Travel quotes bring out the best and the worst in us. Some we’ve grown blind to. Others whisper to that part of our soul that looks to the stars and dreams of more. Beyond just looking pretty on Instagram or Pinterest, travel quotes tap into our shared human history. Our literature. Our thoughts. Our outlooks. Our worlds.
So here’s a list of the best, most inspiring travel quotes I’ve found after a decade on the road, gathering words and pictures. Some, many, I’m sure you’ve heard before.
Others, I’ve gathered from new writers in their quest to travel and savour the world.
And there’s always room for more. Have a great travel quote you can’t wait to share? Let me know in the comments below.
And any interpretation that’s different from mine? I’d love to hear that too!
Happy reading. Happy travelling.
1 - “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.” – Helen Keller
2 - “Travel isn’t always pretty. It isn’t always comfortable. Sometimes it hurts, it even breaks your heart. But that’s okay. The journey changes you; it should change you. It leaves marks on your memory, on your consciousness, on your heart, and on your body. You take something with you. Hopefully, you leave something good behind.” – Anthony Bourdain
3 - “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world” – Freya Stark
4 - “Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that goddamn mountain.” – Jack Kerouac
5 - “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step” – Lao Tzu
6 - “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustav Flaubert
7 - “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St Augustine
8 - “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien
9 - “Live life with no excuses, travel with no regret” – Oscar Wilde
10 - “Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.” – Dalai Lama
11 - “A ship in a harbor is safe, but it not what ships are built for.” -John A. Shedd
12 - “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”― Mark Twain
13 - “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
14 - “We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” – Jawaharial Nehru
15 - “Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try and understand each other, we may even become friends” – Maya Angelou
16 - “We wander for distraction but we travel for fulfilment.” – Hilaire Belloc
17 - “I am not the same, having seen the moon shine on the other side of the world.” – Mary Anne Radmacher
18 - "The sky is big enough for birds to fly without touching themselves." -Yoruba proverb.
19 - “You develop a sympathy for all human beings when you travel a lot. “ – Shakuntala Devi.
20 - "Birds fascinate me. The sense of community they share when they fly together and yet that sense of scarcity they feel when they flock onto the very same branch, leaving several empty branches free.
Individually, they fly with purpose. When it’s time to stake claim, they sit on the very same spot." Lola Akinmade. What drives you?
21 - "Who you travel with matters more than where," Abigail King (ahem, me.)
22 - “I have found out that there ain’t no surer way to find out whether you like people or hate them than to travel with them.” — Mark Twain
23 - “Never go on trips with anyone you do not love.” – Ernest Hemingway
24 - “In Life, It’s Not Where You Go, It’s Who You Travel With” – Charles Schulz
25 - “Travel is like love, mostly because it’s a heightened state of awareness, in which we are mindful, receptive, undimmed by familiarity and ready to be transformed. That is why the best trips, like the best love affairs, never really end.” — Pico Iyer
26 - “A journey is best measured in friends rather than miles.” – Tim Cahill
27 - “When traveling with someone, take large doses of patience and tolerance with your morning coffee.” – Helen Hayes
28 - "One moment, Nick is sitting opposite me, gasping like a beached fish, and the next he’s gone. It’s not a dignified exit." Adrian Phillips, Rafting and the Waffle-Maker.
29 - "Why do we travel? Is it to look out longingly over great landscapes and feel our hearts and minds clear? Is it to meet new people, different people with a secret hope that we'll connect and discover that, actually, they're just like us? "Why do people travel?
30 - “Feel the heartbeat of our wilderness and learn the secret of patience." Found in a viewing platform in Finland's Arctic Circle
31 - “The earth is what we all have in common.” – Wendell Berry
32 - “The antidote to exhaustion isn’t rest; it's nature.” – Shikoba
33 - “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” – John Muir.
34 - “Responsible travel is not only better for our world, it’s also more interesting and memorable.” – Simon Reeve.
35 - “I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” – Susan Sontag
36 - “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries” – Aldous Huxley
Which kind of relates to...
