This is a year full of exciting releases in the travel genre, and this list brings together the most anticipated travel books of 2023. Whether you’re looking for travel memoirs, guidebooks, or books that explore a location through its history, you’ll find plenty to appreciate here.
If you’re planning to travel this year and looking for advice, be sure to check out this primer on picking the best travel guide books next. There, you’ll find a comprehensive list of travel guidebook publishers and the pros and cons of each from Book Riot contributor Ann-Marie Cahill. She also shares general tips for choosing a guidebook and getting the most out of it while you’re on the road.
And, if you plan on bringing more books with you, learn from Book Riot contributor Kristina Pino how to get the most out of reading time while you travel. Included are tips for choosing books you’ll be more likely to appreciate while traveling, like books or genres you know you love, and advice for waking up early to read and reflect before starting your day.
And finally, if you’re looking for more travel book recommendations, check out 21 of the best travel books of all time, including From Scratch: A Memoir of Love, Sicily and Finding Home by Tembi Locke.
Driving the Green Book: A Road Trip Through the Living History of Black Resistance by Alvin Hall (January 31)
Award-winning broadcaster Alvin Hall and activist Janée Woods Weber go on a cross-country road trip guided by the Green Book, a travel guide written by Victor Green and published from 1936 to 1967 that identified businesses and locations that were friendly to Black travelers. Along the way, they interview people living today who used the Green Book to travel safely while under segregation.
On the Curry Trail: Chasing the Flavor that Seduced the World by Raghavan Iyer (February 28)
Raghvan Iyer, host of the Emmy Award–winning documentary Asian Flavors, explores the historical origins of curry and its cultural significance around the world. Accompanied by 50 recipes, On the Curry Trail shares how curry has changed over time and in local variations.
Vincent’s Arles: As It Is and as It Was by Linda Seidel (March 10)
Vincent van Gogh’s 15-month stay in Arles, France, is where he created some of his most iconic paintings, including Cafe Terrace at Night and his Sunflowers series. Art history professor Linda Seidel explores the French town as it was in the late 19th century, when Van Gogh and other artists moved there in search of inspiration, as well as what it’s like today as a visitor.
Made in Chicago: Stories Behind 30 Great Hometown Bites by Monica Eng and David Hammond (March 21)
Drawing on decades of reporting experience, journalists Monica Eng and David Hammond share the stories behind 30 of Chicago’s best-known dishes and the chefs who perfected them. Whether you call Chicago your hometown or you’re a visitor, you’ll find plenty of stories, history, and food recommendations to enjoy.
The Pride Atlas: 500 Iconic Destinations for Queer Travelers by Maartje Hensen (May 2)
Photographer and travel blogger Maartje Hensen, alongside a team of international travel writers, shares 500 must-see locations for queer travelers along with practical resources for planning a safe trip.
Oh My Mother! A Memoir in Nine Adventures by Connie Wang (May 9)
Inspired by the Chinese exclamation “wo de ma ya,” which translates to “oh my mother” in English, this memoir in essays explores journalist Connie Wang’s complex relationship with her mother through nine astonishing moments in their travels together.
Fifty Places to Travel with Your Dog Before You Die: Dog Experts Share the World’s Greatest Destinations by Chris Santella and DC Helmuth (May 30)
Planning a pet-friendly vacation can be challenging but so worth it. Travel writers Chris Santella and DC Helmuth round up 50 places around the world that you and your dog will enjoy visiting, along with recommendations for hotels and restaurants that allow pets.
Moby Dyke: An Obsessive Quest To Hunt Down The Last Remaining Lesbian Bars In America by Krista Burton (June 6)
While hundreds of lesbian bars across the United States provided a safe space for queer women throughout the 20th century, only about 20 are still in business today. Effing Dykes blog creator Krista Burton goes on a cross-country road trip to visit the lesbian bars that are still open, to capture what these spaces have meant to the queer community, and seek answers as to why they are closing down.
People Behind the Disney Parks: Stories of Those Honored with a Window on Main Street, U.S.A. by Chuck Snyder and Josey Tsao (September 26)
Looking to take a Disney-themed vacation this year? Learn a little behind-the-scenes history before you go. Discover the stories of more than 280 people whose contributions shaped the Disney Parks and whose names you can spot on building windows in Disneyland’s Main Street, USA.
Airplane Mode: AN Irreverent History of Travel by Shahnaz Habib (December 23)
Airplane Mode explores what travel has looked like throughout history as well as which groups have had the privilege to travel comfortably and safely and which have not. In addition to historical research, author, and translator Shahnaz Habib also shares her experiences with travel as an Indian Muslim woman and an immigrant.
If you love audiobooks and are looking for a compelling read while driving long distances, explore the best mystery audiobooks to bring on a road trip.