I know the way the world is leaning evermore toward increased technology use, including the popularity of e-readers. But for me, you’ll never be able to emulate, or replace, the feel of sitting down and curling up with a good book.
For travel-related books, there’s something magical and exciting about turning the page, wondering what awaits you on this particular sojourn. So here are a few of the latest that have landed on my coffee table to get you on your way.
A not so lonely world
Publisher Lonely Planet has put out two gorgeous coffee table books of late. One is titled “Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2013,” their “annual collection of the world’s best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for the upcoming year.” In it, they include their “Top Travel Lists,” including the “Best Places to Get Fit,” “Best Value Destinations” and favorite cities with bike sharing schemes; their top countries, regions and cities to visit throughout this year; and a 2013 travel planner encompassing more than 35 unique cultural events, music festivals and a great deal more.
As this year is Lonely Planet’s 40th anniversary, in this guide they have added a special chapter from their founder and five other travel-guide gurus discussing their take on what the last 40 years have meant for travel (www.lonelyplanet.com/themes/best-in-travel).
The second book is “Lonely Planet’s Great Adventures,” a gorgeous hardcover coffee table book showcasing some of the world’s best adventure experiences with compelling content that includes nine themed chapters transporting readers to some of the most fascinating places on the planet. How about hiking in the Milford Sound in New Zealand? Or diving around Bikini Atoll? Then there’s climbing the summit and Mount Kilimanjaro or rowing across Siberia’s Lake Baikal. You can definitely say that these adventures are for the more hardy travelers among us. Nevertheless, they do, like the subtitle alludes, allow you to “experience the world at its breathtaking bests.”
The photographs are stunning, and each chapter includes several sidebars of information, a map and an array of practical planning tips. Just looking at the book alone makes you want to think about possibly moving beyond your own comfort level (http://shop.lonelyplanet.com/world/greatadventures/?lpaffil=lpcomsearch-shoplinks).
One last note: What is unique about Lonely Planet books is that they don’t just surf the web to find out the top things to add to their publications; rather, all of the places listed have been traveled by their staff, authors and online community, lending much more background and personal insight to their information, which has enticed travelers to read their books for almost 40 years.
For the fearless traveler
I wouldn’t necessarily call myself a fearless traveler, yet I have to say that this book really sounds intriguing. “Criminal London: A Sightseer’s Guide to the Capital of Crime” by Kris and Nina Hollington provides an insider’s look at the more sinister side of this celebrated European city, with more than 100 sites revolving around common criminals, countless murderers, assassins and a great deal more.
From a walk around the London of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to that of Jack the Ripper, readers will be truly captivated. Speaking of Jack the Ripper, his seedy journey around London encompasses five miles that the authors say can be explored at a leisurely walk within two and a half hours. You’ll venture through White Chapel Road to the Royal London Hospital, where you can view the Openshaw Letter, thought to have been sent by Jack the Ripper with a kidney of one of his victims; and other sites, Yet they don’t simply just provide you with the location and what happened there. They give you a historical background that really sets the stage for the ambiance of the day. Locations like Gambler’s Paradise in London’s Berkeley Square, De Beers’ Diamond HQ, King’s Bench Prison and other locations are also part of the fun (www.amazon.com/Criminal-London-Sightseers-Guide-Capital/dp/1845137787).
What happens in the cockpit stays in the cockpit
That’s the first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this book, “Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel, Questions Answers & Reflections.”
Sometimes you want to know stuff, and sometimes you might think that being blissfully unaware is the safer route to go. However, you would be missing out on a lot if you did not read this book, written by air travel writer and veteran commercial pilot Patrick Smith, who has visited over 70 countries.
In it, he provides air travelers with the scoop on a wide array of subjects related to air travel, including myths and misconceptions about cabin air and cockpit automation; the truth about delays and the dysfunction of the modern airport; airfares, seating woes and the pitfalls of airline customer service; and the two fundamental flaws of airport security post-9/11, among other tidbits.
It’s a fascinating read whether you travel only now and again for vacation or on a regular basis for business or pleasure. And it might just help clear up some your questions, take away the frustration and maybe even rid you of any flying anxiety you may have. The next time I walk onto a plane, I think I’ll have it in my hand so the pilot and crew can see that some of us know a little more than they might think (www.amazon.com/Cockpit-Confidential-Everything-Questions-Reflections/dp/1402280912)!
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.