The Best Armchair Travel Audiobooks

Summertime is, for me, synonymous with travel. The heat, which always feels oppressive and inspires lethargy at home, is transformed by hopping on a plane and jetting off to someplace new and exciting. The sun, it seems, just shines more delicately when you’re on a different continent.

This year—however—like most, the only travelling I’ll be doing is taking trips down memory lane with old vacation photos. But even that can only tide me over for so long. After a couple months holed up in the same place, even the most devout homebodies are probably itching for a change of scenery. With audiobooks, you don’t need plane tickets or a passport to take a whirl around the world!

Keep reading for our favorite armchair travel audiobooks that will whisk you far, far away, and check out our full booklist for even more recommendations.


The Dry by Jane Harper, narrated by Stephen Shanahan

Award-winning author Jane Harper whisks you away to a small Australian farming community that is hiding big secrets. Amid the worst drought in a century, Federal Agent Aaron Falk arrives in his hometown for the first time in decades to attend the funeral of his best friend, Luke. As Falk reluctantly investigates to see if there’s more to Luke’s death than there seems to be, long-buried mysteries resurface, as do the lies that have haunted them.

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The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith, narrated by Lisette Lecat

Mma ‘Precious’ Ramotswe sets up a detective agency in Botswana on the edge of the Kalahari Desert, making her the only female detective in the country. At first, cases are hard to come by. But eventually, troubled people come to Precious with a variety of concerns. Potentially philandering husbands and seemingly schizophrenic doctors all compel Precious to roam about in her tiny van, searching for clues. Her methods may not be conventional but she’s got warmth, wit, and canny intuition on her side, and Precious is going to need them all as she sets out on the trail of a missing child, a case that tumbles our heroine into a hotbed of strange situations and more than a little danger.

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Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese, narrated by Tom Stechschulte

From the celebrated author of Indian Horse comes a stunning story of a father/son struggle set in the dramatic landscape of British Columbia. Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He’s sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they’ve shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son’s duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years of drinking, dying of liver failure in a small town flophouse. Eldon asks his son to take him into the mountains, so he may be buried in the traditional Ojibway manner. What ensues is a journey through the rugged and beautiful backcountry, and a journey into the past, as the two men push forward to Eldon’s end.

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My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong, narrated by Nancy Wu

Embark on the trip of a lifetime with a romp through the decadent world of Beijing high society! In an attempt to snap Iris Wang out of her funk, her parents decide to send her away to visit family in Beijing with the hopes that she would “reconnect with her culture” and “find herself.” Iris expects to eat a few dumplings, meet some family, and visit a tourist hotspot or two. Instead, she gets swept up in the ridiculous, opulent world of Beijing’s wealthy elite, leading her to unexpected and extraordinary discoveries about her family, her future, and herself.

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Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras, narrated by Marisol RamirezAlmarie GuerraIngrid Rojas Contreras

Inspired by the author’s own life, and told through the alternating perspectives of the willful Chula and the achingly hopeful Petrona, Fruit of the Drunken Tree contrasts two very different, but inextricably linked coming-of-age stories set in Colombia at the height Pablo Escobar’s violent reign. In lush prose, Rojas Contreras has written a powerful testament to the impossible choices women are often forced to make in the face of violence and the unexpected connections that can blossom out of desperation.

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Things in Jars by Jess Kidd, narrated by Jacqueline Milne

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery. Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried.

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The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George, narrated by Cassandra CampbellEmma BeringSteve West

Monsieur Perdu calls himself a literary apothecary. From his floating bookstore in a barge on the Seine, Perdu mends broken hearts and souls by prescribing the exact book he intuits a reader needs. The only person he can’t seem to heal through literature is himself; he’s still haunted by heartbreak after his great love disappeared. She left him with only a letter, which he has never opened. After Perdu is finally tempted to read the letter, he departs on a mission to the south of France travelling along the country’s rivers, hoping to make peace with his loss and discover the end of the story.

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The Palace of Illusions by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, narrated by Sneha Mathan

Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni vividly reimagines the world-famous Indian epic Mahabharata, taking us back to a time that is half history, half myth, and wholly magical. The Palace of Illusions traces the princess Panchaali’s life, beginning with her birth in fire and following her spirited balancing act as a woman with five husbands who have been cheated out of their father’s kingdom. Panchaali is swept into their quest to reclaim their birthright, remaining at their side through years of exile and a terrible civil war.

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Love by Roddy Doyle, narrated by Morgan C. Jones

One summer’s evening, two old friends reconnect in a Dublin restaurant. Both are now married with grown-up children, and their lives have taken seemingly similar paths. But Joe has a secret he has to tell Davy, and Davy, a sorrow he wants to keep from Joe. Both are not the men they used to be. Neither Davy nor Joe knows what the night has in store, but as two pints turn to three, then five, the men set out to revisit the haunts of their youth, the ghosts of Dublin entwining around them.

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Call Me by Your Name by André Aciman, narrated by Armie Hammer

André Aciman brings listeners the story of a sudden and powerful romance that blossoms between an adolescent boy and a summer guest at his parents’ cliffside mansion on the Italian Riviera. During the restless summer weeks, unrelenting but buried currents of obsession, fascination, and desire intensify their passion as they test the charged ground between them and verge toward the one thing both already fear they may never truly find again: total intimacy.

