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Hi, I'm Georgina! A coffee-loving adventure enthusiast here to share my favorite travel tips with you! My goal is to inspire others to get out and explore this wild planet by camping, hiking, or wandering around a fun new city!

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  • Georgina D'Angelo

17 Best Books to Read On a Plane

Updated: May 9

Books to Read On a Plane - Alpacka My Bags Travel Blog

Get as cozy as you can in your seat, we’re about to dive into the best books to read on a plane. Spark your wanderlust or encourage yourself to get out of your comfort zone, escape into a magical story or learn tips for self improvement. These books are the perfect companion for a long plane journey.

If you love traveling, you know a thing or two about flying. One of the best way to pass time on a plane is by picking up a good book and not putting it down until you're back on the ground.

These top books to read on a plane offer exciting journeys around the world, life lessons to help you better yourself, or an enticing story you can't get enough of. Buckle your seatbelts and get ready for your physical and literary journey.

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The Best Books to Read On a Plane

What better excuse to read for hours on end than in a plane. No one's holding expectations for you, so pick up one, or several, of the following books to read on an airplane and enjoy your adventure in the sky.

Find these books to read on an airplane at your local library, Half Price Books, or download them on your Kindle for easy reading!

Travel Books:

Sociology & Social Novels:

Self Improvement Books:

Fiction Books:

The Best Travel Books

Lands of Lost Borders by Kate Harris

Follow along Kate’s journey as she and her friend, Mel, bike along the Silk Road in Asia. This moving story brings the reader in as if you are on this adventure yourself.

Through struggles and triumphs, Kate and Mel go on an epic journey through multiple countries, experiencing breathtaking views, strenuous climbs, political turbulence, and cultural differences.

If you've never thought of biking across entire countries, see how you feel after reading this book! It might have you packing your bike panniers...

Lands of Lost Border by Kate Harris on Amazon

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Learning to love the journey is a huge part of traveling. The Alchemist takes you on the journey of Santiago, a shepherd boy, as he travels from his home in Spain to the Egyptian desert.

In hopes of finding a great treasure hidden in the desert, Santiago meets several people along the way. He starts to learn about himself and the treasure that lies within him, realizing there’s more to a journey than just the destination.

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho on Amazon

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Embark on a spiritual journey across Italy, India, and Indonesia with author Elizabeth Gilbert. After a bitter divorce, Liz finds herself taking an entire year to find the balance within herself.

From meditating in an Indian ashram to eating all the delicious Italian foods, follow Liz's self discovery journey across two continents. The details about the countries she visits, people she meets, and food she tries are sure to spark your wanderlust.

Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert on Amazon

A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan

After uprooting their professorial lives in California, Georgeanne and her family learn so much more than they expected in the quiet countryside of France.

From starting their own goat cheese business to mastering French cooking, “A Pig in Provence” will leave you wanting to spend a summer in the quaint countryside of Provence, France.

There's so much to be cherished in the small towns of this European country, and Brennan teaches exactly that.

A Pig in Provence by Georgeanne Brennan on Amazon

Maybe you’ve already been bit by the travel bug and no longer feel fulfilled by your corporate job. Maybe you’re yearning to travel and see more of the world than you ever thought was possible. But where do you start?

Lia teaches you exactly how to live your dream of quitting your job and traveling the world. From her desk in the corporate fashion industry to the cobblestone streets of Europe, Lia offers the best advice on how to live your life to its fullest through travel.

How to Quit Your Job and Travel by Lia Garcia on Amazon

Sociology Books & Social Novels

There’s a good chance you’ll also love these books. While not meant to spark your wanderlust, the following books to read on a plane will help you understand various cultures a little more. They might open your eyes to a social or political problem you didn’t know existed.

And most important of all, I hope they help you become a more empathetic, caring, and responsible traveler as you make your way through different countries around the world. Now for more books to read on an airplane!

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer

While this book is focused on business, it still offers so much insight into how cultures play a part in how we communicate, form relationships, and schedule our lives. If you run or work in a multicultural business, you will find this book especially helpful in guiding you to success.

Even if you don’t, there are so many pieces of information that will help you become a better world traveler. Learning about different cultures when you visit another country, will help you make the most of your time there, no matter how long that period may be.

Being accepting and ready to insert yourself into a new culture is a huge part of international travel, and Erin does a great job of laying out the details in a clear and concise manner.

The Culture Map by Erin Meyer on Amazon

We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai

Refugees fighting to find a better home for themselves and their families openly share some of their most personal stories. Learn about 11 different women as they face unimaginable life experiences.

Fleeing their homes, watching loved ones fade away forever, and facing the challenges of being dropped into a completely new culture is just scratching the surface. These women tell their stories in eye-opening chapters; “We Are Displaced” is a must-read for every traveler.

We Are Displaced by Malala Yousafzai on Amazon

I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai

The author of “We Are Displaced,” Malala Yousafzai caught the attention of many people when she released her biography "I Am Malala" with Christina Lamb in 2013. Her story takes you through the stages of her life growing up in the beautiful hillside of the Swat Valley, Pakistan.

When the Taliban takes over control of her home, she stands up to fight for girls’ right to an education, risking her life when she’s shot in the head on her way home from school. Her heroic recovery took on a life-altering journey; she’s now a Nobel Peace Prize winner, global activist, and proud defender of women around the world.

