My travel skills are less than developed, as I didn’t enter an airport until I was 22 years old. But my yearning for travel is just getting started, and lately, I’m turning to wanderlust books to give me all the travel vibes without having to leave my couch. Whether it’s a twisty thriller in a cool city or a romance on a quant beach, I’m mentally planning it all from my toasty studio apartment. If you want to get in on the fun too, here are the books I recommend for all sorts of travel dreams—from beaches to deserts to cities and more.
your one-way ticket to your cool, calm, and collected era
People We Meet on Vacation
Destination: Palm Springs
A best friend duo go on vacation every year, but something happens and ruins their inseparable bond. They decide to go on one final vacation together, and we’re predicting romance will ensue. This new release is for fans of “Beach Read,” “Big Summer,” and other classic summer rom-coms.
Destination: a dude ranch in Montana
If going a more historical route excites you, “Outlawed” will have you wishing you were inside a museum that very moment. After a year of marriage with no pregnancy in a town that murders barren women, Ada leaves everything behind to join a band of outlaws in the Wild West.
Seasons of Love
Alice travels to her business partner's vacation home in Portugal, all to meet her partner’s daughter and fall head over heels. This is for the reader dreaming of a spicy vacation romance.
Last Tang Standing
If watching “Crazy Rich Asians” didn’t make you dream of a vacay to Singapore, this book surely will. Andrea Tang has everything she could ever want at 33—except a husband to the dismay of her family. Then, she meets two very different men who strike her fancy, and she’s forced to do a little soul-searching.
Destination: the shores of Michigan
One of summer 2020’s biggest reads, “Beach Read” flips all of the quintessential characteristics of a beach read and turns them inside out. January and Augustus, two authors writing very different genres, are rivals since college. After January's father dies, she returns to his lake house in Michigan to discover Gus is her new next door neighbor. They make a bet writing each other’s genre for the summer, but they realize there’s a lot more they like about each other than they thought. It’s steamy, engrossing, and will make you want to head up to your uncle’s lake house immediately.
The Lost Apothecary
Switching between the 1700s and present day, this London apothecary is selling a little more than you think. Women across the town speak of a hidden woman selling potions to murder the abusive men in their lives, resulting in a chain of events that changed London’s history forever. In the present, a historian is researching and uncovers a clue to the mysterious London apothecary murders from 200 years ago, taking her on a wild chase to unearth what really happened. You’ll be thinking of rainy, gloomy days in the winding streets of London the entire time you’re reading.
Kisses and Croissants
This adorable YA romance follows an American in Paris for an elite summer ballet program. Along the way, she meets Louis who offers to be her tour guide, and the two get into some mischief. For those dreaming of cafes and a “Lizzie McGuire Movie” moment in the City of Love.
Circe is a powerful witch, so Zeus banishes her to a deserted island where she’s in danger and must discover her own power to save herself and her family. Knowing about Greek mythology is not a requirement to read this book, but you will wish you were on that phenomenal Greece vacation on your bucket list the entire time.
Tokyo Ever After
Raised by a single mother forced to play down her Japanese identity in a white American town, Izumi (Izzy) later discovers the identity of her father: the Crown Prince of Japan. She whiskfully travels there to meet her father, making this basically the Japanese “Princess Diaries,” and we’re here for it.
For a page-turning thriller set in a scorching Australian summer, “The Dry” follows a federal agent after his best friend died, leaving him with a damaging secret to protect. It has small town, big secrets vibes, but being set in an Australian drought makes it ultra-atmospheric.
One Last Stop
Destination: New York City
If you’re dreaming of busy subway rides, sidewalks full of people, and the utterly intoxicating aura of New York City, “One Last Stop” will have you reminiscing trip photos for days. August moves to New York City mostly hoping to continue her cynical, jaded mindset of life—until she meets Jane, her total opposite, on the train.
The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires
When a book club of middle-age ladies turns into a neighborhood vampire watch, you know you’re in for it. After a weird encounter with a new neighbor, this group of women is left wondering if their new friend might actually be a vampire. If you’re dreaming of sweet tea on the a southern suburban back porch, read this.
And Now She's Gone
Destination: Los Angeles
Grayson Sykes is a detective looking for a woman who’s disappeared, and as she continues to search for her, she discovers all of Isabel’s hidden secrets and the dangers behind them. This won’t bring you all those sunny feels of LA, but that’s probably not what a thriller reader wants to read anyway. Instead, LA is more than a backdrop of the story, it’s its own character, aiding in the creepy, noir feel of it all.