20 Best Books Like Into the Wild (Powerful Travelogues)

Ever get bored of your mundane 9 to 5? Or feel like there’s heaps of adventure out there that you’re never going to experience? Well, these 20 authors have made amazing journeys to the secluded corners of the world, some destroyed by political turmoil, some untouched. 

Best Books Like Into the Wild

Whether you’re an adventurous soul trapped in the job rat race or whether you just like reading experiences totally different from your own, these books should be next on your list.

Many people couldn’t begin to imagine the types of experiences retold in these books. From encountering dangerous wildlife to roaming deserts, frozen abysses, rainforests, and swamps alone, these books will immerse you in parts of the world you perhaps didn’t know existed. 

Travelogues vary in style, some of which simply tell of the author’s experiences in a certain country or continent, perhaps touching on funny stories, cuisine nightmares, and language barriers, and others telling an intense survival story.

Into The Wild belongs to the latter category. It tells the true story of Christopher McCandless, who had a usual upbringing and a good relationship with his sister, despite some other family issues. In 1992, McCandless gave all his savings to charity, abandoned his car, burnt the cash in his wallet, and hitchhiked his way to Alaska to explore Mount McKinley. 

Taking a lead from some of his heroes like John Muir and Jack London who set off on similar adventures, McCandless had nothing but scenery and his own perseverance to keep him going. He threw away his map, seeking complete isolation and adventure, and was found dead shortly after. 

Into The Wild tells of McCandless’ leap of faith, driven by an adventurous spirit within him, to explore the Alaskan mountain range alone and without supplies. It is a brilliant and inspiring story that will encourage you to find the adventurous spirit within you, although maybe don’t give up everything and take no supplies, it didn’t end well for McCandless. 

Travelogues, regardless of their stories, have long been a popular literary genre. They can provide you with recommendations, travel advice, and niche experiences that you should try out – things that aren’t recommended on TripAdvisor or in travel guides.

They are inspirational, powerful, and gripping, giving the reader heaps to think about, new perspectives, and perhaps a new travel goal. 

If Into The Wild sounds like something you may enjoy, here are 20 other travelogues, ranging in geographical areas, intensity, and experiences.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer 

Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mt. Everest Disaster

It makes sense to start off with a very similar travelogue, written by the same author. Into Thin Air tells of Krakauer’s ascent up Mount Everest, concentrating on the mental and physical strains and detailing the horrendous moments he spent fighting for his life during a storm.

This book is harrowing and provides a clear insight into the mind of a traveler, clinging to his life in such harsh conditions. This is a brilliant travelogue but not one to read if you’re planning on walking Mount Everest one day!

Touching the Void by Joe Simpson

Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival

This best-selling travelogue follows two mountaineers as they attempt to scale the Andes in Peru. 

 After one mountaineer is injured, the other is forced to leave him to die. This is a true story, set in 1985 that touches on desperation, emotional strain, morality, friendship, and fear. Touching the Void is an absolute must-read for any traveler or adventurer. 

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

Vagabonding: An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-Term World Travel

This is a choice that’ll provide you with a more informative insight, written by a veteran traveler, Rolf Potts. He explains the simplicity of traveling abroad if you have the determination and goes into detail about his own experiences, recommendations, travel dos and don’ts, and finances.

Vagabonding offers a new perspective, one that shines a light on the realistic ways to live the adventurous life you’ve dreamed of and refuse to succumb to the mundane day-to-day of domestic life.

On the Road by Jack Kerouac 

On the Road (Penguin Essentials)

If you search travelogues on the internet, this is one of the first that will appear and quite rightly! On the Road is one of the most powerful and insightful stories in American literary history.

It follows Kerouac and a group of friends as they travel across the U.S. They come across numerous internal American cultures, and fascinating characters, and the story tells of complex relationships and the freedom of travel. A fantastic book for any reader.

Tracks by Robyn Davidson

Tracks: A Woman's Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback

Tracks is the inspiring story of Robyn Davidson, who travels across the Australian desert, covering over 1,700 miles, accompanied only by a few camels and a dog. 

This is the story of isolation, adventure, dedication, and relationships. Compelling, unforgettable, and fascinating for travel lovers and home birds alike.

Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step At A Time by Ed Stafford

Walking the Amazon: 860 Days. One Step at a Time.

As the title may suggest, Walking the Amazon follows the adventures of Ed Stafford throughout the Amazon rainforest. 

He comes across heaps of different wildlife species and a plethora of interesting people, has near-death experiences, and details first-hand accounts of witnessing deforestation. This is an honest account of his journey, which was tiring, devastating, and fascinating, but earned him the title of the first man to walk the length of the Amazon river.

The Beach by Alex Garland


A slightly different flavor compared to the rest of these suggestions but is equally as insightful and enjoyable. 

The Beach tells the story of several Western travelers who journey through Thailand on a budget. The novel merges travelogue, adventure, and mystery genres and captivates its audiences through engaging and complex characters.

Catfish and Mandala by Andrew Pham

Catfish and Mandala: A Two-Wheeled Voyage Through the Landscape and Memory of Vietnam

Catfish and Mandala is a story centered around Andrew Pham and his journey to discover more about his Vietnamese heritage. He embarks on a bicycle trip which takes a year in total after completely resigning from his former life in California. 

He journeys through Mexico, Japan, and Vietnam, uncovering new cultures, and traditions, and of course learning first-hand his fascinating family story.

Endurance by Alfred Lansing


This story combines history, adventure, and traveling as it tells the brilliant story of Ernest Shackleton who, in 1914, traveled to Antarctica and embarked on a mission to cross the continent on foot. 

However, when his ship freezes inside a lump of ice, leaving him and his 27 crewmen stranded, the ambitious journey soon turns into a nightmare. 

Endurance is the story of survival, incorporating beautiful descriptions, devastating personal stories, and immense determination.

The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen

The Snow Leopard (Penguin Classics)

On a mission to study the infamous blue sheep that reside in the Himalayan mountains of Nepal, Peter Matthiessen and George Schaller soon found themselves on a spiritual pilgrimage, learning more about Buddhism, and new cultures, and experiencing the beauty that this famous mountain range has to offer.

The Snow Leopard blends the adventure of travelogues and the spiritual undercurrent of religious works to create this brilliantly constructed book that uncovers the unprecedented journey of these two brave men.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

In the wake of familial disaster, Cheryl had nothing to lose and therefore thought there was no better time than to set off on an adventure through the Pacific Crest Trail, which takes you from the Mojave Desert up to Washington State.

Suffering from grief and heaps of emotional pain, Cheryl’s story tells of independence, and the simultaneous beauty and danger of traveling alone as a woman. Wild is an excellently-written book that provides a brilliant insight into this American pilgrimage and the experiences of a solo female traveler.

Beyond the Sky and Earth by Jamie Zeppa

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan

Leaving her domestic and mundane life behind, Jamie Zeppa immersed herself in Buddhist culture, living a small-town life in a tiny Himalayan village in rural Bhutan. 

Beyond the Sky and Earth is inspiring and insightful but also fantastically informative, so if you’re interested in Bhutanese culture or you’re planning a trip to Bhutan, this is a great read.

The Lost City of Z by David Grann

The Lost City of Z: A Legendary British Explorer's Deadly Quest to Uncover the Secrets of the Amazon

This is a brilliant travelogue that uncovers the mystery of The Lost City of Z, located in the Amazon rainforest and famous for human disappearances.

David Grann delves into the exploration of Percy Fawcett, one of the victims that disappeared in this area. Driven by curiosity, Grann goes to the rainforest himself in search of answers.

Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Man's Search for Meaning

This is a travelogue that merges memoirs, history, and adventure. Viktor Frankl was a holocaust survivor that labored in four different concentration camps, one of which was Auschwitz. 

He became a psychiatrist and this book tells of his sufferings, grief, and spiritual perseverance. This is one of the most inspiring psychological journeys that tells of the importance of finding meaning inside suffering. Man’s Search for Meaning will change the way you view your life and help you to appreciate your own hard times.

A Siberian Winter’s Tale by Helen Lloyd

A Siberian Winter's Tale - Cycling to the Edge of Insanity and the End of the World

A Siberian Winter’s Tale is the story of Helen Lloyd’s journey across Siberia. Enduring temperatures of -50°C and coming across deadly animals such as wolves, Helen cycled hundreds of miles across the Siberian wilderness on her own. 

