Two guest sitting outside French bistro

Nine Armchair Travel Books To Indulge Your Inner Wanderlust Without Leaving Your Sofa

Unfortunately, this current pandemic has brought future travel plans to an abrupt halt. And, it goes without saying that cruise ships are most definitely off the bucket list for now. But, what is the option when you still have itchy feet and an insatiable form of wanderlust? Our solution to this problem is to dive into the world of armchair travel. We have rounded up our pick of travel books that are guaranteed to transport you to another world right from the comfort of your living room chair – no travel insurance or face masks needed. 

Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places 

Published by National Geographic, this beautiful book that allows you to travel vicariously around the world, transported by incredible photography tour of the world’s most magnificent locations. Put your feet up and discover the joys of armchair travel as you escape into vivid images and get lost in enlightening stories that will transport you to another world. And, when the travel world gets back to normal, you will have more than enough ideas and inspirations to feed your wanderlust for real.

Turn Right at Machu Picchu: Rediscovering the Lost City One Step at a Time – Mark Adams

This adventure travel story carries us along the journey retracing the footsteps of explorer Haram Bingham’s expedition through the Andes Mountains when he discovered Machu Picchu. The author recreates the trip with an Australian trekking guide as his companion. The result is a book filled with humorous anecdotes, misadventures, and stories of cultural quirkiness mixed with tourist idiocy. 

The Nasty Bits: Collected Varietal Cuts, Usable Trim, Scraps, and Bones – Anthony Bourdain

Bourdain was the expert at turning travel into a delectable feast. With stories arranged by taste: salty, sweet, sour, bitter, and umami – this book is an adventurous journey of Michelin rated venues and off-the-beaten-path jewels. A fantastic armchair travel book from a man who was passionate about the pleasures of life and food and loved to share them. 

The Pilgrimage – Paulo Coehlo

Follow Coehlo along his pilgrimage to Santiago, written as a parable to finding one’s own path; this book is part travel-log and part guide to self-discovery. The Pilgrimage is a reminder that life is brilliant and that we are capable of more than we think we are. 

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World – Eric Weiner

Discover with a surprise which places are the happiest on Earth as Weiner sets out on a discovery tour of joy around the world. A part travel memoir, part comedy, and part twisted self-help guide this book is a unique mix of well-researched stories and humor. Learn something about both the world and about happiness right from the comfort of your living room. 

Travel as a Political Act – How To Leave Your Baggage Behind – Rick Steves

Rick Steves, in his unique way, shares how travel has given him new perspectives on the political and social challenges of our time. Taking us off the beaten track and away from the tourist traps, he opens up the everyday world of each of the places in his book. In these uncertain times, this book will certainly give you food for thought until we can travel easily again!

The Only Street in Paris: Life on the Rue des Martyrs – Elaine Sciolino

This unusual travel book written by the NYTimes Paris bureau chief is written from her perspective as an American journalist living long-term in Paris. Through her pointed observations, she shares the history and culture of her neighborhood in the heart of Paris. This book is a must for any Francophile, history buff, or food-lover wanting to escape for a few hours into the heart of the French capital.  

La Passione: How Italy Seduced the World – Dianne Hales

An excellent travel novel can not only transport you to another world, but also teach you more about the culture, traditions, and people. Hales’ La Passione does precisely this by taking you by the hand and leading you on an adventure through Italy. Along the way, she shows us how Italians have been one of the biggest influences on our world in terms of culture, art, and beauty. This book is filled with fun facts, racy and scandalous stories, and many laugh-out-loud tales, and is a must-read on your armchair travel list. 

Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders – Joshua Foer

Atlas Obscura is the perfect book for reminding us that the world is a weird and wonderful place full of obscure, bizarre, and unusual things. Take a trip via this book to some of the most extraordinary places, objects, and monuments that you didn’t know you wanted to find, but that you definitely need to know about. Atlas Obscura is, oddly, the perfect travel book/blog for these times of restricted travel; filled with sites that fit that odd category of good to know they exist somewhere, but don’t feel the need to see them in person. 

We wish you safe armchair travel adventures and hope you will find many inspiring stories on the list we have put together.

Books are the plane, and the train, and the road. They are the destination, and the journey. They are home.

― Anna Quindlen