Planning your next big road trip? As you get your packing list together, be sure to include a good book to keep you entertained and inspired for adventure along the way! From funny insights to heavy introspects on human nature, this list of books you should read on your next road trip will make the trip fly by!
On the Road—Jack Kerouac
We’re starting out with one of the most obvious, but quintessential, pieces of American travel literature! On the Road is a classic exploring the post-war beat generation and the influence of counterculture, with jazz, drugs, poetry, and the search for meaning.
Travels with Charley: In Search of America—John Steinbeck
Author John Steinbeck wrote this travelogue in the 1960s after traveling through Europe for 20 years. It details his adventures as he made his way from Long Island, New York, all the way to California and back in his custom truck camper named Rocinante! His dog, a French poodle named Charley, comes along for the ride, and together they witness firsthand how America had changed in the 20 years that he had lived abroad.
Paddle Your Own Canoe: One Man’s Fundamentals for Delicious Living—Nick Offerman
What better way to get geared up for some time out in nature than with some life tips from Ron Swanson himself? Nick Offerman’s amusing autobiography offers insight on everything from red meat to canoe paddles. This Parks and Recreation star’s anecdotes on life will inspire you to appreciate the nature around you and enjoy life!
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail—Cheryl Strayed
What’s better than an adventure story? A real-life adventure story! Follow Cheryl Strayed in her memoir that delves into the soul-searching journey she embarked on after the death of her mother, the disbanding of her family, and her lapse into substance abuse. The stories from her 1,100-mile solo hike from the Mojave Desert to the Bridge of the Gods in Washington offer insight into the nature of grief, the resiliency of the human spirit, and the adventure in the challenges through it all!
If you’re looking to get excited for your next RV trip, be sure to read Dogtripping: 25 Rescues, 11 Volunteers, and 3 RVs! You’ll laugh and commiserate with David Rosenfelt’s account of his family’s cross-country move, which is made all the more interesting with their 25 dogs in tow! Yes, you read that right, 25 dogs! It’s the perfect read for RV enthusiasts and animal lovers alike!
Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story—Chuck Klosterman
This work of non-fiction takes us along for the ride as author Chuck Klosterman travels across the U.S. in a rented Ford Taurus, conducting research for a feature about the death of rock stars. He visits sites of some of the most notorious deaths in pop culture history, but his interactions with everyday people make this read a good one!
Paper Towns—John Green
After pulling off a complicated act of revenge against those who have wronged her, Margo Roth Spiegelman goes missing. Her neighbor and admirer, Quentin Jacobsen, helped her pull off her plan, and enlists his friends to help find her, resulting in a road trip to a fictional town in New York. Is the trip worth it? This modern read is super relatable to everyday life, and will make you want to keep reading!
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas—Hunter S. Thompson
There’s a lot to take in as you follow Raoul Duke and his attorney Dr. Gonzo across the desert to Las Vegas! It’s a tale of drugs, the downfall of the counterculture movement of the 1960s, and a chase after the American dream through the scope of Hunter S. Thompson’s interesting style!
Though this is a book for young adults, Hatchet is a classic that you should revisit, especially if you’re out on a road trip to go boondocking! After heading out to see his father after a strained divorce, 13-year-old Brian Robeson finds himself stranded in the wilderness with nothing but a hatchet. As he faces the challenges to survive, Brian also struggles to deal with the messy memories of his parents’ divorce.
Into the Wild—Jack Krakauer
This true story is a bit morose for the fun of a road trip, but it is incredibly interesting nonetheless! Author Jack Krakauer explores the true story of the mysterious disappearance, and ultimate death, of Christopher McCandless. Krakauer retraces the steps of McCandless, from college graduation to his journey to the Alaskan Wilderness, where he survived 113 days alone, subsisting on nothing but rice, lean meat, and edible roots. All in all, it will make you think about the issues of societal acceptance and the search for oneself.
Any selection from this list of books you should read on your next road trip will make the miles fly by! Just make sure you don’t get carsick, and remember to stop and enjoy the little things along the way! What other titles do you think are essential for road trip reading? Comment with your favorite picks!