This story is fully immersive, allowing you to cycle every step of the way with her as she journeys across the frozen abyss.

In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick

In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex

This is the true story behind the iconic novel, Moby Dick, written by Herman Melville in 1851. Philbrick’s travelogue tells of the Essex ship that sank in 1820 after colliding with an angry sperm whale. 

In the Heart of the Sea covers the events that followed, as the entire crew fought for survival on three small boats for over 90 days.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

This is the harrowing story of Aron Ralston, who, while on a hike in Utah’s Blue John Canyon, got his arm trapped between two rocks. 

Between a Rock and a Hard Place inspired the brilliant film 127 Hours, the ultimate survival story. Aron spent 6 days completely isolated and trapped, trying to figure out how to survive. Knowing that he would soon die of dehydration, he films himself saying goodbye to his family members and reminisces about the beautiful adventures he’s had. But Aron lived to tell the tale, so the question is, how did he do it?

Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity

Behind the Beautiful Forevers is the story of multiple young Indians living in poverty and trying to find a better life for themselves. It demonstrates the dedication many have to escape their wealth confinements and perfectly encapsulates the wealth divide in India. 

These narratives are harrowing and will shine new light on privilege. Told through elegant prose, this book will teach you about the financial suffering, religious tensions, caste system, power divide, and desperation of those living in Indian poverty.

The Geography of Bliss: One Grump’s Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner

The Geography of Bliss

This is a multifaceted book that combines travel experiences, humor, science, and emotion to demonstrate how different corners of the world operate and why each geographical area is the way it is.

The Geography of Bliss will make you laugh, cry, and gasp, and is guaranteed to teach you a whole lot about places you’ve never considered.

In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson

In a Sunburned Country

Journeying through Australia, Bill Bryson tells one of the most well-loved travel stories in this book. In a Sunburned Country is fantastically written, shedding light on the wildlife, climate, and inhabitants that he finds on the Appalachian Trail. 

This book is laugh-out-loud funny, educational, and a brilliant piece of light reading for those curious about travel.

Final Thoughts

Travelogues come in all shapes and sizes, varying in length, story, and intensity. Whether you’re looking to immerse yourself in the rainforest, the icy peaks of the Himalayas, or the humid desert, there’s something here to inspire and educate anyone. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a travelogue?

A travelogue is a book or film about the experience of a traveler. They can be intense and tell a story of survival in the wild, or they can simply offer a few funny anecdotes and travel advice in major tourist areas.

Who is the most popular travel writer?

Names like Paul Theroux, Bill Bryson, and Jack Kerouac have all written some of the best travelogues out there.

What is the best travelogue to read?

Into the Wild is the most critically acclaimed travelogue ever written but it didn’t gain much popularity until the film adaptation came out in 2007.

What is the oldest travelogue?

Pausanias was a Greek traveler and geographer who wrote about his experiences in the 2nd century.

Who is ‘the father of travelogue’?

Rahul Sankrityayan was the man known for creating the travelogue genre that we know now.

What are the bestselling travelogue books of all time?

1. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (2006)
2. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed (2012)
3. On the Road by Jack Kerouac (1957)
4. Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer (1996)
5. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson (1998)
6. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson (1995)
7. In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (2000)
8. The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weiner (2008)
9. A Year in Provence by Peter Mayle (1989)
10. Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck (1962)
11. The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton (2002)
12. The Lost City of Z by David Grann (2009)
13. A Short Walk in the Hindu Kush by Eric Newby (1958)
14. The Dharma Bums by Jack Kerouac (1958)
15. The Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway (1926)
16. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer (1952)
17. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust (1913–1927)
18. The Great Railway Bazaar by Paul Theroux (1975)
19. The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen (1978)
20. Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer (1997)
21. The Rings of Saturn by W.G. Sebald (1995)
22. The Beach by Alex Garland (1996)
23. The Lost Continent by Bill Bryson (1989)
24. Blue Highways by William Least Heat-Moon (1982)
25. The Places in Between by Rory Stewart (2004)

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Colton Cowie