literary genre
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Travel literature is a broad and popular genre of writing covering adventure and exploration, travel writing collections, travel-related memoirs, and travel-centric fiction. Travel writing often blends with essay writing, coming in the form of travel writing collections or as features in magazines. Styles range from journalistic, to the introspective, to funny, and to serious. Early examples appear in medieval China, ancient Greece, and in early Arabic literature.




  • The Travels of Marco Polo. One of the classic travel books (published around 1300) that gave some of the first insights into travelling to Asia from Europe. The linked article can provide background and the itinerary.    
  • The Rihla. Documents the travels of 14th century explorer Ibn Batuta over a good portion of Asia and his native Africa, and parts of Europe.    
  • Narrow Road to the Deep North (Oku-no-hosomichi)- Verses and poems by 17th century haiku poet Basho Matsuo on his travel to the northeastern Japan.

19th century and later


Long distance travel became more accessible to people with the advent of rail, ocean-going steamships and later the automobile and aeroplanes.

  • Around the World in Eighty Days. Jules Verne realised that he was living in the future, and described a voyage that made full use of the 19th century inventions.    
  • On the trail of Kipling's Kim. An itinerary through the places described in the famous novel set in the British Raj.    
  • The Flashman Papers. A series of historical fiction novels, praised for its humour and level of historical accuracy, set in Queen Victoria's time.    
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac. Considered one of the great American novels, it tells of multiple road trips across the United States with the beatnik generation in the post-war years of 1947-1950.    

See also

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