37 - “The pleasure we derive from journeys is perhaps dependent more on the mindset with which we travel than on the destination we travel to” – Alain de Botton
38 - “If we were meant to stay in one place, we’d have roots instead of feet.” – Rachel Wolchin
39 - “Once the travel bug bites there is no known antidote, and I know that I shall be happily infected until the end of my life.” – Michael Palin
40 - “Explore the world with an open mind, a sturdy carry-on, and clothes that don’t wrinkle.” – Madeleine Albright
41 - "As long as we don't die, this is going to be one hell of a story." John Green.
42 - “Travel is only glamorous in retrospect” – Paul Theroux
43 - “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comfort of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things: air, sleep, dreams, sea, the sky – all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese
44 - "To be nobody but yourself in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight; NEVER stop fighting." - E.E. Cummings
45 - "I have always been an advocate for the “Go hard, or go home” way of living. I don’t like being a parked car, instead opting for a fifth gear kind of life. This philosophy works, except sometimes I’m driving too many roads in fifth gear which later converge into an intersection of carnage." Caz Makepeace, Living Life Unplugged.
46 - “Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference” – Robert Frost.
Like many, I studied this poem years ago at school and felt moved by the words. Later, I found an interview in which Robert Frost revealed his surprise at the way his work had been interpreted. He began by writing about an acquaintance, one who frequently bragged about his experiences. And with that, I see these words in a completely different light. I wonder how much that applies to these other quotes?!
47 - “Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”― David Mitchell
In this case, I thought the quote came from the British comedian David Mitchell and therefore it was a tongue-in-cheek reference to a lot of the "finding yourself" fluff you hear about travel. In researching this, apparently not. A different David Mitchell. So maybe he meant it on a deeper level after all?
48 - “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes” – Marcel Proust.
49 - “There are no foreign lands. It is the traveler only who is foreign” – Robert Louis Stevenson
50 - “Wherever you go becomes a part of you somehow.” – Anita Desai
51 - “I always wonder why birds choose to stay in the same place when they can fly anywhere on earth, then I ask myself the same question.” –Harun Yahya
52 - “You don’t choose the day you enter the world and you don’t choose the day you leave. It’s what you do in between that makes all the difference.” – Anita Septimus
53 - "Travel gives freedom. It gives the permission to rest and to breathe and to think – at least for some of the time. And that time, of course, is precious: we can’t know how much we will have." The Importance of Doing Nothing.
54 - “As soon as I saw you, I knew an adventure was about to happen.” – A. A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh
55 - "Travelling in the company of those we love is home in motion" – Leigh Hunt
56 - "Oh, the places you’ll go!" - Dr. Seuss
57 - "And at the end of the day, your feet should be dirty, your hair messy and your eyes sparkling.” – Shanti
58 - "The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it" – Peter Pan J.M. Barrie
59 - "I want to focus on themes and on topics that I can really learn about. I want to be able to have a discussion about St Francis – or Buddhism or Gothic architecture or modern Japan or conservation or whatever – where I can challenge your views and you can challenge mine and I don’t just end up shrugging because I don’t know what I’m really talking about." What I learned about myself on an Italian pilgrimage. Michael Turtle.
60 - "Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of experience.“ Francis Bacon
61 - “What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do — especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon
62 - “Why do you go away? So that you can come back. So that you can see the place you came from with new eyes and extra colours. And the people there see you differently, too. Coming back to where you started is not the same as never leaving.” – Terry Pratchett
63 - "Home is where the heart is, and my heart is wherever I am at the moment.” - Lily Leung
64 - "We shall not cease from exploration, and at the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time." T. S. Eliot.
Of all the travel quotes, this one reaches into me the most. While I admire the achievements of Helen Keller, laugh at the "one hell of a story" and feel moved by the words of Maya Angelou, I prefer the word "exploring" in this idea.
Many of the quotes talk about courage and introspection but here, we have the idea of exploring.
That can be inside your head. Travel may not be necessary at all.
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