On Picking My Books For Vacation

T-minus 17 days until we leave for Europe for 2 weeks. OH EM GEE.




I’ve got soooo much to do and pack and get together for our trip in this time but of course, like the cliche bookworm I am, all I’m thinking about is what books I’ll bring. Because obviously….books.

After a vacation back in 2013 I mused on the fact that I never read as much as I think I will on vacation. I have that “eyes are bigger than my stomach” syndrome that my mom always would get on me about when it came to putting food on my plate. It’s the same way for books. I end up bringing 3x more books than I actually read. 3x more than I could ACTUALLY read in a time frame if I’m being honest. But I think I over pack on books because we all know that my reading moods dictate what I read so what if I’m not in the mood for the more conservative number of like 3 books that I’ll read and I’m left book-less because I just cannot even try to read something I’m not in the mood for.

I mean, Rory explains it best:


But alas, I gotta pack light for this trip. Sure, it’s two weeks and I KNOW we will be so busy I’ll barely have time to read anyways. But the plane ride? Any downtime? Airport time? Any train rides? Well, I’m going to need a book.




So then the question is WHAT books???? I mean, how can I really pick between all my books?? What will I be in the mood for? Do I bring a go-to author to ensure a good read? An ARC or books that I can not bring home with me because I know it probably won’t be a fave that I’ll want to keep? Something light because I know I won’t have large gaps of reading time or I’ll be in highly distracting situations like the airport or something? A highly anticipated read to engage me right away? Or something I’m wanting to read but not like HIGHLY ANTICIPATED because my brain might not be in the right mindset and I don’t want to let that affect a highly anticipated read? WHAT DO I PICK? (I realize I’m slightly neurotic..I know).

And then…HOW MANY??

Clearly I’m going to bring my Kindle because I’ll have access to a zillion books of all different types and genres PLUS with an international flight I need to be saving all the room and weight in the my suitcase that I can. So, I’m limited to what physical books I’ll actually bring but I prefer physical books and also TECHNOLOGY. It’s the worst when you forget to charge your Kindle and it dies whilst you are reading.

I’m thinking 2? 2 sounds like a reasonable number, right? Because then I have my kindle. And, honestly, I plan on checking out a bunch of UK bookshops so I can always pick up a book.

But the question is….will I be reasonable or will I be myself? Also, WHY IS THIS ALWAYS SO STRESSFUL.



So my loose game plan:

1. Kindle to save myself some room so I’ll only need minimal physical books.

2. Paperbacks rather than hardcovers.

3. Books that perhaps I’ll be fine with leaving somewhere for someone else to take so long as they don’t become a favorite or one I think I’ll want to reread (that’s all that ends up on my shelves). I’m always down for a chance to lighten my load.Β  ARCs are good for this because I don’t really keep them. Though if it’s a review copy I might not feel like writing anything down after I finish because I’m on a 2 week vacation sooo that might be a bad idea. It’s always easier when it’s a more laid back vacation like at the beach or something because I don’t mind jotting thoughts down. We shall see.

4. Just be realistic about the fact this is not going to be a vacation where I read a lot and embrace that and be excited with any reading time I can get in.


And because I suck at making decisions for myself I want you to pick my vacation reads!! Pick the 2 you think I should read!!


books to read


So…let’s talk!


Do you tend to overpack for vacations? How do you choose what you’ll take? Tell me all your tips and strategies! Also, tell me what TWO books you think I should bring in addition to my Kindle!!

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About Jamie

Jamie is a 32 year old married lady (with a new baby!!) who is in denial that she's actually that old to be a married lady and a mom. When she's not reading you can find her doing Pilates followed by eating ice cream, belting out Hamilton (loud and offkey) and having adventures with her husband, daughter and rescue dog.


  1. Hahaha I always do this! I went home for Christmas for about 1.5 weeks and I took 7 books with me. What was I thinking?? Of course I only read 1.5 books on that trip because, helloooo it was Christmas! Hahaha. I vote Mirror King and Exquisite Captive!! πŸ˜€ 2 weeks off sounds amazing, have a blast!!

    • YAS that’s so me when I go to visit my dad for holidays! Pretty much the only reading time I get is at night when everyone goes to bed because during the day I end up hanging out with everyone.

      Thanks for voting!!

  2. Every time I for on a trip, I end up asking myself, “Why did you pack so many books?” This time around, I finally packed less, and now I wish I had more. I wish I didn’t so much prefer physical books to ebooks, but alas.

    Anyways, I vote First and Then and The Shadow Queen. I’ve heard great things about both, and then you have you bases covered genre-wise. Happy travels!

    • AH see this is my fear. Being “good” and not packing a lot but then being like OMG I NEED MORE. I’m definitely with you though..I just soooo much prefer books. But I do plan on perhaps buying one or two while we are in the UK so maybe I’ll be fine!

      THanks for voting!!

