While some may say paper and pen are antiquated and outdated, there's something to be said for the feel of a book in your hands (and potential lack of cell service abroad). While most good guides have been converted into smartphone apps and websites, there are still travel books out there worthy of a read or digital download. I'm not going to preach about the joys of Eat, Pray, Love (we're not that cheesy), but every journey of self-discovery yourself should inspire your own pilgrimage.
1,000 Places to See Before You Die, Patricia Schultz
The granddaddy of all travel lists, I use the 1,000 places book as a mental bucket list. Recently updated, over 200 new entries, 28 countries and 600 pages of drool-worthy photos have been added. If you're more of a web guru, their pinterest board has over 25,000 followers and 30,000 pins and is a great way to procrastinate for a few hours (or days).
Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams
Even if you're not going to Peru, Mark Adam's journey is one worth reliving. He defines my favorite travel term, "martini explorer" (someone accustomed to a certain degree of luxury, but who suffers from an undeniable restlessness to venture off the beaten path) and inspires the ordinary man to push himself to the limit. Whether you're a wannabe hiker or an expert, take a cue from this book to either go big or go home.
The Kite Runner & A Thousand Splendid Suns, Khaled Hosseini
The first and second novel in the series spent a combined 268 weeks on the New York Times Best Sellers List, 19 of those at the #1 spot. A beautiful account of a country so foreign few care to understand it, this moving tale of family, friendship and faith in Afghanistan is one everyone should open their hearts to when you're thinking about life on the other side.
Born to Run, Christopher McDougall
If you've ever wondered what it takes to be a super athlete, look no further. Isolated by Mexico's deadly Copper Canyons, the blissful Tarahumara Indians have honed the ability to run hundreds of miles without rest or injury. McDougall, a Harvard lab scientist decides to study their secrets and see if they can be applied to athletes or the everyday man around the world.