Sometimes we travel. Sometimes we research travel. Sometimes we just need a laugh. Although humor is such a personal thing, I went in search of funny travel books that made loads of different people laugh.
If you have some amusing travel stories to share or know of some other good humorous travel books, share them in the comments!
15 of the funniest travel books to put on your reading list
1. The lost continent. Travels in small-town America – Bill Bryson
After having spent 20 years in the UK, Bill Bryson goes to refamiliarize himself with his home country by hiking the US Appalachian Trail all the way from Georgia to Maine together with a friend. On his trek along the longest continuous trail in the world, he makes oftentimes hilarious observations of the flora and fauna he comes across but most of all, of his fellow travelers.
This is more than a memoir of a hike, though. It's a memoir of a hike written by an excellent writer that also provides a ton of (historical) information on the areas he walks through – always presented in an entertaining way. This book will do more than just make you chuckle. It'll make you laugh out loud.
2. The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific – J. Maarten Troost
Aged 26, Maarten Troost's life really isn't going anywhere and when his girlfriend is offered a job on Tarawa, a remote island in the South Pacific, he decides to join her there and the base for this book was born. It tells in a humorous way of the many misadventures he experiences as he learns that the island isn't the paradise he'd hoped it to be and battles sunburn, heat, lice, bad electricity, and inefficient government officials – among many other things.
But as time goes on and Troost gains insight into the local culture, his feelings about the island and life there change for the positive. This is an easy read and with the different chapters mostly dedicated to different themes, ideal to read on the road.
3. Whatever You Do, Don't Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide – Peter Allison
Whatever you do, don't run is a collection of essays written by the former safari guide Peter Allison who shares the most unbelievable and amusing stories of situations he's had to deal with in the bush. More often than not, these evolve around the whimsies and stupidity of wealthy tourists whom Allison considers a species far more dangerous and tiring than any other he has come across.
He might not be the best writer, but Allison's storytelling skills and the safari fun facts he shares certainly make up for that.
4. Blue Latitudes: Boldly Going Where Captain Cook Has Gone Before – Tony Horwitz
Blue Latitudes is the story of Pulitzer prize winner Tony Horwitz's experience on board a replica of the famous Captain Cook‘s ship. It's packed with easily digested historical information about the voyages and the life of one of the greatest marine explorers that has ever lived. At the same time, Horwitz tells of his own experience visiting the places Cook has visiting and his interactions both with the locals there and his fellow travelers. It's in the narration of these encounters that Horwitz wit truly stands out.
Funny, well-written, and well-researched, this book will please travel and history lovers alike.
5. The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared – Jonas Jonasson
Allan Karlson ends up in a nursing home even though he's still in good health. There will soon be a party to celebrate his 100th birthday but Allan doesn't care for a party – and would like a bit more freedom – so he decides to climb out the window and goes on what will become a hilarious adventure which includes Allan accidentally stealing drug money and being chased by the police.
The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared is a good-feel book that hangs on unlikely events and interesting characters.
6. All Over the Place: Adventures in Travel, True Love, and Petty Theft – Geraldine DeRuiter
Part memoir, part travel guide this book has high accolades. DeRuiter documents her stories and musings from travel around the world for many years after she was laid off from her dream job. A modern storyteller DeRuiter is well known for her writing on her witty blog the Everywhereist. Her talent for storytelling will be sure to get you laughing!
7. Don't Come Back – Adam Fletcher
The well-known travel author receives an email from a stranger offering him the trip of a lifetime. He has just gone through a break-up and realizes he has nothing to lose. “Don't Come Back” follows his adventures through South Africa, Indonesia, and Cuba while documenting all the strange things which happen to him. None of which he seems prepared for! His self-deprecating humor will make you smile as you follow along for the adventure.
8. Two Old Fools Down Under – Victoria Twead
A story of two self-proclaimed ‘old fools' navigating a new life in Australia after living in Spain for 11 years. The story is heartwarming, humorous and the author does a great job of making you feel like you're part of the story. You won't be able to put this one down!
9. Travels with Rachel: In Search of South America – George Manhood
George Manhood is arguably one of the funniest travel writers out there. This is the hilarious story of him and his new wife Rachel on their unconventional honeymoon through Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru. Join them on their crazy journey as you laugh at the situations they find themselves in. Not quite your all-inclusive honeymoon to the Maldives.
10. Footloose: Sydney to London Without Flying – Mark Walters
This book lets you in on the unique experience travel writer Mark Walters had when he decided to make his way from Australia to London overland. You'll meet all the unusual characters he came across during his journey and get to know the world as you follow his epic adventure. From India to China and everywhere in between, this story will be sure to keep you captivated.
11. Round Ireland with a fridge – Tony Hawks
After losing a bet with a friend Tony Hawks ends up on a month-long journey around Ireland, taking the unlikely domestic appliance with him for the ride. Oh yes, it should also be mentioned he wasn't just driving around with a fridge but hitchhiking with it! His unusual experiences and encounters are laugh out loud hilarious.
This International Bestseller is one that shouldn't be missed off your travel reading list.
12.Made In Scotland: My Grand Adventures in a Wee Country – Billy Connolly
The famous Scottish comedian takes it back to his roots to talk about what it really means to be Scottish and how growing up in the tiny country shaped him and his career. If you ever wanted to visit to Scotland but have yet to make it this humorous love letter to the land he calls home will definitely help you learn about the country.
13.Swahili For The Broken-Hearted: Cape Town to Cairo by any means possible – Peter Moore
A hilarious account of Moore's journey from the most southern point in Africa to Cairo. Using only public transport. As you can imagine this journey makes for some excellent, as well as hilarious stories.
14.The Sun In My Eyes: Two-Wheeling East – Josie Jew
A great piece of travel writing, this book is about Josie riding her bike around Japan. This book is less about cycling and more about the incredible people she met during her ride. A brilliant insight into Japanese culture, interspersed with some excellent anecdotes.
15.The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
The final book on the list is a classic and most probably one you have already heard of! The story is about a journey through the galaxy as Arthur Dent is plucked off Earth just moments before it is demolished to make space for a galactic freeway. Surreal, hilarious and described as “A whimsical odyssey” this book is a feast for the imagination. Enjoy!
So whatever your taste in travel or your type of humor, hopefully, you found a book on this list which gets you laughing and who knows, maybe even inspire your next trip!
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