  3. First of all, that Rory clip was HILARIOUS. I love that show and I totally relate to her, especially in that clip. I am living in Europe right now and I ALWAYS have a book with me for train rides. And when I go home to the States, that long plane ride calls for a wide variety of books. Decisions are so hard! 90% of my books are on my Kindle though, so I don’t usually have a problem bringing too many books. Good for you for limiting your physical books to two. But man, it’s like the Sopie’s choice of books! My votes are for The Revenge Playbook and The Shadow Queen. It seems like those are two very different genres, so you can switch it up based on your mood. πŸ™‚

    • It’s one of my favorite Rory moments of the series!! I remember even way back then like I FEEL YOU RORY. I have quite a few books on my Kindle so I know I’ll be set should I fly through those 2 books I bring plus I can always purchase some books since I plan on visiting a bunch of UK bookstores. But we shall see!!

      And I like your thinking…bringing two different genres for my physical book! Thanks for voting!

  4. What parts of Europe are you planning to visit? The only time I ever use my kindle is when I’m travelling long distances. Weight allowances on planes are so stingy these days so the kindle’s been a saviour on a couple of occasions! I vote for The Mirror King (just because I like the font on the spine) and The Revenge Playbook (because it has a good title) πŸ™‚

    • We are going to London for a week and then Madrid! YES I agree…that’s why I feel like I should limit my books and rely more on my Kindle because UGH so little weight limits. I will probably stick the two books in my carry on if it will fit. I will say my Kindle comes in clutch with travel bc if I didn’t have one I would be majorly panicking haha

      Thanks for voting!!

  5. I always do the opposite! I never take enough with me. I always think that I’ll be doing lots of other touristy things so I won’t have enough time for reading. But I forget about the travelling and the quiet time at night when everyone is getting ready to go out for dinner. I haven’t read any of these books, but I want to read The Shadow Queen one day so maybe that.

    Lauren @ My Expanding Bookshelf

    • Haha I think you and I both need to find a happy medium somewhere!! Too many! Not enough! One day maybe we will figure out that perfect balance for packing books on vacation! After writing the post I realized we will have quite some time in airports so I def should account for that. I still will probably bring only 2 physical books but I think I will def read more than that. Though I AM a big people watcher soooo who knows if I’ll end up reading plus Will doesn’t read so we will probably end up talking/sitting at the bar haha

  6. UK bookshops are THE BEST, so seriously, do yourself a favour and only take your Kindle with you. You’ll need lots of room in your suitcase(s) for the books you’ll be buying at Waterstones.

  7. I ALWAYS overpact books when I travel. It’s a serious problem. Especially since I tend to buy books wherever I am so fitting everything in my suitcase at the end of the trip is a major issue. The last big trip I went on, I brought my Kindle and two or three paperbacks and found that over the two weeks I was travelling, I didn’t even touch the paperbacks, instead I just read on my Kindle. It was so convenient because it fit so easily in my purse and didn’t take up too much space. It got to the point that I bought more books for my Kindle instead of reaching for the books I brought.

    And my votes are for My Life Next Door and The Revenge Playbook

  8. First and Then was cute and a book you could leave behind. I also think if you put it down, it’s pretty easy to pick up again later.

  9. I’m AWFUL at packing books for holidays. One trip I took twenty books! I write posts about my choices and by the time I’ve got home I’m like, Imogen why. But then next trip I do the same thing
    Imogen’s Typewriter. <3

  10. Out of that stack, I would definitely suggest First and Then and My Life Next Door. They’re both super adorable contemporaries with just the right amount of feels and I LOVED them both.

    Anyways, I’m pretty similar when it comes to reading on vacation. I feel like I HAVE to bring at least a few options plus my Kindle…but then I end up not reading anything. I’ll watch a movie or listen to an audiobook or a podcast instead. I went on vacation to Key West in February and brought my copy of Red Rising which I’ve been DYING to read…and then I read like 20 pages by the pool one afternoon and gave up. I think from now on I’m just going to stick to my Kindle for traveling and leave it at that!

  11. Choosing which books to bring is always such a struggle! I ALWAYS overpack books and think I’ll have way more reading time than I actually do.

    Definitely bring your Kindle with a few choices loaded on there, and I for sure recommend bringing My Life Next Door. It’s one of my top faves of all time that I’m constantly giving as a gift to force my family to read something. It’s the perfect balance of contemporary romance swooning and a little bit heavier, really makes you feel something type of book. I actually haven’t read any of the others so I give double weight to my one suggestion!

  12. Yes! I tend to overpack… BUT I only take 1 book with me everytime I travel or it would be a nightmare…plus hubby would probably kill me for bringjng A LOT! I do take my tablet with me so I won’t be lost when I finish the one book before I’m back…

    I vote for: The Mirror King & The Shadow Queen… perfect for your Euro trip!! πŸ˜‰

  13. I hope you have an amazing time on your trip! I always carry too many books when I go on holiday then I have no room for the ones that I buy ON the trip and it’s all a mess and I hope you don’t have as much trouble as I always do!

