117 Best Travel Quotes in History

Travel quotes can best be described by Isaac D’Israeli who noted that “The wisdom of the wise, and the experience of ages, may be preserved by quotation.”

In no more than a sentence, you can capture much of spirit and desire which makes so many people want to go out and explore.

In addition to the quotes, I’ve also provided my own commentary on some of the quotes to give my perspective after 11 years of traveling around the world.

I hope you find these quotes inspiring and use them to help further travels for the rest of your life!

1) “For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel’s sake. The great affair is to move.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Author Robert Louis Stevenson practiced what he preached. Born in Scotland he died in Samoa and I had the honor of visiting his tomb. He traveled halfway around the world to live on an island that few people at the time, or even today, have even heard of.

2) “To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” – Freya Stark

Frey Stark was a travel writer to traveled extensively in the Middle East and wrote several books about her adventures. She lived to the age of 100 and lived an incredible life. Only someone as well traveled as her can know the freedom and exhilaration of waking up someplace you have never been before.

3) “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for” – John A. Shedd

This quote comes from the 1928 book “Salt from My Attic”. The single greatest thing which stops people from traveling more is fear. Even if staying at home can reduce your risk, that doesn’t mean you should stay at home. Humans are explorers and we have the spirit of exploration inside all of us. Staying at home your whole life makes you as useful as a ship that goes nowhere.

4) “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

If you haven’t traveled before, you will not understand the truth of this quote. There are certain cities which have a unique smell and the moment I smell it, I know I am there. Bangkok has a unique smell. Many European cities do as well. It might come from many sources including street food, sewage, pollution, flowers, and people. Stories and images can easily be shared, but smells are something which is only for those who actually travel.

5) “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

When I hear people who complain or object to people in other countries, my first question is always “when were you last there?”. Almost always, their answer is “I’ve never been there”. It is easy to develop prejudices from afar, but it is difficult to do when you have met these people and have looked them in the eye.

6) “To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.” – Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley, the author of a Brave New World, knew that to truly understand something, you need to see it for yourself. All of the books and experts in the world are no substitute for actually going somewhere and seeing it for yourself.

7) “Travel, in the younger sort, is a part of education; in the elder, a part of the experience.” – Francis Bacon

Francis Bacon was a philosopher who lived in the 15th and 16th Century in England. He was influential in the development of the Scientific Revolution. I’ve met people in their 20’s who have been traveling and I have met people in their 90s. Even though they might get different things out of travel, travel has something for everyone.

8) “The whole object of travel is not to set foot on foreign land; it is, at last, to set foot on one’s own country as a foreign land.” – G.K. Chesterton

After traveling around the world for 3 years, I returned to my home country and I was a very different experience. After seeing so many different places, it made my look at my own country in a totally different light. It is a perspective I never would have had if it wasn’t for travel.

9) “I like animals. I like natural history. The travel bit is not the important bit. The travel bit is what you have to do in order to go and look at animals.” – David Attenborough

At the end of the day, we travel to go places. Few people truly wander aimlessly. They travel to a destination and for a purpose. The airports and hotels are not the purposes of traveling. They are simply the means to the end of being able to see the rest of the world.

10) “Travel teaches toleration.” – Benjamin Disraeli

The ideas of acceptance and toleration are a common theme in travel quotations. Benjamin Disraeli was British Prime Minister in the 19th Century who understood that the only way to tolerate other ideas and beliefs is to encounter them in the course of traveling. If you never go anywhere, it is hard to understand why other people behave and believe what they do.

11) “All travel has its advantages. If the passenger visits better countries, he may learn to improve his own. And if fortune carries him to worse, he may learn to enjoy it.” – Samuel Johnson

Samuel Johnson was an 18th Century British writer. I can confirm what he says first hand. I’ve seen small things in my travels, from light switches to toilets, which I’ve often wondered “why don’t we do that?” Humanity has advanced through the millennia by exchanging goods and most importantly, ideas. As good ideas flow from culture to culture, everyone’s life improves.

