The Best Travel Photography Books of All Time

Travel the world through photographs.
by | November 10, 2015

The likes of Oprah Winfrey, Ellen DeGeneres and Kris Aquino are very few. Most people don’t have the capacity to give away free trips no matter how deserving the recipient and generous the giver is. The reality is you have to save up years in advance to be able to visit your dream destinations. You can’t wish for complimentary plane tickets to fall from the sky or from the palms of generous loved ones.

The struggle makes finally setting foot in that dream destination of yours sweeter, though. So go on, keep your eyes on the prize. As you do, keep yourself in good company with these travel photography books. Browsing through these books’ pages come very close to exploring your favorite parts of the world.

Through the Lens: National Geographic Greatest Photographs

National Geographic describes itself as a “world leader in geography, cartography and exploration.” This publication has been producing photographs of nature, culture and wildlife for more than 100 years, and has set the bar for travel photography all over the globe.

Through the Lens

This book compiles 250 of National Geographic’s most iconic travel photographs, divided into geographical regions. Through snaps of each area’s people, wildlife, archeology, culture, architecture and environment, each region is very well represented. There’s also a section about space exploration that space enthusiasts will surely enjoy.

Extremely notable photographers from the late 1800s up to today are featured in this book. Look forward to the works of Frans Lanting, David Doubilet, David Alan Harvey, Annie Griffiths Belt and many more.




One Planet: Inspirational Travel Photography from Around the World

You’ve probably heard about or, like most, have planned your trips according to Lonely Planet. It’s been around since 1973 after all, and it’s currently the world’s leading travel guide with advice for every destination in the world. Lonely Planet has kept up with the times; it’s now an award-winning website that offers mobile and digital travel products. In 2012, Lonely Planet created this travel photography book, which you definitely have to check out.


One Planet celebrates the beautiful similarities and differences present in the world. The photographers, authors and content emphasize the inevitable connections of people and places even when they’re continents apart. Receivers of this book have disclosed that their itch to travel was worsened and nursed at the same time.





Sebastiao Salgado, the photographer of this book, said: “In Genesis, my camera allowed nature to speak to me, and it was my privilege to listen.” Salgado grew up on a farm in Brazil, and from childhood nurtured a deep love and respect for nature. His acclaimed photography career is best-known for Workers (1993), Migrations (2000) and Genesis (2013).


Genesis is the product of Salgado’s eight-year expedition aimed at rediscovering important pieces of nature that have been overshadowed by modern society–mountains, desserts, oceans, animals and some people. His beautiful work not only shows the planet’s grandeur; it also calls viewers to reverse the damage done to nature and to preserve it for the future.

In a nutshell, Genesis is Salgado’s love letter to the planet, and you’re given the privilege to take a peak.



Chinstrap penguins line up along an iceberg as it floats among the South Sandwich Islands in the far South Atlantic. (Photo by Sebastião Salgado/Amazonas/Contact Press Images)

China: Portrait of a People

Tom Carter is a San Francisco-bred American that has regarded China to be his home since 2004. The World of Chinese magazine named him as one of China’s foremost explorers after Carter backpacked across 33 Chinese provinces over the course of two years. He is the first foreigner on record to have accomplished the feat.

China: Portrait of a People is regarded as the most comprehensive photography book on modern China, impressively created by a single person. Marvel at two years worth of photos Carter collected as he circumnavigated more than 35,000 miles while backpacking on a budget.

Carter’s photos reveal that China consists of 33 distinct regions and 56 different ethnicities with extremely varied languages, customs and lifestyles. Get to know the coloful lives of the people that represent China’s soul and heart.




Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe


National Geographic makes the world’s ultimate food guide through this niche travel book. Try not to salivate as you browse through beautiful photographs of dishes, markets and restaurants around the globe. You’ll get hungry literally and for travel with just the first chapter. By the middle of it, you’ll be willing to save some of your food money to be able to savor all the flavors foreign to anything you’re used to.

Tokyo’s fresh sushi, New Orleans’ spicy Creole favorites, the French’s finest wines, Argentina’s juiciest cuts of beef and many many more await your palette.
SLUG: TRA Gift Guide 09 INPUTDATE: 2009-12-08 15:32:52.247 CREDIT: Copyright 2009 National Geographic/FROM_PHOTOPOST/Copyright 2009 National Geographic LOCATION: x, , x CAPTION: "Food Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 Extraordinary Places to Eat Around the Globe" for Travel gift guide Sent by: Becky Krystal Photo Editor:



Got any other travel photography book recommendations? Make someone’s Christmas stocking a jackpot, and share below!

Shen Mascariñas travels mainly for the unique food each destination offers and for the "I'm on vacation" free pass to pig out.

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