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10 Great Books to Travel With

After carefully selecting your outfits, sandals, and beauty products, the last thing you want to worry about when traveling is which book to bring. (Right now, we're throwing the first Birchbox Book Club novel, The Vacationers, into our beach bag.) Whether you’re planning your next great adventure or plotting a literary escape on a Saturday, here are some of our staffers’ other favorite travel stories.

For a Solo Journey: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest by Cheryl Strayed

This personal account of one woman’s solitary trek along the Pacific Crest is so inspiring, it made Birchbox staffer Lorelei consider a change of heart: “I hate camping, and it made me want to hike the trail,” she says. Filled with existential musings, this is the perfect companion for anyone traveling alone.

When You’re Staying Local: Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

Who says you have to leave the country to have an adventure? Birchbox Man editor Adam recommends Steinbeck’s travelogue from his late-in-life road trip across small town America. Accompanied by only his poodle, Charley, Steinbeck drives from Niagra Falls to Yellowstone to gain a deeper understanding of his home country and his place within it.

For a Beach Read that Won’t Quit: Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

When a long trip requires more than your standard 200-page novel, reach for something epic. Birchbox Editorial Director Mollie loved David Mitchell's time-traveling saga for its meaty plot. At over 500 pages, you can rely on it to keep you entertained throughout your entire trip.

When The Closest Thing to a “Trip” Is your Daily Commute: Best American Travel Writing by Various Authors

When you can't get away, the next best thing is this annual compilation of essays about talented writers' travel experiences from the past year. Read it on your commute, and run with the bulls in Pamplona or hike the hills of New Guinea all while standing on the subway platform.

For Surviving a 15-Hour Flight: Dublin Murder Squad series by Tara French

Copywriter Valerie Ross likes to make the most of a transcontinental flight with the help of a good mystery novel. Her only problem? The selection at JFK is usually pretty lame. Her solution? Bringing Dublin Murder Squad series on board. Spooky, well written, and set in Ireland, these page-turners will have you at your location before you know it.

When You’re in a Rut: Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

If you’ve ever woken up in the middle of the night thinking, “I’ve gotta’ get outta’ here!,” Birchbox editor Ally suggests Elizabeth Gilbert’s moving account of flipping her life completely upside down. Whether it inspires you to book an international adventure or stay the course is entirely up to you.

When You’re Looking to Let Your Hair Down: Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Jong’s 1973 novel is about much more than hopping on a plane. Copywriter Amary recommends following main character Isadora Wing’s passion-filled journey across Europe, hunting for the man who awakens her long-dormant joie de vivre.

When You Think YOUR Mom is Weird: Where’d You Go Bernadette? by Maria Semple

Semple’s quick-moving novel traces the mysterious disappearance of Bernadette Fox, an eccentric architect-turned-agoraphobic-mom, and her daughter’s efforts to find her. As the novel travels from Portland to the tip of Antarctica, Birchbox editor Cristina said she became fascinated by Bernadette’s crazy past. One part mystery, one part comedy, and another part family drama, this book will remind you that your parents are more “normal” than you think.

For the Hopeless Romantic: Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

Taking place everywhere from Italy to Hollywood, this novel is a trip in itself—and proof that, when traveling, anything is possible, says editor Maura. Without giving too much away, Walter’s romantic tale proves how one chance encounter in a sleepy town on the Italian coast can have repercussions (both good and bad) that span decades.

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