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Top 10 Travel Books on Amazon



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Wondering what to read on your next trip? Start your search with the top travel books on Amazon.

Posted February 14, 2014 by

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Crowdsourcing might not be how you find “the best of the best,” especially when it comes to travel writing.  Still, it’s always fun to go on a romp through Amazon’s bestseller lists.  So if you’re curious about Amazon customers’ picks for the best travel books, read on! You might be surprised by what you find.

If you know about another book that belongs on this list of top travel books, leave your suggestion in the comments!

* Disclaimer: I put together this post based on Amazon’s Best Seller’s List on February 10th, 2014.  Also, I removed a couple duplicates  (like when the Kindle edition and paperback edition both showed up as best sellers).  I also cut Susan Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings from this list of top travel books, because it looks like an excellent historical fiction novel that was probably dropped into the Travel Writing category by mistake.


Top Travel Books on Amazon

1. Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now by C. B. Bernard


Chasing Alaska by C. B. Bernard is the #1 best seller on Amazon’s list of top travel books. After moving to Alaska, Bernard found that a long-ago relative had made a similar move a century earlier and was buried nearly on his doorstep.  What follows is a captivating exploration that joins Bernard’s adventures with family history and local history, bringing to life every moment on America’s “Last Frontier.”


2. Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris


You can’t really pigeon hole David Sedaris as a travel writer, but his latest satirical collection Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls  bagged #2 on Amazon’s list of top travel books.  Among other topics, this collection works in hilarious anecdotes from Sedaris’s travels to everywhere from France to Hawaii.  Warning: Reading this book on the plane may lead to dissolving in helpless laughter and getting odd looks from anyone sitting near you.


3. Into The Wild by Jon Krakauer


Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild is #3 on Amazon’s Best Sellers list for top travel books.  Following in the footsteps of  Into Thin Air, Krakauer’s previous bestseller, Into the Wild tells the true story of a young man’s ill-fated trek into the Alaskan wilderness.  While it may not be exactly what many people think of as “travel writing,” this haunting read is likely to be unforgettable — especially for adventurous travelers.


4. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig


Coming in fourth on Amazon’s list of top travel books is Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  Robert M. Pirsig’s classic might be seen as a philosophy book cleverly disguised as a travelogue.  Superimposing a summer motorcycle trip with attempts to tackle life’s “big questions,” Pirsig turns out a powerful story that just might make you rethink how you see the world you travel.


5. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson


Bill Bryson’s popular American travelogue A Walk in the Woods, the first of two Bryson books on this list, comes in at #5 on Amazon’s bestseller list for top travel books.  Balancing hilarious satire with deep introspection, Bryson’s “walk in the woods” is far more than a glimpse at a popular eastern hiking spot.  Instead, this light-hearted travelogue touches on everything from the culture of long distance hikers to local Appalachian history.


6. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert


Fifth on our list of top travel books at Amazon is Eat, Pray, Love.  Gilbert’s popular book-turned-movie recounts her inner journey and global explorations as she explores earthly and spiritual delights in Italy, India, and Bali.  A travelogue with a hefty dose of soul-searching, this tale is most likely to appeal to travelers with a romantic side.


7. Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom by Ken Ilgunas


An unconventional addition to this collection of top travel books at Amazon is Ken Ilgunas’ Walden on Wheels: On the Open Road from Debt to Freedom. Ilgunas graduated from the University of Buffalo $32,000 in debt.  What followed — how he learned about subsistence living while working off his debt in Alaska, enrolled in a Master’s program, and outfitted a van as his home at the university so he could avoid going back into debt — is a fun and insightful tale peppered with real insights about modern life in the US.


8. A Moveable Feast: The Restored Edition by Ernest Hemingway


A Moveable Feast, Ernest Hemingway’s classic collection of non-fiction stories about 1920’s Paris, comes in at #8 on Amazon’s list of top travel books.  With its anecdotes of fascinating literary figures and the city of Paris itself at a fascinating time in history, this book succeeds in bringing an amazing city to life.  To quote an Amazon review, “If you’ve ever lived in Paris, visited Paris, or even just dreamt of Paris, then you need to read this book.”


9. A Fine Romance: Falling in Love With the English Countryside by Susan Branch


Susan Branch’s A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside, coming in at #9 on Amazon’s Best Sellers List, gives this collection of top travel books a pastoral twist.  This personal travel journal covers the author’s six days on board the Queen Mary 2 and two months exploring the backroads of rural England.  This travelogue’s pages include everything from photography to recipes and watercolored maps.


10. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson


Bryson’s second entry ranks tenth on this list of top travel books, and chances are it won’t fade from Amazon’s Best Sellers list for years to come.   In a Sunburned Country tells the cheerful tale of Bryson’s travels in Australia, including everything from encounters with strange and dangerous local wildlife to the placidly incomprehensible exercise of listening to a cricket match on the radio.  “Australia is an interesting place. It truly is,” Bryson writes.  “And that really is all I’m saying.”


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Top 10 Travel Books on Amazon
Wondering what to read on your next trip? Start your search with the top travel books on Amazon’s best sellers list.


I'm a travel addict and shopping lover with six years abroad and seventeen countries under my belt. Now that I've settled down in Cambridge, MA for a couple years, TravelGiftList helps me keep up with the world of fun, quirky, and practical travel gifts!


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