17 Best Travel Adventure Books

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Dreaming of an adventure? These travel adventure books will spark your wanderlust!

While I am an avid traveler, I am also a bit of a wimp. The extent of my “extreme” travel adventures was attempting (and failing) to summit a volcano in Guatemala.

When it came down to it, I opted to stay in the warmth of my tent instead of scrambling the final 1,000 feet to the top in the pitch darkness at four in the morning.

So it’s safe to say that while I may not be that adventurous myself, I LOVE getting swept away reading about crazy adventures that happened to other people.

There is nothing like being on the edge of my seat as I read about people facing peril and defying death as they survive after being stranded in the wilderness, hiking solo across large swaths of land, or brave a deathly mountain summit. It transports me without leaving the comfort of home!

So if you are craving an adventure too, these are the best travel adventure books that will fuel your wanderlust and have you staying up late to finish them.

adventure travel train

Where we love to grab our travel adventure books:

Best Travel Adventure Books


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

This travel memoir follows Cheryl’s journey hiking the Pacific Crest Trail solo. Driven by grief after her mother’s death, she embarked on a hike more than one thousand miles long at age twenty-six for an unforgettable experienced that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.

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Into Thin Air

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer

This gripping nonfiction account of a disastrous Mount Everest expedition is told in a way that will have you flipping the pages long through the night until you’ve finished it. Jon Krakauer is a journalist who was invited along on a fateful expedition that left several of his fellow hikers dead.

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bad karma

Bad Karma by Paul Wilson

In the summer of 1978, twenty-one-year-old Paul Wilson jumps at the chance to join two local icons on a dream surf trip to Mexico, unaware their ultimate destination lies in the heart of drug cartel country. This exhilarating travel memoir will make you feel like you are there.

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lands of lost borders

Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris

Canadian Kate Harris dreamed of adventures ever since she was young. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, she set off with her childhood friend on the adventure of a lifetime: bicycling the Silk Road. Her memoir follows her journey exploring remote Central Asia by bike.

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Tracks by Robyn Davidson

Robyn Davidson completed an epic adventure when she walked alone more than 1,700 miles through the Australian Outback with four camels and her dog at age twenty-seven. Tracks is her memoir detailing the experience and the people she met along the way.

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the lost city of the monkey god

The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston

Journalist Douglas Preston and a team of scientists embark on a harrowing adventure into the heart of Honduras, in search of a legendary lost city in the middle of the jungle.

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alone in antarctica

Alone in Antarctica by Felicity Aston

Felicity Aston, physicist and meteorologist, took two months off from all human contact as she became the first woman, and only the third person in history, to ski across the entire continent of Antarctica alone. With just her cross-country skis, she embarked on an epic journey across the ice.

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A Walk in the Woods

A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson

The Appalachian Trail is one of America’s biggest adventures, stretching over 2,100 miles from Georgia to Maine, a journey not for the faint of heart. Travel writer Bill Bryson tackles the trail and writes about his experience in this memoir, which is both funny and moving.

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lost city of z

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

In 1925, a British explorer ventured into the Amazon rainforest in search of a fabled civilization. He never returned. Eighty years later, a journalist retraces his footsteps in an attempt to find out what really happened, and discover the truth of this mythical Amazonian city.

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wild by nature

Wild by Nature by Sarah Marquis

Adventurer Sarah Marquis chronicles her ambitious journey hiking solo over 10,000 miles around the world, from the Gobi Desert to Siberia, in this travel memoir.

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Touching the Void

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

This harrowing story follows two young hikers attempting to complete an unclimbed route in the Peruvian Andes when a horrific accident during their descent occurs.

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438 days

438 Days by Jonathan Franklin

This is a remarkable true survival story about a Salvadoran fisherman working in Mexico when he got lost at sea for 438 days before washing ashore on the far side of the Pacific.

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The Sex Lives of Cannibals

The Sex Lives of Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost

He expected paradise, but what he got was an entirely different story. This memoir chronicles the author’s hilarious two-year odyssey in the distant South Pacific island nation of Kiribati, and all the mishaps and misadventures he had along the way while he was there.

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dark star safari

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux

A rattletrap bus, dugout canoe, cattle truck, armed convoy, ferry, and train are just some manners of transportation Paul Theroux takes on his overland journey from Cairo to Cape Town. In the course of his epic voyage, he endures danger, delay, and dismaying circumstances.

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The Beach

The Beach by Alex Garland

This is the book that inspired thousands of backpackers to make their way to Thailand in search of paradise. This novel is about a young backpacker who arrives in Bangkok, learning about a mythical location known only as “The Beach” that is the closest thing to Eden on Earth.

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Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Part travel memoir and part practical how-to guide, this book provides advice for the art of long-term travel, as told by veteran budget traveler Rolf Potts.

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In a Sunburned Country

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

Travel writer Bill Bryson provides a wonderful glimpse into traveling Australia in his book├é In a Sunburned Country. He brings to life the land of the friendliest inhabitants, the hottest, driest weather, and the most peculiar and lethal wildlife to be found on the planet.

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Best Travel Adventure Books

These are some of the best travel adventure books.

Have you read any of these travel adventure books? Do you have any other favorite books that I should add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Related: 25 Brilliant Travel Memoirs by Women

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