Bookish Brits Love Paperbacks, But Are They Really Practical for Travellers?

I’ve always loved to read fiction. Sitting in a comfy arm chair or laid out on the beach, there’s something truly magical about the way in which the pages of a book can transport you to another world; somewhere far from the reality in which we’ve found ourselves here on earth.

As a child, I would spend hours reading Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree. A series of four enchanting stories that are set in a magical wood, the books were published between 1939 and 1951 yet their characters provided me with so much enjoyment every time I sat down to read.

In my mind, I was there with Jo, Bessie, and Fanny as they set off on their adventures with the folk of the Faraway world. I think it’s probably party responsible for my insatiable wanderlust! I love nothing more than exploring new places.

It was no surprise to me then, that in recent research polling 3000 people travel giant Opodo found three in four (78%) of people prefer reading paperbacks on holiday than any other reading material (digital downloads, magazines etc).

Where better to find a comfy place to relax and escape to an enchanted land than when exploring a new destination?! Finding yourself gripped by a good novel is the ultimate way to switch-off to the stresses of daily life, wouldn’t you agree?

But are paperbacks practical for today’s often chaotic experience of international travel?

As a frequent traveller I have a deep appreciation for packing light, and vow each time I travel to pack less the next time I’ve to spend time away from home. However a paperback always finds itself slotted neatly into the top of my carry-on bag and there it stays for the entire time I’m away. Once I’ve finished reading I make it a priority to find it a new and worthy home.

Whether dropping it into a local charity shop or passing it on to a fellow traveller in need of escapism during a long-haul flight, the act of sharing the story with others is, I feel, part of loving fiction. Stories are written to be shared, not downloaded and deleted to make space for more.

The research also showed that of those polled in the survey, more than two thirds of Brits (66%) will read up two books on holiday while more one in five (21%) avid readers will get through as many as four books in the sun.

I can sympathise with this. I’m forever trying to find the time to pick up my next read.

Jonas Jonasson’s The One Hundred Year Old Man Who Jumped Out of a Window and Disappeared has been sitting on my bedside table for weeks, (after a day spent blogging my eyes are too tired to digest more text). I’m longing for my next long-haul flight so that I can make the most of the time to switch off!

Unsurprisingly, just over a half of those people polled (51%) said they spend more time reading on holiday than they would do at home, whereas the reading habits of one in twenty (17%) will see them getting through just as many words as they would do at any other time of year.

Lukas Balter, destination expert at Opodo, commented: “Going on holiday is one of the only times in the year that we can unreservedly put ourselves first and do what makes us happy, so it’s no surprise to see people are so eager to pick up a good page-turner. Getting lost in a good book or few allows British holidaymakers to indulge in a total digital detox for a week or two.”

I think paperbacks can be practical for travellers and much like my love of reading really great blogs I doubt I’ll ever lose my interest in adventurous tales of fictional characters. I hope I stay lost in the enchanted land of The Faraway Tree and the queer folk who call it home for years to come. In fact, I think I know which book I’ll be taking on my next trip abroad.


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Do you have a favourite childhood storybook? What’s your travel reading style? Comment below!