Yes, a week sunbathing on the Italian coast, sightseeing in Spain, or embarking on an African safari sounds perfect right about now. But as you may have noticed, airfare and gas prices are absurdly through the roof right now — and you still have to account for the rising prices of lodging, food, and other activities when planning any type of vacation (damn you, inflation!). If your summer vacay has gotten downgraded to a lawn chair, good book, and a sound app with ocean waves, well, same. Thank the travel gods, there’s always novels set in amazing locations that feel almost as amazing taking vacations.
Novels are set all over the globe. So, whether you’re dreaming of visiting Asia or trekking through one of our country’s beautiful national parks, there’s probably a novel that can help scratch your travel itch. Rather than turning to Google, use these destination books to help plan your next vacation. You can almost feel the sand in between your toes, the wind in your hair, and taste the delectable flavors of gelato and baklava.
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If you want to visit a National Park: Something Wilder by Christina Lauren
National Treasure meets Nancy Meyers in this charming, adventure novel about Lily Wilder — the offspring of famed treasure hunter Duke Wilder — who leads tourists on fake treasure hunts through Utah’s vast and breathtaking Canyonland National Park. Lily’s world (and heart) is upended when the love of her life shows up unannounced for a guided tour. Perfect for thrill-seekers and those who appreciate a good ole’ second-chance-at-love trope.
If you want to visit Italy: One Italian Summer by Rebecca Serle
Copious plates of pasta, scoops of gelato, and glasses of wine, and stunning cliffside views, what more could you ask for a novel set on the Amalfi Coast? Rebecca Serle’s poignant novel follows Katy as she embarks on a trip to Positano, the one place her and her late mother always dreamed of visiting together. It’s there she learns how to move forward after loss.
If you want to visit a beachy destination: The Beach Trap by Ali Brady
Fifteen years ago, a shattering secret destroyed Kat and Blake’s friendship. At 27, they’re forced back into each other’s lives when they both come into possession of their late father’s beach house (spoiler alert: it turns out they’re actually half-sisters!). Queue sisterly rivalry and drama, sunny weather, salty air, and a summer fling…or two.
If you want to visit Singapore: Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan
A summer in Singapore with her boyfriend sounds like heaven to New Yorker Rachel Chu. It’s also a little nerve wracking because not only will she be meeting his childhood friends and attending his best mate’s wedding, but she’ll be spending a lot of time with Nick’s family. Unbeknownst to her, Nick’s lifestyle includes private transportation, a designer wardrobe, lavish parties, and a mansion for a home.
If you want to visit Havana: Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
Determined to fulfill her grandmother’s dying wish, a Cuban-American freelance writer travels to Elisa’s home country to scatter her ashes. Set in 2017, this Havana is a lot different from the Havana in Elisa’s stories of her life there as a teen. Wrapped up in the food, music, and culture of Havana, Marisol uncovers new truths about her family’s history as well as a blooming love interest.
If you want to visit Ireland: The Guest List by Lucy Foley
Jet off to an island off the coast of Ireland in Lucy Foley’s bestselling thriller The Guest List. Friends and family are cordially invited to attend the wedding of Will and Julia, which is sure to be Ireland’s event of the century. It’s an opulent affair only to be catastrophically ruined when a guest turns up dead. The tides are turning, cell phones are losing service, and there’s a murder on the loose.
If you want to visit Australia: Island Time by Georgia Clark
Traveling to a tropical island off the coast of Queensland with their daughter and daughter-in-law sounds like a blissful retreat to the Lees, until they learn the Kellys, aka the in-laws, will be joining. Their lil’ getaway turns into a six-week tortuous stay after a volcano unexpectedly erupts and leaves them stranded on the island.
If you want to visit Spain: The Spanish Love Deception by Elena Armas
Desperate and caught in a web of lies, Catalina tells her family that her hunky, American boyfriend is her date to her sister’s wedding. But, this man doesn’t exist. When frenemy-coworker Aaron offers to take on the role as her plus one, Catalina can’t wrap her head around why. Why would Aaron offer to travel from NYC to Spain, meet her family, and be her pretend boyfriend? Only time (plus lots of sangria and tapas) will tell.
If you want to visit Belize: The Layover by Lacie Waldon
Things get saucy in The Layover when a flight attendant and pilot start falling for each other while stuck on a weekend layover in Belize. Being put up in a luxury resort with ocean views and bottomless rum punch is nearly enough to make Ava forget why she dislikes captain Jack in the first place, but one shot of his irresistible charm and Ava finds herself slowly melting like the sunset.
If you want to visit India: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi
Lakshmi is one of the most sought after henna artists in Jaipur, especially among the city’s elite. With popularity comes great risk, as Lakshmi finds herself lending an ear to the gossip and secrets shared by the women of the upper class. When Lakshmi’s abusive husband finds her years after her near escape, she’s forced to recalibrate the independent life she fought so hard to create.
If you want to visit London: The Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
Vivian Forest would argue there’s nothing more magical than exploring the London sights during the winter holiday season. When she learns of her daughter’s new gig as a royal stylist, Viv happily offers to accompany her. Stringed lights, ornaments, and a kiss under the mistletoe? Viv may be coming home with a palace private secretary as a souvenir.
If you want to visit South America: Shipped by Angie Hockman
Henley and Graeme are vying for the same promotion, and a company trip to the Galápagos will determine their fate. Whoever brainstorms the best proposal on how to increase tourism to the Galápagos Islands, located off the coast of Ecuador, gets the job and more importantly, bragging rights. If you’re a sucker for an enemies-to-lovers trope, add this to your TBR pile.
If you want to visit Jamaica: Black Cake by Charmaine Wilkerson
Charmaine Wilkerson’s debut novel Black Cake is one of our favorite book club picks this year! The plot centers around two siblings as they dig into their mother’s secretive upbringing and its connection to black cake, a Caribbean tradition. Hulu is turning it into an original series.
If you want to visit Greece: My Greek Island Summer by Mandy Baggot
For Becky, nursing a broken heart looks like house-sitting a luxe Corfu villa with a pool and views of the Ionian ocean. A wrench is thrown into Becky’s R&R itinerary when Elias — aka the hunk she bonded with amid their emergency plane landing to Corfu — shows up at her doorstep.
If you want to visit Ghana: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie
Afi’s life is forever changed when she receives a proposal from one of the most eligible and wealthy bachelors in Ghana. Only, he’s not as eligible as believed. Afi is ordered by her in-laws to play the role of “the dutiful housewife” and win Elikem’s affections. It turns out he’s deeply in love with a woman his family doesn’t approve of. As compensation, Afi’s widowed mother is financially taken care of. Is the posh lifestyle and Afi’s growing independence worth it?