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37 Van Life Books to Inspire Your Next Road Trip

Searching for the ultimate list of van life books and inspiring stories about campervan road trips?

Look no further!

Along my journey toward learning everything I can about travelling in a van, I’ve created quite the reading list. Everything from inspirational journeys told by people who’ve gone before me, to cookbooks, and travel guides. Below, I share with you all the books I’ve found.

Skip ahead using the links below, or keep reading.

Van Life Photo Books And Coffee Table Books

Let these photo and coffee table books inspire you to live life on the road in your home on wheels. You can even arrange them beautifully on your small table and reach for them anytime you feel the need for a little push.

Vanlife Diaries: Finding Freedom On The Open Road

by Kathleen Morton, Jonny Dustow, and Jared Melrose

Nothing can tell stories better than photographs. Vanlife Diaries does that and more as it features 200 images of the new-age gypsies, more popularly called ‘vanlifers’ and ‘nomads’, in their cute rolling homes. See them with their pets as they conquer the world one place at a time, enjoying their freedom and imbibing the beautiful outdoors. Be inspired by their converted buses and vans and see how they have decorated the interiors of their Toyotas, VWs, and Sprinters to suit their hobbies and lifestyle. Get answers to your questions through the interviews and narratives straight from the nomads themselves.

Hit the Road

by Gestalten and Sascha Friesicke

Preparing meals on the road, finding perfect campsites, and knowing how to make life living on wheels as convenient and comfortable as possible are just some of the things that every nomad needs to know about. Check out these stories from overland vehicle owners about their inspiring journeys and get ready for a more exciting #vanlife experience.

And if you’re still contemplating whether you should keep the average life or take a leap and constantly be on the road with the world as your living room, then Hit the Road might just give you the answer you need.

Orange is Optimism

by Kit Whistler and JR Switchgrass

Following Kit and JR on their journey to the Tangerine Hot Springs, Orange is Optimism blends a photo book and a novel into a pictotext.

The book showcases the images JR captured throughout the first four years of their travel across the country’s wilds, which he complemented with illustrations and quotes. Kit’s ‘Rainbow Realism’ shows in the book’s novel part, which is a collection of stories that can be read either out of a sequence or in the traditional linear fashion. With 100 full-color photos and dozens of original illustrations filling out this 248-page book, you’ll surely be entertained.

Off the Road

by Robert Klanten and Sven Ehmann

With an increasing number of people who have decided to live life more uniquely–specifically on four wheels, you might want to know if this is also the life you want to live, whether for a long or a short while.

Off the Road will show you the moods of these trips, revealing what it’s like to be on the road in a multifunctional vehicle that serves as your abode so you can make the world your playground. See the different models of VWs, Toyotas, and more that are being repurposed for a great #vanlife experience.

Van Life: Your Home On The Road

by Foster Huntington

#vanlife became a mainstream lifestyle aspiration thanks to Foster Huntington who created the hashtag it to chronicle his cross-country adventures aboard his home on wheels. Having tapped into a community that shared his passion, he was able to collect photographs that captured vandwellers in the moment. To showcase these, he created the Van Life book, featuring the best crowd-sourced photos from van-life.net and his Tumblr account, including those which have never been published yet. Find information on converted buses and vans and see the picturesque views that these vehicles have seen while providing the comfort of a home away from home.

The Culture Of Vanlife

by The Rolling Home, Calum Creasey, and Lauren Smith

What started as just a trend has now become a lifestyle. #vanlife has driven various individuals to embrace life on four wheels, with some turning their vehicles into their weekend escape home or into their permanent home or workplace on the road. In The Culture of Life, you can see why more and more people are shifting to live on the go, as it features essays, interviews, enticing photography and illustrations, and personal accounts of some vandwellers’ road trips that will truly inspire you.

Nomad: Designing a Home for Escape and Adventure

by Emma Reddington

If you want to know how to start the modern ‘nomadic’ life and hop aboard the #vanlife bandwagon, let Emma Reddington show you how with this book. Get the story of 26 unconventional homes and their owners as well as information on how to manage challenging bathroom and storage issues. Find answers to commonly asked questions about life on wheels, including renovation costs, van life resources, products designed for small spaces, and tips for finding the right home. Kickstart your home for escape and adventure with the right first step.