  14. My eyes are ridiculously bigger than my stomach when it comes to bringing books on vacation usually.

    My family would always go to Maine to see my grandparents (like multiples times per summer, a few other times each year) and we would read NONSTOP. These trips I knew I needed many books (and it was actually encouraged by my parents) because we fly through them. We sit on the beach or on the porch and just…read. The entire vacation. I’d always pack like 10 books and then we’d go to the local used bookstore we love and end up getting even more. It was pretty great.

    I actually got one of the original Kindles with 3G on it so that I could buy books after finishing them (my grandparents didn’t have wifi) and it was a lifesaver too. I definitely love having a Kindle stocked with books to read just in case. I need to be better about just bringing that by itself instead of another stack of books too haha.

  15. First of all, thanks for including that Gilmore Girls clip. I usually end up bringing my Nook when I travel and might bring 1-2 physical books if it’s a trip involving a flight. Depending where I travel, I might not have the time to read so I never over pack my bags with books. I hope you have a fabulous time in the UK! If you plan to go to the UK bookstores, make room for new books you decide to purchase.

  16. I would just take the Kindle. πŸ˜€

  17. If I ever got to go on vacation or travel I would also have a very hard time choosing. I would definitely bring my kindle. I would probably take three physical copy books with me as well.Two wouldn’t be enough for me. Three would be the perfect number. I would tale Blue-Eyed Devil for sure! I read Sugar Daddy by Lisa Kleypas and it was one of my favorite books ever! O would take Friends Forever as well. My reasoning for these two is that those types of books scream relaxation and vacation to me and my other reason is that they are standalones. If I took a series book I would want to read the next one immediately and be sad I didn’t have it. Enjoy your time in Europe! ❀

  18. Stephanie says:

    If it were me, I would pack a couple that I could read without a whole lot of thinking. Quick reads that are easy to put down and pick back up. If I were on vacation, I wouldn’t want to be trying to remember details about the world or the intrigue or whatever it may be. I would want the brain rest from all of the sights and sounds of my lovely vacation but not the pressure of having to remember anything.

  19. i read a ton on vacation, probably more so than normal life. there are the planes and downtime, and trains etc like you said. but then also, when we went to europe, we are not night people and we’d go to dinner and be back at the hotel by like 8pm because that’s totally us. so we’d read for a couple of hours like we were home. i normally rely almost 100% on my kindle, which is sad, because like you said, real books! but one of my favourite things to do when i travel is buy a real book from the place i’m visiting (pride and prejudice if i can find a copy because 30 apparently isn’t enough, jeez what is wrong with me) so i need to save room for those. i do try and leave books behind if i felt ‘eh’ about them, someone else might enjoy them, like you said… but i think that sounds good in theory but then i don’t want to leave the book if i liked it lol. anyway. good luck! and yay europe!

  20. I always over pack for trips whether it be books, clothes, or shoes. I vote for taking Shadow Queen & Revenge Playbook! I read Redwine’s Shadow Queen last month and enjoyed it very much. There are shape-shifting dragons, lots of action scenes, and magic incantations. πŸ™‚ I recommend it. I’ve seen Revenge Playbook around but don’t know much about it, so I’m curious to hear what it’s about.

    Have fun on your trip! I’m sure it’ll be amazing.

  21. The shadow queen & The mirror king FOR SURE. Both books were aaahaaamazing and I think you will really like both!

    I always thought I would overpack, but in the end I always read the amount of books I took with me (one time I even didn’t bring enough books with me. Thank you e-reader for solving that problem!)

  22. Definitely Reconstructing Amelia is amazing!

  23. If you have your Kindle with you then I’d take First &Then and Blue-eyed Devil. I think the quantity you bring depends on the type of holiday you have planned. When I went to Dominican I brought 5 books, my tablet with Kindle app and bought 2 books because I was laying get poolside and reading everyday. But some of my other trips I barely finished one book.

    I think best to take 2 and Kindle for this trip, especially if you’ll be going near bookstores on this trip. πŸ˜‰

  24. The books that are crucial for me to have on any trip are audiobooks. I cannot read on planes and trains without getting motion sick, so I spend a lot of time listening to audiobooks. Also, sometimes I find it difficult to sleep in unfamiliar beds. An audiobook is good in that situation too. Maybe it will lull me to sleep or at least give me something to do while I lie there with my eyes closed. Also, if it were me, I wouldn’t take any physical books at all. The Kindle’s battery lasts for weeks and holds hundreds of books. I have surprised myself with how thoroughly I’ve converted to the e-reader. Have a great trip! It sounds amazing.

  25. My Life Next Door! Gahh, I cannot get enough of Huntley Fitzpatrick in general, but this books gets all the stars from me. This book is super easy to read, so it’ll be perfect for all your in between time!

  26. Oh my gosh, I’ve just returned from a 9-day trip to Panama with crazy luggage weight restrictions, so I feel your pain. I also ended up taking 2 paperbacks and an ereader. I have a nook with glow light and though I don’t like the glow light, it came in really handy while reading outside looking at the ocean after dark. Of the two paperbacks I took, one was a library book and one was a book I owned, though I only ended up reading the library book. Oh and I also took a paperback travel guide. It’s so difficult! As much as I prefer reading paper, my ereader has been a life saver for traveling!


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