Early examples of travel literature include “Pausanias” Description of Greece in the 2nd century CE, and the travelogues of Ibn Jubayr (1145–1214) and Ibn Batutta (1304–1377), both of whom recorded their travels across the known world in detail. The travel genre was a fairly common genre in medieval Arabic Literature.
One of the earliest known records of taking pleasure in travel, of traveling for the sake of travel and writing about it, is Petrarch’s (1304–1374) ascent of Mount Ventoux in 1336. He states that he went to the mountaintop for the pleasure of seeing the top of the famous height. His companions who stayed at the bottom he called frigida incuriositas ("a cold lack of curiosity"). He then wrote about his climb, making allegorical comparisons between climbing the mountain and his own moral progress in life.
Michault Taillevent, a poet for the Duke of Burgundy. travelled through the Jura Mountain Mountains in 1430 and left us with his personal reflections, his horrified reaction to the sheer rock faces, and the terrifying thunderous cascades of mountain streams. Antoine de la Sale (c. 1388–c. 1462), author of Petit Jehan de Saintre, climbed to the crater of a volcano in the Lipari Islands in 1407, leaving us with his impressions. "Councils of mad youth" were his stated reasons for going. In the mid-15th century, Gilles le Bouvier, in his Livre de la description des pays, gave us his reason to travel and write:
Because many people of diverse nations and countries delight and take pleasure, as I have done in times past, in seeing the world and things therein, and also because many wish to know without going there, and others wish to see, go, and travel, I have begun this little book.
In 1589, Richard Hakluyt (c. 1552–1616) published Voyages, a foundational text of the travel literature genre.
Other later examples of travel literature include accounts of The Grand Tour. Aristocrats, Clergy, and others with money and leisure time travelled Europe to learn about the art and architecture of its past. One tourism literature pioneer was Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894).
In the 18th century, travel literature was commonly known as the book of travels, which mainly consisted of maritime diaries. In 18th century Britain, almost every famous writer worked in the travel literature form. Captain James Cook's diaries (1784) were the equivalent of today's best sellers. Some great Travel Books worth collecting today are;-