When I read a book about traveling, I immediately want to add the city or country to my list of places to visit. But, when a book doubles as a travel guide? That’s when I know I’ve hit the jackpot.

Travel guide books are maps to the world
Travel guide books are maps to the world
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Books that are also travel guides are the best of both worlds.

Reading a book about travel that you can also use as a guide is a win-win situation. You get a guide but also an excellent story. These are just five of the many brilliant books that can be travel guides, too.

1. In A Sunburned Country—Bill Bryson

Book cover for In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson, a travel guide book for Australia
In A Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson
Photo courtesy of Amazon

If Bill Bryson isn’t on your reading list, add him right away. He’s written multiple guide books about travel that span different continents. One of my favorites—and the one I used as a travel guide myself—is In A Sunburned Country. The second stanza of the moving poem “My Country” by Dorothea Mackellar inspired the title. Bryson’s writing is witty and filled with joy. This book takes you on a journey with Bryson through Australia off the beaten path. He fills each section with great travel advice and facts about the history of where he is visiting. Bryson meets many Australians along the way who are cheerful and helpful. If you’re considering Australia for one of your next trips, this book is the perfect travel guide for you!

2. Anything You Can Imagine—Ian Nathan

Book cover for Anything You Can Imagine by Ian Nathan, a travel guide book for New Zealand
Anything You Can Imagine by Ian Nathan
Photo courtesy of HarperCollins

Calling all Lord of the Rings fans—this book is for you! Anything You Can Imagine: Peter Jackson & the Making of Middle-Earth guides you through the making of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit franchises. It includes interviews with Jackson, members of the cast, and crew members from all six films. The book is an excellent guide of Peter Jackson’s mind and his quest to bring J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world to life. Dive into the production and location choices in New Zealand. If you plan to scout out Lord of the Rings destinations in New Zealand, this is your best travel companion.
Want more Tolkien-themed adventure? Be sure to visit Hobbiton, where you can step into the shire yourself!

3. Turn Right At Machu Picchu—Mark Adams

Book cover for Turn Right At Machu Picchu by Mark Adams, a travel guide book for Peru
Turn Right At Machu Picchu by Mark Adams
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Any travelers who enjoy hiking out there? Check this travel guide book out. Turn Right At Machu Picchu is the story of Mark Adams trying to re-create Hiram Bingham III’s expedition to Machu Picchu. Adams has been editing adventures and travel magazines his whole career, but he isn’t your typical traveler. His trip to Peru is his first time sleeping in a tent. With wit and humor, Adams tells of his tour group and their journey through the breathtaking landscapes of Peru that lead to Machu Picchu. He gives us the answer to the question: What was Machu Picchu? By the end, you’ll be itching to get up and hike it yourself, so this book is an amazing travel guide to read before you begin.

4. The Alchemist—Paulo Coelho

Book cover of The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a travel guide book for the route from Spain to Egypt
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
Photo courtesy of Amazon

Even though this book is a work of fiction, it can definitely serve as a travel guide. The Alchemist tells the story of Santiago, an Andalusian farmer. Santiago goes on a quest to find a treasure buried under the Pyramids in Egypt. Traveling from Spain to Egypt, he meets many people along the way who help guide him in the right direction. If you’re a fan of adventure and the magic of travel, this is an excellent choice in travel books.

5. The Last Honest Place In America—Marc Cooper

Book cover of The Last Honest Place In America by Marc Cooper, travel guide book for Las Vegaas
The Last Honest Place In America by Marc Cooper
Photo courtesy of Book Depository

Viva Las Vegas! If you love the glitz, glamor, and grit of Las Vegas, check out The Last Honest Place In America by Marc Cooper. This book is the perfect travel guide. It chronicles Cooper’s love for Las Vegas over the years, starting when old Vegas gave way to the new corporate model in 2001. Cooper travels with you all over Las Vegas, from the shiny and bright Strip to the less glamorous downtown. He meets a lot of characters along the way, weaving a colorful tale of this oasis in the middle of the desert. This book is the perfect travel companion if you’re heading to Las Vegas and need a travel guide. Looking for a world class place to gamble while you’re in Las Vegas? The Venetian Poker Room is at the top of our list.


Do you know a book that has a great story and doubles as a travel guide? Let us know in the comments!