Why Books Are the Best Travel Companions
A beach, a cocktail, plenty of SPF and a good old book. This is what dreams are made of - for some travellers at least!
In fact, even if you are on a jam-packed holiday full of excursions and exploring, it is likely that within that adventure, you’ll still schedule in some sun-facing downtime so you can try to make a dent in that classic ‘holiday read’ you’ve been meaning to get to all year.
No beach? No excuse. A Parisian cafe, a tent or that cosy cottage AirBnB all serve as excellent locations for you to get lost in some pages during your planned escape.
Here are my top reasons why a book on your next break away will really enhance your trip!
1. Escape Everyday Life
Even when you travel, it can be difficult to relax and really escape the hustle and bustle of everyday working life.
You’re running around all day – meetings, emails, a working lunch, trying to squeeze in the gym, getting home, making dinner, a quick scroll through social media before falling asleep as the sounds of unreplied Whatsapp messages ping through.
And the weekend? God you’ve got to make the most of the weekend and be social so that you feel refreshed! You’ve been booked in to see Sally’s new house for the last month, and you’ve been saying that you’ll visit that new brunch spot with your girlfriends for ages.
So, it’s understandable that you may find yourself having very little time to sit down with your book.
For me, I like to fit my reading time in during my commute - although I feel this is rarely a satisfying amount of time, and it’s quite a choppy journey – with two line changes, so I always feel like I could read far more.
2. Keep Yourself Entertained
So this is why when I’m packing my essentials for holiday, I always ensure I include a book. It might be that I can’t sleep on the flight, need something to do whilst my travel buddy is in the shower, or I genuinely will be carving out afternoons on the beach to read.
The best thing about reading on holiday is that it’s at your own pace, your own leisure, and the responsibilities of everyday life don’t seem to be looming over you. You can also pencil it in around the rest of your holiday plans - something that seems impossible when you’re at home.
3. Fill in the Gaps in Your Itinerary
Whether travelling solo, with friends or your family, a book gives you something to do when you might not have a jam-packed itinerary. I’m not one for sunbathing or laying out all day, in fact, I can’t sit there in the sun with nothing to do!
So for me, a book provides the balance: my friends get to top up their tans so they can be received by the “oooh, somebody’s been on holiday!” when back in the office, and I get to occupy myself with a book and a very shady deckchair. It’s far better than sitting on your phone, and being trapped in the same virtual world that you would be back at home.
4. Have a Break from the Internet
We all spend too much time on our phones and computers right?
There is something special about reading a book even in this technological age and it can be such a relaxing experience to just have a break from social media.
There are so many reasons why you might want to consider a break from social media when you travel, it can be mentally exhausting just keeping up with Instagram and Facebook, and when you are away, it's also good to escape normal life.
Also in some destinations WiFi isn't available, so having a book can help fend off boredom!
5. So Many Amazing Books to Choose From
There are literally thousands of books to choose from for all interests. You could go for an old classic or choose a modern masterpiece. Check out this list of the best travel books if you are in need of some inspiration for what to read on your next trip.
6. Doesn't Have to Take Up Space in Your Luggage
Gone are the days when you need to buy hard and paper backs, you can now buy an Amazon Kindle and you can literally have hundreds of books in such a small and lightweight device.
7. Get Inspired to Write
Books are a great inspiration, and reading might give you the imputus to start your own travel diary. This is a great way to keep track of your trips, share thoughts and also a moment which you can re-live in the future.
8. Rediscover a Love for Literature
Ultimately, my favourite thing about reading on holiday is that it gives you the chance to rediscover how much you love reading. It’s easy to forget how valuable the escapism of a book is, and once you’re back from holiday, you may find yourself actively trying to squeeze some reading back into your daily routine.
So while I do try to carve out time to read in my day-to-day life, there’s nothing quite like a book on holiday. If you’re in search of an additional travel companion for your next holiday, look no further than the humble book.
And while you’re reading that novel or magazine, don’t forget to check out the FCO travel guidance for advice and top tips on your destination. You might also like to check out my top tips how to be a green traveller.
By Varsha Patel