As America is now well into its 11th month (!!!) of quarantine, I am currently having all of the wanderlust feelings. In non-COVID times, I didn’t have much time to travel with my work schedule. The extent of my travel consisted of weekend or week-long trips to visit my best friend in NYC a few times a year, or some day trips around Northern California. I love adventures and trying new things, and discovering new places, and while I’ve always had the desire to travel, I’ve been feeling it extra intensely lately. Though I can’t physically hop on a train or a plane and visit some new place, I can read about it which has definitely helped with this restlessness that I’ve been feeling. If you’ve also got the travel bug here are 7 books that you should read!
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
This is usually the first book that I pick up whenever I’m itching to travel but am unable to. One of my dream vacations is a cross-country road trip, which is what Amy and Roger do. Their trip starts in California and ends in Connecticut, with some crazy and unexpected shenanigans in between. Something else that I love in this book is that Matson went on this road trip herself and the book includes photos and receipts from the stops, as well as playlists that both Amy and Roger create during their trip.
When you’re on a road trip, life is all about the detours. . . .
Amy Curry is having a terrible year. Her mother has decided to move across the country and needs Amy to get their car from California to Connecticut. There’s just one small problem: Since her father died this past spring, Amy hasn’t been able to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger, the nineteen-year-old son of an old family friend, who turns out to be unexpectedly cute … and dealing with some baggage of his own.
Meeting new people and coming to terms with her father’s death were not what Amy had planned on this trip. And traveling the Loneliest Road in America, seeing the Colorado mountains, crossing the Kansas plains, and visiting diners, dingy motels, and Graceland were definitely not on the itinerary. But as they drive, Amy finds that the people you least expected are the ones you may need the most—and that sometimes you have to get lost in order to find your way home.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
The beach is one of my favorite places, and I absolutely adore beach vacations! When I read this book all I wished was to be reading this on the beach as I escaped all of my adult responsibilities to fully immerse myself in January and Augustus’ world. Beach Read also has one of my favorite tropes, enemies (though more like rivals) to friends to lovers.
A romance writer who no longer believes in love and a literary writer stuck in a rut engage in a summer-long challenge that may just upend everything they believe about happily ever afters.
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow by Laura Taylor Namey
This book took me to Winchester, England and I never wanted to leave. England is at the top of my list of places that I want to visit once it’s safe to travel again and A Cuban Girl’s Guide to Tea and Tomorrow had such vivid descriptions of Winchester that it was so easy to imagine myself there. This book feels like being wrapped in your favorite sweater with a hot cup of tea. You can also check out Mary’s review here!
Love & Gelato meets Don’t Date Rosa Santos in this charming, heartfelt story following a Miami girl who unexpectedly finds love—and herself—in a small English town.
For Lila Reyes, a summer in England was never part of the plan. The plan was 1) take over her abuela’s role as head baker at their panadería, 2) move in with her best friend after graduation, and 3) live happily ever after with her boyfriend. But then the Trifecta happened, and everything—including Lila herself—fell apart.
Worried about Lila’s mental health, her parents make a new plan for her: Spend three months with family friends in Winchester, England, to relax and reset. But with the lack of sun, a grumpy inn cook, and a small town lacking Miami flavor (both in food and otherwise), what would be a dream trip for some feels more like a nightmare to Lila…until she meets Orion Maxwell.
A teashop clerk with troubles of his own, Orion is determined to help Lila out of her funk, and appoints himself as her personal tour guide. From Winchester’s drama-filled music scene to the sweeping English countryside, it isn’t long before Lila is not only charmed by Orion, but England itself. Soon a new future is beginning to form in Lila’s mind—one that would mean leaving everything she ever planned behind.
I Love You So Mochi by Sarah Kuhn
Both times that I’ve read I Love You So Mochi I have been completely captivated by the descriptions of Japan. I think that Japanese culture is so beautiful and this book has a way of making me feel completely immersed in it, and I can’t wait until I can visit Japan for real. You can read my full review of I Love You So Mochi here.
Kimi Nakamura loves a good fashion statement.
She’s obsessed with transforming everyday ephemera into Kimi Originals: bold outfits that make her and her friends feel like the Ultimate versions of themselves. But her mother disapproves, and when they get into an explosive fight, Kimi’s entire future seems on the verge of falling apart. So when a surprise letter comes in the mail from Kimi’s estranged grandparents, inviting her to Kyoto for spring break, she seizes the opportunity to get away from the disaster of her life.
