Is there anyone who loves to travel but doesn’t also love to reminisce or get travel ideas with travel books? Well we’re no different and planning for our road trip/ upcoming world travels we’ve been doing a lot of ‘research’ and have built up a pretty good collection of travel books. Some are great, some not so much, and probably a few little gems you never new existed but will want. In the next few weeks we’ll be recommending some great travel books we’ve found and explain the different types and what each type is good for. Check back soon!
We love travel books. We usually devour all that we can get our grubby little hands on. Sometimes reading them several times, pulling out good advice, adding new places to our future travel wish lists, or just simply browsing them and daydreaming. Its that nostalgic feeling you get when you see a place you’ve been before or a feeling of excitement and wonder when it shows you a place you’ve never been before. Or maybe it’s because of the big beautiful photographs, or because we loose interest quickly with other books that lack them. I don’t know.
But what I do know is that through all our travel ‘research’ planning we’ve done for our travels around the world, we’ve found that travel books usually fall into a few categories. If you’re planning a trip or just looking for inspiration, make sure you choose the right type of book at the onset or you’ll find yourself back at the book store shelling out another $20. Hopefully, I can save you a few bucks and guide you to the book you’re looking for below.
The Travel Book Types
1) The entertainment, big picture books- You know those big coffee table books that focus on a specific theme such as “100 best Bla Bla Bla” or “Wonders of the Bla Bla world” or those “Best of” type books. They are usually filled with amazing photos, can peak your interest in visiting a place, but usually contain no helpful practical info that could help you get there or around when you do get there. Look for them in the bargain book section because they’re usually too large to fit in the normal book shelves of the travel section. This type of book is great for getting and keeping you motivated to travel, just don’t expect them to help you get there.
2) The traditional guidebook- This type of travel book is the polar opposite of the entertainment type big picture books. These are the ones you’re probably most familiar with. You know the ones that you buy after you’ve decided to visit a place and now need to figure out how you’re going to get there, where you’re going to stay, eat, do, etc. Those thick ass books, chock full of practical, useful info with hardly enough room for a picture. These books are essential before heading off to a foreign land because they allow you to plan your trip in advance. Well worth the little money spent (comparatively) before your trip, if nothing else but only for the piece of mind you’ll get by being prepared for your trip.
3) The ‘hybrid’ travel guide- Half practical info and half pretty pictures and fun facts. Its the bridge between the entertainment style travel book and the traditional travel guide. These glossy and colorful page books appear to have lots of great info as well as the nitty gritty practical stuff needed when you plan out or are on your trip. But don’t be fooled! They don’t. Because of the great pictures and diagrams they simply can’t fit in all the useful info you need to plan a trip. But don’t let that discourage you. When used with at traditional guide it is an invaluable resource when planning where to go or what to do because it ‘shows you’ the things that you could see or do (instead of just reading about them in the traditional guides) and you can decide if you’d like to visit them in person.
4) The travel resource- This is the book that provides useful travel related info around a specific topic. Its those “how to travel the world’ or ‘volunteer vacations’ or ‘what’s happening in the world and when’ type books. There are a million ways to slice it but they are aimed are a small niche. There is no better source or in-depth information if you fit their niche.
Now that you understand a little bit more of what’s available out there, here’s a list of books that caught my eye (and are now in my travel library) and my little review of them in case you are looking for something similar to plan your next adventure. Travel on!
The type 1 Entertainment type books
1. Journeys of a lifetime 500 of the worlds greatest trips- 400 pgs by national geographic. My all time favorite entertainment type book, I’ve read through it countless times. Its a monster of a book but that allows for colorful amazing pictures. It’s uniquely divided into sections by method of travel: across water (cruises, etc), by road (great road trips), by rail, etc. It lets your mind wander with all the fun travel possibilities you may have never thought of. For each highlighted ‘Journey’, it provides enough basic practical info such as “when to go, how long, planning, web resources’ that you feel armed enough to seriously consider making the trip a reality. I love it. **** out of ****.
2… more to follow…