A few well chosen volumes are an interesting way to dress your coffee table, and what could be better than some inspiring travel books? For one, they always contain fabulous pictures of wonderful places, and secondly, they don’t promote people to make judgments about you from your choice of reading material. Inspiring travel books simply say, I am a child of the world, I have a passion for travel and want to learn about new places and new cultures. These are some of my favorites.
1. 100 Places in Italy Every Woman Should Visit
Who isn’t drawn to Italy? Susan Van Allen has created one of the most inspiring travel books about the land of pasta and Ancient Rome. I love the adventures she serves up with great dollops of wit and passion. Speaking directly to a female audience, she panders to every desire we could want from a trip to Italy, taking us through experiences of art, architecture, food, romance and scenic wonders. And if you want to know where to shop, she gives us that too.
2. National Geographic Simply Beautiful Photographs
It’s a sure thing that National Geographic photographs are always beautiful, so if they put together a collection that they call Simply Beautiful, you know that they are going to be absolutely awesome. This volume makes for one of the most inspiring travel books because it focuses on the natural beauty of our world. There is little text so the focus is on the wonderful pictures themselves. Picture after picture just leaves you breathless.
3. Paris in Color
English-born turned Parisienne blogger and photographer Nichole Robertson has curated a glorious collection of photographs that portray the very reasons why Paris is called the City of Lights. The pictures delve into the soul of Paris, leaving no doubt why it is the city of lovers and romance, and why it has inspired so many artists and writers throughout the centuries.
4. Conde Nast Traveler: 25 Years of Photography
What you want from travel books for the coffee table are ones that speak volumes but in one binding. In 2012, one of the greatest names in travel – Conde Nast – issued a volume of wonderful photographs to celebrate their 25th anniversary in the travel business. The retrospective is of 25 years of their most stunning pictures by the magazine’s premier photographers. It's the perfect book to inspire travel and wanderlust.
5. The World is a Kitchen
Inspiring travel books are those which are evocative by their very nature, and for many cultures it is very rarely expressed so redolently than in its food. Combining the passion for food and travel, The World Is a Kitchen is a delicious journey. It will satisfy the gourmand’s appetite, nudge the wanderlust, and feed the hungry culture vulture as it explores lands around the world through their cuisines.
6. The Cities Book
The world’s greatest cities throw up plenty of fantastic photo opportunities, and 200 of them are beautifully presented in The Cities Book. Published by Lonely Planet – and what do they not know about travel? – the best cities are showcased and ranked in order, together with information about what to see, where to go, what to do and where to eat and drink.
7. Sand in My Bra and Other Misadventures
This is not so much one of the coffee table travel books as a thoroughly good read for any time. It’s unputdownable! If ever you need convincing that travel is a great adventure, this is the book to do it. And for seasoned travelers, it serves as a reminder that not everything always goes to plan and that there are disappointments and places and experiences that don’t live up to expectations. 29 female writers share their stories that are sometimes moving, sometimes scary, sometimes outrageous and most times, funny. Ellen DeGeneres is among the contributors.
As you might guess, I love travel books. For me they serve as reminders of past adventures and help me look forward to future trips. On a grey day, the stunning photographs of our beautiful world lift my spirits. If I had my way, my coffee table would be teeming with inspiring travel books – how about you?