11 Books That Make the Perfect Companions for Solo Travelers

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Scrolling through your phone as entertainment gets boring sometimes while you’re on the plane or train to your next destination. Why not read a book instead? Sometimes, books are better companions than people, especially during mundane moments in traveling.

1. The Beach by Alex Garland

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Since you’re traveling anyway, why not read a book about traveling? The Beach is about a backpacker’s search for the best, legendary, idyllic, and isolated beach untouched by tourism. It talks about his time at this beach with a small international community of backpackers. It is a great book to feed your wanderlust while exploring another country.

2. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

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Imagine sitting in a bustling restaurant or cafe with this book right after your meal in a foreign country. It is a great palate cleanser, accompanied by your favorite hot beverage. The sounds of the busy environment mirror the one in the book and quickly transport you into the story and experience as shared by the beloved Anthony Bourdain. This book is a collection of nonfiction anecdotes on the cooking industry and trade as experienced by Anthony Bourdain himself.

3. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
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A classical read like Fahrenheit 451 is always a great and safe choice when traveling. You will undoubtedly be drawn into its plotline, and the world around you will disappear. With a book like Fahrenheit 451, you might even attract other readers in the wild to come up to you and discuss the book at hand. This title features a dystopian world where books have been banned and outlawed. Any books found will be burned by “firemen. “The protagonist is a fireman caught between his personal beliefs and duty to the government.

4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter
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We all need wholesomeness and comfort when traveling; Harry Potter gives us just that, and specifically, the first three books. It is a familiar story you can read easily. You don’t have to strain yourself to understand its plotline or themes. It’s perfect to unwind after a long day of sightseeing and touristy activities in a foreign place. Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone details Harry’s first exposure to the magical world at Hogwarts.

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5. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier

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This is another beautiful classical option for those who prefer something more gothic. If you’re visiting castles and historical architecture, bringing this book to sit by a park afterward could help you romanticize the place and infuse your memories with something more positive. We could all add more romance to our lives. Rebecca is about a young woman who gets married to a wealthy widower only to discover that the memories of his dead wife still haunt him and his household.

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6. Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk

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Reading a book based on the place you’re visiting would be a great idea. A great example of this would be reading Istanbul: Memories and the City before seeing the actual city in Turkey. It gives you more insight and immerses you in the culture before you get there. Reading it while you’re in the city also adds to the experience. This book is an autobiographical memoir from Orhan Pamuk that talks in depth about the cultural and historical changes the country has gone through over the years.

7. Gai-Jin by James Clavell

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Like reading Istanbul when visiting the city, reading Gai-Jin in Tokyo brings an immersive experience to the book and your travels. This is the third and final book from James Clavell, and it delves into the political situation in Japan at the time, as well as the hostility faced by Westerners in the country.

8. A Room With a View by E. M. Forster

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It’s a good English classic for those who crave a little romance in their solo travels. The protagonist has to decide between two men in the end. At the same time, the plot is a disguise for its actual theme, a critique of Edwardian English society. Reading this while sitting on a bench in a garden or park is a chef’s kiss experience. A Room with a View follows Lucy Honeychurch, a woman living in the Edwardian era of England. She is torn between being a proper Englishwoman by society’s standards and acting on her desire for independence and love.

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9. A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

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Hemingway always has a way with words and will whisk you away in no time. Farewell to Arms is one of his many captivating works and is excellent for a temporary escape. This book tells the story of Frederic Henry, who serves as a lieutenant in the ambulance corps of the Italian army during World War I, described masterfully by Hemingway.

10. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

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A novel within a novel best describes The Shadow of the Wind. It is a coming-of-age story about a boy who finds his purpose through reading a book. It is for book lovers everywhere who will resonate strongly with its message and affection, but it is fitting for travelers who bring a book wherever they go, no matter how inconvenient.

11. The Map That Changed the World by Simon Winchester

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If you prefer something on the nonfiction route, packing The Map That Changed The World into your backpack could give you more insight into geological maps and the geologist who created them. You’ll better understand the places you’re traveling to and the inventions that make it happen. It is a nonfiction book about the achievements of the geologist William Smith and the first geological map of England, Wales, and Southern Scotland.

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