Believe it or not, I was asked last week what my favorite travel quotes were. I had to give it some thought, because, obviously in the last ten years since we’ve been traveling more or less full time, I’ve heard and thought a lot about travel, and why you should travel, and how you should travel, and how to pay for travel, and almost anything else about travel.
All that aside, the one travel quote that is always at the top of my mind is by the noted philosopher Yogi Berra. “If you come to a fork in the road, take it,” he said. I can’t improve upon that.
I Googled “travel quotes” though, to see what I was missing, and I came up with a whole lot of lists of quotes, mostly by travel bloggers who all seemed to have cribbed from each other, and, unfortunately, most seem to have quoted that noted purveyor of absolute drivel, Paulo Coelho. (Warning: I read his book The Pilgrimage about the Camino de Santiago, and it brought to mind a quote from one of my favorite quote sources, Dorothy Parker: “This is not a novel to be thrown aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force.”) If you like Paulo Coelho, I apologize. But not sincerely.
So, I determined to build my own list of great travel quotes. (Another warning: I tend to favor the witty ones.) And so, what I did was paw through a few travel books I have on my shelf and did some more pointed internet searching of authors whom I admire, both of the travel ilk and others. By doing so, I came up with these lists. I swear that I’ve read at least one book or play or poem (or seen a movie) of all the authors I cite, so I can assert that they’re worth reading on their own.
(If you want a little more on what we're reading these days, check out Kris's roundup of our 2018 travels and reading list.)
Of course, it’s virtually impossible to make a list of travel quotes without the inevitable Mark Twain travel quote, or the Frost “road less traveled” quote, so I did put those in here, just in case you were wondering. I hope I at least came up with a Twain quote you might not have read before. Kind of hard to do that with the epitomal Frost poem.
Final warning: not all of these quotes are strictly about travel. But they do all inform the journey we’re all on to some degree.
Table of Contents
Inspirational travel quotes
Why are there trees I never walk under but large and melodious thoughts descend upon me? – Walt Whitman
For all the compasses in the world, there's only one direction, and time is its only measure. ― Tom Stoppard
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
Few men enjoy prolonged travel; it disrupts all habit and endlessly jolts each prejudice. – Marguerite Yourcenar
The beginning is half the journey. – Greek proverb
I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list. – Susan Sontag
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – Saint Augustine of Hippo
To awaken quite alone in a strange town is one of the pleasantest sensations in the world.– Freya Stark
A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving. – Lao Tzu
Home life is no more natural to us than a cage is natural to a cockatoo. – George Bernard Shaw
I don't feel that I belong anywhere. Or rather, if there's a place I belong, I don't feel I'm there. – Tom Stoppard
A man who has been through bitter experiences and traveled far enjoys even his sufferings after a time. ― Homer
An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day. – Henry David Thoreau
Two roads diverged in a wood and I – I took the one less traveled by. – Robert Frost
We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing. – George Bernard Shaw
You can't stay in your corner of the forest waiting for others to come to you. You have to go to them sometimes. ― A.A. Milne
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
The secret of getting ahead is getting started. – Mark Twain
Your sacred space is where you can find yourself again and again. – Joseph Campbell
The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with Nature. – Joseph Campbell
In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir
Never mistake motion for action. – Ernest Hemingway
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. – Oscar Wilde
I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ― Robert Louis Stevenson
Whatever you're meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible. ― Doris Lessing
I believe that if one always looked at the skies, one would end up with wings. – Gustave Flaubert
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. – Mark Twain
If your pictures aren't good enough, you're not close enough. – Robert Capa
If you put fences around people, you get sheep. – William L. McKnight
Quotes about specific destinations
Paris is always a good idea. – Audrey Hepburn
If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast. – Ernest Hemingway
It isn't necessary to have relatives in Kansas City in order to be unhappy. – Groucho Marx
You must not judge people by their country. In South America, it is always wise to judge people by their altitude. – Paul Theroux
Now, looking back on my life in Africa, I feel like it might altogether be described as the existence of a person who had come from a rushed and noisy world, into a still country. ― Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
Now India is a place beyond all others where one must not take things too seriously—the midday sun always excepted. ― Rudyard Kipling
England and America are two countries separated by a common language. – George Bernard Shaw
I once spent a year in Philadelphia, I think it was on a Sunday. – W. C. Fields
Funny travel quotes
Hotel rooms inhabit a separate moral universe. – Tom Stoppard
Eternity's a terrible thought. I mean, where's it all going to end? – Tom Stoppard
I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train. – Oscar Wilde
That would be a good thing for them to cut on my tombstone: Wherever she went, including here, it was against her better judgment. – Dorothy Parker
Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac? – George Carlin
Only entropy comes easy. – Anton Chekhov
A group of crows is called a murder. A group of people walking slowly in front of me is called a motive. – Abby Heugel
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
Uncategorized travel quotes
If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. – Henry David Thoreau
