There’s nothing like discovering quality travel books to transport a reader across the world. David Sornberger shares his top 5 entertaining and inspiring travel books to begin 2018 with a sense of wonder.

1. Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2018

Lonely Planet's Best in Travel 2018

Our annual bestseller, Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel, ranks the hottest, must-visit countries, regions and cities for the year ahead. Drawing on the knowledge and passion of Lonely Planet’s staff, authors, and online community, it presents a year’s worth of inspiration to take travelers out of the ordinary and into the unforgettable – firmly setting the travel agenda for 2018.

As self-confessed travel geeks, our staff collectively rack up hundreds of thousands of miles each year, exploring almost every destination on the planet. And every year, we ask ourselves: Where are the best places in the world to visit right now? It’s a very hotly contested topic at Lonely Planet and dominates more discussion than any other. Best in Travel 2018 is our definitive answer.

Now in a larger, hardback format, it makes for the perfect gift!

Inside, you’ll discover the:

  • Top ten countries, regions and cities
  • Best value destinations
  • Best culture trips for families
  • Best new openings and experiences
  • Best new places to stay
  • Top destination races, from walks and marathons to cycles and swims
  • Top vegetarian and vegan destinations
  • Top small-ship expedition cruises
  • Best places for cross-generational family trips
  • Best private islands that everyone can use

2. It Helps to be Crazy: The Story of Maya Chan Beach

It Helps to be Crazy: The Story of Maya Chan Beach, by Jane Ostrow

That property had been thoroughly decimated by a category 5 monster named Hurricane Dean. It was now five months later, January 2008, and that little stretch of beach still had nothing to offer but sea grass and sand. There were no palm trees, no hammocks, no solid structure that we knew of. It had no functioning plumbing system. There was no electricity. Everywhere we looked was destruction and impossibilities. Yet that property spoke to us. And we listened with passionate attention. Flash forward nine years and Maya Chan Beach is the number one thing to do in the state of Quintana Roo. With well over 1,000 five-star reviews, it’s also the number 14th attraction on the entire Yucatán peninsula. We developed a cruise ship day resort and have had the great pleasure of sharing our piece of paradise with almost 100,000 new friends. Actually, almost 100,000 new family members. We have visited many of them stateside and cruised with a few more. Birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, even celebrations of life have been shared with us on our Little Mayan Beach. To embark on such a journey took more intestinal fortitude than we anticipated, but It Helps to be Crazy.

3. Don’t be a Tourist in Paris: The Messy Nessy Chic Guide

Don't be a Tourist in Paris: The Messy Nessy Chic Guide, by Vanessa Grall

  • Off-beat, eclectic guide to Paris from famed blogger Vanessa Grall – creator of
  • Nessy shows you how to walk Paris’s streets like a local: find the most eccentric architecture, get cozy in hidden cafes, party in the catacombs, tour the city with a broken heart, and wander like a true bohemianA lively, eccentric and esoteric guide to the hidden Paris of your dreams, from an outsider who’s made it her home

Vanessa Grall is a London girl who moved to Paris and never looked back. Her blog Messy Nessy Chic is described as a ‘chic cabinet of curiosities’, and it records her bohemian adventures in the city. Her eye for style, both classic and kitsch, has won her a huge, dedicated following, with over 1.5 million unique visitors to her website per month, and 400,000 subscribers on social media.

In addition, Vanessa’s charisma has seen her profiled in Porter, Vogue, Conde Nast Traveller, and The Daily Mail.

Don’t be a Tourist is Grall’s off-beat guide to her adopted home, in which she looks past the cliches and tourist traps, and uncovers the true heart of Paris. Join her to walk in Hemingway’s footsteps, to uncover catacomb parties, and to find the city’s most authentic dishes. With tips for visiting on a shoestring, with your parents, or with a broken heart, Don’t be a Tourist in Paris is a uniquely warm and insightful guide that affirms Audrey Hepburn’s famous statement that ‘Paris is always a good idea.’ 

1. The Paris Runaways
2. Paris like it is in the Movies (and on Instagram)
3. Anywhere but the Louvre
4. Lonely Hearts Club
5. I hate to say I’m a hipster but…
6. I Know this Great Little Place
7. Parents are Coming to Town
8. Paris in Wonderland: Down the Deep, Dark Rabbit Hole
9. 10 Hour Layover
10. Forget Pinterest Paris


4. The Monk of Mokha

The Monk of Mokha, by Dave Eggers

From the best-selling author of The Circle and What Is the What, a heart-pounding true story that weaves together the history of coffee, the struggles of everyday Yemenis living through civil war and the courageous journey of a young man–a Muslim and a U.S. citizen–following the most American of dreams.

Mokhtar Alkhanshali grew up in San Francisco, one of seven siblings brought up by Yemeni immigrants in a tiny apartment. At age twenty-four, unable to pay for college, he works as a doorman, until a chance encounter awakens his interest in coffee and its rich history in Yemen. Reinventing himself, he sets out to learn about coffee cultivation, roasting and importing. He travels to Yemen and visits farms in every corner of the country, collecting samples, eager to improve cultivation methods and help Yemeni farmers bring their coffee back to its former glory. And he is on the verge of success when civil war engulfs Yemen in 2015. The U.S. embassy closes, Saudi bombs begin to rain down on the country and Mokhtar is trapped in Yemen.

5. The Durrells of Corfu

The Durrells of Corfu, by Michael Haag

The Durrell family are immortalised in Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and its TV adaptation, The Durrells. But what of the real life Durrells? Why did they go to Corfu in the first place – and what happened to them after they left?

The real story of the Durrells is as surprising and fascinating as anything in Gerry’s books, and Michael Haag, with his first hand knowledge of the family, is the ideal narrator, drawing on diaries, letters and unpublished autobiographical fragments. 

The Durrells of Corfu describes the family’s upbringing in India and the crisis that brought them to England and then Greece. It recalls the genuine characters they encountered on Corfu – Theodore the biologist, the taxi driver Spiro Halikiopoulos and the prisoner Kosti – as well as the visit of American writer Henry Miller. And Haag has unearthed the story of how the Durrells left Corfu, including Margo’s and Larry’s last-minute escapes before the war. An extended epilogue looks at the emergence of Larry as a world famous novelist, and Gerry as a naturalist and champion of endangered species, as well as the lives of the rest of the family, their friends and other animals. 

The book is illustrated with family photos from the Gerald Durrell Archive, many of them reproduced here for the first time.


What is at the top of your reading list as we begin 2018? Share in the comments section below.

5 New Travel Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust in 2018
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5 New Travel Books to Fuel Your Wanderlust in 2018
There's nothing like discovering quality travel books to transport a reader across the world. David Sornberger shares his top 5 entertaining and inspiring travel books to begin 2018 with a sense of wonder.
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