Van Life Cookbooks

Living on four wheels shouldn’t mean limiting yourself to canned food and ready-to-cook meals.

These #vanlife cookbooks let you celebrate the road life lifestyle with resourceful recipes designed to give you a delightful meal wherever you may be.

The Great Outdoors: 120 Recipes For Adventure Cooking

by Sämmer Markus

One of the best parts of road tripping is definitely the food. But given the cooking space and equipment limitations, can you still make great meals? The Great Outdoors book gives you a resounding ‘yes’! Find recipes that suit your discriminating taste–from self-made pesto and on-the-go sandwiches to hash browns and carbonara. Learn the tips and tricks of cooking on an open fire, know where to find the best cooking equipment for your rolling home, and access 120 meal recipes that you can try to keep your stomachs full and adventure one for the books.

The Camper Van Cookbook: Life On 4 Wheels, Cooking On 2 Rings

by Martin Dorey and Sarah Randell

Complete your #vanlife experience not only with a great vehicle but also with the best cooking skills to make your every meal as amazing as the great outdoors. If what stands between you and a superb journey in your home on wheels is your little to non-existent cooking skills and two rings, then The Camper Van Cookbook is all you need. Find 80 recipes that you can make on two rings and learn how to make barbecue feasts and some delicious campfire crackers. Say goodbye to canned food and instant macaroni and cheese as you make your adventure ‘deliciously’ beautiful.

The Van Life Cookbook

by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura

More than your average cookbook, The Van Life Cookbook is the ultimate cookbook for the ultimate #vanlife experience, put together by Danny and Hailee from their travels across the UK in their self-build campervan. Being the adventure-loving couple endowed with chef and designing skills, they share 80 dishes for campervan trips–plus tips on cooking on an open fire, foraging, and utilizing what nature provides. From delicious breakfasts, easy-to-make lunches, and light dinners to fancy feasts, this cookbook gives you the best meals even with small budgets and spaces.

Camper Van Cooking: From Quick Fixes To Family Feasts, 70 Recipes, All On The Move

by Claire Thomson and Matt Williamson

Never have to worry about cooking in your campervan again thanks to chefs Claire and Matt bringing to you their book, featuring 70 meal recipes and solutions that will make camping a piece of cake. Get more ideas about how to prepare your food be it over an open fire, fireside cooking, or cooking on a one-burner. Learn how to plan your road trip food, including the staples that you need to store in your cupboard. It’s time to say goodbye to canned and packet food as you wave hello to Spanish tortilla sandwiches, egg-fried rice, and toasted waffles.

42 Essential Recipes For Your Motorhome/RV

by Christopher Rex Lloyd

Roadtrips in your campervan should be stress-free and filled with time to enjoy the great outdoors. But you can’t do that when food preparation is taking hours. Christopher’s cookbook features meals you can make in 30 minutes that will surely give you the nourishment you need for your life on the road. Whether you park at a campsite, parking lot, or rest area, you are sure to have something on your table for everyone. Craving for crepes and biscuits, quinoa salad, guacamole, and salmon burgers? Don’t worry, this book has got you covered!

Road Trip Cooking

by The Holy Kauw Company

Living by their motto: cooking and eating well is possible anytime, anywhere, the Holy Kauw Company brings the Road Trip Cooking cookbook to let you enjoy nutritious, tasty, and simple-to-prepare meals on the road. These recipes let you use your two rings even without going to the well-stocked supermarket to buy your ingredients. With this book, you don’t have to give up eating your favourite comfort food–you just need a matchstick and a few wood blocks to begin your kitchen duties. Plus, there are a ton of road trip life hacks and outdoor cooking techniques that will make camping a breeze.