Inspirational Travel Quotes

12) “The journey not the arrival matters.” –T.S. Eliot

I’ve had plan journeys which have taken more than 2 days to get from place to place when you include all the flights and layovers. While I hate it at the time, I often look back on them and realize it was the difficulty in getting somewhere which made the end all that much better.

13) “The World is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

This is one of the popular and widely cited travel quotes in history. Saint Augustine lived in the 4th and 5th Century and lived in northern Africa and Italy. In an age when few people traveled more than a few kilometers from where they were born, Augustine saw more of the world than all but a few people during his life.

14) “Remember what Bilbo used to say: It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” – JRR Tolkien

In Tolkien’s Middle Earth universe, the Hobbits were quiet people who shunned any sort of travel. That made the characters of Bilbo and Frodo that much more heroic given the culture which they came from. Likewise, I came from a family which never traveled much. I never left North American until I was 29 years old and I never even saw salt water until I was 21! Just because you come from a place where people don’t travel much, doesn’t mean you have to as well.

15) “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust

Proust was a French novelist in the 19th Century. He knew that the transformative changes which travel brings are the greatest gift of travel.

16) “A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.” – Lao Tzu

Even though Lao Tzu lived 2,500 years before me, I found out learned what he meant. Early in my travels, I learned to keep my plans flexible and to not keep too rigid of a schedule. You never know what you will encounter when you are on the road, and keeping things flexible allows you to discover things you might never have.

17) “The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.” – G.K. Chesterton

Without getting into a discussion of tourists vs travelers, there is certainly a difference in how people can view the world when they travel. Many people will only see what they want to see and will try to make their experiences conform to their worldview. Others will be open to experiencing and learning what the world has to offer and shape their worldview around it.

18) “Experience, travel – these are as education in themselves” – Euripides

Euripides was an ancient Greek playwright. Even more than 2,000 years ago he knew that travel was the greatest school in the world. I have learned more in the years I have been traveling than I have in the rest of my life combined. Every day you are traveling, you are learning something new.

19) “We must go beyond textbooks, go out into the bypaths and untrodden depths of the wilderness and travel and explore and tell the world the glories of our journey.” – John Hope Franklin

John Hope Franklin was a 20th Century historian. Like Euripides, he knew that learning wasn’t confined to textbooks and classrooms.

20) “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” – Robert Frost

This is a quote from a well-known poem, but most people don’t consider the travel implications of it. There are a small number of places which tend to get all of the visitors. A few major cities and resort areas get the vast majority of tourists. However, the best experiences I’ve had traveling were in places which hardly anyone ever visits.

21) “Of all possible subjects, travel is the most difficult for an artist, as it is the easiest for a journalist.” – W. H. Auden

Traveling is all about stories and storytelling. That is why so much of travel throughout history has been conveyed through writing. Travel photography is certainly a popular art form, you are usually capturing the place or destination, not the actual act of traveling.

22) “Voyage, travel, and change of place impart vigor” – Seneca

Writers often go somewhere new to get inspiration. Being somewhere new invigorates you in a way that being a home cannot. Even though I’ve been to over 130 countries, I still feel energized when I visit someplace new.

23) “You lose sight of things… and when you travel, everything balances out.” – Daranna Gidel

Daranna Gidel is an author whose novels often contain a travel component. She knew that when we travel, we tend to focus on what matters and lose the distractions which otherwise rob of us focus in our lives.


24) “I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” – Rosalia de Castro

25) “I think that travel comes from some deep urge to see the world, like the urge that brings up a worm in an Irish bog to see the moon when it is full.” – Lord Dunsany

26) “The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes “sight-seeing.” – Daniel J. Boorstin

27) “Why buy good luggage? You only use it when you travel.” – Yogi Berra

Best Travel Quotes

28) “When preparing to travel, lay out all your clothes and all your money. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” – Susan Heller

29) “Wandering re-establishes the original harmony which once existed between man and the universe. ” – Anatole France

30) “I am a passionate traveler, and from the time I was a child, travel formed me as much as my formal education.” – David Rockefeller

