The Wall Street Journal Guide to Power Travel: How to Arrive with Your Dignity, Sanity, and Wallet Intact
In the not-so-distant past, travel was supposed to be an adventure, an experience that people looked forward to with anticipation, not dread. Alas, times change. Today travel is something to be endured, not savored. Scott McCartney, though, believes there is no reason it should be that way. "There are ways to improve travel," he insists, "... to minimize the chances that travel will be disrupted ... to reduce the stress of travel." Ever the contrarian, McCartney even goes so far as to suggest that there are ways to enjoy travel. He calls it "power travel," and as its name suggests, it is a way to regain some control. Among other topics, he discusses how travelers can minimize late flights, missed connections, lost baggage and long lines as well as how to find the best low fares and engage in power upgrades and power boarding. It is full of invaluable tips, including various ways to improve your baggage's chances of not getting lost. He suggests, for example, that the best way to make your luggage stand out from the crowd is to mark it distinctly by using tape and applying it directly onto the bag. And just in case the worst scenario does occur, he recommends that you get a local phone number for the luggage service.
Travel as a Political Act
Nation Books, $16.95
Rick Steves is one of the most famous travel writers working today. He also is among the most thoughtful. In "Travel as a Political Act," he challenges readers to think of travel as more than just, as he calls it, "a form of recreational escapism. ... It can be much more." Steves believes that travel "should bring us together." The best kind of travel challenges us and makes us think about things we haven't considered before. Thus, he encourages people to travel with an open mind; in other words, to travel "thoughtfully." Here he discusses traveling in the former Yugoslavia, in Europe, El Salvador, Turkey, Morocco and Iran, commenting throughout on how we, as collective travelers, can learn from other cultures, and how to use those experiences when the journey ends. To Steves, "travel becomes a political act only if you actually do something with your broadened perspective once you return home."
Memphis & the Delta Blues Trail
Countryman Press, $19.95
Anyone who loves the blues and rock 'n' roll will love this guide. Authors Melissa Gage and Justin Gage describe in loving detail both well-known and obscure locations, including the best places to hear authentic blues. They begin their journey in Memphis, the birthplace of rock 'n' roll, and include stops at such sites as Beale Street in the heart of Memphis, Elvis Presley's Graceland -- the second most visited private residence outside of the White House -- as well as several music studios and museums: Stax Museum of American Soul Music, Sun Studio and the W.C. Handy House Museum. They visit Clarksdale, the cradle of the blues, stopping at the famous Crossroads Monument, which may be an obvious ploy to appeal to tourists but also is where the legendary bluesman Robert Johnson was said to have sold his soul to the devil. They also mention historic homes, historic markers, cultural centers and burial sites -- all associated with the musicians. But it's not just music. They also describe the best places to shop, stay and eat. When possible, they emphasize unusual accommodations such as the Shack Up Inn and Cotton Gin Inn. Located on a former plantation, the inns consist of nine sharecropper shacks that have been modernized while still retaining their rough-around-the-edges authenticity. It's an indispensable guide for anyone traveling to the Mississippi Delta.
Together We Go: Extraordinary Family Journeys to Discover and Remember
Clarkson Potter, $45
What makes a family getaway memorable? What kind of holiday creates indelible memories? Before a decision is made, research must be done, conflicting schedules must be resolved. This book, by Anita Kaushal, is divided into four themes designed to help readers arrive at a decision: "The Plan" theme examines the practicalities of going on a journey; The City looks at the architecture and various sites of the world's great metropolises; "Adventure" covers the types of holidays that might appeal to people who like to think outside the box; while Escape emphasizes the joys of indulgence. "Together We Go" is all about choices, and with that in mind, it offers suggestions and thoughtful considerations, from street and food markets to safaris and resorts to kids clubs (places created with children in mind) and staying in a castle.
The Best Vintage, Antique and Collectible Shops in Paris
Little Bookroom, $18.95
Part of the enduring appeal of antique hunting is its serendipity. You can never be sure what you will find. And in a city such as Paris that is especially so. "Paris still contains many mysterious secrets and magical places," writes author Edith Pauly. Here she describes nearly 60 of them, including shops that specialize in china and housewares, antique kitchen utensils, vintage clocks and even a toy store for grown-ups. The gorgeous color photographs by Sandrine Alouf, beautifully laid out, accentuate the text.
--Resourceful Traveler is written by June Sawyers