In this world, shipmates, sin that pays its way can travel freely, and without passport; whereas Virtue, if a pauper, is stopped at all frontiers. – Herman Melville
There is no value in life except what you choose to place upon it and no happiness in any place except what you bring to it yourself. – Henry David Thoreau
Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves. – Henry David Thoreau
If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home. – James A. Michener
There are three basic rules of travelling. Travel on the ground. Travel alone when possible. Keep notes. That's it. – Paul Theroux
There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met. – William Butler Yeats
We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend. ― Robert Louis Stevenson
All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware. – Martin Buber
Short cuts make long delays. – J.R.R. Tolkien
Travel quotes about how to see
The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it. – George Bernard Shaw
You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus. – Mark Twain
I don't have to have faith, I have experience. – Joseph Campbell
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. – Marcel Proust
An intelligent man is sometimes forced to be drunk to spend time with his fools. – Ernest Hemingway
The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it. – Rudyard Kipling
There can be no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do. – Freya Stark
The unfed mind devours itself. – Gore Vidal
Knowledge is of no value unless you put it into practice. – Anton Chekhov
God made the world round so we would never be able to see too far down the road. – Karen Blixen (Isak Dinesen)
No matter how far a person can go, the horizon is still way beyond you. – Zora Neale Hurston
As I have always held it a crime to anticipate evils, I will believe it a good comfortable road until I am compelled to believe differently. – Meriwether Lewis
Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore. – Andre Gide
Your body is not a temple, it's an amusement park. Enjoy the ride. – Anthony Bourdain
And now for something completely different… – Monty Python
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
If you carry your childhood with you, you never become older. – Tom Stoppard
Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you. – Walt Whitman
We find, after years of struggle, that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us. – John Steinbeck
And now, really finally
Not all those who wander are lost. – J.R.R. Tolkien
That one is quoted so often it's become a cliché. But sometimes clichés are clichés for a reason.
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25 thoughts on “Some Inspirational and Amusing Quotes About Travel”
I love these. I’m big on quotes, and some of these I haven’t heard before! Thanks
That was my hope. As I said, everyone else sort of amalgamates the same ones. I tried to avoid that.
I have found so many new quotes here. And I got introduced to Tom Stoppard among all those I am wont to quote.
Stoppard is one of my favorite writers and probably the wittiest playwright in English since Shaw or Wilde. He wrote Shakespeare in Love, btw. If you ever get a chance to see any of his plays, don’t miss it. (Arcadia and Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead are my faves.
Hi Tom! I LOVE quotes and travel so these were awesome. Thank you so much for putting them together!
Glad you liked them.
W.C. Fields definitely had it in for Philly. In addition to the quote you mentioned, there was, “Did you hear about the contest? First prize is one week in Philadelphia. Second prize is 2 weeks in Philadelphia.” Although it’s not really his epitaph, he did once joke that his epitaph would be: “Here lies W. C. Fields. I would rather be living in Philadelphia.” The truth is, we Philadelphians are perhaps the most savage at criticizing our hometown — but if you visit from elsewhere, you’d best button it — and don’t wear your Dallas Cowboys jersey.
The other quote, probably apocryphal, from Fields was that his gravestone would read, “I’d rather be here than Philadelphia.” He grew up in Philadelphia, though, didn’t he?
Quite a few here that I hadn’t seen before – thanks for the selection.
Always partial to any quote from Monty Python! But here’s another one for you: “The best souvenirs are stories”. Yup, you can quote me on that one, since it’s what I live by when I travel! :)
That’s a good one. I always love a good story about a place I’ve never been.
Nice selection of quotes — from the familiar ones to the ones that are new to me. Good to see Freya Stark here. If I can share a favorite quote about the lasting memories that travel gives us. “I can bring forth, on the darkest day, bright diamonds of remembered joys …” — Burton Holmes, early travel photographer, as he neared the end of his life.
I like that one, Cathy.
Great list with many new quotes I had not seen before and some old favorites. Don’t see any by one of my favorite authors though, JRR Tolkien. How about “The wide world is all about you: you can fence yourselves in, but you cannot forever fence it out,” or, “Faithless is he that says farewell when the road darkens,”
I used quotes frequently in my posts as I find others have usually said it better than I could. Nice list you’ve compiled.
Haha – Great list and lots of fun to read.
Great to read through all those wise words. The one that never fails me-In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks. – John Muir is a true favorite. I hadn’t read Kipling’s about India, but I’m sure after your recent travels, you would agree. I’ll keep your list handy, it’s a good way to start the day!
The words are wise too : )
Waving a big hello to you, friend! A compilation of best travel quotes. My favorite one is by – Andre Gide “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” Looking forward to hearing from you more
That’s a good one. There are many variations on it we’ve run across.
I love new new quotes so bookmarked this article. Loved reading these and glad you included Groucho and Monty Python. Thank you.
Both are favorites. A lot of wisdom is couched in humor.
C’mon Tom, I thought you would have created a unique image for each of those to make pinning them easier! Great list nonetheless!
The beginning is half the journey is the one I like the most.