During the many months running up to the World Trip, to get myself excited, I used to just walk into a bookstore and pick out 2 or 3 travel books and just read them. After doing this a hundred or so times, I found a few books that were so good, I had to buy them. And that was only because I had gift cards :-P (gotta save up to travel)
So the books below are in three catagories- 1) Books I Did Buy, 2) Books I wish I could have Afforded, and 3) Good Reads if you're in a bookstore, buy bargain. I added links to Amazon pages for more information.
Books I Did Buy
1. Vagabonding- Rolf Potts unique philosophy which he terms "Vagabonding". My favorite book because it is not just a "how to" or "what to do", but a philosphical guide to long term travel. It explores the right attitute you need to enjoy Vagabonding. If you want to be inspired to travel, a must read - but also, if you're worried that someone doesn't have the right mindset to travel, make them read this.
2. Rough Guide to First Time Around the World - More logistically oriented book. Budget's, how to's, country profiles, to pack lists, etc. More concrete into, a good sidekick to Vagabonding.
3. Rough Guide: First Time Asia - Good info (we think) for those who've never travelled to Asia. We'll see how useful the book is once we get to Asia, but it did give us a lot of good tips and advice.
Books I wish I could Have Bought
1. Lonely Planet Experimental Travel - 50 Travel Games to play while on the road. Play Survivor through the streets of Paris, spend 24hrs in an airport, or be a tourist in your own home city. Funny, creative ideas. May attempt some when bored. Windows on the World idea came from them.
2. Traveller's Tales Series - Reading descriptions of sites in Lonely Planet is okay, but to understand the true meaning of travel, read these great collections of travel stories. I found the "women's" Traveller's Stories to be better for some reason.
Goods Reads, Buy if Found in Dollar Store
Search for other books on Amazon.com