5 Favorite Travel Books

reading © Michael Nußbaumer www.nussbaumerphotography.com

a guest post by Hannah Stark from Traveling Banana 

I’m a big reader and of course especially love anything travel-related so today I’m sharing five of my favorite travel books. Let's start with the countdown! 

5. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway 

Reading Hemingway’s books about Spain while I was still living there was kind of magical to be honest. One of the restaurants he mentions is even still open in Madrid and I made a point to walk by it the day I read about it! The Sun Also Rises is about an American journalist who moves to Paris after World War One and then travels to Pamplona in Spain to watch the bullfights and the running of the bulls. It covers a really special time to be an American living abroad in Europe and also a lot about Spanish culture.

4. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert 

Surprisingly, I only just recently read this famous bestselling book! My flat-mate almost dropped the cereal she was eating when I admitted I hadn’t read it. She pretty much made me promise to read it immediately and I’m glad she was so forceful! I really enjoyed Gilbert’s recount of her time spent in Italy, India, and Indonesia as she learned about herself. The book delves into some really interesting ideas about life, God, and relationships that was a lot more than I was expecting.

3. The Best American Travel Writing 2013 by Various Authors, edited by Elizabeth Gilbert 

This anthology of travel writing comes out every year and is just always a fantastic compilation of fascinating journeys by a diverse group of travelers. This one I found especially good with stories ranging from a man visiting his wife’s family in Cuba to a woman covering up to remain anonymous on the street in Cairo. There are familiar authors and also a few more obscure as Gilbert chose the submissions without know the writers’ names. It is an enchanting and at times unsettling collection that is always compelling.

2. Just Kids by Patty Smith 

This would usually be classified as a memoir but I can’t help but think of it as a travel book as well due to its stimulating and engaging portrait of New York City. Smith moves to NYC at a very young age and describes it vividly and uniquely. Her entrancing account of starting out in the bohemian atmosphere of America’s never-sleeping city definitely encouraged me to strike out on my own travels too.

1. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle 

Okay, I don’t know if this has ever been called a “travel” book but I think it might be one of the most important traveling books ever written. This book teaches how to live in the present, appreciate every moment, and find joy in life. Isn’t that what travel is all about? Isn’t that exactly what I want to do, especially while traveling? For me, yes. This book has helped me enjoy my travels in a deeper and more profound way and has truly changed the way I think and live. In many ways this book set me free and that is exactly what I think of when I think about travel.

Have you read any of these? Or do any look interesting to you? I’d love to hear what you think. Happy reading and happy travels! 



Always one for exciting decisions, after her 18th birthday Hannah drove across the USA to California without much of  a plan but with lots of enthusiasm. After living in Los Angeles for five years, she spontaneously sold everything again and bought a one-way ticket to Madrid, Spain to teach English and see Europe. She hasn't stopped exploring since! Her most recent trips include Iceland, Germany and Israel. She blogs at travelingbanana.com where she documents her adventures and shares travel tips and inspiration. 

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