Making vacations count means finding the best destinations to visit as you plan trips away from home, whether a major vacation or quickly planned weekend getaway. Travel books are a staple of the vacation planner’s diet and despite the huge availability of online resources and materials, there is no shortage of printed (physical) travel books at arm’s reach. I’m sure each of you has a favorite travel book publisher that you turn to for ideas and advice, and here are links to some of the most popular publishers in the US:
I’ll admit my favorite varies based on the region of the world, city trip or outdoor adventure, and even which titles are available at my local bookstore. Almost always I take two books when visiting a new destination since no one book can cover every aspect of a trip in all the detail I’m seeking. Buying travel books on Amazon.com (Travel Section) means getting the best price (in most cases) but I tend to prefer browsing the shelves in person. That way I can discover places (many times exotic sounding) that I’ve always wanted to visit, forgot all about and want to consider now, or sometimes never even heard of! My travel bookshelf at home is full of books from almost every publisher, and quite a few are for destinations that I have yet to visit. Your next vacation is never far off, and for me having visual reminders of places I want to visit means buying books before I have plane tickets in hand. Sure I risk owning a travel book that will become out of date before I actually visit its featured destination, but that won’t stop me from learning now and imagining the potential of a trip I’ll eventually take. I hope you agree!
For trips within Europe, the Rick Steves’ guidebooks are essential if you want honest and practical advice along with exact details on where to explore and how to make the most of a popular museum or attraction. Lonely Planet has a terrific series called “Encounter” which I appreciate when touring a big city neighborhood by neighborhood (it fits right in your pocket). Frommer’s and Fodors are quite similar in my opinion and after many years of publishing color-free (bland) books they now both offer wonderful full-color titles with loads of photos, maps, and suggested itineraries. The titles I prefer are Frommer’s “Day By Day” series and Fodors “see it” series of travel guidebooks. Moon Handbooks is perhaps a little less known (look for their blue cover) but have a quality range of titles written by world-class travel writers and covering the more finer points of travel to a specific destination. Finally you have certainly seen the DK Eyewitness series in stores, jam-packed with gorgeous photos, diagrams with callouts, and walking tour maps. I enjoy them as well but lately have been purchasing the “Top 10” series which is a compact version of the same guide that is much easier to bring along on a trip. There are many other worthy travel publishers, and you’ll notice when visiting Europe that many books are UK based and not readily available in the US, so make sure to visit English language bookshops when you arrive at your destination to supplement and get a different perspective.
Post a comment and tell us your favorite guide book series.
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