Travel Books That Will Inspire You to See the World


During one’s downtime in which they are not traveling, what better way to keep their exploratory passion alive than to read some of the most intriguing books on the subject? The following are just some of many travel books to read that will keep your travel bug alive and have you yearning to visit every possible corner of the world.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac

In the years following World War II, Jack Kerouac and his friends traveled across the United States in search of all that life has to offer. Narrated by “Sal Paradise,” who serves as Kerouac himself, readers follow these men from New York to Denver, San Francisco, and Los Angeles where they encounter various forms of art and some of life’s troubles. You begin to notice the characters, particularly Sal, grow and gain more confidence. This piece of literature is sure to inspire even the most introverted individual to travel cross-country.

Love With a Chance of Drowning by Torre DeRoche

Don’t let the fact that this is somewhat of a romance novel deter you from reading. As a well known travel blogger, DeRoche details her fear of the ocean and and the incredible feat of overcoming that fear to sail across the Pacific with her boyfriend. Her vivid writing paints a picture in readers’ minds and evokes a moving feeling; something that, again, is sure to get even the laziest person up off the couch and out in the world.

The Island at the Center of the World by Russell Shorto

For individuals especially keen on New York City, Russell Shorto’s book details the history of its foundation through Dutch settlers and their conflicts with the British and eventual losing of the city. These settlers have left such an impact that most of the city’s culture still emanates that today, in addition to many street and neighborhood names. After reading this story, it will be difficult not to have a newfound appreciation for New York City culture.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

A book on vagabonding by none other than the king of vagabonding himself, Rolf Potts has spent over 10 years hitchhiking and exploring areas all over the world. His book contains some of the best insight imaginable, crucial travel tips and information, and several inspiring encounters; a work that should be considered an absolute must-read for those new to the world of traveling. Potts delves deeper into the philosophy of traveling as well, explaining why traveling for extended periods of time is an enriching experience.


Overcoming Language Barriers When Traveling

As exciting as traveling to a new country can be, the inability to speak the native tongue can be daunting. However, it should never be a reason not to travel. There are many ways visitors can get by in a country without so much as speaking a single word (though that certainly helps). I’ve brainstormed a few tips to overcome that language barrier and effectively find your way in a foreign land.

Download a Translation App

Perhaps the most obvious way to communicate with someone who speaks another language is to download one of the many language translation apps that exist today. While choosing one is based entirely on preference, many tend to work very well. Depending on the complexity of the language you are trying to speak, some apps may work better than others. These are great for deciphering menus or written text, and can even be used in conversation.

Utilize Body Language

If verbal communication is not an option, speaking with your hands and face is the next best thing. Be expressive with your body movements. Pointing, nodding, or shaking your head can accurately convey what you are trying to say to a local in that country, but be wary of socially acceptable and unacceptable gestures.

For example, signaling “thumbs up” may be seen as positive here in the United States, but in the Middle East, it is an extremely offensive gesture. In the United Kingdom, what we Americans call the “peace sign” is actually a very rude gesture when given with the back of the hand facing out. Do some research on the cultural norms of the country you are visiting beforehand to avoid any faux pas. It’s safe to say the middle finger is probably disrespectful anywhere.

Study the Basics

Even though learning an entirely new language can be time consuming and downright inconvenient just before a trip, it’s often seen as rude to not learn at least a few basic words of the native tongue you are about to be surrounded by. Simply being able to say things like “thank you,” “excuse me,” “sorry,” or “I only speak English” can effectively tell locals that you need their help in terms of navigation or translation. It’s also very respectful to show that you’ve taken the time to learn some of their language, which often translates to appreciation. In my experience, even saying “hello” in their native tongue can elicit a smile back.

Hire Assistance

If you’re visiting a country with an extremely difficult language to learn and are not comfortable getting around yourself, you have the option of working with a local travel agent for assistance. These professional guides know their way around the country and can step in to help translate certain situations. This is especially useful when you are trying to book a flight or lodging.

Local tour guides can be just as helpful, and are often much more in touch with their respective communities. Aside from being taken on breathtaking sightseeing tours, these guides can help you practice the local language and learn more about the layouts of the country. If you are staying at a hotel, oftentimes their concierge department can provide you with a trusty guide to join you on your ventures.

Get to know a local

Saving the best for last, by far my favorite method of overcoming language barriers is simply through meeting a local, or traveling with someone that speaks the local language. Having a friend who can interpret those tricky conversations can reduce a lot of confusion and frustration on your part, as well as the locals trying to help you. Plus, they can help you find your confidence with pronunciations, common usages, and cultural subtleties, which is difficult to learn through books alone.

