5 Fave Audio Books To Inspire Wanderlust

5 Fave Audio Books To Inspire Wanderlust

audiobookI may love books even more than travel.  My book collection must exceed the amount that I can ever read in my lifetime, and yet I can’t resist acquiring more. My love for both travel and book intersects with audio books.

I’ll admit, I was an audio book resistor.  I love real books.  Why would I want to listen to someone read a book to me? But audio books are a great way to soak up books when you can’t read a “real” book, like in the car. My daily is commute totals about 2 hours which adds up to a lot of hours in the car and, of course, we love road trips. Audio books are great for passing the time, and they make me a lot more chill when traffic is terrible.  I have even sat in my garage to finish the last bit of a book!

Please note: This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission if you purchase any products through these links.  However, I was an Audible member long before I had an affiliate relationship and I purchased and listened to all of the books linked below.

I use  Audible for audio books.  I started off with a free trial (you can too!) and kept my membership for a long time. But–I think this is not well known–you do not have to have an Audible membership to purchase and listen to books on Audible.  The membership gets you one free book per month, significant discounts on all books you purchase, and access to special sales and great deals. Audio books can be pricey, which makes the membership worthwhile if you don’t have stock or another source for audio books.  I kept my membership for about 18 months and acquired a nice stock of books from all the great sales.  After that, I decided to suspend my membership until I went through my stash of books.

Tip: If you have a well-stocked Kindle library you can often add audio to those books, sometimes for just a couple of bucks.

One thing that is super important to me in choosing an audiobook is the narrator.  The narrator can make or break an otherwise great book.  One nice thing about Audible is that you can return a book if you just don’t like it.  I returned The Poisonwood Bible, one of my absolute favorite books, because I felt the narrator ruined the book.

Here five of my faves set in faraway places:

Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter

This is the first novel I ever listened to and it may have been the best.  I’ve been dreaming of Cinque Terre ever since I listened to this book.

Beautiful Ruins travels across decades and continents and never gets boring.  The narrator is one of the best I’ve listened to. Beautiful Ruins just may be the quintessential vacation book.

Picking a favorite book is like picking a favorite child, but this may be my all-time favorite audio book because of the excellent narration and beautiful imagery.


A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway

I don’t think it’s even possible to have a list of wanderlust-inspiring novels without mentioning Hemingway. A Moveable Feast is Hemingway’s memoir of his time in Paris in the 1920’s and his famed trips to Spain with other literary luminaries. (He totally throws F. Scott Fitzgerald under the bus, which let me to audibly gasp while listening to this book.)

A nice companion to this book is The Paris Wife, by Paula McLean, which is a novelization from the perspective of Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley, and set during the same time period. I read this book, so I can’t comment on the quality of the narration.


The Lake House by Kate Morton

Kate Morton’s mystery novel, set in London and Cornwall, unravels over decades and tells the story of an abandoned country estate and the family who once lived there.

The Lake House had me yearning for long walks in the English countryside. This book will definitely keep you interested as the tale unfolds. And you might just end up booking your own trip to Cornwall countryside.


The Red Notebook by Antoine Laurain

If you’re in the mood for another mystery, this is a light, fun book that crisscrosses the streets of Paris after a bookshop owner finds an abandoned handbag in the street and works to return it to its rightful owner. The Red Notebook is a short listen–just about 3.5 hours–so it’s great for a quick road trip.

You’ll definitely be dreaming of Paris after this one.


Americanah by  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

This one is technically more about another’s wanderlust, but I think it is a must-read (or listen). This tells the story of an immigrant’s move to the United States from her home country of Nigeria.  Americanah is one of the best-written books I’ve listened to in the last year, and the narration is excellent. It conveys the struggles of acquiring a student visa, immigrating to America, and assimilating into life here. This book is difficult at times–it is not a light as the others on my list–but it is well worth the time investment.


Do you have any suggestions for great audio books?  Please drop your recommendations in the comments!

I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls. I love exploring new places, and when I can't be on the road, I'm planning my next trip. Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five. Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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