Whether you have already made your summer travel plans or are waiting for inspiration to strike, here are a few travel tomes to put on your summer reading list.
“1,000 Places to See in the USA and Canada Before You Die” (Patricia Schultz, Workman, $14.02)
Schultz revolutionized the way people plan trips with her 2003 runaway best seller, 1,000 Places to See Before You Die, which has just been made into a 14-week Travel Channel series, following the adventures of Colorado newlyweds Melanie and Albin Ulle as they trek through 13 countries and 100 of the book’s hot spots.
This just-released follow-up focuses on the same ingenious formula—but a bit closer to home.
There are many ways to use this book. Explore your passions (follow the antiques trail in Georgia, see architecture in Chicago, meander through the Hudson Valley or visit the best baseball stadiums, golf courses and national parks in both countries), plan stops on an upcoming trip or search for an intriguing day trip close to home.
While Schultz’s mesmerizing prose will make you want to see everything you read about, the information she provides is also accurate and helpful, including all the 411 you’ll ever need.
“Spend less, see more.” That’s the mantra of this new series edited by the daughter of travel guru Arthur Frommer.
“Paris” and “London” are the latest releases in the Pauline Frommer travel guide series and come at a time when both cities are extremely expensive for Americans. The authors aim to take bargain hunting into the 21st century by showing you how to use the Internet to save money and suggesting alternative housing options (like short-term apartment rentals).
Most fascinating are the chapters that tell you what the locals do so you can get an authentic taste of these locales, as well as the dead-on, up-to-date shopping sections. Most helpful are the concise and comprehensive planning tips.
“Spain for Dummies” 4th Edition (Neil E. Schlecht, Wiley, $3.99)
As destinations go, Spain is a hot spot—and this update of an already acclaimed classic is right on the money. Rather than inundate you with facts and trivia, Schlecht focuses on the places that give you the most authentic and fascinating experiences. On a tight schedule or budget? Schlecht offers plenty of advice on how to economize your spending and maximize your time. Given Spain’s splintered rail system, the sections on how to get to destinations is particularly helpful, as is an icon system that identifies the “best of the best” in each category and alerts you to potential trouble spots.
“The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World 2007” (Bob Sehlinger with Len Testa, Wiley, $2.50)
When the first edition of this book came out, it was 200 pages long. This new edition is more than 800 pages, and if you’re going to make the most of your ticket price ($67 per person per day in 2007), you’ll need every page. There are hundreds of rides, attractions, restaurants and hotels to choose from, and Sehlinger tells you which ones are worth the wait, the cost and the effort.
You’ll need a game plan to survive your Disney World experience, and this book shows you how to shave hours off your time spent in lines, determine the best rides for your brood, find decent dining spots, get a good deal on a hotel and so much more
“Rainforest” (Thomas Marent, DK Publishing, $33.89)
Swiss photographer Thomas Marent spent 16 years shooting rainforests all over the world. The shots in this book bring these exotic, hard-to-reach locales to you in all their vibrant glory. Marent annotates the photographs with idiosyncratic commentaries that range from his personal descriptions of a place to scientific information that adds another dimension to his subjects. A 70-minute CD, “Sounds of the Rainforest,” is included with the book, making it a multisensory experience.
This unique dual format allows you to experience the wonder and beauty of life in these pristine habitats while appreciating our global responsibility to keep such ecosystems intact. Naturalists, conservationists, photography aficionados and travel buffs will all appreciate this beautiful work.