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Armchair Travel Books to Help You Travel from Home

From traveling the world (literally) to traveling the world… literary! Covid-19 has completely disrupted the world as we know it across all industries – travel being one of the most impacted. So many of us travelers have had to face difficult, heart wrenching choices to cancel flights and awaited adventures due to closed borders, risk of exposing vulnerable populations and overwhelming local health organizations. It’s a time unlike any other for our planet. But, there’s one thing that we’re turning to in these difficult times… travel books.

We’re the first to admit, we’re major book nerds over here at team Dame Traveler! On any given night you can find us curled up, sifting through photo books, literary novels and destination guides for travel inspiration. There really is something about having a library of stunning travel books to turn to in times when we’re not able to get out there and explore. Armchair exploration will be our guiding light during this time. Clear some space on your bookshelves… here is a roundup of our favorite travel books we’re curling up to while social distancing!

Dame Traveler: Live The Spirit Of Adventure

It’s been the ultimate goal of ours since the creation of Dame Traveler to have a book filled with the brave, courageous women in our community on bookshelves. And here it is! From backpackers in Peru to artists in Berlin to storytellers in Morocco, Dame Traveler: Live The Spirit Of Adventure celebrates the diversity and bravery of women from around the world who are not afraid to think (and live) outside the box. We can’t wait to see it on your bookshelves soon!

The Travel Book

This is kind of like the keystone travel book in our eyes! Lonely Planet’s The Travel Book is a whirlwind trip around the world through every single country in the world. Yep! Every single one. It’s the ultimate introduction to the world of travel and one that we always end up referring to when we need any information on a given destination. Whether you need a book to learn about a specific culture or history, or you’re on the hunt for some photo inspiration for your next trip – this book has got it covered! It’s a tome that any and all travelers will love.

Wonders of the World

A deep dive into the world’s most dazzling sights, both natural and human-made. Of course you’ll find an inside look at the iconic sights like the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat and the Great Wall of China… but Lonely Planet’s Wonders of the World goes so much further. You’ll find less famous sights that are totally spectacular and less-explored (think tree bridges of Meghalaya, the Rijksmuseum, the Naqsh-e Jahan in Iran, untouched Buddhist temples in Java and so much more). Natural beauties, undeniably striking museums, itineraries and the resources and tools on how to discover them yourself. This book is one we’re always happy to re-read over and over again.

My Lisbon

More than just a cookbook, My Lisbon has the most stunning photography of this gorgeous city in Portugal. The book really takes you into the lives of those who live in Lisbon and also makes for a gorgeous decorative coffee table book.

World Food: Mexico City

Mexico City is truly one of the culinary leaders of the world and the World Food: Mexico City combines 75 recipes, storytelling, and beautiful photographs all in one place.

Cuba!: Recipes and Stories from the Cuban Kitchen

Cuba is one of our favorite places in the world so it’s no wonder why we loved this cookbook. The recipes are fabulous, and the vibrant imagery draws you in.

London In Bloom

Escape to the charming streets of London-town amidst the spring blossoms in “London In Bloom.” The iconic charm of London’s architecture juxtaposed next to the blooming flowers of spring are the perfect escape we’re all craving right now. Inside each page you’ll find unique views of the city, lush, floral beauty, some of London’s best parks, gardens, florists and flower markets too. It’s like a spring-time walk through London through the lens of one of our favorite botanical photographers!




What travel books are you turning to while social distancing? We’d love to know your favorites!

Featured Insider Tips Journal Solo Travel Stories

Check Out Our Hardcover Book, Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure

It’s finally here! Our very first, Dame Traveler photography / coffee table book published with Ten Speed Press of Penguin Random House – “Dame Traveler: Live The Spirit Of Adventure.

This book has been the ultimate goal (and absolute dream) since Dame Traveler’s creation many years ago. Seeing it come to life in print is a feeling BEYOND words can say. We simply cannot wait to see it in your hands and in your homes. It’s a dream to imagine seeing copies of it out in the world, creased and filled with bookmarks and notes, loved and worn, passed on and gifted to fellow female traveler friends.

The time for armchair travel is now. Without a doubt, the world has greatly shifted in the wake of Covid-19. Travel restrictions and the gravity of potentially putting others at risk or overwhelming local healthcare systems are serious, complicated and heart wrenching considerations for those of us who long (and live) to explore.