The Van Life Cookbook: Delicious Recipes, Simple Techniques And Easy Meal Prep For The Road Trip Lifestyle

by Susan Marque

If you think you can’t enjoy nutritious and delicious food while living in your home on wheels, think again. Though there are certain limitations such as space and burners, you can most certainly make great meals if you read The Van Life Cookbook. It comes with superb recipes for the modern-day nomad’s ultimate #vanlife experience, with tips for meal preps, pantry advice, and ways to successfully cook in a small kitchen. And since the portions are designed for just one or two people, you won’t have to worry about leftovers crowding your fridge.

The Original VW Camper Cookbook: 80 Tasty Recipes Specially Composed For Cooking In A Camper

by Steve Rooker, Susane Rooker, and Lennart Hunnu

This book is not just for VW Campers but is for all aficionados of #vanlife. Aside from its 80 camping-friendly dishes, it also comes with shots of different VW campers throughout history, including a 1958 West Falia, a 1969 Kombi, and a 1979 pop top. Choose from various dishes that require minimum utensils and are organized by main courses, light bites, salads, soups, barbecue, and sweets. And for your special holiday recipe, make a Christmas-themed gingerbread bus. It’s the cookbook for everyone as it also features international and traditional American measurements, and even widely accepted ones like pinch and dash.

Books about Living Van Life / Life on the Road

Shifting to the #vanlife way of life is a serious (ableit amazing) move. Aside from the physical aspect of things such as which campervan to choose, you also have to consider the need to change into a minimalist kind of living.

Just like any other endeavour or action, you’ll need all the advice and tips from those who have been there. Find the answers to your questions with these books about life on the road.

How To Live In A Van And Travel

by Mike Hudson

The advantages of shifting to the #vanlife way are tempting–zero mortgage, freedom, work flexibility, and lesser expenses. However, it’s not always a walk in the park, which is why you need to know the ins and outs, tips, and hacks for living in a rolling home. Mike Hudson shares his experience as he transitioned to the #vanlife, writing three years’ worth of trial and error and experiments in order to live the best life he’s ever lived. You’ll find the answers that will prepare you for the life on the road.

Walden On Wheels

by Ken Ilgunas

Ken Ilgunas graduated from the University of Buffalo with $32,000 in student debt, which he wanted to get out of as quickly as possible by working in Alaska. When he did, he used the last of his savings to buy an Econoline Van that served as his dorm and called it ‘Walden’s Wheels”. What started as a mission to redeem himself turned out to be a life-changing social experiment. ‘Walden’s Wheels’ provides a spirited perspective on what people who seek education but who also want to live life more freely have to face each day.

The Camper Van Bible

by Martin Dorey

Covering all aspects of campervan life, campervan expert and BBC2 presenter Martin Dorey talks about owning a campervan and living in it day after day (LIVE), cooking meals and eating in your home on wheels (EAT), sleeping (SLEEP), and keeping it going (REPEAT). Aside from proving authoritative information on rolling homes, it also comes with tasty recipes and enticing images that will surely make you want to transition to #vanlife. 

The Vanlife Companion

by The Lonely Planet

This is the book that can help you start your #vanlife; that is if you haven’t started already. A two-part book, the first part delves into choosing and customizing the perfect van for you, designing it for cooking, sleeping, and storage. When you get to the second part, you’ll learn about staying safe, parking legally, saving money, and some of the world’s best road trips you’ll love to try. The book features 20 campervan routes across Canada, Australia, Nepal, West Africa, the United States, South Africa, New Zealand, Italy, Germany, Scotland, and Ireland.

Project VanLife

by Trevor DeRuise and Sierra Davies

#vanlife is not just for families and working professionals who want to leave behind the standard life. Take Trevor and his friend who chased North America’s largest professional mountain bike series. To do this, they travelled more than 15,000 miles for 90 days while living in a used van. Of course, they hustled on the side with philanthropic endeavours and businesses right from their rolling office. Project VanLife reveals the pain of defeat and the thrill of victory for people who commit to living their dreams. If this doesn’t motivate you, we don’t know what else will.