When she arrives in Japan, she’s met with a culture both familiar and completely foreign to her. She loses herself in the city’s outdoor markets, art installations, and cherry blossom festival — and meets Akira, a cute aspiring med student who moonlights as a costumed mochi mascot. And what begins as a trip to escape her problems quickly becomes a way for Kimi to learn more about the mother she left behind, and to figure out where her own heart lies.
In I Love You So Mochi, author Sarah Kuhn has penned a delightfully sweet and irrepressibly funny novel that will make you squee at the cute, cringe at the awkward, and show that sometimes you have to lose yourself in something you love to find your Ultimate self.
Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch
It is not a travel books rec list if Jenna Evans Welch is not on the list (as you will see because I’ve listed all of her books). I first read Love & Gelato fairly early on into quarantining, and it immediately made me long to hop on a plane and visit Italy. I loved how descriptive the writing was and how this trip helped Lena grow and heal. The book was funny and exciting and adventurous as well as heartfelt and emotional.
“I made the wrong choice.”
Lina is spending the summer in Tuscany, but she isn’t in the mood for Italy’s famous sunshine and fairy-tale landscape. She’s only there because it was her mother’s dying wish that she get to know her father. But what kind of father isn’t around for sixteen years? All Lina wants to do is go back home.
But then she is given a journal that her mom had kept when she lived in Italy. Suddenly Lina’s uncovering a magical world of secret romances, art, and hidden bakeries. A world that inspires her, along with the ever-so-charming Ren, to follow in her mother’s footsteps and unearth a secret that has been kept for far too long. It’s a secret that will change everything she knew about her mother, her father—and even herself.
People come to Italy for love and gelato, someone tells her, but sometimes they discover much more.
Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch
Right after I finished Love & Gelato, I rushed to start Love & Luck. I’m part Irish myself but have never visited Ireland and this book was like a dream come true. Love & Luck also has a real focus on familial relationships, and we know that I love stories about families, so this was right up my alley. There are beautiful descriptions of Ireland and it involves an exciting road trip! This is a perfect book to read for an escape.
“I wanted this to be real life, not a detour….”
Addie is visiting Ireland for her aunt’s over-the-top destination wedding and hoping she can stop thinking about the one horrible thing that left her miserable and heartbroken—and threatens her future. But her brother, Ian, isn’t about to let her forget, and his constant needling leads to arguments and even a fistfight between the two once-inseparable siblings.
But when Addie discovers an unusual guidebook, Ireland for the Heartbroken, hidden in the dusty shelves of the hotel library, she’s finally able to escape her anxious mind—and Ian’s criticism.
And then their travel plans change. Suddenly Addie finds herself on a whirlwind tour of the Emerald Isle, trapped in the world’s smallest vehicle with Ian and his admittedly cute Irish-accented friend Rowan. As the trio journeys over breathtaking green hills, past countless castles, and through a number of fairy-tale forests, Addie hopes her guidebook will heal not only her broken heart, but also her shattered relationship with her brother.
That is, if they don’t get completely lost along the way.
Love & Olives by Jenna Evans Welch
So if we’re being completely honest, one of my life dreams is to be on a beach in Santorini, wearing a flowy dress, while dancing and singing any song from Mamma Mia. It’s a dream that I cannot wait to make a reality; I already feel so relaxed just thinking about it. I’ve gotten through about 30% of Love & Olives at the moment and I am already obsessed with it. I’m so excited to see how everything plays out. Also, Liv is staying in a room in a bookstore, honestly, what more could you want?
Santorini felt like an island holding its breath. As if it were keeping in a secret…
Liv Varanakis doesn’t like to think about her father much, which makes sense—he fled to Greece when she was only eight, leaving her with just a few painful memories of their shared love for the lost city of Atlantis. So when teenage Liv suddenly receives a postcard from her father, who explains that National Geographic is supporting a documentary about his theories on Atlantis—and asks if she will fly out to Greece and help—Liv is less than thrilled.
When she arrives in gorgeous Santorini, things are just as awkward as she’d imagined. There are so many questions, so many emotions that flood to the surface after seeing her father for the first time in years. Liv doesn’t want to get sucked back into her father’s world. She also definitely doesn’t want Theo, her father’s charismatic so-called protégé, to witness her struggle.
Even so, she can’t help but be charmed by everything Santorini has to offer—the beautiful sunsets, the turquoise water, the sun-drenched villages, and the delicious cuisine. But not everything on the Greek island is as perfect as it seems. Because as Liv slowly begins to discover, her father may not have invited her to Greece for Atlantis, but for something much more important.
Have you read any of these books? What are some of your favorite books that involve travel? Let me know in the comments!