In 1996 The Beach put Koh Phi Phi on the map and suddenly everyone travelling to Thailand had to see this pristine, untouched paradise. Author Alex Garland recreated a world in words that made people want to see it with their own eyes.
As an avid reader with a love of travel, I am often inspired to visit new places by the books I read. There are two types of books that can achieve this: the increasingly popular travel biography like When in Rome by Gemma Townley or Almost French by Sarah Turnbull; or a fiction set in a unique or beautiful location like The Beach.
One that surprised me was Holy Cow: An Indian Adventure by Sarah Macdonald. While I have a desire to see much of the world, I had many preconceived ideas about India that pushed it down my travel list. Sarah’s book about her experiences living in Delhi, with her candid descriptions of Indian life, actually opened my eyes to the fact that there was much more to India that I had previously imagined. Now it's moved onto the must-visit list.
Below are some of the books that have inspired our Deal Experts.
'My Life in France by Julia Child, A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle and Le Divorce by Diane Johnson (the first two are memoirs, the third is a novel) all make me want to go live in France, or at the very least eat my way across it!' -- Kate McFarlane
'While I actually didn’t love the book, I enjoyed delving into the countries of Italy, India and Indonesia in Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. Mornings in Jenin by Susan Abulhawa gave me a different perspective on Palestine as it wasn’t about the conflict but all about the people and the places.' -- Emily Carstairs
'Shogun by James Clavell really made me want to visit Japan because you learn so much about their culture historically. It was the first time I realistically thought about visiting Asia. Loved it!' -- Cally Ulbricht
'The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho inspired me to travel because the main character, Santiago, travels to find a treasure. The further he travels the closer he gets to his treasure and he learns more and more about himself. His search takes him to the most amazing places and he meets extraordinary people along the way, but in the end he finds the treasure when he comes home as a new man. It shows that the experiences you gain while travelling make you develop that much as a person that when you come home, you see everything through new eyes. Because you’ve grown so much and seen so many other things, you’re able to appreciate the wonderful things about your own home.' -- Johanna Grahn
'I read Out of Africa shortly before a visit to Kenya and was struck by how vivid Karen Blixen’s nostalgic descriptions of Africa and its people were. Though I visited nearly 100 years later, like her, I fell in love with the Kenyan landscape almost immediately.' -- Nella Scott
'The Testament by John Grisham was rich in evocative imagery of the Pantanal region of Brazil and the village culture of the Brazilian tribes. It made me want to go live in a hut for a year or two.' -- Matt Whyte