Sometimes learning about other cultures doesn’t even require you to open the front door. Whether it’s to prep for an upcoming holiday or just to encourage a desire to see the world, books can be an excellent inspiration for children and adults. Here are some fun travel-themed books for kids.

The Snail and the Whale
by Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

This stunning story about an adventurous snail who goes against the tide of popular opinion and chooses to travel and learn more about the world will definitely become a family classic. (Not lest because it's been composed by the magical pair who put together The Gruffalo.) The rhymes are so beautifully constructed that they will stick in your head like a song, but the real power in the story is in the tale of how one small life can make a difference because he chooses to be adventurous and brave.

Bella’s Chinese New Year
by Stacey Zolt Hara

For those with an interest in Singaporean culture, this makes for a fun present. (There is also an app you can download to hear the correct Mandarin pronunciation.) It’s the second book about a little red head called Bella who is experiencing Asia from a Western child’s perspective. If you are visiting Singapore or just celebrating Chinese New Year with friends, this makes for an interesting educational story. (For trips to Vietnam, consider buying the first book, Bella’s Vietnam Adventure.)

Around the World with Sophie & Remy
by Ravie Khing and Kristine Hakim

Part picture story book, part recipe book, this collaboration with Chef Jean-Charles Dubois teaches kids about customs, geography and, of course, culinary traditions from all round the globe including Mexico to Morocco, Cambodia to Argentina. For each destination there are a couple of basic recipes that allow the family to sample a bit of every culture without ever having to leave home.

Let’s Take a Trip on Animal Airways
by Andrea Petrlik and Sally Hopgood

For very young children this cardboard book has been cleverly designed with a neat little perspex plane that automatically changes passengers as you turn each page to a new destination. With its basic rhymes and colourful images this is a good entry point to discussing geography and the native fauna of each country as well as teaching counting and rhyme. 

For more book ideas for traveling kids, see the suitcases&strollers story Guidebooks & Maps (For Kids).

For more ideas on travel-friendly toys, see the suitcases&strollers story here