Power Tips for Traveling with Books

Do you like to read when you travel? For many people loading up some books on your e-reader (maybe from your local library) or audiobooks on your phone or tablet is the way to go. If that is you, you needn’t read further. But there are some of us who don’t want to abandon the feel of print books on a trip. Or you may not want to be dependent on being able to re-charge a device to read. So I turned to the power readers on the Bob on Books Facebook page to get their power tips for traveling with books.

First, a few don’ts:

  • Don’t take library books. If you lose them, it could cost big bucks.
  • For the same reason, don’t take that irreplaceable treasure.
  • Leave that fat hardback behind. You really don’t want to lug that thing around airports.
  • And don’t read and drive!

And now for the power tips:

  • The big consensus: take paperbacks–more compact and disposable
  • Take books you are willing to donate or pass along when you finish them. That way you don’t have to carry them home. Maybe you can even exchange them with someone else. A number suggested taking “throwaway” paperbacks. Then again, some of us think that’s a sacrilege!
  • One person suggested taking a fat paperback and slicing away the parts they’d read.
  • One way not to read and drive is be the passenger.
  • Some don’t start with books but pick them up along the way. It gives you a reason to detour into that interesting bookshop, or even a local thriftshop or library sale. You might even look up bookstores at your destination ahead of time.
  • Take slim books that fit into a handbag, or messenger bag.
  • On the other hand, there were those who aren’t concerned about space or weight. They said pack fewer clothes, pack a bag just for books, or take more than you think you will need. I guess that’s the value of roller bags.
  • Take sunglasses for reading outside.

I loved this reader’s ideas: “I have a small clip on LED light to read by in-flight thus avoiding using the overhead light which can still be annoying to other passengers. I use my book to store little reminders of my holiday within its pages like my used boarding pass, the receipt from a nice restaurant, a pretty leaf, a postcard. By the time I’m home it’s become a journal!”

My reading friends had some great ideas, don’t you think? Here’s a few I might add:

  • Think about what kind of trip this is. If there are quiet evenings in an Amish Inn, you could pack something that takes greater attention. On the other hand, if it is a work trip with intense meetings, or a beach vacation with family, something light or fast-paced makes sense.
  • I also leave the heavy hardback at home, even if I’m in the middle of it. I usually take two or three slim paperbacks and my e-reader. The e-reader is my fall back if I end up flight delayed and get through the print stuff.
  • I take less if I know there will be a conference selling books or I’ll be in a place known for its bookstores. I don’t have to explain.

There are times for other things than books when traveling: meetings, friends, scenery, recreation, good food for starters. But good trips have “down time” or even time to “introvert” for some of us and books are the perfect complement to those times. Then there are times in cars, trains, buses, and planes (or waiting in terminals) when a book is a good way to forget you are in this big impersonal place with thousands of people you don’t know. The book is your friend.


8 thoughts on “Power Tips for Traveling with Books

  1. Bob, I’m probably in a small minority that doesn’t mind reading books on my laptop, whether in the Kindle app or PDF. Nice thing about this format is that I can highlight and make extensive notes as I interact (sometimes argue!) with an important academic book.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The only part I had trouble understanding here was when you said, “It gives you a reason to detour into that interesting bookshop, or even a local thriftshop or library sale.” Who needs a reason!?! On a trip driving up through the beautiful small towns along the shores of the lake in Michigan, I found that every little town had a wonderful independent bookstore. And I have to go in and support those independents!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I always travel with at least one REAL book and the thought of throwing it away does make me sick…….i just couldn’t it. i would leave it in the room before i would throw it away. 🙂


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