Our dream is that the #dametravelerbook transports you to every corner of our beautiful planet. We hope you sift through each page and imagine yourself there, soaking in cultural experiences, scaling mountaintops, learning from locals, discovering new, untouched European towns or road tripping through America.

Even if your travel plans have halted and you’re Social Distancing to help Flatten the Curve, the world is still your oyster. And we hope each and every page keeps that fire to adventure glowing until the right time comes to hop on that plane.

Today, we’re thrilled to give you an inside sneak peak into our premiere hardback book, which you can order here!

At A Glance

Combining breathtaking collection of the unseen images of the women within the Dame Traveler community, empowering messages and planning tips for female travelers and secret recommendations – “Dame Traveler: Live The Spirit Of Adventure” is a coffee table photo book you’ll love to sift through to collect stories, inspiration and more. Each page is filled with some of the most thrilling, awe-inspiring photos made by women boldly traveling the world and sharing their stories. It’s a collection and celebration of the diversity and bravery of women who are not afraid to think (and live) outside the box.

Featured inside:

  • All female contributors – With a serious focus on diversity, you’ll find women of all abilities, races, religions, sizes and identities inside each chapter. Each woman included into the book showcase their discoveries, artistry and inside knowledge acquired through their individual experiences.
  • Over 200 breathtaking, full color images – 80% of the photographs included inside are never before seen on Dame Traveler’s Instagram.
  • “DT Insider Tips” – A resource list of recommendations  straight from Dame Travelers’ experiences, including favorite neighborhoods, specific locations of photo vantage points, hotel recommendations and historical tidbits.
  • History of Dame Traveler’s creation – An in-depth backstory of the brand’s creation, as well as the triumphant story of Nastasia Yakoub, founder and author.
  • Safety tips for women – A curated list of our best and often overlooked safety tips specifically for women traveling solo.

Chapter Preview

When planning the structure of the book, we wanted to bring to life the four core themes of  travel experiences- architecture, nature, culture and water. Each category features travel information, plus tips, resources, advice, unique solo-travel experiences, and wisdom from contributing Dame Traveler found on each page. It’s glance into the stunning beauty and discoveries made around the world, organized by the four desires most of us set to find when we depart on our next trip. Here’s a quick preview of what you’ll find in each chapter!


Ranging from the ancient tombs of royalty of the past, to the intricately designed spaces of the French Nouveau, to the minimalist, futuristic buildings in today’s metropolises… our Architecture chapter features some of the world’s most storied and mind-blowing spaces around the world. Explore the world through its ancient and modern spaces alike through the lenses of women who have uncovered some of the coolest spaces with the most legendary pasts.

A Special Look Into Our Upcoming Dame Traveler Book


The sparse and open spaces of the driest deserts juxtaposed next to dense, lush jungles… when creating our Nature chapter, we set out to feature the astounding beauty of the natural world. Inside, you’ll find the best inside knowledge outdoor enthusiast Dame Travelers have learned from their many treks around the globe.

A Special Look Into Our Upcoming Dame Traveler Book


If it’s connection you are seeking in your travels, our Culture chapter is sure to enthrall you. Expect purpose-driven explorations, hallowed spaces, stories from friendships made with locals and thoughtful itineraries that educate just as much as they excite.

A Special Look Into Our Upcoming Dame Traveler Book


There’s nothing more peaceful and rejuvenating than the beauty of water, is there? Inside our Water chapter, we delve into the world’s fascinating forms of water. From refreshing, undiscovered swimming pools, to the pristine beaches of far off islands, to the natural hot springs used for restoration… this chapter is a deep dive into the power and the peace that water brings.

A Special Look Into Our Upcoming Dame Traveler Book

Thank you so much for supporting our biggest and wildest dream! It goes without saying that this would not have come into life without the amazing community of women within Dame Traveler. We thank you so much and hope you love the book as much as we do!



Journal Travel Planning

A Book Lover’s Guide To The World

A book lover’s outlook is a special one. There are thousands of books set in locations around the world. All inspire a sense of wanderlust and wonder to those who read about their fascinating landscapes through their pages. It’s a very special thing when a place exactly inspires an author with a narrative. These places almost serve as a soul to these stories.

Today, we’re spotlighting some destinations that directly inspired some incredible literature. There are so many to cover, we’re sure to miss some of your favorites… so please be sure to comment with your favorite book and the destination that inspired it!

