14 Travel Books to Gift This Holiday Season

Whether you're shopping for someone who's seeking their next vacation destination or for someone looking to do a bit of armchair travel, books are a great way to inspire loved ones to learn more about the world. These page-turning books all make for great gifts this holiday season.

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December 03, 2019

Border: A Journey to the Edge of Europe

Twenty-five years after she left Bulgaria as a young girl, Kapka Kassabova returns to the Balkans, to the border region of Bulgaria, Greece and Turkey. She starts out with sheer curiosity, wondering what life looks like there so long after she left, but she finds herself ultimately exploring what, really, makes a border.

Buy It: Amazon, $9.99 and up

To Shake the Sleeping Self: A Journey from Oregon to Patagonia, and a Quest for a Life With No Regret

Just before he turned 30, Jedidiah Jenkins quit his job and embarked on a 16-month journey, biking from Oregon to Patagonia. In Shake the Sleeping Self, his memoir about the adventure, Jenkins also explores how travel forces us to re-examine our everyday lives.

Buy It: Amazon, $11.90 and up

The Atlas Obscura Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid

Curious kids and aspiring travelers will love this guide to some of the world's craziest places, like Antarctica's Blood Falls and a glittering cave of crystals in Mexico. The illustrated Explorer's Guide for the World's Most Adventurous Kid, produced by the team at Atlas Obscura, will serve as the youngster's passport to some of the world's best hidden gems.

Buy It: Amazon, $14.99

The Lost Vintage: A Novel

In The Lost Vintage, by Ann Mah, a woman returns to her family's vineyard in Burgundy to prepare for a Master of Wine examination. There, she stumbles upon a mystery involving a lost diary, six missing bottles of valuable wine, an unknown relative and a lot of questions about what side her family was on during World War II.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.19 and up

Everyday Adventures

Even if you live in the most beautiful city in the world, it's easy to to forget that your own home has lots to offer. We're always vying to skip town and explore. But adventure doesn't have to involve plane tickets and expensive journeys across the world. Lonely Planet's Everyday Adventures will help the wanderluster in your life satisfy some of their urge to explore by discovering new and exciting things in their own city. And who doesn't need a little nudge like that?

Buy It: Amazon, $13.58

This is Mexico City

Mexico City is an exceptional destination for food, art, culture and architecture. In this new guide, author Abby Carson Low takes the reader on a visual journey through the city, packed with full-color images that will inspire your next trip.

Buy It: Amazon, $15.99

Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey on the Silk Road

On a bicycle journey winding down the ancient Silk Road of Asia, Kate Harris finds that her definition of what it means to be an "explorer" is narrow and outdated. In Lands of Lost Borders, which won the 2018 Banff Adventure Travel Award, Harris examines our collective need to travel for the sake of discovery while weaving in the history of science and exploration itself.

Buy It: Amazon, $10.99 and up

The Last Englishman: A Thru-Hiking Adventure on the Pacific Crest Trail

In The Last Englishman, just published Nov. 1, 2018, Keith Foskett writes of his six-month journey from Mexico to Canada on the Pacific Crest Trail. The book chronicles the ins and outs of the trail and all its challenges in a memoir The Observer calls a "hiking classic." The book is available in both hardcover and paperback, but consider getting it on Kindle for the ultralight hiker in your life. It's included free with a KindleUnlimited subscription.

Buy It: Amazon, $12.95 and up

Himalaya Bound: One Family's Quest to Save Their Animals—and an Ancient Way of Life

In Himalaya Bound, Michael Benanav joins a nomadic Indian family for their annual spring migration into the Himalayas, an endangered cultural tradition. Government officials attempt to block them from traveling to the area where their ancestors have lived part-time for centuries, and so they are forced to embark on a harrowing new route in an attempt to save their buffalo.

Buy It: Amazon, $19.99

Wildsam Field Guides: Denver

Wildsam guidebooks aren't your standard travel guides. More than a list of places to see, eat and sleep, these guides tell stories about the city you're visiting. Wildsam's latest guide on Denver, Colorado includes personal essays from writers who know Denver better than anyone, like Patricia Calhoun, who founded one of the city's independent newspapers. You'll also find curated lists of the city's best cafes, Colorado's best ski resorts and a timeline of Denver's brewpub history.

Buy It: Amazon, $20

From Here to Eternity: Traveling the World to Find the Good Death

Why are we so afraid of death? All over the world, people pay their respects to deceased loved ones differently, and often far more intimately than we do in the United States, where chemical embalming is the norm. In From Here to Eternity, Caitlin Doughty, a mortician who advocates for natural burial, explores funeral rituals and what it means to treat the dead with dignity worldwide.

Buy It: Amazon, $5.69 and up

Cooking South of the Clouds: Recipes and Stories from China's Yunnan Province

What better way to learn about a region than to start with its food? In Georgia Freedman's new Cooking South of the Clouds, readers will find both stories from the Yunnan Province and recipes for classic dishes seldom found elsewhere. Gorgeous full-color images throughout the book will whet both your appetite and your sense of adventure.

Buy It: Amazon, $20.99

Ultimate Journeys for Two: Extraordinary Destinations on Every Continent

HoneyTrek blog founders Mike and Anne Howard left for their honeymoon in 2012, and have been traveling ever since. In this guidebook published by National Geographic, the Howards share their favorite destinations, advice on when to go and stories from other well-known travelers. Ultimate Journeys for Two is a great gift for both newlyweds and longtime couples looking for their next great adventure.

Buy It: Amazon, $16.99

Notes on a Foreign Country: An American Abroad in a Post-American World

Reporter Suzy Hansen moved abroad to Istanbul on a mission to understand the Muslim world. While there, she gained a new perspective on what it means to be American. In Notes on a Foreign Country, she dives into uncomfortable truths about how the United States came to power, and how that power has influenced corners of the world most of us know little about.

Buy It: Amazon, $9.49 and up