How To Live In A Car, Van Or RV

by Bob Wells

If your standard life is no longer making you happy or if your 9-5 job is barely making both ends meet, shifting to the #vanlife may just be the answer you’ve been waiting for. Let Bob Wells teach you how to live in a car, van, or RV with detailed information on how to start living in your home on wheels. Live a life where there’s no mortgage–a life that lets you save money and say goodbye to your debts. Sounds interesting? Get the book and start living the modern-day nomadic life.

Nowhere For Very Long

by Brianna Madia

If you’re at a point in your life where you need some inspiration, Nowhere for Very Long might just be what you need. Brianna Madia chronicles her journey across the American West deserts aboard Bertha, her devoted orange van. It reveals how her life wasn’t always a bed of roses, especially when things got rough and she was forced to pull over on a South Dakota highway. She talks about how she worried about money and marriage and the questions about her future. Find out how she got lost and found herself again in an inspiring story of the pursuit of life’s purpose. 

Books about Van Life Travel Destinations

Got a van but not sure where to go? Get some inspiration in these van life travel destination books.

Take The Slow Road: Scotland

by Martin Dorey

If you’ve always been living on the fast lane, it’s time to slow down and breathe in the joys of life–in a campervan. This book lets you enjoy life at a slower pace and appreciate the good things. Know the best routes for motorhomes and campers around Scotland, including the lowlands, highlands, and islands–passing through the bendiest and steepest roads, interesting bridges, and causeways. Martin complements these with some of the best photographs, travel writing, and maps to keep your itinerary busy. No campervan? No problem! The book shows you the places where you can rent one, so you can start rolling.

Take The Slow Road: Ireland

by Martin Dorey

Take your motorhome or campervan and conquer Ireland in the company of Martin Dorey’s Take the Slow Road: Ireland book. Stop at stunning bridges and admire the great views. Travel on breathtaking roads. Take pictures of the great outdoors. See the beautiful pictures from the book come to life as you follow the quirky maps. And if you don’t have your own campervan, see the recommendations of places where you can rent one. Go ahead, Ireland waits for you.

Off The Beaten Track England & Wales

by Martin Dorey

England and Wales may be familiar to many, especially as these are both great tourist destinations. But there’s still so much more to what people have seen here–remote wildernesses and hidden idylls. Off the Beaten Track England & Wales is the icing on the cake of Martin’s travel books, enriched with brilliant writing and stunning photography of the wildest corners of England and Wales.

Take The Slow Road: France

by Martin Dorey

Forget the Eiffel Tower. Forget the Seine River. Forget the hurriedness and take your time appreciating life. Take the Slow Road: France brings you the coolest places in the country, including where to eat and stay, the things you can do, and why these are special. There are different types of places to discover for different types of drivers–climbers, surfers, or wine-quaffers. Martin’s writing and excellent photography will surely entertain and entice you to visit these recommended places. Surely, your itinerary will be constantly full.

Take The Slow Road: England & Wales

by Martin Dorey

If you think you’ve already seen the best of England and Wales, you need to think again because when you see what Take the Slow Road: England & Wales features, you’ll surely want to head there fast. But, let’s take it slow, so you can appreciate the little things in life. This book shows you places that the masses haven’t been to–mountain passes along the coast, breathtaking roads, and vibrant bridges. Reach places with your motorhome and discover life at a slower pace. 

Books about Nomadic Travel

Be more inspired to pursue nomadic travelling. Read about other vandwellers’ experiences and journeys and make yours memorable and one for the books. The following is a roundup of these books that can truly inspire you to kick off that trip.

Nomadland

by Jessica Bruder

In her book (later turned into a film), Jessica Bruder tackles the true, unseen casualties of the Great Recession–the low-cost labour pool that is composed mostly of older people who have shifted to the modern nomadic way of life aboard their vans and buses that serve as their rolling home. Nomadland reveals the story of her subjects, which may very well be the future of many of us. Most of all, it celebrates the resilience of these Americans who have found a way to survive (life on the road) and have not given up hope in life.

