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Book your next holiday

A lot of people associate a good book with their holidays, whether it's reading them while relaxing in the sun on the beach or by the pool, or helping pass the time en-route to elsewhere.

Similarly, journeys of all kinds and far-flung exotic locales have inspired literature for all ages and lifestyles, from Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Vernes to On the Road by Jack Kerouac or Pacific Adventure (and the rest of that series) by Willard Price.

In essence, you could say that the written word is fairly ubiquitous with the act of travelling. So the Flexicover Team has selected some great books that could very well inspire your own travels. They may even make a nice Christmas gift!

Travels with Charley, John Steinbeck

In 1960, aged 58, Steinbeck felt a need to reconnect with America. So he decided to take one last trip across the country in a camper named Rocinante (after Don Quixote’s horse) with only his pet poodle, Charley, for company. This trip, of nearly 10,000 miles, begins and ends in New York, taking in the borders of the United States to the north, west and south. This charming and witty account is perfect for anyone who’s fantasised about a road trip, especially those who regularly find themselves holding conversation with their pets. It may not be the best ‘how-to’ reference (nor was it intended to be) but instead, let the narrative fill you with the spirit of travel and exploration!

The Beach, Alex Garland

Long before Leonardo DiCaprio came along and starred in the big budget movie, the novel on which it was based was the 90s go-to gap year inspiration. This very dark (thankfully fictional) story is a first person narrative of Richard, a young Englishman backpacking through Thailand. Following a chance meeting with a stranger he is given a map to a secret, perfect beach. When he does find this unspoilt wonderland and comes to embrace it, things take a sinister turn… think an updated version of Golding’s Lord of the Flies. It’s easy to see why this book inspired so many because, at its core, it’s about going off the beaten track in search of paradise!

Round Ireland with a Fridge, Tony Hawks

One evening after a few (too many) drinks, a friend wagered £100 that Hawks wouldn't hitchhike around the circumference of Ireland in 30 days with a fridge… yes, you are reading this correctly! And thus Hawks sets out with the kitchen appliance in tow. So bizarre was the premise that, thanks to Irish radio, he became a bit of a celebrity but was probably outdone by the fridge. On the trip, drivers who gave the odd couple lifts signed it, one guy took it surfing and it even gets christened to ensure its place in heaven! This is a light-hearted travel journal where the author embraces the rather surreal adventure. However, if you’re thinking about going to Ireland you many want to leave the kitchen appliances at home… even if they might get lonely while you’re away!

Into Thin Air, Jon Krakauer

Krakauer, a journalist for adventure magazine Outside and an experienced mountaineer, gives a chilling firsthand account of a climbing expedition on Mount Everest in 1996, where a vicious storm forced three separate climbing groups to battle against hurricane-force winds, exposure and the effects of high altitude, which culminated in the worst single-season death toll in the mountain’s history. Whilst this book may not inspire you to climb the world’s highest peak, the author brilliantly describes the emotional and physical effects of high altitude climbing, the very challenging terrain as well as capturing the beauty of the majestic Everest landscape!

The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien

With the imminent release of the first of Peter Jackson’s three-part adaptation, we could not leave out Tolkien’s classic novel behind the films. The Hobbit is a coming-of-age story (or Bildungsroman) of Bilbo Baggins as he is swept up in a quest to reclaim the lost dwarven kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug, encountering elves, trolls, goblins and giant spiders along the way. As a storyteller Tolkien was able to bring his world alive for many; Jackson’s decision to shoot both The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogies in his native New Zealand has not only highlighted the beauty of the country but inspired Tolkien fans to visit a real world Middle Earth!

Wherever you decide to travel, and whichever book you take with you, Flexicover Direct, the travel insurance specialists, are committed to providing the highest level of protection to ensure that you are safe and secure, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year when away.

If you are travelling soon, have a great trip!