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The Travelling Cat Chronicles by Hiro Arikawa, narrated by George Blagden

The Travelling Cat Chronicles gives voice to Nana the cat and his owner, Satoru, as they take to the road on a journey with no other purpose than to visit three of Satoru’s longtime friends. With his crooked tail—a sign of good fortune—and adventurous spirit, Nana is the perfect companion for the man who took him in as a stray. And as they travel in a silver van across Japan, with its ever-changing scenery and seasons, they will learn the true meaning of courage and gratitude, of loyalty and love.

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She Would Be King by Wayétu Moore, narrated by Wayétu Moore

Wayétu Moore’s powerful debut novel, She Would Be King, reimagines the dramatic story of Liberia’s formation through three unforgettable characters who share an uncommon bond: Gbessa, an exile under suspicion of being a witch; June Dey, a man raised on a plantation in Virginia who possesses unusual strength; Norman Aragon, the child of a white British colonizer and a Maroon slave from Jamaica, who has learned to fade from sight at will. When the three meet in the settlement of Monrovia, their gifts help them salvage the tense relationship between the African American settlers and the indigenous tribes, as a new nation forms around them.

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, narrated by Frankie Corzo

After receiving a frantic letter from her newly-wed cousin begging for someone to save her from a mysterious doom, Noemí Taboada heads to High Place, a distant house in the Mexican countryside. She’s not sure what she will find—her cousin’s husband, a handsome Englishman, is a stranger, and Noemí knows little about the region. The family’s once colossal wealth and faded mining empire kept them from prying eyes, but as Noemí digs deeper she unearths stories of violence and madness. And Noemí, mesmerized by the terrifying yet seductive world of High Place, may soon find it impossible to ever leave this enigmatic house behind.

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South Korea

If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, narrated by Sue Jean KimRuthie Ann MilesFrances ChaJeena Yi

If I Had Your Face plunges listeners into the mesmerizing world of contemporary Seoul—a place where extreme plastic surgery is as routine as getting a haircut, where women compete for spots in secret “room salons” to entertain wealthy businessmen after hours, where K-Pop stars are the object of all-consuming obsession, and ruthless social hierarchies dictate your every move. Four young women making their way through this world defined by impossibly high standards find their tentative friendships may turn out to be the thing that ultimately saves them.

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United States of America

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens, narrated by Cassandra Campbell

Where the Crawdads Sing is at once an exquisite ode to the natural world, a heartbreaking coming-of-age story, and a surprising tale of possible murder. For years, rumors of the ‘Marsh Girl’ have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say. Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life—until the unthinkable happens.

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New to Get your first book free, PLUS a bonus book from our VIP selection when you sign up for our one-month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking, and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobooks!

10 Audiobooks that Explore the Natural World

Take a walk through the natural landscapes of our world with these moving and insightful travelogues.


1. Lands of Lost Borders: A Journey of the Silk Road by Kate Harris, narrated by Amy Landon

Lands of Lost Borders

From what Kate Harris could tell of the world, there was nothing left to be discovered. Looking beyond earth, she decided to become a scientist and go to Mars. In between studying at Oxford and MIT, Harris set off by bicycle down the fabled Silk Road with her childhood friend. Pedaling mile upon mile in some of the remotest places on earth, the farther she traveled, the closer she came to a world as wild as she felt within.
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2. Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living by Karen Auvinen, narrated by Jayme Mattler

Rough Beauty

During a difficult time, Karen Auvinen flees to a primitive cabin in the Rockies to live in solitude as a writer and to embrace all the beauty and brutality nature has to offer. When a fire incinerates every word she has ever written and all of her possessions-except for her beloved dog Elvis, her truck, and a few singed artifacts, Karen embarks on a heroic journey to reconcile her desire to be alone with her need for community.
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3. Chesapeake Requiem: A Year with the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift, narrated by Tom Parks

Chesapeake Requiem

A brilliant, soulful, and timely portrait of a 200-year-old crabbing community in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay as it faces extinction from rising sea levels — part natural history of an extraordinary ecosystem, starring the beloved blue crab; part paean to a vanishing way of life; and part meditation on man’s relationship with the environment.
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4. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed, narrated by Bernadette Dunne


In the wake of tragedy, Cheryl Strayed‘s family and marriage were destroyed. With nothing to lose, she made a decision: to hike the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon to Washington — alone. Cheryl faces rattlesnakes and black bears, intense heat and record snowfalls, and the beauty and loneliness of the trail. Wild captures the terrors and pleasures of her journey that maddened, strengthened, and ultimately healed her.
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5. The Final Frontiersman by James Campbell, narrated by Dan Woren

The Final Frontiersman.