Edinburgh – “The Harry Potter Series”

It’s hard to imagine J.K. Rowling not creating the beloved Harry Potter series when you explore old Edinburgh. The city’s many castles atop steep hills, the eery and old graveyards, the cobble stoned streets! Be sure to explore Greyfrier’s Kirkyard to find some familiar names from the book series… more Edinburgh recs right here too)!

Paris – “Les Miserables”

The French Revolution’s relics are scattered throughout the City Of Light. “Les Miserables” author Victor Hugo lived in Paris for many years. In fact, visitors can see his home and the many places within the city where he wrote the worldwide read novel.

St. Petersburg – “Crime & Punishment”

Fyodor Dostoevsky’s psychological novels is one of the best ever written. However, not many people know that its inspiration stemmed from crimes he learned about while living in St. Petersburg. “Crime & Punishment” fans will find snippets and slivers of the story’s inspiration through the city’s alleys and details.

Missouri – “The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer”

Mark Twain’s classic American novel takes direct inspiration from the surrounding areas of Missouri and the Mississippi River. The adventures of the young boys can be clearly imagined when exploring the area’s wildlife, caverns and caves.

Pamplona, Spain – “The Sun Also Rises”

Hemingway, an avid traveler, was extremely inspired by his time in Pamplona, Spain when writing his best selling novel. The city’s bull festivals are still celebrated to this day.

Stockholm – “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”

Steig Larsson’s “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” highlighted a hidden, darker side to Stockholm. Larsson’s lived in Söder, where he lived for many, many years living locally and working as a journalist. His experiences in the city gave him great inspiration for the series settings and darker underbelly.

New York – “Breakfast At Tiffany’s”

The American Novelist, Truman Capote was once the most well-known author of NYC. His lavish time in Brooklyn Heights inspired Holly Golighty’s storyline.

Birmingham, England – “The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy”

Tolkien was a man who drew direct inspiration from nature, most of which he recalls fondly from his childhood. His notoriously detailed writings about flora and fauna has a direct correlation to where he grew up – Birmingham’s fields and mills.

Big Sur – “Big Sur”

Jack Kerouac’s “Big Sur” was written during his meaningful time along the California coastline. The area’s inspiration is so present in his descriptive writing about the rugged beaches and stunning landscapes.

London – Shakespeare’s Work

No trip (for a Shakespeare fan) to London would be fulfilled with a trip to the Globe Theater.

The Swiss Alps – “Heidi”

The dramatic and lush Swiss Alps inspired Johanna Spyri’s picturesque setting of “Heidi.” It’s said that the book also inspired many travelers to experience its beauty for themselves too, boosting the area’s tourism by leaps and bounds after its release.

Tokyo – “Norwegian Wood”

Murakami’s masterpiece was directly inspired from his collegiate experience in Tokyo’s Waseda University. His time and love for the bustling city is evident through the pages of his many books, especially Norwegian Wood.

Be sure to check out our other book-inspired destination guides here on the blog!

Solo Travel

10 Books That Will Encourage Any Woman To Travel Solo

A trip alone, setting out into the wild world, eager and ready for all that might come, is not a newly desired experience for the modern woman. However, in the past decade solo female travel has become more widely celebrated (something we’re very fortunate and grateful for). But who do we have to thank for the mass population’s acceptance of adventuring women? Those that tell their stories from the road. Today, we’re sharing  ten of our favorite inspiring solo travel books written by women who dare to share their tales of discovery, acceptance and misadventure.

Made for any woman needing an extra push or a little inspiration for their own adventures alone, here are ten books that will encourage any woman to travel solo.

Dame Traveler: Live the Spirit of Adventure

Combining breathtaking collection of the unseen images of the women within the Dame Traveler community, empowering messages and planning tips for female travelers and secret recommendations – “Dame Traveler: Live The Spirit Of Adventure” is a coffee table photo book you’ll love to sift through to collect stories, inspiration and more. Each page is filled with some of the most thrilling, awe-inspiring photos made by women boldly traveling the world and sharing their stories. It’s a collection and celebration of the diversity and bravery of women who are not afraid to think (and live) outside the box.


All Over The Place by Geraldine DeRuiter

Perfect for any woman who doesn’t identify herself as the type of person who could travel solo, Geraldine DeRuiter’s story of misadventure is told through the eyes of a non-stereotypical traveler. All Over The Place‘s candid take on transformative experiences traveling the world will warm any woman up to the idea of solo travel. Trust us, it’ll delight you just as much as it’ll inspire you.


