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.

“Mile High & Healthy: The Frequent Traveler’s Roadmap to Eating, Energy, Exercise and a Balanced Life” is available at


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” (, 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


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

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