There’s no better way to escape everyday life than by travelling, but reading a great book comes close. So, we’ve compiled a list of the best books to read while backpacking. Books make lovely travel companions – they can help you see the world around you differently, or take you on an entire journey that you didn’t plan for in your itinerary.
Packing light for your backpacking trip shouldn’t mean going without great reading material. Invest in a good e-reader and load it up with books before you head out, or better yet, participate in book swaps at the hostels you stay at. Most hostels will have bookshelves where you can exchange a book that you’ve finished reading for one that someone else has left behind – a great way to expand your reading preferences, and make discoveries. So, while you narrow down the essentials that will take up precious real estate in your backpack, don’t forget to take a couple of these books with you. Here are the best books to read while backpacking.
Wild by Cheryl Strayed
After losing her mother to lung cancer and watching her family and marriage fall apart, Cheryl Strayed decides to hike the Pacific Crest Trail solo, with no prior hiking experience. Her transformative journey of self-discovery is by turns harrowing and heartening, and her story is a riveting read about persistence, healing, and bravery. If you love books about hiking adventures, Wild is an inspiring read that you won’t want to put down.
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
In The Happiness Project , Gretchen Rubin spends a year testing out different theories of happiness, from the ancient to modern science. She records her findings in this book and draws conclusions from her discoveries about what makes people truly happy. Following along with Rubin’s musings might prompt you to zero in on what makes you happy, and help you make the most of your trip.
Looking for Alaska by John Green
This book might sound like an obvious title for a travel memoir, but it’s not what you expect. Looking for Alaska tells the story of Miles Halter and his year at Culver Creek Boarding School in Alabama, where he becomes enamoured with his classmate Alaska Young. Filled with crushes, pranks, and other high school shenanigans, Miles’ coming-of-age story might resonate with any travellers who are also going to seek a Great Perhaps.
Mosquitoland by David Arnold
In David Arnold’s Mosquitoland , Mim Malone hops on a bus that she’s hoping will take her across the country and back to her mother. She meets a slew of eclectic characters along her journey that help her grow, and her hilarious descriptions of them will make you laugh out loud. This fictional account of a young girl’s cross-country expedition makes for an interesting parallel to any backpacking journey and might make you think differently about the people that you encounter along the way.
The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan
In her first novel, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jennifer Egan tells the heartbreaking story of a young girl’s quest to retrace her older sister’s footsteps to discover the circumstances of her death on a trip to Europe. The book’s descriptions of European settings are evocative and realistic, and its haunting story will stay with you throughout your travels.
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Sometimes, you need a gripping, suspenseful thriller to get you through the all the waiting that comes with travel, and Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on the Train is perfect for that. While commuting, Rachel imagines the ideal life for a couple who live inside a house that her train passes by every day. Soon, Rachel’s story becomes entangled with the couple’s, and her life is upturned. This enthralling story will have you compulsively turning the pages to find out what happens next and will help to pass any long travel delays.