Top 12 Carry-On Books According to Our Safara Insiders


When interviewing our Insiders, almost every one claimed they’d cram a book into their carry-on. Whether you’re ready to ‘fly-and-flop’ on a beach break or planning a city break filled with solo dining, we’ve shortlisted our favourite recommendations for your trip. From Hemingway to Bill Bryson, Joan Didion to A. A. Gill, simply click to buy, enjoy a flight with no wi-fi, and get lost in a story. 

1. ‘Life and Death on the New York Dance Floor’ – Tim Lawrence Brooks
“Because it reminds me of my youth and my home.” – Carissa Barrett

2. ‘Notes From a Small Island’ – Bill Bryson
“It’s an amusing read.” – Nicholas Campbell

3. ‘A.A. Gill is Away’ – A.A. Gill
“His acerbic writing style speaks to me more than most. He travelled far and wide, writing about some notoriously dull and difficult places and yet always found a story, because, there always is one. Even where I don’t agree with his opinions I find his absolute conviction compelling.” – Louis Sheridan

4. ‘The LUXE Guides’ 
“They’re well curated and cater to travelers like me, who want to hit up all the newest & coolest (slightly off the beaten path) hot spots. Also, my journal.” – Sabrina Meier

5. ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ – ‎Ernesto “Che” Guevara
“Takes one Ernesto to know another.” – Ernesto Roman

6. ‘The Lightning Field’ – Walter de Maria
“The story itself is situated near a small cabin that was built for the purpose of experiencing ‘The Lightning Field’ over a period of a day (or more) as the sky and landscape change throughout the day. You can visit alone or in a small group, and with no cell service for miles you’d better make sure it’s people you like. More importantly, it’s a magical place for introspection and appreciation of the artwork and the beautiful high desert of New Mexico.” – Kimiko Ninomiya

7. ‘Arcana Volume 5: Magic, Mysticism, and Music’ – John Zorn
Recommended by Grace Lee

8. ‘Mandala Of Being’ – Richard Moss
”Because I can practice mindfulness and awareness as I read it and apply practices in real time.” – Megan Puleri

9. ‘A Moveable Feast’ – Ernest Hemingway 
“Hemingway always reminds me of my Dad, who was my favorite travel partner. Recently, I read Donna Tartt’s ‘A Secret History’ while traveling between Shelter Island, CA, and NYC. I’m a little late to this one, but I am a huge fan of her writing and this book is definitely one you can get lost in during those hours in transit.” – Georgia Zeavin

10. ‘Vagabonding, An Uncommon Guide to the Art of Long-term Travel’ Rolf Potts 
“He makes a compelling case for why you should not wait to travel until you’re retired or you’ve saved “enough” money—if you really want to travel, make it a true priority now. Take the money you’d otherwise spend on a few dinners or fancy jeans and buy a plane ticket instead. This philosophy really inspired me to change my career path and, in fact, my entire lifestyle.” – Christina Perez

11. ‘The Bright Continent’ – Dayo Olopade
“An investigation of technology and development in Africa. I reported it across 17 countries in two years, and while it covers meaty issues like education, health care, and finance in Africa, it’s also a contemporary travelogue that brings back memories of some of the most unusual and fascinating places I’ve been.” – Daya Olopade

12. ‘The White Album’ – Joan Didion
“For her packing list on page 34 and her devastating essay on Hawaii. Among new works, I’m obsessed with Flights by Olga Tokarczuk for her beyond-inventive descriptions of airports and travel-sized toiletries.” – Amelia Mularz


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