When I travel solo I tend to have a lot of downtime to read and it’s actually a very important part of my solo travel philosophy. Bars, restaurants, and benches overlooking the river are great places to temporarily escape from the buzz of travel and unwind for a few moments.
There’s nothing better than finding a good page turner, especially when traveling solo. These are books that I return to time and time again because they are my favorites. If I’m looking for a good read and can’t find what I want in a new book, I come back to one of my go-to books.
I’ve been told I have a very specific reading style. I tend to enjoy books with a strong female protagonist and I like books that have some complexities in their plot development. Not all the books on my list hit these criteria, but if that’s not your style, this list may not be for you.
I carry around a Amazon Fire tablet when I travel and it’s awesome. It’s flexible enough to play movies or TV shows and store books. There are other Kindle devices limited to just books and they’re honestly probably better for reading but, overall, I like my Fire tablet because it is so versatile.
If you want a dedicated reading device, the Kindle Paperwhite is unbeatable. It will outperform the Fire tablet in the sun (it’s designed to be like reading an actual paperbound book!), has an adjustable light for reading in darker places, and is waterproof… hello beach vacay.
This post does contain affiliate links. What that means is if you make a purchase through these links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. So, without further ado… here are my go-to books when I solo travel!
The entire Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
A classic. I keep this on my Kindle at all times because it’s a reliably good read.
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
I may possibly prefer this one more than Gone Girl. This book will keep you guessing right up until the last page. Another book I could easily revisit annually.
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Nearly 60,000 people agree: this book is fantastic. A beautifully written WWII novel based in Paris about the struggles that the French faced after the Nazi occupation. Spies, romance, drama, and heart-wrenching scenes make this book a page-turner!
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood
This book is the sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale. You can’t read it without reading The Handmaid’s Tale first, but I enjoyed this one much more. Complex character development, riveting (and unexpected) plot twists, and an overall satisfying ending helped me blow through this book in less than 24 hours.
A Fire Sparkling by Julianne MacLean
Historical fiction meets romance novel in this surprisingly gripping WWII story. The plot will leave you surprised until literally the last chapter. When I finished this book, I felt myself longing for more. This is a fantastic female-empowerment novel.
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
The classic feel-good traveling story. This is a nice, pleasant read – especially in Italy over a glass of wine.
The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Similar to Harry Potter, this trilogy is a classic. When I don’t know what I want to read, I come back to The Hunger Games.
A Mother’s Reckoning by Sue Klebold
This is the autobiography of the mother of Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters. Simultaneously gripping and heart-breaking, it offers the perspective of family members of mass shooters. I blew through this in just one day.
The Big Burn by Jeanette Ingold
This is a simple read, one you could easily complete in an afternoon or two. It’s a very well-written novel chronicling the struggles of those living in Idaho during the Big Burn of 1910.
The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
This book is another easy read. It combines the appeal of a murder mystery with the drama only found in very small towns.
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
This novel is based in Mississippi in the early 60’s. A feel-good novel about the triumph of the underdogs over both racism and sexism.
The Ringmaster’s Wife by Kristy Cambron
Well-written historical fiction meets the dazzle of the Jazz Age and the first circuses. If love stories are your thing, you’ll enjoy this novel.
I’m always looking for more books! Comment below with your favorites. Happy reading & happy traveling!