In A Sunburned Country, Bill Bryson (2000)
If you're like many of us who spend their working dollars on trips abroad rather than discovering the beauty of our homeland, In A Sunburned Country might go some way to opening your eyes. Bill Bryson is a prolific writer whose travel books are filled with witty observations and a generous pinch of humour. In his eighth book, Bryson roams across this big slab of island, taking us from the city to the country and back again, all the while peeling back the layers of our culture and introducing us to a loveable cast of characters.
The Innocents Abroad, Mark Twain (1869)
It's a long read, but it's worth it. American author Mark Twain takes us on a journey through Europe and the Holy Land, discovering places like Syria, Lebanon and Greece. And like most trips abroad, you'll discover just as much about the touring party as the locals. Twain has a knack of poking fun at his fellow American tourists -- and if you've ever been frustrated by your own travel companions, you'll find some of these anecdotes hilariously accurate.
The Great Railway Bazaar: By Train Through Asia, Paul Theroux (1975)
You may find that most international trips these days will involve multiple flights, a number of buses, taxis and yes, a train connection or two. But for travel writer Paul Theroux, he did the entire thing by rail. From London to Tokyo, through India and Asia, the author recounts amusing conversations with his fellow passengers and eye-opening, sense-stimulating stopover destinations. Hopping aboard historic railway routes like the Trans-Siberian Express, this book will have you flicking the pages with such focus that you'll more than likely miss your own train stop!
Wrong About Japan: A Father's Journey With His Son, Peter Carey (2004)
Fans of Peter Carey won't be disappointed with this read. The ultimate father-son bonding trip, this book details the two Carey men's journey to Japan. When Peter's son Charley becomes obsessed by Japanese anime and manga, they decide to head off on a trip to learn more about the genre and the culture behind it. The resulting book is a fascinating study of a foreigner's journey into the heart of modern Japan, as well as a clever account of a father and son learning more about each other and the generational gaps that stand between them. It's funny, fascinating and very moving.
Down And Out In Paris And London, George Orwell (1933)
Essentially a diary account of a young George Orwell's time struggling to survive in two of the most beautiful cities in the world, Down And Out In Paris And London shows a very different side to these tourist havens. While we may visit for the escargot and the champagne, this book reveals a grittier side to foreigners living in Paris, as Orwell battles through low-paying jobs as a dishwasher and struggles to earn a living. His descriptions are fascinating and eye-opening, and well worth a read to make you appreciate your journey just that little bit more!