Books work so very hard to take us on a journey through stories with settings and characters that inspire and ignite the imagination. For the traveler, books are even more important as they produce wandering memories and inspire travel dreams. Let’s face it travelers and literature are two peas in a pod!
In fact, there are plenty of ways that books make us become better travelers no matter what kind of trip we are taking. It’s one of the most important things that we do all year long. Here are 10 ways we use books:
Create context for your destination.
As we plan for any trip, our first move is to hunt down some books to start learning about where we are off to. No matter what destination is in our sights, there’s a book out there to help get us excited about our adventures. To be clear, we certainly look for great new book picks but we also read and reread plenty of great classics. If we are on our way to Paris, we may choose our old copy of Julie and Julia to enjoy. However, if we are headed to Texas, we might opt for a brand new book of essays entitled Being Texan.
Inspire travels you never thought of before.
As teachers, we are always throwing book picks at each other. Our conversations are often about that list of books from Ambassadors or the new Sunshine State book awards. Usually, one new title will stand out to us as the “I haven’t thought about going there in a while” book. Books do a great job of stirring up the senses and taking us to new and exciting places. Using quality literature to get you going is what we are all about! I just put down the true crime book entitled The Galapagos Affair. How about a trip to the Galapagos?
Allow for new experiences when you know the literature from where you’re visiting.
Setting. It’s an undeniable part of any good read! We are often drawn to books with great setting and that can easily get us prepared for our upcoming experiences. If we are off to the Far East, the crowd pleasing trilogy Crazy Rich Asians may be just the right fit. It may not let us into those fancy circles but it can remind us to review the rules of Marjhong and ensure that it’s part of our trip! On the other hand, we could be right in the middle of the juicy Bridgerton series and are headed for high tea to take on biscuits and scones with a High Tea tour on a double decker bus touring London by Brigit’s bakery. Perhaps a good book sends us on a journey to find that setting as is the case with most traveling fans of Harry Potter!
Connect the past with the present.
No matter what era of history your mind wanders to, there is a book for you! Can’t get enough of Ancient Rome? There’s a book. Enjoy learning about the Vikings? Books have you covered. Do you want to learn more about the European founding of Australia? Check. Fiction and non-fiction abound! Some of the best literature helps connect the modern reader with the amazing tales of the past. One of our favorites is Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief. Middle schooler Percy takes us on an epic adventure across the US while teaching us about the ancient Greek Gods. We recommend this for kids and adults alike! Read it then, take a cruise through the Greek islands!
Open the world of art to the non art lover
Books can teach us so very much even when we are not expecting them to. Plenty of travelers struggle with art appreciation and are looking for ways to connect with art. Take in great fiction like the DaVinci Code to not only enjoy a great read but to also start wrapping your mind around the art of Paris. Enjoy incredibly moving non fiction like The Greatest Treasure Hunt In History to learn about The Monuments Men. This band of brothers was tasked with repatriating all of the stolen art of WWII. Way to tie it all together! Art is an integral reality of any travel and has the ability to be embraced. Books certainly help.
Give kids a starting point to make travel more relevant
International children’s literature is at an all time high. There is more for children to read than ever before. Classics like Madeline and Paddington offer glimpses of faraway places. While modern picks such as Katie in Scotland make travel a relatable topic for young minds. Use our Travel U series to look at all kinds of children’s books that will inspire you! Note that some of the links below are affiliate links. I only recommend products & brands I love and that I think you would love, too!
Extend travel while you are not out and about
Sometimes a good book is just the remedy true travelers need when they are grounded. Literature can help you sort through all of your different travel choices that are available to you. If the world is your oyster, books are the tool to use to pry it open! Sometimes, though, it’s hard to make a choice with so many options. We like The Wordy Traveler Subscription Box as a great way to see what newly written and newly wandered. Another great source for curated picks are the many, many book lists over on Good Reads.
Make world customs and traditions easier to understand
Sometimes there’s so very much to keep in mind when we travel. We always want to mind our P’s and Q’s while feeling comfortable in our own skin. Books can enlighten us on how to conduct ourselves when out and about. But literature can also give us an understanding of a culture like no other avenue. Take, for example, Joyce’s Ulyssus. This classic story takes us through Dublin in one day in the life in 1904. Be sure to know that Bloomsday will take place every June 16th and you can join in the revelry! But don’t you think it’s a good idea to read the book before you do? Ireland has tons of literary connections to enjoy. Check out Dublin’s Literary Pub Crawls to partake in all the fun!
Uplift your own storytelling skills
If there is one thing those Irish know how to do, it’s tell a great story! And that could be said about so many other places as well. From Africa to North America, storytellers can be such an integral part of why and how we travel. The teacher in us will always tell you that the more you read the more you will develop your own storytelling skills about all of the places you’ve been. So, tell your stories and keep reading the tales of others.
Unlock the true meaning of quality travel
No matter where you go, books can be the key to unlocking purposeful travel for any age. Kids will connect better, adults will appreciate context and everyone will understand their destination just a little bit more. Books provide far reaching understanding of global understanding and values. Whether you are turning the page or listening to a book, the world awaits as the story unfolds. Enjoy the adventure!