Into The Wild

by Jon Krakauer

Jon Krakauer follows the story of Chris McCandless, a man who came from a well-off family and shocked the world with his voluntary ‘disappearance’. In 1992, he gave away all of his savings worth $25,000, burned all of the cash in his wallet, abandoned his car and made himself a new life. With a new name, he left his parents and sister behind. Four months later, his decomposing body was found by a group of moose hunters. Find out how Jon explores the obsession of some people to leave civilization and seek contact with nature. This nonfiction is enlightening.

Wild

by Cheryl Strayed

We all have different stories that push us to do the most unusual things. Cheryl Strayed writes her story in Wild, narrating how she decided to hike over a thousand miles all the way to Washington State from the Mojave Desert, passing through California and Oregon. With no experience or training, she prodded on with just her blind will to conquer the hike alone. Wild will surely captivate your hearts as Cheryl uses humour and warmth to reveal how she pursued the journey, which ultimately healed her heart.

Travels With Charley

by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck is considered one of the most beloved writers in America who has been writing about his country for the past decades. In this book, he ventures to rediscover his beloved America, with the goal of smelling the trees and grass and seeing its light and colours. He tags along his French poodle, Charley, as they dine with truckers, drive through interstates and country roads, and encounter bears. This book will inspire you as he experiences the kindness of strangers and the American loneliness, which is evident everywhere. 

Walden

by Henry David Thoreau

Living in solitude away from the complexities of modern life is not something new. Henry David Thoreau, a leader in early American literature, did this for two years in 1845 when he built a log cabin in the forests of Massachusetts. Walden accounts Thoreau’s life at the cabin as he contemplated on life, reflected on loneliness, and felt what it was like being with the animals in the forest. 

Big Sur

by Jack Kerouac

Jack Kerouac has again impressed his readers with yet another book that was published in 1962. Big Sur features the author’s alter ego, Jack Duluoz, who aims to clear his mind of alcohol and madness. But some things aren’t too easy to get rid of, especially when they’ve been there for years. The story continues to narrate how, after being overwhelmed by success, Jack goes back and forth between a cabin on the coast of California and his wild binges in San Francisco and how he seems to be able to regain his sense of balance only from nature.

Tracks

by Robyn Davidson

Author Robyn Davidson narrates her experience trekking more than 1700 miles of the Australian outback with only a dog and four camels as her company throughout the journey. Find out the challenges of her trek, including caring for her camels when they got sick and getting rid of poisonous snakes. What did she do when she realized the idea was not a good one after all but that there’s no more going back? Most of all, find out how her love for the Australian outback and its indigenous people has made her a courageous heroine.

On The Road

by Jack Kerouac

When two friends, Jack and Neal Cassady, went on a cross-country road trip to achieve meaning and experience, this sparked the desire to write this book. On the Road reveals Jack’s compassion for humanity and love for jazz, which combined to make this work truly an important piece of literature that swings to underground America’s rhythms of the 1950s, including jazz, sex, and chill. 

Eat, Pray, Love

by Elizabeth Gilbert

Elizabeth Gilbert may be the envy of every woman for having everything she ever thought she would need at 30 – a husband, a successful career, and a country home. However, these didn’t make her happy; instead, they made her feel confused and full of panic, which resulted in depression. The now iconic book Eat, Pray, Love tells how Elizabeth quit her job and sold all of her belongings to embark on a year-long journey to find herself and what she really wanted. A full year travelling across three places – Italy, India, and Bali, plus all that she had learned are in this rapturous book.

A Caravan Like A Canary

by Sasha Wasley

Tara Button is tasked to drive their family caravan in bright yellow colour from one end of the state to the other. Hesitant, her brother, Zac, convinces her that it’s a great idea, especially that it might be a way to keep him out of trouble. Then, they start their journey, along with Zac’s friend, Dan. The open road they’ve taken brings back Tara’s memories of their family’s last trip in the same yellow family caravan, making her rediscover her passion for the wild. Will she finally face the past and let it go to discover her dreams?

Final Thoughts

These literary works should inspire you to join the #vanlife experience.

Go ahead, grab these books and be whisked away as your rolling home brings you across the country and the world, one city at a time.

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