Fall is just around the corner but Summer is not over yet! There is still a couple of more weeks before pumpkin spice season kicks in, which leaves time to squeeze in one more vacation or staycation. Until recently, I used to confidently proclaim that “vacation was reading time” because for me it wasn’t really a vacation unless I got to luxuriate (preferably in a hammock) with nothing on my schedule other than spending an afternoon alternating between sleeping, eating, and reading. I’m still convinced that this is peak zen for me but when I heard about a co-worker’s recent bungee jumping adventures, I realized that to some people vacation means non-reading stuff (gasp!) like exercise, visiting family, and other extreme sports.
Whatever your ideal vacation is, chances are if you are on this site that you at least think of spending some time reading during your time off. Recently, I have been making more conscious efforts to incorporate bookish elements into my trips. This has been a lot of fun, pushed me to explore new places in a different way, and added a new element into my reading life.
Whether you’re hiking the mountains (bring an audiobook) or relaxing on the beach (can’t beat a good paperback or waterproof e-reader), there are little ways that can add some bookish elements to your vacation. I wanted to share with you some of my favorite bookish elements that I’ve recently started working into my travel plans. Sometimes I’ll get to incorporate all of them, while other times I’ve only managed to do one or two. However, each time I’ve had new bookish experience and memories to enjoy!
Bring a Book With You
This one is a little obvious and it goes without saying. It really is the only “rule” you really need to have a bookish time. That being said, the art of picking a perfect vacation book can be trickier than you expect. Luckily, there are countless reading suggestion lists you can look up anywhere from your library to your favorite pop culture media sites. Personally, I love a good romance on vacation but there are factors apart from genre to consider. How much luggage space will you have? Mass market paperback or hardcover? E-book or audiobook? Non-fiction or cowboy romance? There is no right or wrong answer but considering where you’re going and what you’ll be doing can help you pick the right book for your vacation.
Visit a Local Bookstore Or All of Them
I have recently incorporated bookstore-hopping into my vacations and it has been a game changer. I love to research local indie bookstores wherever I’m visiting and try to go to as many as I can while I’m there. Compared to chains, indie bookstores tend to have stronger community ties and are a great way to take in the local bookish scene, find some books you might not otherwise pick up, and maybe even come across a local event. Speaking of…
Attend a Local Event
This one can be a bit trickier, as a lot of it comes down to careful planning or stumbling into an event at the right time. However, if you do come across an event that catches your eye, it can be fun to add one or two literary events to your itinerary. Whether it’s a reading, panel or signing, bookish events are the perfect events to meet fellow readers and get to experience the local literary scene.
Talk to Local Booksellers
This is one of my favorite things to do in general, but especially on vacation. I love talking to booksellers in indie bookstores. They are truly the real MVPs and most of them are happy to chat, recommend a book, or tell you about all the must-see things around town. I’ve had lovely memorable chats with local bookstore owners who loved to share their knowledge of their store’s and their town’s history, the local bookish community, and even share recommendations for their favorite bookstore in town.
Visit Local Bookish Sites
This one will depend on where you are going but sometimes there are hidden and not-so-hidden literary gems where you are going. Interesting things can happen when the tourism and bookish worlds meet. Whether it’s a literary museum, a pub that a famous author used to frequent, or a local poetry hot spot. A quick internet search can uncover a trove of must visit literary landmarks. Some places also boast beautiful, unique, or historic public libraries that are absolutely worth dropping by to gawk at, although this might lead to some real library fomo!
Read a Book About Local History or by a Local Author
I’ve always loved reading about local history. There’s something about learning about a place and seeing it in real time or learning about it from a local that can be really impactful. It can help to have travelling buddies who are willing to put up with the barrage of “Did you know that…” and random fascinating trivia that you will doubtless come up with.
So, why add a bookish twist to your vacation? (apart from getting some quality reading time in of course). Well first because it’s fun! But also its can be a great way to interact and meet the local community you are visiting in a way that you might not generally get a chance to. It can be a way to support that community if you are buying from a local author or attending a local event and will create great new bookish memories that will stay with you, so Bon Voyage and happy reading!