I Am Malala (Yousafzai) on Amazon

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Grappling with race, love, and identity challenges, Americanah is the story of two Nigerians leaving their home country. When they get separated and are forced to live their own lives in two countries across the world from each other, both face crises they never dreamed of.

This book opens your eyes to the cultural challenges faced by many each day. Adichie is a writing master who brings her readers into the stories like they’re the main character so you can better understand the emotions.

Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche on Amazon

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Another must-read by Adichie is “Purple Hibiscus” which takes place in Enugu, Nigeria. Living a life of privilege, Kambili and her older brother attend an elite missionary school. But in the confines of their home, everything is far from congenial.

A respected businessman and religious leader for a father, he sets unreachable standards for his children and wife. But once Kambili and her brother take a trip away from home, they’re filled with a sense of freedom.

But will it be enough to help them survive the tension that awaits them back home?

Purple Hibiscus by Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche on Amazon

Self Improvement Books to Read On a Plane

The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams

Douglas Abrams sits down with Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Dalai Lama to discuss how their own religious upbringings and practices continue to mold their views on life, education, family, eating, and more.

Learn how two religious leaders remain close friends, find similarities between two very different religions, and what they offer as advice to help you navigate through this world and unpredictable life. Can you truly find joy in everything?

As a non-religious person, I still found this book very eye opening. It helped me realize holding on to so much anger gets you no where in life.

The Book of Joy by Douglas Abrams on Amazon

Atomic Habits by James Clear

Do you want to become more productive? Maybe you're working on your health and want to hit the gym everyday, or maybe you have a dream of launching your own business.

Atomic Habits is a must read for anyone who wants to make the most of their daily lives and tackle those tasks they've been putting off for ages. Atomic Habits gives the reader clear and concise steps to achieve the habits they wish to add to their daily schedules.

It's an easy read making it perfect to bring on the plane with you!

Atomic Habits by James Clear - Books to Read on a Plane

Are you ready to improve every part of your life? Dive into Liz Moody's "100 Ways to Change Your Life." This books offers one hundred specific ways, from habits to tools to mental shifts, learned from thousands of hours of research and interviews, to help you improve your daily life, health, and finances, relationships and more.

P.s. I highly recommend downloading a few episodes of her podcast, The Liz Moody Podcast, so you can listen to them on the plane as well.

100 Ways to Change Your Life book by Liz Moody

Best Fiction Books to Read on a Plane

Fiction fans, this books is for you. A story that takes place over many years, Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow will leave you wishing the story went on.

Follow the lives of game designers and best friends as they navigate loss, love, success, and failures. Even if you know nothing about game design, this book is a great read to bring on the airplane.

Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow - Gabrielle Zevin

The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell

I highly recommend anything written by Lisa Jewell if you enjoy a murder mystery. Her books are creepy and thrilling to the point that you can't put them down.

The Family Upstairs is about a home that gets infiltrated by a cult family who wreaks a slow burning havoc on the people already living in it. I also recommend The Family Remains (books two), Then She Was Gone, and I Found You.

Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas

Fantasy fans, this series is a must-read for you. Sarah J. Maas's Throne of Glass is an 8 book series about a highly trained assassin with threads of magic, war, and politics weaved throughout.

Start with Assassin's Blade and see how many books you can knockout by the end of your trip. I also recommend Maas's other series, Crescent City and ACOTAR.

The Club by Ellery Lloyd

Another murder mystery, The Club is written by a husband and wife duo. Focused on a highly elite club for celebrities, the grand opening results in a dead body being found.

Spun through different time frames, can you figure out who committed the crime? There may be more than one person guilty. This is a quick read, perfect for that plane ride.

Top Books to Read On an Airplane

Go on a journey through the pages of a new book and experience an adventure you’ve never dreamed of. Learn more about cultural differences and the challenges faced by those outside of your country, or enjoy a quick read on the plane.

While hopping on the plane is the best way to curb your wanderlust and first-hand experience is the best teacher when it comes to cultural learning, a good book will go a long way. The best books to read on a plane are waiting to be added to your shelf or your Kindle.

So settle into your seat, it's time to turn some pages. The best books to read on an airplane are here to inform you, excite you, and help you understand the world a little bit more. Which will you be reading first?

Be sure to leave your recommendations below too, so we can all enjoy more books to read on a plane!

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Books to Read on a Plane | Alpacka My Bags Pinterest Cover

1 Comment

Aug 11, 2023

I've been choosing books based in destinations I've been or want to go and I'm really loving it! I love that you've compiled your favorites in a list 😍 I ALWAYS take book recommendations!

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Hi, I'm Georgina, adventure enthusiast and creator of Alpacka My Bags. I'm here for all of your travel and adventure planning needs! 


I've been exploring this beautiful planet since I was a child, so I decided it was time to share my travel tips with others to enjoy. After college, I knew the "traditional career path" was not for me.


I needed to travel and explore what this world has to offer. It sounds cliché but you do only live once. So I made going on adventures a priority, and soon realized that I wanted to share them with others so you can enjoy them too! 

My passion is spreading the travel bug and showing others that travel is attainable and so worth it. From itineraries to camping tips to packing lists, Alpacka My Bags has you covered!

Join me, and often my partner and my dog, as we find exciting adventures and travel recommendations for you! If you've been bit by the travel bug just as I have, I hope you find my tips useful for all of your future travels.

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