While almost everyone has plans to travel within a time frame, not all these plans come to fruition. Sometimes we need an external source to give us an extra push to buy that ticket or follow through with our original plans. Here are a few books to get your imagination going, whether you are looking for your destination or about to board your plane.

A Room with a View by E.M. Forster

This classic English novel has a little bit of everything. It’s the saga of a naive young woman on a holiday in Italy that ultimately changes her life. If you are planning a trip to Italy, it is a must-read. The descriptions of Italian cityscapes are still vivid a century later.

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

Ann Patchett is best known for her Pulitzer winner Bel Canto, but for would-be travelers, State of Wonder is the better pick. This novel about a woman’s journey into the Amazon rainforest deals with the discomforting ways that travel can change us. Read it to better yourself and prepare for challenges.

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

David Sedaris is regarded as one of the funniest men in America. In this collection of essays, he deals with the culture shock associated with his move to France. If you have ever struggled to communicate in a foreign language or been utterly baffled by the customs of those around you, you will find something relate to in this book.

Without You, There Is No Us, by Suki Kim

Suki Kim undertook a journey that most of us would find unthinkable and spent a year teaching English in North Korea. She writes movingly about the difficulties of forming friendships despite massive cultural barriers and of the pain of leaving our friends behind. This is a must-read for anyone planning a trip to Asia.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This travel memoir has become a modern classic. The story of one woman’s journey through Italy, India, and Indonesia has inspired countless people to throw caution to the wind and pursue their travel dreams. The author is honest about her failings while also encouraging others to follow her path.