Selecting the best travel books is not as easy as it may seem due to a wide array of available literature since travel writing has been invented. Coming up with a list should not be easy as well. The following books are the ones most cited while some are bestsellers.
Let us start with “The Road to Oxianai. Modern travel writers deem this book the first model of great travel writing. It is an account of Byron’s ten-month journey to Persia and Afghanistan in 1933-34.
Another classic of travel literature is “A Time of Gifts” written by Patrick Leigh Fermor. It was published in 1977 when he was 62. The book is an account of Fermor’s first part journey on foot across Europe in 1933-34. His journey began at Hook of Holland and ended in Constantinople. The second volume is titled Between the Woods and the Water and published in 1986. It covered Fermor’s journey through Maria Valeria Bridge, Hungary, and Iron Gate. Meanwhile, “In Patagonia” is an English travel book authored by Bruce Chatwin and published in 1977. The book, which established Chatwin’s reputation as a travel writer, was awarded the Hawthornden Prize and E.M. Forster Award.
Chatwin went to Patagonia both to fulfill a promise made to a 93-year-old architect and designer Eileen Gray and out of his own curiosity. Chatwin spent six months in Patagonia and wrote the book.
Another outstandingly written travel book is authored by Eric Newby. Titled “A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush,” it is an autobiographical account of Newby’s journey in the Hindu Kush, which is around the Nuristan Mountains of Afghanistan.
“The Great Railway Bazaar” is a notable 1975 travelogue by American novelist Paul Theroux. Many consider this book a classic in travel writing. It tells about Theroux four-month journey across Asia by train. Theroux travelled through Europe, Middle East, Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia. In his return, he passed via the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Theroux retraced the trails of his original journey and found out that places had changed. He authored a book titled “Ghost Train to the Eastern Star” that recounts such journey. “Travels with Charley: In Search of America” is also a travelogue written by John Steinbeck. The book recounts the road trip Steinbeck took with his poodle Charley around the United States. He traveled throughout the country in a specially-made camper. His travel began in Long Island, New York, then to Maine, Pacific Northwest, Salinas Valley in California, and across to Texas, up through Deep South, and back to New York.
In 1978, “The Snow Leopard” is published and written by Peter Matthiessen. It won the 1980 National Book Award for Nonfiction. The book recounts Matthiessen’s two-month journey to Crystal Mountain, in the Dolpo region on the Tibetan Plateau in the Himalayas. More recently, the “In a Sunburned Country” is a 2000 travelogue book about Australia. Best-selling travel writer Bill Bryson wrote the book. The original title of the book was Down Under, but it was also published as Walk About. The latter included Down Under and another Bryson’s books in one volume.