Now Is The Time To Open Your Heart by Alice Walker

Described as a “modern take on the Odyssey,” Alice Walker’s book centers on the ever-difficult quest we all face in finding meaning in our lives. Along her journey to self-actualization (separate from her lover) in various parts of the world, Kate gains insight on the world around her through inner development of trust and courage.


Flâneuse: Women Walk The City In Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice & London by Lauren Elkin

Flâneuse: “a woman who is said to behave like the historical masculine figure of privilege who strides the capitals of the world with abandon.” Sounds right up our alley! Exploring the history of women artists, creators and writers who have found their inspiration through exploring the world’s most inspiring cities, Lauren Elkin’s book celebrates liberated and bold women of the past.


At Home In The World: Reflections on Belonging While Wandering The Globe by Tsh Oxenreider

While backpacking the world with her husband and three children for nine months, Tsh Oxenreider’s story focuses on the meaning of home when in transit. Captivating, honest and raw, this novel will show you how travel truly shapes us and redefines home’s identity for any nomad in the world.


Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

It’s a cliche, but it’s a standard choice for a reason. If you haven’t read Elizabeth Gilbert’s gem, consider this your call to action.


My Paris Dream: An Education in Style, Slang, and Seduction in the Great City on the Seine by Kate Betts

This memoir is set in the ever-fashionable and stylish Paris in the 80’s, seen through the eyes of Kate Betts (former Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar editor). Through Kate’s memoir, we’re reminded that the dream of living abroad and attaining glamorous professional roles comes through perseverance and hard work. Kate takes us readers on her journey through tedious jobs, fashion week, savoir faire, nightclubs and romantic lavender fields of Provence – through the eyes of a determined girlboss.


Wild by Cheryl Strayed

Another one of those classic solo travel books you’ve heard about, and for good reason! Cheryl Strayed’s memoir of her thousand mile hike through the west coast as a complete newby brings to light so much more than the beauty of nature. Wild shows us how transformative travel can be when our life plans seems to have shattered in front of us.


Under The Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy by Frances Mayes

Frances Mayes buys and restores an abandoned villa in the Tuscan countryside. But what she discovers is so much more than frescoed walls. Under The Tuscan Sun lets readers in on the charming and vibrant markets and villages in the rural sections of Italy, celebrating the sweet and slow lifestyle it embraces and delighting the senses. It’s truly a love letter to Tuscany wrapped up in a story of self realization!


The Good Girl’s Guide to Getting Lost by Rachel Freidman

An unlikely friendship formed in Ireland by an American good girl and a free spirited Aussie drives Rachel Friedman’s memoir on a yearlong journey to three continents and an unrealized love for adventure. This tale of female friendship formed through life changing travel will teach you, more than anything, that living for the moment unlocks inner joy.


A Field Guide To Getting Lost by Rebecca Solnit

Rebecca Solnit’s novel lets us readers see the lives lead by bold and adventurous leaders through a series of memoirs. Inventive, challenging and damn inspiring, A Field Guide To Getting Lost gets right into the soul of what travel truly means – from what being lost feels like, to wanderlust to loss and more. If you want to dig deep, this is your book!


Journal Stories

5 Female Travelers Your History Books Never Taught You About

It’s funny. Open up any history book from high school and you’ll probably see names of navigators, adventurers and explorers… all of which are men. In a world where more and more women are choosing travel and adventure as a means to celebrate life, dig deep into self-actualization and learn about cultures around the world, shouldn’t we be celebrate our fore-mothers? Who exactly are the women who began traveling the world before it was accepted as an equal domain? Today, we want to spotlight five female travelers your history books never taught you about. It’s our hope that showcasing these early badass travel babes that you’ll feel inspired and encouraged to see the world even more.

Jeanne Baré (1740-1807)

The First Woman To Circumnavigate The World

Born in the Loire Valley, this French explorer began as a lover of nature. In her early years, she gathered herbs for medicine and began training to be a herbal medicine doctor. She fell in love with another botanist and plant-lover, who took her under his wing as a teacher and aide… eventually inviting her on an expedition to discover new worlds as the crew’s “naturalist.”