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New Zealand’s Greatest Attractions

Commonly referred to as the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand is full of exciting activities and stunning sights that locals take pride in and tourists can enjoy on a daily basis. With a landscape beautiful enough to garner the attention of numerous film crews (see The Lord of the Rings trilogy), New Zealand has just about everything. From adventurists to food connoisseurs, nearly everyone who visits this country is sure to find something for them.

Hang Gliding

Being the adventure capital of the world, New Zealand’s enormous mountain ranges make for some of the most opportune hang gliding experiences. Beginning at Coronet Peak, the highest takeoff point in Queenstown, visitors are paired with an experienced instructor before flying over some of the most scenic landscapes you will ever see.

The Tamaki Maori Village

For one of the coolest history lessons you’ll ever receive, check out the Tamaki Maori Village in Rotorua to learn about Polynesian culture and their practices. Guests can stay overnight, taste traditional food, and see traditional rituals and ceremonies dating back to the 13th century. These ancient warriors are of the most proud cultures in the world, and express their deep roots through some truly awesome dances and songs.


As weird as this activity may sound, it can be incredibly fun. Starting right here in New Zealand, Zorbing involves tumbling down a hill in a giant protective orb typically made of inflatable transparent plastic. They aren’t as dangerous as they sound. Their protective makeup is also buoyant, so they can remain floating in a body of water. Those inside are strapped safely with harnesses before they are sent rolling down various courses.

Rotorua, being the birthplace of this activity, has numerous courses visitors can check out, as well as plenty of hot springs to help you relax following the plenty of adventures you’re bound to have.

Whale Watching

Being a coastal country, New Zealand is home to many of the world’s sea creatures. In Kaikoura specifically, both humpback whales and orcas are spotted so frequently, that if whale watching groups don’t see any during their time at see, all guests are refunding 80% of their ticket money; a pretty confident, yet admirable gesture.

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5 Countries to Visit During Winter

Depending on whether or not you are trying to escape or embrace the colder temperatures, deciding where to travel during the winter months can be a tricky task. While the majority of vacationers seek warmer climates this time of year, visiting countries with equally winteresque landscapes can be an experience unlike most. Below are just a few countries to consider for those wanting to bask in the warm sun, and for those seeking a winter wonderland.


This one is for the snowmen (and women). Lithuania averages 23-35 degrees fahrenheit from the months of November to February, giving way for plenty of snow. The city of Vilnius, the country’s capital, is well known for its baroque architecture and cobblestone streets. Top this stunning scenery with a light dusting of snow, and Lithuania becomes what feels like the inside of a giant snow globe. One of the country’s many seasonal events, “Christmas in the Capital” hosts holiday performances at the Lithuanian National Opera and Ballet Theatre, as well as the Three Kings Procession, a miniature parade comprised of biblical characters who provide well wishes to the country.

South Africa

Both for the sunbathers and lovers of wildlife, South Africa averages a mid-80 degrees fahrenheit in the winter months, as well as the Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife organization; a conservative effort for the country’s biodiversity. Here, visitors can stay at the company’s resorts and campsites to see Africa’s native animals like lions, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, and much more, making this a great vacation for families.

Puerto Rico

Another warmer destination for those that want to fly south for winter, Puerto Rico hosts one of Central America’s largest winter events known as the San Sebastian Street Fest in San Juan. Parades, food vendors, and a plethora of music combine to create a lively environment that goes well into the night. Not only is this party free, but the gathering of both locals and tourists allows all visitors to experience true Puerto Rican culture. Even the late, great Hunter S. Thompson remarked his experiences here in his famous piece The Rum Diary.


A true winter experience wouldn’t be complete without staying in a hotel made entirely of ice, would it? Just outside the city of Kiruna lies Sweden’s world famous Ice Hotel. This art exhibition is also a fully functional inn, but is only open during the winter months, as it is rebuilt every year after melting in the Spring. Sweden is also home to some of the best ski slopes in the world, with beautiful hotels to match. The Åre resort has 91 kilometers of slopes, with 32 chair lifts to navigate the enormous hills.


When consider South America for a winter vacation, one would assume heat is the primary objective. However, in Patagonia, Argentina, there is a different story. The Andes Mountains, one of the largest mountain ranges in the world, are truly a sight to be seen for lovers of snow and ice. The Los Glaciares National Park is home to even more icy giants, and the Llao Llao Hotel provides luxury lodging for those who wish to stay in this surprisingly chilly city.