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Discovering Your Destination Before You Get There – Books to Learn About Destinations

Discovering Your Destination Before You Get There – Books to Learn About Destinations-Featured Image-PP

I find that reading before a trip can enhance the experience, so that inspires this week’s article…

Discovering Your Destination Before You Get There –  Books to Learn About Destinations

I have found that the more I travel, the more I am inspired to read. Reading books about other destinations can expand your perspective, but particularly when you’re planning to take a trip, reading books related to the destination can excite you before the trip and then deepen your travel experience once you are there.

This interest in destination related books was ignited when my husband and I celebrated our 25th anniversary by taking a Northern European cruise. We totally loved touring Stockholm, St Petersburg, and other cities in that region, and as we learned about each country, we were intrigued by the history of these countries and how they were intertwined. At the time I wished that I had a better understanding of the history, and that I had read some information before I got there. It was really fascinating to hear this history about an area of the world where I was less familiar – I think I probably didn’t have much history in school about this region which created curiosity and the desire to learn more.

Of course, there are books to help you find amazing places to visit, like, National Geographic’s Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips or 1000 Places to See Before You Die.

But let’s talk about books once you have your destination selected. To help you anticipate your trip and appreciate it once you’re there, there are a few ways to go about creating your reading list. There are a lot of book options available through the easiest source – google. Google is your best friend when looking for book inspirations for your trip. For a general view of ideas for books associated with your destination, google “books for ___ trip”. The first page of links will likely be related to travel guides, but if you dig a little deeper you can often find some lists suggesting interesting historical and fictional works.

To find books related to the country’s history, try “best historical books country”, and typically you’ll find links to specialty websites for a country with a list of books, or a UK newspaper article with some great ideas (I don’t know why, but I always find great info from the UK papers). If you are taking a cruise and will visit a number of countries in a region, search for wars between the two counties – typically nearby countries have a connected history and stories relating to the wars can give you some good insight. Google “book on Russia Sweden war” or “book on Italy and Greece war” and see if there is anything that intrigues you.

Read books by famous authors of the country. It’s a great time to read some of those classic books you weren’t interested in during high school, and now they will have more meaning and context. Just because the book’s subject may not be about the country you are visiting, it will still give you connection to where you are going, since most countries celebrate their famous countrymen and you’ll likely hear about them during your travels. Once again, it’s as simple as a google search – “famous authors _____”. For example, when I searched for ‘famous authors Ireland’, I got a lot of results, where I quickly found an interesting list that would make for some fascinating reading:

James Joyce – Ulysses

Bram Stoker – Dracula

Jonathan Swift – Gulliver’s Travels

Oscar Wilde – The Picture of Dorian Gray

Another way to get a perspective of a country is to read current books by authors in that country – what a great way to get the flavor for a country while trying a new novel you would never know about. Do a google search for “modern author country” or “contemporary ___ authors’. I found this website that provides some suggestions for books by country: which has an assortment of ideas.

Regardless of which type of book you choose, reading a great book related to your destination can heighten the anticipation for your trip and then give you a great sense of ‘being in the know’ once you arrive there.