Top 8 Books for Wanderlust: Inspirational Fiction Reads for Travel Lovers

Let these 8 great books for wanderlust inspiration take you to far away places!

Though fiction, each is set in a foreign land or takes you on an amazing journey through the characters’ eyes.

Whether your looking for a good book at the beach or want to enjoy an escape from everyday life, you’ll want to check these out.

Learn more about these titles, below.

books for wanderlust

CONTENTS – In this article, you will discover 8 great fiction books for wanderlust that you’ll enjoy reading, including:

  • Why Read Fiction Set in a Foreign Country?
  • Top 8 Books to Inspire Your Wanderlust
  • 1. The One Woman
  • 2. Half of a Yellow Sun
  • 3. The Red Lotus
  • 4. The Long Way Home
  • 5. From the Jump
  • 6. Bangkok Wakes to Rain
  • 7. Places We’ve Never Been
  • 8. You’re Invited
  • Final Thoughts
  • Next Steps

Why Read Fiction Set in a Foreign Country?

Reading a book about traveling to a foreign country and the experiences that take place is the best way to get wanderlust.

No matter if you’re at home planning your next vacation or abroad experiencing love, heartbreak, redemption, and self-discovery, you may lose yourself in these tales.

Here are our top eight novels to read to inspire your next trip.

The Top 8 Books to Inspire Your Wanderlust

1. The One Woman

By Laura May

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Julie, a graphic artist, is the protagonist of Laura May’s book The One Woman. Los Angeles, Barcelona, Tel Aviv, and Kyiv are the cities where the action takes place.

Sadly, we don’t know much about Julie’s past or how she met Mark.

That is, until she meets Ann. Ann is a beautiful and cheerful web developer.

Soon, Julie falls in love with her.

There is a real spark when their history and present meet in Spain.

When tragedy strikes, Julie will be forced to decide between her devotion to Mark and her love for Ann.

Can long distance love endure?

Discover more in this LGBTQ love story by writer Laura May.


2. Half of a Yellow Sun

By Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, a renowned author, explores a crucial period in contemporary African history with seamless grace:

Biafra’s passionate quest to form an independent republic in southeast Nigeria in the late 1960s.

With the help of five unforgettable characters, we experience this turbulent decade

  • Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal
  • Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress who has left Lagos for a dusty town and her lover’s charm
  • Richard, a shy young Englishman who is smitten with Olanna’s stubborn twin sister Kainene

Half of a Yellow Sun is a deeply evocative book about the Biafran war’s promise, optimism, and disappointment.


3. The Red Lotus

by Chris Bohjalian

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Unlike most “meet cute” situations, Alexis and Austin’s initial encounter includes Alexis, an ER doctor, suturing a bullet wound in Austin’s arm.

They go on a bike journey in Vietnam six months later as a couple to exhibit Alexis Austin’s love for cycling and to pay respects to the battlefields where his father and uncle served.

However, after a single voyage, Austin does not return.

The sole indication that Alexis’s lover is still alive is a bright yellow energy gel that was left on the road.

Alexis begins to learn a succession of weird lies as she deals with this perplexing loss. It makes her ask, “Where did Austin go?” and “What was the real reason he took her to Vietnam?”

Find the answers in The Red Lotus.


4. The Long Way Home

by Karen McQuestion

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Marnie, Laverne, and Rita are Wisconsin residents, and things isn’t going so well for them.

Each is biding their time while hoping for something better to take them away from what their lives have recently evolved into.

Then there is Jazzy, who is vivacious, upbeat, and joyful despite hearing the voices of the dead.

Following a chance encounter, the women decide to travel with Marnie from Wisconsin to Las Vegas in order to see Troy, the son she raised as her own and from whom she has been estranged since her partner passed away.

They had no idea that as the road journey progresses, so will their lives—in ways they never imagined.

Each woman will experience something unique from the adventure in The Long Way Home, which is humorous, touching, and tragic.


5. From the Jump

by Lacie Waldon

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Liv Bakersfield is accustomed to following rules and expectations.

Be fit.

Have sound financial judgment.

Do your best.

She’s a graphic designer who works too much and is about to cancel yet another trip with her cherished circle of college buddies.

However, when Liv finally makes the decision to start saying no, it feels good—good enough for her to immediately resign from her job and board a plane to travel with them to South Africa.

Liv anticipates sun, safari animals, and a laid-back time with her closest friends amidst the exotic scenery and breathtaking views.

However, being so close together makes everything more difficult, particularly when dealing with the emotionally unavailable Lucas Deiss.

Discover how this plays when you read From the Jump.


6. Bangkok Wakes to Rain

by Pitchaya Sudbanthad

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While giving in to the vivid turmoil of nineteenth-century Siam, a missionary doctor longs for his beloved New England in Bangkok Wakes to Rain.

Without realizing it, a post-World War II society woman marries, gives birth, and holds court.

In the rock era, a jazz pianist who is plagued by his own ghosts is called upon to placate the house’s occupant spirits.

A young woman struggles to move past the lingering effects of her political background in the present.

Smart young people row tourists past monuments of the submerged ancient city they themselves do not recall in a future New Krungthep.

The forces that are ferociously creating and recreating the amphibious, constantly changing capital itself cause these lives to collide and converge, blurring the boundaries of time.


7. Places We’ve Never Been

by Kasie West

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Skyler, Norah’s best friend from childhood, hasn’t been seen in a long time.

They used to talk all the time when he initially moved away, but now their interaction has been limited to liking each other’s Instagram pictures.

Norah is eagerly anticipating the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer because of this.

However, when Skyler does show there, he appears to be…like he’d rather be somewhere else. Norah responds in kind, hurt and bewildered.

Her longest friendship has all of a sudden fallen apart.

Skyler and Norah travel unexpectedly across the country during the summer, finding new paths and making fresh discoveries. Soon, they are once more viewing each other from distinct perspectives.

Can their once-friendly rivalry develop into something more?

Find out in Places We’ve Never Been.


8. You’re Invited

by Amanda Jayatissa

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Amaya is shocked and a little hurt to hear from her old best friend after such a long period of radio silence when she receives an invitation to Kaavi’s extravagant wedding in Sri Lanka.

But when Amaya finds out that the groom is her very own ex-boyfriend, she is overcome with the conviction that she must prevent the wedding at all costs.

Amaya can’t help but feel like she has a target on her back as the wedding celebrations start and whispers about her past start to circulate.

Everything leads to Amaya when Kaavi vanishes and is later revealed to be dead.

However, each wedding guest has a secret, so nothing is as it seems in You’re Invited.


Final Thoughts on Books for Wanderlust

So there you have it.

8 great books for wanderlust you should get your hands on.

What other books would you recommend? 

Next Steps

If you enjoyed learning about the top books for wanderlust, you’ll discover more books and resources to inspire your travels here:

Author Bio: This article was contributed by Diane Hayes, a book blogger who loves to share the books she enjoys.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.