After more than a year of hunkering down, many are eager to travel again. But those who’ve grown accustomed to living in their pajamas, or who remain anxious about venturing beyond their hometowns, may need reminders of what travel offers: pleasure, enrichment, even sanity. Recent and forthcoming books spell out the rewards that travel can bring.

1,000 Perfect Weekends

National Geographic, Oct.

Returning to travel need not mean signing on for a big commitment. National Geographic’s forthcoming guide suggests experiences across the world that can be squeezed into a few brief days. Broken down by interest, the trips include sailing in the Bahamas, skating in Ottawa, and camping on Virginia’s Assateague Island.


Aisha Sabatini Sloan. Coffee House, Nov.

Sloan, a professor of creative writing at the University of Michigan, recounts her experience of traveling in Homer, Alaska. As she takes in the region’s natural beauty she considers her experiences as a Black queer woman and reflects on the work of Black thinkers including Fred Moten and Saidiya Hartman. Negotiating between the spaciousness of her environment and the strictures of history and identity, she frames travel as both fraught and illuminating.

Letter to a Stranger

Edited by Colleen Kinder. Algonquin, Oct.

This collection features essays from luminaries including New Yorker writer Elizabeth Kolbert and Pulitzer-winning poet Gregory Pardlo on unforgettable strangers they’ve met during their travels. The vignettes, which include Leslie Jamison’s recollection of a magician in Nicaragua and Pico Iyer’s of a trishaw driver in Myanmar, suggest that even brief connections in distant places can be life-changing.


Take More Vacations

Scott Keyes. Harper Wave, out now

For some, the headache of planning and booking a trip is daunting enough to make a staycation appealing. In this book, which has sold 11,000 print copies, per NPD BookScan, Keyes, the founder of the deals newsletter Scott’s Cheap Flights, says it doesn’t have to be so. With advice on booking plane tickets and choosing optimal airlines, he aims to show that the first pleasure of travel can be the victory of a good deal.

Wanderlust Road Trips

Moon Travel, Nov.

Road trips, given new life during the pandemic, seem likely to linger as a travel trend. Moon’s new guide outlines 40 routes in the U.S. (among them Route 66, the Blues Highway, and Maui’s Road to Hana), Asia, the Middle East, and elsewhere, demonstrating that America’s favored travel pastime can be a global one, too.

Water, Wood, and Wild Things

Hannah Kirshner. Viking, Mar. 2022

This work of narrative nonfiction documents the author’s time spent apprenticing with a saké maker in Yamanaka, a mountain village in Japan. Kirshner, a food stylist who has written for the New York Times and other publications, introduces readers to various tradespeople she meets—hunters, foragers, farmers, woodturners—and reflects on the transformative power of immersing oneself in a new culture.

Why Travel?

Edited by Matthew Niblett and Kris Beuret. Bristol Univ., out now

Niblett and Beuret, the director and a member respectively of the Independent Transport Commission, a U.K. think tank, gather insights from experts in the sciences and humanities on the benefits of travel, including its importance to well-being. They also address the urgency of crafting transportation policy with sustainability and mobility in mind.

Return to main feature.