When preparing for a break away, how do you pick your ideal holiday reads that will add to your travel experience? There are hundreds of choices out there – from the latest bestsellers to important classics – how can you possibly decide what to pack? Here are seven questions which will help you to decide which books to take on holiday so that you return home with the very best memories.
All photos (c) The Book Family Rogerson
How many books should you take on holiday?
If you’re like me, you’re probably guilty of over-estimating how much you can read while you’re on holiday. Every year, we pack lots of books in the hope that we’ll finish them all but usually end up completing about half of the pile.
Only you know your true reading speed, but for me, under normal circumstances (with the day job) I read an average-sized novel (336pp) in a week – sometimes faster if I absolutely love it. So on a relaxing holiday with plenty of downtime, I know can read up to two a week (not counting audiobooks) and a smaller book of poetry or non-fiction.
Of course, you can take as many as you like via audiobooks or on an e-reader, but I like to feel as if I’ve curated my choices. It’s part of the travel experience. It’s also great to exceed your reading expections while you’re on holiday so perhaps bear this in mind when drawing up your shortlist.
What length of book should you choose to take away with you?
Again this depends on what type of break you’re having and whether you want to achieve specific reading goals. If you know you’ll have long periods of time to focus then it could be a perfect opportunity to complete a chunky book. If you’re going to be snatching moments of time throughout your holiday then aim for something shorter. Be honest with yourself. If you’re going on an activity holiday with the family then you’re unlikely to be able to tackle War and Peace.
Physical books, e-readers or audiobooks – which format is best for holidays?
There are benefits and disadvantages to all the different formats. E-books and audiobooks are much easier to transport, but they have to be charged up and are more prone to serious damage at the beach and by the pool. Also, if you’re like me, then you might really be in need of a digital detox when you go on holiday.
Physical books take up luggage room and hardbacks with jackets don’t travel well, but if you’re not precious about the edition, they can take more of a battering. And nothing quite beats the sensation of making your way through a really big book. If physical books are your preference, why not agree a swap with a travel companion?
What kind of travel experience do you want to achieve while you’re on holiday?
Depending on where and when you travel, it’s worth thinking about what type of travel experience you want to create while you’re away. Do you want a fun, light-hearted time or is this a chance to soul search? The books you choose will have a real impact on your holiday mindset so take some time to curate your collection. Here are some travel moods that you might want to explore:
If you get your blend of travel reads right, this combination will help to make your holiday truly special.
Do you want to immerse yourself in the place you’re travelling to?
When you pick your ideal holiday reads you may want to theme your books to suit the place that you’re travelling to. Some destinations are easier to match than others – major cities such as Paris and London have inspired all sorts of stories, whereas it can be harder to find a book for a more niche travel experience.
Saying that, half of the fun is in the research. We recommend looking on Pinterest for recommendations as this platform is full of themed reading lists.
Should you take books by trusted authors or try a completely new read?
Go back to your core needs for this travel break. If you’re craving a restful break then trusted authors are the best bet. Choose comfort reads, classics and highly-rated books by your favourite writers. Rereads can also be hugely satisfying as long as you’re confident that they’ll live up to expectation.
For an edgier travel experience, push yourself out of your usual choices and go for a local writer or a top recommendation in another genre. Gauge your mental health and work with it.
Pick your ideal holiday reads in advance or buy books spontaneously?
If you have time to choose a couple of holiday reads in advance then this is always a safer option, but if you feel inspired while travelling then why not add to your collection?
Independent bookshops often showcase titles that focus on the local area. Likewise, you can frequently find small libraries in holiday accommodation. If we don’t buy there and then, we always end up making notes about new books when we’re on holiday.
What helps you to pick your ideal holiday reads?
Do you have a system for picking your perfect holiday books or do you select your titles randomly? Let us know what works best for you in the comments below.
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