So you’re planning the trip of your dreams, or better yet, it’s already booked. Lucky for you, the fun doesn’t just start when you board your flight. There’s an incredible lead-up that fills you with mountains of anticipation and excitement. From poring over brochures, to shopping for a shiny new set of hiking boots, to the last-minute dash to the shops for mozzie spray just in case.
The preparation in itself can be half the fun. Beyond the packing, a great way to set yourself up for a rich and deeply inspiring escape is to listen to an audiobook that explores your destination. We have teamed up with Audible to bring you our top 10 travel audiobooks to get your travel juices flowing.
1. Dogs Of India written by Polly McGee, narrated by Soula Robinson
Broken-hearted, Sydney-sider Lola Wedd heads to India to marry a total stranger as part of an international visa scam. Naïvely believing she’ll "find herself" in this vibrant country, instead she is enmeshed in a drama worthy of Bollywood, starring an abandoned pariah dog, a dead civil servant, a suicidal housewife, a boutique hotel owner, a blushing chauffeur, an absent groom, an ambitious girl journalist and a megalomaniac monkey.
See it yourself: Join Polly for a behind the scenes tour on ‘My India’ with Polly McGee.
2. Touching The Void written by Joe Simpson, narrated by Daniel Weyman and Andrew Wincott
In June 1995, Joe Simpson and his partner Simon Yates tackled the unclimbed west face of the remote 21,000 foot Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. But before they reached the summit, disaster struck. You won’t be able to stop listening to this epic story of survival and compelling testament of friendship.
See it yourself: Trek around the dramatic peaks and over the high passes of the Cordillera Huayhuash, some of the best trekking in South America, on the Huayhuash Circuit.
From licking a Monet in Paris, to pushing an abusive macho honeymooner off his sailboat in the shark-infested Galapagos, to saving her toddler son from a charging bull elephant in Africa, these 14 delightful, award-winning true tales will inspire listeners to follow the call of a wild life and leave home with their doors unlocked.
See it yourself: Let your life take a wild turn on a cruise around the Galapagos Islands or on safari in the Masai Mara.
Sunset in the Galapagos Islands. Image credit: Ken Harris
4. Wild written by Cheryl Strayed, narrated by Laurel Lefkow
A powerful, blazingly honest memoir: the story of an 1100-mile solo hike that broke down a young woman reeling from catastrophe and built her back up again. Experience a hike of the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington State on this adventure of a lifetime.
See it yourself: Follow part of the longer Pacific Crest Trail, climbing over 4,000m passes, wandering beneath high alpine peaks and traversing beautiful meadows and forested river valleys, on the three-week John Muir Trail. OR if you're short on time, consider trekking one of the John Muir Trail sectional hikes, ranging from 4 to 13 days.
Fed up with his office job, at age 28 Paul Barach impulsively decided to travel to Japan to follow a vision: to walk the ancient 750-mile Shikoku pilgrimage trail. Highly unprepared and with no Japanese language skills, no research, and having failed to road test his hiking shoes, this absurd and dramatic journey explores the fascinating legends of this ancient land.
See it yourself: Walk the Shikoku pilgrimage trail on Japan Encompassed.
In China's Sichuan province, amid the terraced hills of the Yangtze River valley, lies the remote town of Fuling. Like many other small cities in this ever-evolving country, Fuling is heading down a new path of change and growth, which came into remarkably sharp focus when Peter Hessler arrived as a Peace Corps volunteer, teaching English literature at the local college and gaining a new perspective on modern China.
See it yourself: Cruise the Yangtze River through the dramatic Three Gorges on Highlights of China.
Black Dragon Pool in Yunnan China
This hilarious and hair-raising memoir follows Sarah Macdonald, who quits her job as a national radio presenter to follow her new love to the most polluted city on earth, New Delhi. This travelogue explores a land of chaos and contradiction, from spiritual retreats and crumbling nirvanas to war zones and New Delhi nightclubs, you’ll be hooked.
See it yourself: Explore Old and New Delhi and discover all the highlights of Northern India on our Classic North India adventure.
Cuba occupies a place of undisputed fascination and remains a mystery to most. Few of us have traveled to Havana, and still fewer have traveled deeper into this isolated country. Chris Messner, a photographer, has been able to travel extensively throughout this island, documenting the character of Cuba’s people, its rich history and vast culture.
See it yourself: Grab your boots and see Cuba on Foot or pedal your way around the island on Cuba by Bike.
Peter FitzSimons tells the incredible tale of Mawson's survival, against all the odds, arriving back just in time to see his rescue ship disappearing over the horizon. He also masterfully weaves the stories of the other giants from the Heroic Age of Polar Exploration - Scott of the Antarctic, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Roald Amundsen - to bring the jaw-dropping events of this bygone era dazzlingly back to life.
See it yourself: Take in unsurpassable beauty and abundant wildlife on a voyage to South Georgia Islands with the option to visit Shackleton’s final resting place or cross the island of South Georgia on foot, walking literally In Shackleton’s Footsteps.
King Penguins in South Georgia. Photo credit: Alan Levy
10. The Green Season written and narrated by Robert Isenberg
This pastiche of essays and reportage explores daily life in Costa Rica, a nation dedicated to peace and teeming with tropical life. With his trademark humor and observation, Robert Isenberg describes the people, culture, and biodiversity that make Costa Rica so unique, from a centuries-old indigenous ceremony to a remote jungle crisscrossed by crocodile-filled canals.
See it yourself: Traverse the island under your own steam by foot, bike, kayak and raft on the Costa Rica Traverse.
Audible is the world’s largest seller and producer of downloadable audiobooks and spoken-word entertainment. They offer a free audiobook, including any of these enthralling titles, on sign-up to a 30-day Audible membership trial. Find out more at audible.com.au.