Books on the go: Amy Alward reveals how you can be totally bookish and still travel light

Amy Alward, author of ‘The Potion Diaries’, and now it’s super sequel ‘Royal Tour’, is a bit of a traveller. Haven’t you heard?


She’s pretty much #goals when it comes to globe trotting. But how do you wander to the ends of the earth and STILL satisfy all your bookish needs? Here’s how:

One of the hardest things I’ve had to contend with while travelling for six months is: HOW WILL I HAVE ENOUGH TO READ? I can quite easily go through a book (or two or three) a week in normal life, and I anticipated having even more time to read while on the road.

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My life-saver was my Kindle, and it got a BIG work out during my trip. In total, I read over sixty books on my Kindle in six months (and still ran out in Cuba when I couldn’t download any more due to the lack of wifi… argh) – something that wouldn’t have been possible for me to do before the age of e-readers. Having the Kindle app on my phone as a backup in case my e-reader lost battery was invaluable.

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I also carried with me seven paper books, most of them specialist reads on or about South America. Luckily, throughout my travels there were plenty of places to trade or swap my books.

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Every hostel and quite a few restaurants/bars had a ‘take a book, leave a book’ shelf, which I would browse to see if there was something I wanted to swap. The great thing about book swapping is that often I end up picking up a read I would never have noticed in a bookstore – such as Marching Powder, a fascinating real life story of a prison inmate in Bolivia – or finally finding the time to read Gunslinger by Stephen King, soon to be a major TV show starring Idris Elba. Sometimes I wished I’d brought more copies of my book with me to leave in various places so that travellers could discover it!

I also checked out second-hand bookstores to pick up cheap paperbacks, but in South America they were mostly in Spanish…

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Another way I ‘read’ books was through my phone, as audio books! They made long bus journeys disappear. I thoroughly recommend Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London as an audio book.

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My biggest tip for bookish backpackers: invest in an e-reader! You won’t regret it. And don’t forget to occasionally look up from your book to look at the world outside… but only if you’re not in the middle of a cliff hanger ;)

Sweet! And if you want to get your hands on ‘Royal Tour’ for YOUR next trip, you can get it right here. 

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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