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Our Favorite Travel Books

Sometimes, there’s no better way to kick off a trip than by reading about one. Just because we happen to be a mild-mannered Pittsburgh limo service by day doesn’t mean we can’t and don’t enjoy a little travel literature by night. If anything, because we work in the business, we know a good travel book when we read one.

With this in mind, we’ve compiled a selection of our favorite travel-themed books. Some feature serious stories. Others feature novel-length travelogues. Still, others are more practical in scope. All of them are highly readable, and a few of them might exacerbate your own sense of wanderlust. But if you’re going to be traveling anyway, you might as well be in good company, we say.

Here they are.


Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

For those of you who might be tempted to think that John Steinbeck only wrote delicious fiction, we invite you to think again. As evidence, we present to you “Travels With Charley.”

When Steinbeck was at the end of his 50’s, he set off an adventure with a standard-size poodle named, Charley, who often gave Steinbeck his opinion with a “pfft” sound. To ensure that they traveled with proper form, the two set off in a truck that Steinbeck christened Rocinante, an ode to Don Quixote’s trusty horse.

It was an impractical trip that Steinbeck tried to avoid taking for years. He even says as much. Wanderlust will do that to a person, and it seems as though Steinbeck had a case of it for pretty much his whole life.

We’re certainly glad he did go. Steinbeck brought the same richness of description to this book as he did to his books “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men.” He also brought his same knack for social commentary, tempered with dry humor and deep wisdom. We guarantee that if you read it, you’ll never look at quail hunting or even traveling with a dog in the same way ever again.


Diners, Drive-ins and Dives by Guy Fieri

This book is the foodie’s travel tome. True enough, you’re given the opportunity to read about such delicious dishes as Greek flank steak, corn fritters, and even artichoke hearts. However, our food history and habits tell us as much about us as the roads that it took to get us there. This book catalogs a few of them.

While Fieri does mention some of the most delicious food you’ll ever find at a roadside diner, he also treats us to a history of each diner. His writing is descriptive - so much so - you almost feel as if you’ve saddled up next to him in his favorite booth and listened to him tell you a story over a burger with a side of fries and a five-dollar milkshake.

The diner is a supremely American tradition in many ways, brought into existence by the miles and miles of roads that stretch from one side of the U.S. to the other. One produced the need for other more or less in much the same way that we now need an airport car service in Pittsburgh because we have an airport. In the case of the American diner, it has been very much a case of “If you build a road, people will come. And you'd better have food when they get there.”


Naples ’44 by Norman Lewis

Often we think of travel books as get-lost-in reads about sandy beaches, with the occasional drink recipe thrown in. While that may be true of some travel books, that’s not the only kind in existence.

Norman Lewis’s book “Naples ’44” reminds us that some of our travels are forced upon us by the winds of war. This is the case with Lewis’s book. He went to Naples toward the end of World War II. This book is more or less his diary of the things he observed while he was there.

He speaks candidly about what war does to a population. However, he also speaks of Naples fondly. It’s a bittersweet look at what people do to survive in times of trouble.


Final Thoughts

Your vacation may be the best time to pick up a new novel and what better kind of novel than one about travel? These three books represent some of our favorite examples of travel writing, though the list certainly isn’t complete.

One thing is certain, however. Travel changes us in a way few things can. That’s really the message you should take away from all these books.

Why not take one of these books with you on your next limo ride to the airport? Our luxury vehicles offer the quiet environment and the comfort needed to be able to better enjoy reading. So, read them, meditate on them and pass them on. They’ll be food for thought and good company while you ride on to your next adventure.

Posted on Mar 14 2017

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