Top 10 Best Novels to Read When Travelling

Travelling is exciting, eye-opening, exhilarating... and exhausting! Relax and escape into one of these beautiful novels for a while, all of which feature incredible journeys of both body and mind in a range of locations. See below for the best novels to read when travelling.

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1. The Beach

Alex Garland

Richard lands in East Asia in search of an earthly utopia. In Thailand, he is given a map by a stranger which promises an unknown island, a hidden lagoon, a secluded beach and a new way of life. What Richard finds when he arrives is breath-taking: more extraordinary and more terrifying than his wildest dreams. But how long can paradise survive here on Earth - and to what lengths will Richard go in order to save it?

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2. Life of Pi

Yann Martel

This is the story of one boy, one boat, and one tiger, in the middle of the wild, azure Pacific. The only survivors of a shipwreck are 16-year-old Pi, a hyena, a zebra with a broken leg, a female orang-utan, and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. This sets the scene for the extraordinary adventure in this much-loved work of fiction.

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3. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

One Thursday lunchtime, the Earth gets demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. It's the final straw for Arthur Dent, who already had his house bulldozed that same morning. But for Arthur, this is only the beginning. Seconds before global obliteration, Arthur is plucked from the planet by his friend, Ford Prefect, and together, the pair must venture out across the galaxy on the wackiest, weirdest road trip ever. This fantastically funny and futuristic story features a truly enlightening journey.

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4. The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency

Alexander McCall Smith

The first of a series of wonderful reads, the adventures of Mma Ramotswe are sure to delight and enthral. If you've got a problem and no-one else can help you, pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. With warmth, wit and sharp intuition on her side, she's sure to solve the most mysterious cases, including wayward daughters, missing husbands, philandering partners and curious conmen. Discover the vibrant Botswanan culture whilst enjoying the heart-warming and gripping story of Precious Ramotswe.

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5. Eat, Pray, Love

Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth has the life everyone wants in their thirties: a husband, a house, trying for a baby... her life should be perfect. But it's not. Following a bitter divorce and a turbulent affair, Elizabeth sets off on a journey around the world, determined to care for herself for once. She travels to Italy, India and Bali on a journey that will present her with incredible adventures, novel experiences, and the true path to inner peace and happiness. This is the ultimate book for travelling booklovers.

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6. All the Light We Cannot See

Anthony Doerr

This stunning novel takes place during the devastating years of World War II. It follows Marie-Laure, who, at the age of six, goes blind. Her father builds her a model of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorise it with her fingers. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast to join Marie-Laure's agoraphobic uncle in a tall, narrow house. In another world in Germany, Werner, an orphan boy, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master in building and fixing radios, a talent that ultimately makes him a highly-specialised tracker of the Resistance. His travels finally lead him to Saint-Malo, where his path collides with Marie-Laure's...

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7. Shantaram

Gregory David Roberts

In 1978, gifted student and writer Greg Roberts turned to heroin when his marriage collapsed, feeding his addiction with a string of robberies. When he was caught, he was given a 19-year sentence - but after two years, he escaped. He spent the next 10 years on the run as Australia's most wanted man. Hiding in Bombay, he established a medical clinic for slum-dwellers, worked in the Bollywood film industry and served time in the notorious Arthur Road prison. In the Bombay mafia, he worked as a forger, counterfeiter and smuggler, and fought alongside a unit of guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. His debut novel is based on the 10-year period of his life in Bombay. The result is an epic tale of slums, hotels, romance, adventure and torture, and a book that presents a vivid portrayal of Bombay life.

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8. The Fault in Our Stars

John Green

Full of poignant observations about life, death, illness and love, this book follows Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters, two young cancer sufferers who meet at a cancer support group. The two develop a friendship that 'slowly, and then all at once' becomes love, peaking with an eventful trip to Amsterdam together. Both heart-breaking and humorous, this beautiful tale will make you laugh, cry, reflect and ruminate.

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9. Half of a Yellow Sun

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This powerful novel tells a shocking tale of war and peace in the author's homeland of Nigeria, swinging back and forth between the early and late 1960s. It is told through the interweaving viewpoints of three characters: Ugwu, a village boy who gets a job as a houseboy for university professor Odenigbo; Olanna, a privileged young woman from Lagos, who leaves her luxurious life behind to live with Odenigbo; and Richard, an English journalist. But life will take a turbulent turn as these three characters are drawn into the heart of the Nigerian Civil War - and the consequences will be life-changing...

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10. The Buried Giant

Kazuo Ishiguro

The Romans have long since departed and Britain is gradually fading into ruin. Axl and Beatrice set off across a troubled land of mist and rain to find the son they haven't seen for years. They expect to face many dangers - some strange and otherworldly - but they could never have foreseen that their journey would reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for each other. Fierce, gripping, and intensely moving, this stunning novel is about lost memories, revenge, war, and love.

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Want more novels to explore? Check out our full range of the best fiction novels.

