 101 things you should do in Turkey before you die

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The writer, who has a sales record with his first book, also has a record with the second one. The book “101 Things You Should Do in Turkey before You Die” tells of the unique beauties we can meet in various cities in Turkey. Each chapter describes a city and provides information about must-see places. Another Akdogan Ozkan’s book 101 Things You Should Do in Istanbul before You Die” describes every area, every street, and every step in Istanbul. Why do people read travel books? By reading the book, we can imagine, Istanbul, will be mysterious and increase the love for life.

Jack Kerouac - On the Road

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One of the best books to read about travel "On the Road," written by Jack Kerouac, one of the leading writers of American literature, tells the story of several friends traveling. These friends, who are a writer, poet, idler, musician, etc., set off to travel. Although they were people of different worlds, the only value that united them was to seek a different life and a different world. Thus, they overcame the States from top to bottom. They overcame some part of the road alone, some with their friends, some by hitchhiking, with people they have never met before, some with women they fell in love with, and some again alone and at the end again together with friends. Each character described the meaning and sense of the travel in their language: "There was a sense of life, love, compassion on the road, but there were hunger and fatigue as well. Whatever it was - good or bad - it does not matter, there was a search on the road, there were answers to the questions." "Travel creates feelings that we cannot name; you cannot comprehend or endure these feelings. These feelings will take you into its world, liberate you, and you will set off the way instinctively. You overcome the roads, distances, countries, and at the end of the day, you start to think about everything while your friend plays dismal music on the guitar around the bonfire kindled to get warmer in the evening and warm up the food. Again, a feeling that you can’t name and a sense of happiness that hugs you.” The interesting travel book encourages people to travel and see the world from the very first page. 

Joshua Slocum - Sailing Alone Around the World

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It is the dream of most people to travel the world by boat. Writer and traveler Joshua Slocum was the first person to realize this dream. Joshua Slocum traveled to China, Japan, on various ships for various purposes until he was 51 years old. On April 24, 1895, at the age of 51, he left Boston on a boat called Spray. He arrived in Newport, Rhode Iceland, on June 27, 1898, at the end of a 3-year journey by overcoming 46,000 miles. Thus, his world tour was complete. He published the book "Sailing Alone Around the World,” describing his travel history, and gradually became famous around the world. 

Jon Krakauer - Into the Wild

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The book, “Into the Wild,” tells the story of a young man, overwhelmed by modern technology in cities, and believes in finding the beauty of life in nature. Christopher McCandless, the hero of the book, donates $ 25,000 to the charity, leaves his car in the middle of the desert, burns the money in his pocket, and gets on the road. He arrives in Alaska, traveling. One of the best books to read about travel describes how a stable lifestyle is stressful, uninteresting, and how leaving everything behind and traveling helps to understand life, and better understand happiness. 

Robert M. Pirsig - Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

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A book with fluent language tells of a man’s long journey on a motorcycle with his son and two friends. The heroes of the work are tired of monotonous life, oppressed by the people living in artificial life, and looking for the true meaning of life in the boundless villages of the United States, the plains widening while looking, mountains rising while climbing, and reach to the ocean at the end of their travel. This USA travel book describes the environment of the places the heroes overcame and explains the inability to witness these beauties without traveling.

Luis Sepulveda - Patagonia Express

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Luis Sepulveda, one of the talented writers of Chile, wanted to make a journey, travel around the world, and meet people from different cultures. Luis, whose dream came true, traveled around the world and wrote his travel experiences in the book “Patagonia Express.” Besides the travel memories, the book also describes the psychology of travel. The author seeks an answer to the question “How to go on a world trip?” and writes: “While we overrate the world, our fear of travel increases, and it seems that we will not be able to go on a world tour, and will return seeing the difficulties on our way. However, do not think how big or small the world is. Start your journey and think of overcoming the roads, villages, cities, and countries. Feel the journey.” Luis Sepulveda’s Patagonia Express is a book of motivation for a journey.

Ihsan Onder - HindistaNepal (IndiaNepal)

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One traveler, two countries, five cities, and eighteen days - This one of the interesting travel books to read is a recap of the experiences and memories of an 18-day journey of an ordinary person to India and Nepal. But what makes this book different? Ihsan Onder’s book “HindistaNepal" encourages people who dream of traveling to various destinations in the world, along with the travel to these countries, but cannot realize their dream because of permission finance, elf-confidence, and other reasons. The writer himself has delayed his desire for eight years because of these problems. This travel book consists of 2 parts: The first part explains how and where he started his travel and how it continued, where he was, what he has witnessed in India, and then in Nepal. The second part gives brief information about the must-see places, restaurants in India and Nepal, and the photos were taken by the author' during an 18-day journey are presented as photo albums. Another advantage of the book is that it gives methods to calculate the approximate cost of travel to these countries in advance.

Bora Ercan - Goge Yakin Topraklar: Bir Tibet Yolculugu (Land close to Heaven: Tibet Journey)

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This book, written by Bora Ercan, gives the most accurate and comprehensive answer to the question, "Why travel to Tibet?" The author has not forgotten to write about the cuisine, yoga, and people full of life in Tibet, along with the description of his experience, events he attended, places he visited and saw.

Figen Letaconnoux - Yasamımdan suzulen Afrika (Africa, drawn from my Life) 

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Figen Gunduz Letaconnux’s book “Africa, drawn from my Life,” describing the current situation in the countries of Africa which are not explored or not fully explored, is the source of motivation to love Africa, along with the author’s journey memories. According to many, the best place to travel is the developed countries. Nevertheless, Letaconnux demonstrates in the book that the magnificent nature of Africa, where developed countries turn away from, is one of the best in the world. As the writer says: “To know and discover the world, you do not need to go to the seas and lakes always, sometimes you should go to the dry climate and the highest peaks. If you want to enjoy the journey, travel to places, not known, and waiting to be discovered, instead of popular places." The book gained popularity immediately after its publication. Since many wanted to travel to Africa, but few did. So, this book was their travel guide. On the other hand, the book has an encyclopedic character as the author visited and wrote about most parts of Africa.