Being a woman, Jeanne took on the name Jean, wrapped her chest in linen every day and hid her gender from the crew. However, she was outed while on the ship while in Tahiti, but was given allowance to continue on their journey until Mauritius. Sadly, Jeanne’s lover (and then husband) died while on the island and she returned to France with his body… completing her trip around the globe.

Jeanne is a prime example of a strong, fiercely curious and brave lover of nature. Her love for studying plants and the world did stay in the confines of her homeland.

Bessie Coleman

The First African-American Woman To Earn A Pilot’s License

Bessie Coleman’s career began as a manicurist in a Chicago barber shop. While working there, she would hear the amazing stories shared by the pilots who had returned home from World War I. These stories ignited her passion in flight, and she quickly began applying for American flight schools to begin her dream of becoming a pilot herself.

When no American flight schools would admit Bessie because of the color of her skin, she learned French, moved to Paris and began studying with the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale. There, she graduated and became the first African-American woman to earn an aviation pilot’s license.

Bessie’s tireless pursuit of her dreams, despite the racism and oppression forced upon her, is incredibly inspiring.

Junko Tabei

The First Woman To Scale Mount Everest

Junko Tabei, a five foot tall, 92 pound Japanese woman conquered Mount Everest. During her ascent, an avalanche burned her team’s camp and left her briefly unconscious. After coming to, she finished the climb. But Junko’s amazing mountainous adventures don’t just stop there. She is also the first woman to complete all Seven Summits – the highest peaks on every continent, and reach the highest peaks in 70+ countries (including Antarctica).

What’s most staggering about Junko’s successes is her own story. After graduating college, Junko created a women’s only climbing club and was told she should be “raising children instead.” But no negative words stopped Junko’s drive. A mother of a young daughter, editor of a science magazine and English and piano teacher, Junko hustled hard to fund her travels. She also created one of the first all-women expeditions. After learning she had cancer, she showed no signs of stopping her mountainous hikes. All the way up to her death, at age 77, she managed to hike halfway up Mount Fuji, just as she had done for years each summer.

Junko’s physical strength is mind blowing, but her tenacity and mental strength might be even more so.

Gudrid Thorbjarnardottir (980 – ?)

First European Mother & Explorer In The New World

Born approximately around 980, Gudrid lived in Norway until her early adulthood. During which time, she became one of the first Norse visitors to Vinland, a colony we know now as North America. While there, Gudrid gave birth to the first European child born in the New World.

However, Gudrid and her Norse adventurers struggled to maintain friendly relationships with the natives of North America, leading eventually to a large fight. Despite the Vikings winning, they feared a larger attack would be unavoidable and decided to retreat back to Greenland. Gudrid’s legacy carries on from there. She converted to Christianity, eventually met the Pope and told him of her amazing adventures in the New World.

As the first European mother in the New World, Gudrid beat out Christopher Columbus’s grand discovery by centuries, and her stories have been immortalized in Norse sagas and iron sculptures.

Nellie Bly (1864-1922)

First Woman To Travel The World In 72 Days

Born Elizabeth Jane Cochrane, Nellie Bly was an American investigative journalist who became famous for going undercover to expose the abuse at Women’s Lunatic Asylum on Blackwell’s Island. This stunning article made her a nationally known name. But Nellie wasn’t pleased to stay a celebrity figure, she had other goals in mind.

Inspired by the novel “Around the World in Eighty Days,” Nellie imagined turning the story into her own reality. That year, she began her journey of almost 25,000 miles. She traveling alone by steamship and train for a majority of her trip and finished even earlier than she predicted – clocking in at 72 days since her departure.

Speed may have been on Nellie’s side, but making her daydreams come to life is strong proof of a hardworking motivation that many of us fail to tap into ourselves.

In Her Footsteps

Uncover the history, the lives and the locations of the women who trail blazed the course of the world. In Her Footsteps is a deep dive into the heart and the history of women’s activism, history and creativity through the places female pioneers lived and discovered. You’ll find familiar names right next to unfamiliar places! It’s like an adventure through historical women’s lives through the lens of the places that most inspired them. Jane Goodall’s explorations in Gombe, Tanzania to the Empress Dowager Cixi’s summer palace in Beijing, the creative workrooms of Frida Kahlo… we know Dame Travelers love this one!

Travel Books We're Loving In 2020

We hope you enjoyed learning about these female travelers forgotten by your history books. Take their grit, determination and passionate pursuit of adventure into your own life, and know that there have been some absolutely fierce fore-mothers to look up to along your way.