  • AAFQZ
    Alexander McCall Smith
    • £8.89
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    Wayward daughters. Missing Husbands. Philandering partners. Curious conmen. If you've got a problem, and no one else can help you, then pay a visit to Precious Ramotswe, Botswana's only - and finest - female private detective. Her methods may not be conventional, and her manner not exactly Miss Marple, but she's got warmth, wit and canny intuition on her side, not to mention Mr J. L. B. Matekoni, the charming proprietor of Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. And Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger ...Delightfully different, THE NO.1 LADIES' DETECTIVE AGENCY offers a captivating glimpse of an unusual world.
  • AAAQV
    Gregory David Roberts
    (1)
    • £8.79
    • RRP £10.99
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    In 1978, gifted student and writer Greg Roberts turned to heroin when his marriage collapsed, feeding his addiction with a string of robberies. Caught and convicted, he was given a nineteen-year sentence. After two years, he escaped from a maximum- security prison, spending the next ten years on the run as Australia's most wanted man. Hiding in Bombay, he established a medical clinic for slum- dwellers, worked in the Bollywood film industry and served time in the notorious Arthur Road prison. He was recruited by one of the most charismatic branches of the Bombay mafia for whom he worked as a forger, counterfeiter, and smuggler, and fought alongside a unit of mujaheddin guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan. His debut novel, SHANTARAM, is based on this ten-year period of his life in Bombay. The result is an epic tale of slums and five-star hotels, romantic love and prison torture, mafia gang wars and Bollywood films. A gripping adventure story, SHANTARAM is also a superbly written meditation on good and evil and an authentic evocation of Bombay life.
  • AAAKE
    Elizabeth Gilbert
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    It's 3 a.m. and Elizabeth Gilbert is sobbing on the bathroom floor. She's in her thirties, she has a husband, a house, they're trying for a baby - and she doesn't want any of it. A bitter divorce and a turbulent love affair later, she emerges battered and bewildered and realises it is time to pursue her own journey in search of three things she has been missing: pleasure, devotion and balance. So she travels to Rome, where she learns Italian from handsome, brown-eyed identical twins and gains twenty-five pounds, an ashram in India, where she finds that enlightenment entails getting up in the middle of the night to scrub the temple floor, and Bali where a toothless medicine man of indeterminate age offers her a new path to peace: simply sit still and smile. And slowly happiness begins to creep up on her.

  • FUL2 13 years +
    John Green
    13 years +
    (7)
    • £3.99
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    John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, is one of the most popular voices in contemporary young adult fiction and The Fault in Our Stars became an instant classic.

    You will probably have been in tears watching the big-screen adaptation that starred Shailene Woodley and Ansel Engort as the devoted teenage lovers Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters and the book is just as heart-wrenching and poignant, but keeps a fine line in self-depreciating humour - especially from the wise-beyond-her-years Hazel.

    After meeting at a cancer support group, the cynical sufferer Hazel unexpectedly finds herself falling for the charms of Augustus and the novel follows the two as their relationship develops - taking in a romantic trip to Amsterdam in the process.

    Full of wit, sensitivity and observations about life and illness, this profound book will make readers of any age (especially teens) laugh and cry in equal measure.
  • AQWHH
    Kazuo Ishiguro
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    The extraordinary new novel from the author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker Prize winning The Remains of the Day. The Romans have long since departed, and Britain is steadily declining into ruin. But at least the wars that once ravaged the country have ceased. The Buried Giant begins as a couple, Axl and Beatrice, set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen for years. They expect to face many hazards - some strange and other-worldly - but they cannot yet foresee how their journey will reveal to them dark and forgotten corners of their love for one another. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro's first novel in a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge and war.
  • AUMRZ
    Douglas Adams
    • £7.89
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    One Thursday lunchtime, the Earth gets unexpectedly demolished to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. It's the final straw for Arthur Dent, who has already had his house bulldozed that morning. But for Arthur, that is only the beginning ...In the seconds before global obliteration, Arthur is plucked from the planet by his friend Ford Prefect - and together the pair venture out across the galaxy on the craziest, strangest road trip of all time.
  • ANBFR
    Anthony Doerr
    (4)
    • £7.19
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    NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST AND NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II, from the highly acclaimed, multiple award-winning Anthony Doerr. When Marie Laure goes blind, aged six, her father builds her a model of their Paris neighborhood, so she can memorize it with her fingers and then navigate the real streets. But when the Germans occupy Paris, father and daughter flee to Saint-Malo on the Brittany coast, where Marie-Laure's agoraphobic great uncle lives in a tall, narrow house by the sea wall. In another world in Germany, an orphan boy, Werner, is enchanted by a crude radio. He becomes a master at building and fixing radios, a talent ultimately makes him a highly specialized tracker of the Resistance. Werner travels through the heart of Hitler Youth to the far-flung outskirts of Russia, and finally into Saint-Malo, where his path converges with Marie-Laure. Deftly interweaving the lives of Marie-Laure and Werner, Doerr illuminates the ways, against all odds, people try to be good to one another. Ten years in the writing, ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE is his most ambitious and dazzling work.
  • AABGU
    Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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    The second novel from talented Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun is a moving tale of war and peace in the author?s homeland. Powerful and moving, this novel saw Adichie win the 2007 Orange Prize for Fiction, and is loaded with fascinating references to the history of Nigeria and the vicious civil war of the 1960s. Three superbly drawn characters find themselves swept up in the violence during these turbulent years, and learn they must question their responses to this chilling political upheaval as their lives intersect.

  • AUJJZ
    Alex Garland
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    A 20th anniversary edition of this million copy bestseller, with a new introduction by John Niven: a classic story of paradise found - and lost. Richard lands in East Asia in search of an earthly utopia. In Thailand, he is given a map promising an unknown island, a secluded beach - and a new way of life. What Richard finds when he gets there is breathtaking: more extraordinary, more frightening than his wildest dreams. But how long can paradise survive here on Earth? And what lengths will Richard go to in order to save it?
  • AUUSH
    Yann Martel
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    One boy, one boat, one tiger ...After the tragic sinking of a cargo ship, a solitary lifeboat remains bobbing on the wild, blue Pacific. The only survivors from the wreck are a sixteen year-old boy named Pi, a hyena, a zebra (with a broken leg), a female orang-utan -- and a 450-pound Royal Bengal tiger. The scene is set for one of the most extraordinary and best-loved works of fiction in recent years.