Anyone traveling the Continent and looking for...

<i> James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer. </i>

Anyone traveling the Continent and looking for “extra value” buys should have a copy of “The Bargain Shopper’s Guide to the Finest Factory Outlets in Europe.” Judith H. McQuown has brought together an excellent collection of factory outlets where one can find savings, quality and name brands. The reader is briefed on the best months to deal, including those places devoted to high fashion. Advice to those looking for bargains: Take an empty suitcase for the goodies (Arbor House: $9.95).

Robert Wilson’s “The Insider’s Guide to Australia” is among the better compendiums on this country. Text, maps and color photography represent a true depiction of this vibrant and diverse land. It’s a revelation of tropical jungles, deserts and snowfields, cities and towns of multifaceted ethnic contributions (Hunter-New Jersey: $12.95).

“Webster’s Wine Tours--California, Oregon and Washington,” by Bob Thompson, is an easy-to-carry guide to more than 400 wineries and vineyards. Times to visit, routes and locations are explicit and cross-indexed to the text. Sights to see, places to stay and dine are included (Prentice Hall: $15.95).

Allan W. Eckert’s latest guide covers another part of the United States in “The Southwestern Quadrant.” It presents opportunities to locate minerals, rocks and fossils in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. The guide covers more than 1,000 specific areas with detailed and comprehensive site descriptions, maps and directions (Harper & Row: $16.95).


Frommer’s “Dollarwise Guide to Alaska,” by John Gottberg, presents various options in the season of your choice. It’s detailed with history, culture, glaciers and mountain peaks, including attractions of scenery and local topography. This worthwhile guide gives excellent tips on cruises, where to hang your hat, tuck a napkin, shop, et al (Prentice Hall: $12.95).

Our neighbors to the north are hosting the 1988 Winter Olympics, Feb. 13-28, in Calgary, Alberta, and Fodor’s “Canada” includes a 16-page insert on the Games. The guide is a well-detailed compendium of information useful for anyone heading to Canada ($13.95).

The “Blue Guide--Ireland,” by Ian Robertson, is a textbook reference to this land of the green. More than 40 itineraries are included, with an excellent background of articles on most everything a traveler would find necessary for a fulfilling visit. An invaluable addition to any travel library (W. W. Norton: $17.95).

“California Coastal Resource Guide” is a potpourri of topics, from the splendor of the coast, its environment, geography and creatures, to its social, cultural and economic aspects. It’s an all-encompassing compendium of fascinating and detailed information, well worth the $14.95 for those who enjoy watching the sun set in the Pacific (University of California Press).

Described as an adventurer’s guide to the beaches and coasts, “Hidden Mexico,” by Rebecca Bruns, is loaded with good advice on exploring the wilds or cities by day and enjoying the mariachis by night. It’s a fascinating revelation to help cope with the country’s diversity, customs, culture and traditions. The text is well detailed, maps above average. But the sketches are abstract and add little to this complete guide (Ulysses: $12.95).

Frommer’s 1988-'89 Dollarwise guides to “Switzerland and Liechtenstein” ($12.95), by Darwin Porter, and to “Florida” ($11.95), by Marylyn Springer and Donald Schultz, present good advice. Travelers should get more for their money with this in-depth collection of knowledge (Prentice Hall).

Joseph and Judith Raff live in Europe and offer firsthand information based on their annual travels on the Continent. Fielding’s has compiled their observations in “Europe 1988" ($9.95), “Economy Europe 1988" ($9.95) and “Selective Shopping Guide to Europe 1988" ($8.95). The guides are an excellent collection of tips and advice, with bits of interesting trivia between the where-to-stay and where-to-eat suggestions (William Morrow).