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Women on the Road

The Best Travel Books for Women
Because not all travel books are by men

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Why is it that lists of the best travel books are usually filled with male authors?

Are there so few outstanding women travel writers?

Absolutely not!

Mary WollstonecraftMary Wollstonecraft, an 18th century women's advocate and philosopher, wrote about her trip to Scandinavia, describing the extraordinary scenery. Photo Wikipedia

I'd like to provide you with a look at a variety of travel writers and books, many by women, others about women, and even others for women, over the centuries, and across the world. Women travel writers are, finally, coming into their own.

Literary history is filled with the travel writing of women, some dating back to Antiquity. Most women who traveled and wrote about it were usually escorting their husbands and only recently did women start to travel unaccompanied. They rarely traveled for travel's sake, but if you search enough, you'll unearth some early women's travel writing from all over the world - Japan, Afghanistan, Greece, England.

Wherever women traveled, they wrote.

Women's travel writing became more common as the centuries passed and women traveled more.

As travel horizons widened and rail travel expanded, women increasingly took to the road - some so adventurous they strayed far off the beaten path, lived with Bedouin tribes, crossed inhospitable mountains on muleback, or changed the course of history.

The intrepid travel writers of the 20th century are names many of us have learned to know and love.

Even more recently, contemporary women of the 21st century are continually opening new doors and pushing the envelope for the rest of us.

One emerging area is that of travel guidebooks for women, written specifically with women in mind.

Most guidebooks are written 'for everyone' though, and we would do ourselves a disfavor if we didn't use them. Go to any bookstore and you'll lose yourself. Which one to choose? I've tried to put some order into this by preparing my own travel guidebook reviews so you can tell one apart from the other.

If you'd rather read blogs, I've put together this list of what I consider the best travel blogs for solo women, which that should keep you busy for a bit.

And if you're worried about taking off on your own after decades of traveling with others, my own book on baby boomer travel for women will help debunk the myth that it's too late to travel the world on your own.

Need to read some women's travel books? Suroor Alikhan shares her best of the best in a series of monthly posts reviewing books from around the world.

And find some more solo travel books here!

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