31) “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

32) “To get away from one’s working environment is, in a sense, to get away from one’s self; and this is often the chief advantage of travel and change.” – Charles Horton Cooley

33) “Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness.” – Ray Bradbury

34) “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

35) “After a lifetime of world travel I’ve been fascinated that those in the third world don’t have the same perception of reality that we do.” – Jim Harrison

36) “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home.” – James Michener

37) “To travel is to take a journey into yourself.” – Danny Kaye

38) “Make voyages! Attempt them… there’s nothing else.” – Tennessee Williams

39) “The life you have led doesn’t need to be the only life you have.” – Anna Quindlen

40) “Travel makes a wise man better, and a fool worse.” – Thomas Fuller

41) “Too often. . .I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.” – Louis L’Amour

42) “To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

43) “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

44) “Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey.” – Fitzhugh Mullan

45) “I have wandered all my life, and I have also traveled; the difference between the two being this, that we wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.” – Hilaire Belloc

46) “Only by going alone in silence, without baggage, can one truly get into the heart of the wilderness. All other travel is mere dust and hotels and baggage and chatter.” – John Muir

47) “Without travel, I would have wound up a little ignorant white Southern female, which was not my idea of a good life.” – Lauren Hutton

48) “I met a lot of people in Europe. I even encountered myself.” – James Baldwin

49) “The man who goes alone can start today, but he who travels with another must wait till that other is ready.” – Henry David Thoreau

Quotes for Travel Inspiration

50) “Don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” – Mohammed

51) “Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

52) “And then there is the most dangerous risk of all — the risk of spending your life not doing what you want on the bet you can buy yourself the freedom to do it later.” – Randy Komisar

53) “Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail” -Ralph Waldo Emerson

54) “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 harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

55) “No one realizes how beautiful it is to travel until he comes home and rests his head on his old, familiar pillow.” – Lin Yutang

56) “Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.” – Helen Keller

57) “The great difference between voyages rests not with the ships, but with the people you meet on them.” – Amelia E. Barr

58) “A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.” – John Steinbeck

59) “Travel is the frivolous part of serious lives and the serious part of frivolous ones.” – Anne Sophie Swetchine

60) “Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

61) “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.” – Jawaharal Nehru

62) “Travel is glamorous only in retrospect.” – Paul Theroux

63) “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

64) “A traveler without observation is a bird without wings.” — Moslih Eddin Saadi

65) “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quietest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” — Pat Conroy

66) “Hitler didn’t travel. Stalin didn’t travel. Saddam Hussein never traveled. They didn’t want to have their orthodoxy challenged.” — Howard Gardner

67) “To awaken alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.” —Freya Stark

68) “Traveling tends to magnify all human emotions.” — Peter Hoeg

69) “The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.” – Britney Spears

70) “When overseas you learn more about your own country, than you do the place you’re visiting.” – Clint Borgen

71) “Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversations.” – Elizabeth Drew

72) “Certainly, travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.” – Miriam Beard

73) “There is no happiness for the person who does not travel. For Indra is the friend of the traveler, therefore wander!” – Brähmann

74) “One of the gladdest moments of human life, methinks, is the departure upon a distant journey into unknown lands. Shaking off with one mighty effort the fetters of habit, the leaden weight of routine, the cloak of many cares and the slavery of home, man feels once more happy.” – Richard Burton

75) “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Scott Cameron

76) “He who has seen one cathedral ten times has seen something; he who has seen ten cathedrals once has seen but little; and he who has spent half an hour in each of a hundred cathedrals has seen nothing at all.” – Sinclair Lewis

77) “Our happiest moments as tourists always seem to come when we stumble upon one thing while in pursuit of something else.” — Lawrence Block

78) “You do not travel if you are afraid of the unknown, you travel for the unknown, that reveals you with yourself.” – Ella Maillart

79) “I travel the world, and I’m happy to say that America is still the great melting pot – maybe a chunky stew rather than a melting pot at this point, but you know what I mean.” – Philip Glass

