If you are like us, the chances are you have a list of places you want to go and things you want to do in 2017. We find that surrounding our living spaces with coffee table books help us visualize the places and things, ultimately driving us to take action. Remember, “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” (Japanese Proverb)
Here are the 10 best travel coffee table books that will inspire and encourage to get out of the rut and change your life in 2017/18:
1. Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton
We first heard of this book through Thither.com. It is truly an explorer’s guide to the world’s hidden wonders. You’ll see a list of hidden wonders in Europe, Africa, Latin America, USA, Oceania and Asia. The book even has a small section on Antartica’s Trinity Church, Shackleton’s Hut and Antarctic Sculpture Garden. Yes, there is a garden in Antarctica – although without plants!
2. The New York Times 36 Hours Europe
This flexibound travel book won’t tell you everything about Europe but it will give you detailed itineraries for your 36-hour stay. You’ll find at least one photo on every page and a map for each destination.
3. Destinations of a Lifetime: 225 of the World’s Most Amazing Places by National Geographic
You are in for a treat if you are inspired by beautiful photos of places from around the world. National Geographic never disappoints and has been around since 1888. This book brings you to Bolivia, Australia, Canada, Arctic, Middle East, Asia…and places you have not heard of before opening the pages of the book. The photos will definitely inspire.
4. Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson
With the recent incidents in Paris, we believe Paris will rise up stronger. Paris in Color by Nichole Robertson will show you places you may not get to on the regular tourist routes. Check it out today. Get to the corners of the world where arts and architecture maintain their strengths despite challenges.
5. One-Hundred and One Beautiful Small Towns in Italy by Paolo Lazzarin
Want to see how the locals live, eat and play? Mr. Lazzarin’s 8.3-inch by 8.3-inch book will show you the beautiful sights in the towns outside of the usual Rome, Florence and Venice tourist routes. There’s a lot, to be exact 101 towns packed inside this 276-page coffee table book.
6. Humans of New York by Brandon Stanton
This is the latest edition of the Humans of New York book by Brandon Stanton; a blogger turned best-selling author/photographer. Mr. Stanton shows the world that one big idea can be transformed into a big business. The new Humans of New York has the bonus of stories of the people in New York that the older versions lack.
7. The Travel Book: A Journey Through Every Country in the World by Lonely Planet
Amazon: starts at $9.81 (hardcover used)
We drew inspiration from this humongous book before we took on a journey around the world in 2013. This 9.1-inch by 1-foot hardcover coffee table book is sure to inspire and probably ‘transform’ your life as you read, “eat” and “dream” about the beautiful places presented in this book.
8. Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe by National Geographic
You can also buy it used for $5 plus shipping on Amazon.
Ever dreamt of eating around the world? This colorful coffee book is our go-to book for inspiration. Take a look inside, and you’ll find a list of food museums, food factories and more.
9. The National Parks: America’s Best Idea by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
Or get used copies (hardcover), price starts at $13 with free shipping.
“The mountains are calling, and I must go!” said John Muir. Ever felt that way? Well, this book about the history of the national parks with old and new photos of the parks will help us appreciate the works that have been done to preserve our national treasures.
10. The Secret Journeys of a Lifetime by National Geographic
We like National Geographic’s work when it comes to travel photography and recommendations for places to visit. This book covers 500 places around the world with enough descriptions to help you start planning your next trip. So sit down, grab a book and start planning!
Do you have a favorite coffee table book? If you are still looking for a few inspirational coffee table books, check out the books featured here.
An updated article with additional travel coffee table books and new prices. First published on November 30, 2015.