Books: A Pleasant Travel Alternative

FMTC Affiliate Disclosure: Blond Wayfarer contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I earn a commission at no extra cost to you. This disclosure pertains to all affiliate links.

Books are a travel alternative

I have a secret for my beloved readers: rare moments exist when I’m grateful I’m not traveling all the stinkin’ time.


I don’t think full time travel is for me.

I realize the above statement is practically sacrilegious to write on a travel blog. I’m sorry, but it’s the unfiltered truth. Please listen to me before you stomp off to another corner of the internet or leave me piles of hate comments.

Everyone’s different. Some people are crazy about sports. Others are mad for fine wine. Yet more others crave quality family time. For me, travel is and always will be an essential part of my life. I wouldn’t have spent a chunk of money to jet off to Iceland after Christmas if I was bored of travel.

books are a travel alternative
Worth every penny.

Anyway I’ve mentioned a few times on this website that I’m not a full time traveler, because I think it’s important, both in the travel blogsphere and beyond, for people to realize that part time/occasional travelers exist.

As for me, I teach high school and spend plenty of slow afternoons chilling in New Jersey instead of London or Rome. Part of the reason I don’t travel full time is because I’m scared it. Full disclosure. The other part is because I’m horrifically lazy. No, I am. Check out these posts for more information. My weekends are devoted to total relaxation, where I lie in bed and sip tea and flip through a stack of thriller novels.

books are a travel alternative
Enjoying a staycation in Philadelphia – 30 minutes from home.

Being constantly on the go fulfills some people. And I think American society, as a whole, glorifies being busy way too much. I am not – and will never be – one of those people.

But let’s not kid ourselves!

I spend a lot of time daydreaming about the spectacular places I could visit, places that emphatically aren’t the Garden State. During those weeks, when I’m not on a plane or train, I read and read and read. A lot.

Books are a travel alternative. A fantastic travel alternative, actually!

books are a travel alternative
I wish I could afford a quarter of this place. [Hall of Mirrors in Versailles].

Books Let Me Explore a New World for WAY Less Money than a Plane Ticket

Real talk: plane tickets are not cheap. I recently acquired a new credit card to help with the costs, but overall, flying across the planet leaves a gigantic, fist-shaped dent in my bank account despite any of my fiscal precautions.

For example, my round trip ticket between Philadelphia and Lisbon cost $1,100. A stack of four books can cost $40-$50 if I decide to stick to reading paperbacks. While hostels may only cost $50 per night, that’s only after I fork over a big pile of cash for my cramped ride across an ocean.

I’m very lucky I travel as much as I do. Believe me, I’m not delusional. However I can’t afford to fly around the world 24/7. I haven’t won the lottery yet.

Here are some other reasons books are a great travel alternative.

20 Literary Sites in England
By Peter Broster (Thomas Hardy’s Birthplace) [CC BY 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

Books Stop Me from Feeling Anxious

Ugh, I worry about everything under the sun. It’s bad, folks, it’s bad. To make matters even bleaker, my nerves don’t even dissipate when I embark on epic international adventures, because hello? Planes? Why we haven’t learned to teleport yet is beyond me.

Once I sink into a good book, I temporarily forget all of my problems and get swept up in a great galloping story. Becoming absorbed in fictional characters’ problems is the best anxiety medication out there.

Books Remind Me to Enjoy the Moment

Whenever I’m engrossed in a great book, I forget about the hustle and bustle of the world around me. The story digs its claws into all my senses and pulls me into a world of wizards, monsters, ghosts, and other mythical creatures. Sometimes when I travel, I am so eager to share my experiences on social media (ahem. instagram) and forget to the enjoy the moment. How else? By taking too many pictures. By fighting with other travelers for a perfect view. By stressing out over tomorrow’s flight.

With a good book? I am completely there.

Books Help Me Plan Future Trips

It never fails. I’ll read a book and come across a terrific scene in London or Paris, and think to myself about how it’s been too long since I’ve visited either of those cities and ought to check out airfare prices.

… yeah, this happens way more often than it should. Or maybe I’m just fishing for an excuse to spend more money. Who knows.

books are a travel alternative

So here’s to books! Cheap alternatives when you cannot or will not spend the cash on airline tickets. Do you agree? Disagree? Share in the comments!

2 thoughts on “Books: A Pleasant Travel Alternative

  1. Stacey says:

    Totally agree with you- books are an awesome way to “travel” without leaving home! I love to read about places I’ve been (and can see them all in my head) and about places I’ve yet to visit (and then remember the story when I’m finally in those places).

    And yes, yes, yes! American society does seem to glorify how busy they can manage to be. Taking kids here, there, and everywhere every night of the week. Packing their social calendar for every weekend, etc. etc. I just can’t do it myself either. I absolute love to travel but have to have my home and relaxing time too. I think it’s all about the balance.

    Great blog btw! I came across it via A Dangerous Business just today and have definitely spent too much time reading through your posts when I should be writing my own. 😉

    • Rachel Elizabeth says:

      Stacey —

      Hahaha, Americans are way too busy. They need to chill out and take a vacation. Or five. But, yes, balance is perfect. I just came back from a trip and now I’m ready to dive into my bookshelves.

      I’m so happy you’re enjoying my blog!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.