Top 5 Places to Read While On the Road


In my mind, there’s no better place to get some serious reading done than a long train ride, ideally in a window seat on a route through the snow. Mystery is a classic train-reading genre thanks to Agatha Christie, but trains are also a great place to tackle any dense, intimating titles you might have on your reading list. The world’s longest continuous train ride, the Trans-Siberian Railway, is an excellent train choice–you’ll have ample reading time given there’s 5,772 miles between Vladivostok and Moscow.


The hustle and bustle of fellow travelers, the people-watching opportunities, the swirl of foreign languages surrounding you: staking out a comfortable corner of a busy hostel common area or hotel lobby is wonderful place to read. The iconic Raffles Hotel in Singapore would be a fine choice. Joseph Conrad, Ernest Hemingway, and Rudyard Kipling, among many other notables, passed through its marble lobby (Kipling wrote ‘The Jungle Book’ at Raffles), and the Singapore Sling was invented here.


A classic reading spot for good reason, a day at the beach is a perfect time to dive into a new book. Beach reads often veer towards lighter, funnier fare – this is a perfect place to get into that salacious new celebrity tell-all. Indonesia, a country of more than 18,000 islands, would be a great destination for reading on the beach. Only about 8,000 of those islands have even been named, and less than a thousand have permanent populations, meaning you’ll be sure to find a remote stretch of sand where you won’t be bothered by other beachgoers (or judged for your reading choices).


Settling down with a good book is the perfect end to a long day of trekking. Safe in your tent but surrounded by the wilderness, this is an excellent setting for a good adventure tale or a memoir of a famous explorer. Reading Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth while visiting Snæfellsjökull National Park in Iceland would work well – that’s the volcanic crater where the famous book is partially set. Further, you just might run into a fellow book-lover on your adventure: Icelanders are the world’s most prolific writers per capita. 1 in 10 publish books in their lifetime.


Taking the time to enjoy a good book and a rich cup of coffee at a local café is a time-honored travel tradition. Might I suggest The Elephant House, in Edinburgh, Scotland. You’ll be in good literary company: JK Rowling, Alexander McCall-Smith, and Ian Rankin are all rumored to have worked on books here, churning out pages on tables in the back.