Best Travel Books

travel books
Photo by Hannah Wernecke

I really enjoy the travel books by the Discovery Channel. They really teach you about the region you will visit (or dream to visit). You often think that you will not bring the book with you on your trip. I think the reason for that is because you don’t want to lug it around or look like a tourist.

The Discovery Channel book on Iceland is amazing. It also has super maps that prevented us from getting lost. My other favorite book line for travel books is by Fodor’s. It’s the smaller book they make (still thick). It fits very well in a backpack. It’s 100% color photos. Either line makes a perfect gift. In fact, I got two of the Discovery books for my in-laws this past Christmas (my father in law competed in a cross country ski race in Sweden this past winter so he needed the books).

I was in the travel section at Barnes & Noble spending a gift card. I knew I wanted to get a book on Alaska. It just so happens I was standing next to an Alaska native when I bought the book. He’s been living near me and he’s taking his girlfriend to Alaska with him for the first time. We both ended up buying the same Fodor’s book. I was just going to get one on the Inside Passage but this nice chap from Alaska convinced me that I might want to see the rest of the state someday (ya think?). And hey, I just used the word ‘chap’ in a sentence!

I’ve purchased one of the Fodor’s books on Vermont for my parents once. I believe my Montana book is also from this series. This gives me something to read on the plane. And yes, look like a tourist. I’m not afraid to look like a tourist. Maybe it’s because I work in Bedford (home of the first Battle Flag) and go to Lexington a lot for lunch. At least 2x per week, I have to give tourist directions.

And then in Boston…well each time I’m there at least 2-6 people stop me and ask for directions. It’s helpful if they have a book with them. And I’m not mean to them just because they look like a tourist. People forget that tourism is a major contribution to our state and national economy! It really helps.

And in a big place like Alaska…I’m sure no one is going to make fun of me for having a map! 🙂

I found the Lonely Planet series excellent travel books to have around when traveling. Granted, it doesn’t have all full-color pages. Most only a few pages of color photos. However, when I backpacked through Italy, Greece, and even California, the respective Lonely Planet books bailed me out many times when searching for lodging for the night, nice meal, and attractions to spend the day. I have yet to travel with one in my backpack.

So no matter where you go this summer make sure you pick up one of these books. You will not be sorry. You’ll brush up on your history, fill your brain with beautiful photos, and not get lost. The AAA maps only take you so far (as do the books). I’ve never used a AAA map on a trip without a problem. The books rock…and you can also borrow great travel books and videos from your local library (and make photocopies in the library!).

You’ll be amazed at the travel section in your library…they even have videos. For each trip, we tend to plan where to stay each night and then plan our days once we get there (and also using the travel book). It’s well worth it to travel prepared. Because in some places, getting lost can mean you miss your boat back to your own country!

Wherever you go this summer–enjoy it! You’ve been working hard all year to pay for this trip.