Armchair travel through books is an amazing way to “see” the world without spending thousands of dollars on transportation and lodging. Real travel for vacation is tons of fun too, especially if you put in the time to plan it right. For me, “planning it right” means the trip has a healthy dash of literary flavor mixed in.
What’s great is there are so many ways to turn practically any travel you do into a literary adventure. Of course, the easiest way to do this is by planning your trip around a visit to a literary landmark from the outset. Pinterest is chock full of bookish-destination pins that will put your wanderlust in high gear (check out my board dedicated to them) and there are plenty of literary-based travel books out there. My personal favorite is Novel Destinations, by Shannon McKenna Schmidt & Joni Rendon.
As lovely as it would be to plan every vacation around a literary landmark, there are going to be trips where books and reading won’t be the focus. I’m going to Las Vegas next week and the primary purpose of the trip is to attend a video-gaming tournament with my husband for his birthday. While Street Fighter matches will be front and center for the weekend, I still plan on making the experience a literary one with some well-focused Internet research.
To add literary flavor to this Las Vegas trip and for any other travel, here’s what I do:
Check some tried and true websites to see if they have any posts on the the city I’m visiting.
Try and find books that are set in my travel destination. Seeing the sites mentioned in the story is so much fun!
The easiest way to do this is Googling “books set in (city/state/country name).” A lot of the results will be links to Goodreads lists. It’s amazing how location-specific the lists can be.
Continue Googling my little heart out. I enter the name of the city I’m visiting in the search box and make my way through this list:
Hopefully you’ll get links to the local public library as well as lists of special libraries (these might have an entrance fee).
When I did this search for my Las Vegas trip, one of the results was a adult entertainment club called The Library 🙂
Results will include restaurants/cafes/bars that have a bookish flare (I am definitely checking out Bookmarks Lounge when I’m in NYC later this summer) or places where famous authors have been known to eat and drink.
You might get to take a selfie with one of your favorite writers!
It never hurts to see if your trip lines up with a city’s book festival.
Literary (Museum) Exhibits
This search normally doesn’t yield much, but you never know if a Harry Potter exhibit might be in town.
Searching “authors buried in (city name)” usually gets the best results.
Using these steps, I’ve been able to incorporate bookishness into almost all the travel I’ve done during the last few years. I have an awesome literary itinerary for my visit to Las Vegas and I can’t wait to post a rundown of my adventures in a couple weeks!
I’d love to hear about your literary travels. Please share some of your favorite bookish travels in the comments below!