Originally from Wisconsin, Heimo Korth traveled to the Arctic in his 20s. Now, more than four decades later, he lives with his wife 200 miles from civilization – a sustainable, nomadic life bounded by the migrating caribou, swollen rivers, and the demands of daily life. Heimo’s cousin, James Campbell, chronicles the family’s experience, adventures, and the tragedy that shapes their lives.
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6.  Deep South by Paul Theroux, narrated by John McDonough

Deep South

For the past 50 years, Paul Theroux has traveled to the far corners of the earth. In Deep South, he turns his gaze to a region much closer to home. Traveling through North and South Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas, he writes of the stunning landscapes he discovers — the deserts, the mountains, the Mississippi — and the lives of the people he meets.
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7. Wide-Open World by John Marshall, narrated by John Marshall

John Marshall‘s 20-year marriage was floundering. His two teenage kids were lost in cyberspace most of the time. He felt disconnected from his work, his family, his life. Which is when he had an idea: Let’s volunteer our way around the world. He’d heard that some peoples’ lives were changed by a week of overseas service — what might half a year accomplish for his family?
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8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, narrated by Elizabeth Gilbert

Eat, Pray, Love.

Elizabeth Gilbert made the difficult choice to leave behind all the trappings of modern American success (marriage, house in the country, career) and find, instead, what she truly wanted from life. Setting out for a year to study three different aspects of her nature amid three different cultures, Elizabeth explores the art of pleasure in Italy, the art of devotion in India, and then a balance between the two on the Indonesian island of Bali.
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9. Walking the Americas by Levison Wood, narrated by Barnaby Edwards

Walking the Americas.

Beginning in the Yucatán, Levison‘s journey takes him from sleepy barrios to glamorous cities to ancient Mayan ruins in the wild. The relationships he forges along the way are at the heart of his travels, and the personal histories, cultures, and legends he discovers paint a riveting history of Mexico and Central America. While contending with natural obstacles, he also witnesses surreal beauty.
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10.  Four Fish by Paul Greenberg, narrated by Christopher Lane

Four Fish.

Paul Greenberg takes us on a culinary journey that explores how fish get to our tables and how to fight for sustainable seafood. He visits Norwegian megafarms that use genetic techniques to grow millions of pounds of salmon a year, the river of the Yupik Eskimos to see the only Fair Trade-certified fishing company in the world, and almost sinks in the South Pacific while searching for an alternative to endangered bluefin tuna.
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New to Get a free audiobook when you sign up for our one month free trial. Digital audiobooks make audible stories come to life when you’re commuting, working out, cleaning, cooking and more! Listening is easy with our top-rated free audiobook apps for iOS and Android, which let you download & listen to bestselling audiobooks on the go, wherever you are. Click here to get your free audiobook!

4 Ways Audiobooks Beat Print for Travelling

On long journeys (or short journeys), what better way to pass the time than getting lost in a story? You’re confined to your tiny airplane seat, so you pull out a novel. Here’s the question: Is your novel in print or audio?

I love print as much as the next bookworm, but audiobooks have advantages that just can’t be beat. I just returned from vacation, so the joys are fresh in my mind. In my nobly unbiased opinion, here are the ways that audio has the edge as a travelling companion:

No motion sickness
I am one of the unfortunate cases that suffer from motion sickness. As a child, I would try books on road trips but never passed half a chapter before regretfully closing them. But I can listen! Audiobooks prevent the queasiness caused by focusing your eyes on something still while your body’s in motion. Plus, it frees up your eyes, which brings me to the next point…

Enjoy the view
Audio lets you gaze out the window while listening. Your eyes aren’t locked onto a book or screen, so you can take in the passing landscapes. Depending on where the book is set, your view might even inspire better visuals in your imagination.

You always have your phone
But you don’t always have capacity to travel with loads of books. Even if you’re an eBook reader, phone screens are tiny for reading, phones are easier to transport than e-readers, and you’re guaranteed to have it on you in a pinch.

Stock up on listens ahead of time
You can load your phone with as many books as you want ahead of time so you’re prepared no matter how long you’re travelling for. No added weight, and no data required!

We’ve long seen audiobooks as the superior form of travel, so I hope this post helps you see the light, along with the view.

BONUS: Looking for the perfect travel companion? Here are some of our faves this spring!

RainbirdsRainbirds by Clarissa Goenawan

Goenawan’s dark, spellbinding literary debut opens with a murder and shines a spotlight onto life in fictional small-town Japan. Ren Ishida is nearly finished with graduate school when he receives news of his sister, Keiko’s, sudden death. Haunted in his dreams by a young girl, Ren struggles to find solace in the void his sister has left behind.


The Room on Rue AmelieThe Room on Rue Amélie by Kristin Harmel

International bestselling author Kristin Harmel tells the tale of an American woman, a British RAF pilot, and a young Jewish teenager whose lives intersect in occupied Paris during the tumultuous days of World War II. Rich with historical drama and emotional depth, this is an unforgettable story that will stay with you long after the final word.



Happiness by Aminatta Forna

From award-winning writer Aminatta Forna, a stunning novel bringing an American scientist and a Ghanaian psychologist together in London in a hunt for a missing boy. A tale of loss, hope, love, compassion, culture, and the true meaning of happiness.



Laura & Emma

Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead
Literary Fiction

Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant. Enter: Emma. An insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose sensibility, wit, and prose celebrate what makes us human.