Today's travel guides: More than pretty pictures

LYSA ALLMAN-BALDWIN | 3/19/2016, 12:24 p.m.
Today’s travel guides go far beyond pretty pictures and a bit of history.
Travel guides go far beyond pretty pictures and a bit of history.

Today’s travel guides go far beyond pretty pictures and a bit of history. They demonstrate many different ways to actually experience a travel destination, both from the comfort of your favorite chair and while on the go. Here are a few to entice your travel wanderlust.

SKYLINES

“We read a city from the first few glances of the shapes and structures we see. From the air as we fly in, or the road as we approach it from afar, or the sea as it looms up on the horizon, a city’s shapes and structures are the things that tell us something about its age, it’s unique history and the personal stories that make it.”

This excerpt is from the introduction to “Skylines: A Journey through 50 Skylines of the World's Greatest Cities.” Edited by Yolanda Zappaterra and Jan Fuscoe, the book offers a unique perspective into how we not only see but truly experience a destination. But instead of using photographs of these iconic skylines, the book encompasses a wide array of illustrations coupled with the location, architect and a fast fact of interest.

For example, in New York, the Conde Nast Building at 4 Times Square has an air delivery system that provides 50 percent more fresh air than industry codes specify. And in Rio de Janeiro, the Christ the Redeemer statue in the city of Cordova has lightning rods inside the heads and arms to help ward against the hits it has taken over the years from tropical storms.

Providing even more historical context is the fact that the authors have divided the chapters into “Seaside,” “Visionary,” “Fortress,” “Skyscraper” and “Sacred Cities,” as well as “Cultural Capitals” for themed exploration.

“Skylines” is available through Amazon at www.amazon.com/Skylines-Journey-Through-Worlds-Greatest/dp/1781314519.

A DIFFERENT KIND OF HIGH

Running from one airport to another, sleeping in different hotels, eating at odd times of the day and being in relatively close quarters with hundreds of people can take a toll on your health, particularly if you travel often. Well, Jayne McAllister of Jayne McAllister Travel Wellness has some great tips and tricks to help keep you not just healthy, but also happy, while on the go in “Mile High & Healthy: The Frequent Traveler’s Roadmap to Eating, Energy, Exercise and a Balanced Life.”

Far beyond the usual focus on eating healthy and not straying too far from your exercise routine, McAllister shows travelers how to find “me time” despite a seemingly impossible schedule, eliminate jet lag without gimmicks, supplements or gadgets, make it through the day without sugar or caffeine to keep you alert and how to avoid a wide range of illnesses that can take you down.

According to McAllister, “If you don’t take measures to say healthy and balanced while being a frequent traveler, it can really take its toll on you. It’s important to learn how to navigate the traveler’s landscape so that you continue to feel great and can keep up with all of the demands.”

The book also includes a great list of airport walking paths, gyms and yoga studios dotted around the globe.

“Mile High & Healthy: The Frequent Traveler’s Roadmap to Eating, Energy, Exercise and a Balanced Life” is available at http://jaynemcallister.com/my-book.

HAPPY (100TH) BIRTHDAY!

No matter how you slice it, turning 100 is a momentous occasion. So in honor of the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, National Geographic Books has published its eighth edition of “The Guide to National Parks of the United States.”

Dividing our 59 national parks into eight regions, the book, first published in 1989 and still standing today as the bestselling parks travel reference, has undergone a complete, comprehensive redesign incorporating not only specific park history, full-color maps and photographs and detailed itineraries, but also a list of family activities, camping and lodging options, trails, the best sunset and wildlife viewpoints and other valuable insights.

Readers can also embark upon a year-long online portal called “Explore the Power of Parks” (natgeo.com/parks), peppered with a wealth of digital-only features including news stories, photographs and videos, among others.

“Guide to National Parks of the United States” is available at Amazon at www.amazon.com/National-Geographic-United-States-Edition/dp/1426216513.

COME “HOME”

Some travel trends come and go. But one of the hottest, which has only been gaining steam, is home exchanges. Unlike renting a house, condo or apartment, home exchanges are just what the title says—exchanges—where you and another party swap domiciles for the length of a vacation.

The new e-book “Luxury Globetrotting on a Staycation Budget: An Insider's Guide to the Home Exchange Experience,” written by self-described semi-retired, globetrotting, baby boomer Ainslie Waldron, provides readers with a wealth of guidance, insiders tips, success and challenges and more. The most obvious benefit to a home exchange is the amount of money you save on lodging. But there’s so much more, such as spending a longer period of time at your destination, simultaneous versus non-simultaneous exchanges, the ability to cook “at home” more often, how to make your home attractive for a home exchange network and enjoying the neighborhood ambiance while “living with” the locals, just to name a few.

And if you think you have to be retired, semi-retired or have a great deal of free time in order to travel this way, it’s time to throw out that idea. The book also demonstrates how you can do it with any amount of time you have, with children, incorporating your hobbies and more. Another benefit to the book is that, as an e-book, readers can get automatic updates when Waldron adds new information.

“Luxury Globetrotting on a Staycation Budget” is available at www.luxuryglobetrotting.com/index.php.

Lysa Allman-Baldwin is a freelance writer and the publisher and editor of Amazing Escapades, featuring “adventures for the mind, bod and belly” (www.amazingescapades.com). She can be reached at editor@amazingescapades.com.