Fazli Bulut - Hindistan Seyahatnamesi (Indian Travel Book)

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Fazli Bulut’s Indian Travel Book encourages people to travel from its very first sentence: “This book is not a travel book. Not even a history book. I have tried to share with you India, where I have traveled with pleasure, people I have met there, things I have read, seen, and told me, in this book. While traveling, I have found out that the world is too big, but people and the culture are similar.” This one of the best books about travel describes the daily life of a person traveling to India. How and at what price to stay in a hotel, what kind of food we can taste, Indian customs, dishes, clothes, religious beliefs, etc. have been written in a very fluent language.

Pukka Living - Mustesna İstanbul (Exceptional Istanbul) 

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We have known Istanbul more or less for films and serials, books and videos. However, this Istanbul travel guide book describes more than hundreds of exceptional places in Istanbul. Pukka Living brings together unusual places of monotone Istanbul in the book “Exceptional Istanbul.” The peculiarity of the book is that it lists different sites for ancient lovers, separate areas for those who love modernity, other places for those who love peace, and various places for those who love the crowd. Pukka Living notes in his book that the importance of traveling is that you cannot discover the city from travel books, movies, the internet, or people who have been there. To know the city, you shall visit it and leave no stone unturned. 

Cliff Jacobson - Backpacking

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The Backpacking Book is from Cliff Jacobson’s book series “Basic Illustrated.” As the name implies, this book emphasizes what must be in your backpack, no matter where you go. However, the specificity of the book does not end there. If you are a spendthrift, you will spend a lot of money, even on the smallest things during your travel. So you have to save on something. The book touches upon this issue and offers ways to minimize the costs of spendthrift travelers.

Okan Okumus - Yasasın bel cantası (Goodie Backpack)

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Millions of people around the world want to travel, get out of their stable life and witness different places, and discover themselves through travel. However, most people do not know where and how to start travel or how to plan their journey. Okan Okumus provides extensive and valuable information about the planning of travel, transport, must-see places, budget, useful internet resources, food, shopping, festivals, and exclusive travel tips for every kind of people, sightseeing, and more in this travel guide book “Goodie Backpack.” As the writer says: “This book is a source of inspiration for those who have been tired of working every day and want to change their lives, want to know the world and to get acquainted with the cultures of different nations, and describes with experiences that the travel is not that difficult.” 

Saffet Emre Tonguc - Bogaz hakkinda her sey” (Everything about the Strait)

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An award-winning historian, writer, and traveler, Saffet Emre Tonguc’s “Everything about Strait,” covering the most complete, most informative, and exciting book among the other books written by the author on Bosphorus, has signed a record-breaking sale of books written in this topic. One chapter of the travel book deals with the European coast of the strait and the second chapter on the Anatolian coast. In general, it lists squares, hotels, restaurants, parks, shortly must-see, and must-stay places along the coast. This one of the books to read about travel also tells you how you can get the Bosphorus strait tour. 

Ansel Mullins, Yigal Schleifer - Istanbul Eats: Exploring the Culinary Backstreets

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Do you like both to travel and eat? Do you travel because you want to try the cuisine of different nations rather than sightseeing? Then this eat and travel book is for you. Blog writers Yigal Schleifer and Ansel Mullins have decided to publish a book seeing that many followers have read their posts on the website about the travel and the tastes they experienced. These decisions resulted in the publication of the “Istanbul Eats: Exploring the Culinary Backstreets” in English and Turkish. The book provides a list of all restaurants, cafes, pubs, taverns, eating-houses, and grilled meatball restaurants where we can taste different flavors. In general, two writers described 70 different places where they liked the food, service, and atmosphere during their trip to Istanbul by articles and photos. But this is not all. The writers recommend places according to your mood. Moreover, they also talk about the history of the site, i.e., a story about their origin or naming. 

Paulo Coelho - Alchemist

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Finally the last book in the list of best books about travel - Alchemist, which also has always been on the list of most-read books since its publication in 1988. This scandalous work by Paulo Coelho is not a travel book, but the story of a shepherd leaving Spain looking for treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. However, the plotline and artistic imagery enhance a person’s extraordinary love of travel.

Our main hero Santiago has been a shepherd until he was 16 years old. A young man who understands that he doesn't want to be a monk one day says to his father he wants to be a traveler. His father allows him to go. He takes his bag and starts his journey, looking for happiness. He overcomes roads, lakes, settlements, cities, countries; however, he believes that he will find joy. We see how travel enhances his thinking ability and how he witnesses the beauty of the world by traveling. He makes a lot of trips. He is affected by the dream he sees over and over again. So, he goes to the fortune teller to find an explanation of his vision. The fortune teller tells Santiago that he will go to Egypt and find treasure there. So begins Santiago's adventure on a treasure hunt. At the end of the book, our hero reaches the Egyptian pyramids and finds his happiness.

In six years, The Alchemist book has been translated into 26 languages in 42 countries.

Although there is a difference between travelers and book readers, there are still similarities between them. As a result of these similarities, the question arises: "Who knows more, the one who reads more or travels more?" Everyone may have different answers to this question. However, after reading the must read travel books mentioned above, the only answer to this question is: "The one who reads more while traveling more."

Travel and read!