80) “One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.” – Andre Gide

81) “Better far off to leave half the ruins and nine-tenths of the churches unseen and to see well the rest; to see them not once, but again and often again; to watch them, to learn them, to live with them, to love them, till they have become a part of life and life’s recollections.” – Augustus Hare

82) “People who don’t travel cannot have a global view, all they see is what’s in front of them. Those people cannot accept new things because all they know is where they live.” – Martin Yan

83) “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling

84) “You got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there”. – Yogi Berra

85) “A tourist is a fellow who drives thousands of miles so he can be photographed standing in front of his car.” – Emile Ganest

86) “When you travel, remember that a foreign country is not designed to make you comfortable. It is designed to make its own people comfortable.” – Clifton Fadiman

87) “Just to travel is rather boring, but to travel with a purpose is educational and exciting.” – Sargent Shriver

88) “To many people holidays are not voyages of discovery, but a ritual of reassurance.” – Philip Andrew Adams

89) “It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves – in finding themselves.” – Andre Gide

90) “Adventure is worthwhile.” – Aristotle

91) “In both business and personal life, I’ve always found that travel inspires me more than anything else I do. Evidence of the languages, cultures, scenery, food, and design sensibilities that I discover all over the world can be found in every piece of my jewelry.” – Ivanka Trump

92) “Travel has a way of stretching the mind. The stretch comes not from travel’s immediate rewards, the inevitable myriad new sights, smells and sounds, but with experiencing firsthand how others do differently what we believed to be the right and only way.” – Ralph Crawshaw

93) “A man of ordinary talent will always be ordinary, whether he travels or not; but a man of superior talent will go to pieces if he remains forever in the same place….” – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

94) “I’d rather wake up in the middle of nowhere than in any city on earth.” – Steve McQueen

95) “A wise traveler never despises his own country.” – Pamela Goldoni

96) “Every exit is an entry somewhere else.” – Tom Stoppard

97) “Travel is very subjective. What one person loves, another loathes.” – Robin Leach

98) “Adventure without risk is Disneyland.” – Doug Coupland

99) “An adventure may be worn as a muddy spot or it may be worn as a proud insignia. It is the woman wearing it who makes it the one thing or the other.” – Norma Shearer

100) “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.” – Paul Theroux

101) “If God had really intended men to fly, he’d make it easier to get to the airport”. – George Winters

102) “Every man can transform the world from one of monotony and drabness to one of excitement and adventure.” – Irving Wallace

103) “Thanks to the Interstate Highway System, it is now possible to travel across the country from coast to coast without seeing anything.” – Charles Kuralt

104) “No matter where you go, there you are.” – Buckaroo Banzi

105) “While armchair travelers dream of going places, traveling armchairs dream of staying put.” – Anne Tyler

106) “We should come home from adventures, and perils, and discoveries every day with new experience and character” – Henry David Thoreau

107) “People don’t take trips . . . trips take people.” – John Steinbeck

108) “The more I traveled the more I realized that fear makes strangers of people who should be friends.” – Shirley MacLaine

109) “Take only memories, leave only footprints.” – Chief Seattle

110) “People travel to wonder at the height of the mountains, at the huge waves of the seas, at the long course of the rivers, at the vast compass of the ocean, at the circular motion of the stars, and yet they pass by themselves without wondering.” – St. Augustine

111) “There is one voyage, the first, the last, the only one.” – Thomas Wolfe

112) “NOT I – NOT ANYONE else, can travel that road for you, You must travel it for yourself.” – Walt Whitman

113) “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

114) “A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.” -Tim Cahill

115) “Traveling is a brutality. It forces you to trust strangers and to lose sight of all that familiar comforts of home and friends. You are constantly off balance. Nothing is yours except the essential things. -air, sleep, dreams, the sea, the sky. -all things tending towards the eternal or what we imagine of it.” – Cesare Pavese

116) “Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends… The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

117) “If you wish to travel far and fast, travel light. Take off all your envies, jealousies, unforgiveness, selfishness and fears.” – Cesare Pavese