Have you read: Do some research before traveling | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Have you read: Do some research before traveling

By Dan Doyle

Although the Internet can offer up-to-date travel information, travel books tend to offer unbiased, reliable travel information particularly on the sights, history and culture of a region. Fodor’s, DK Eyewitness Travel Guides and Frommer’s are a few examples that demonstrate that there are as many different types of travel guides as there are travelers who use them.

A standard source for travelers, Fodor’s travel guides cater to all travelers, particularly high-end travelers who prefer to stay in mid-range to luxury hotels. Chock-full of information about sights, hotels and restaurants “Fodor’s Italy 2005” is an easy-to-use guide arranged geographically by regions such as Venice and Florence. Each section starts with a narrative description of the area: its culture, history and attractions, giving the potential visitor a real feeling for the area. A feature of the Fodor’s series is sample itineraries based on the number of days a traveler wishes to spend at a given destination. Readable maps point out major sights that correspond to pages that offer detailed information on the sights. For example, the “Where to Eat” section not only describes what each restaurant serves but offers suggested menu items and local specialties, including prices, hours of operation, location and other useful information. Other features of the Fodor’s travel series include a fast facts section, chronology of the area, and words and phrases section both in English and the language of the country.

The focus of DK Eyewitness Travel Guides is on graphics with color: pictures, maps, photographs and cutaway drawings that illustrate and inform. The DK travel guide “Mexico” is a visual feast, arranged geographically by region. The excellent section on Mexico City’s Cathedral Metropolitana is enhanced by a detailed cutaway drawing of the cathedral and pictures of what the guide refers to as “Star Sights” within the building. Detailed city maps and accompanying street indexes are a useful feature of this series. The sections on choosing a restaurant or hotel are basic: a short description with the price, location, and list of services included. A helpful survival guide section contains practical travel information, such as best times to visit, local customs, personal security and other travel advice. This is the series of choice for any student or traveler who needs excellent visual information.

The Frommer’s travel book series is designed to help travelers experience a place the way the locals do. Updated every year, this series offers an inside track on everything from shopping, local sports, nightlife, walking tours, etc., along with the usual travel information on restaurants, hotels and sights. Frommer’s uses many local authors to write their guides; they know their subject first hand. For example, Erika Lenkert, the author of “Frommer’s San Francisco 2005,” is a resident of the Napa Valley and writes for “The San Francisco Magazine.” Lenkert’s review of the PlumpJack Café in “Frommer’s San Francisco 2005” describes the restaurant as “wildly popular,” and the wild mushroom risotto as “decadent.”

It is this very personal, candid style that makes the Frommer’s travel guides such good reading, setting them apart from other travel guides.

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The Lake Tahoe Branch Library at Zephyr Cove has many travel books for trip planners and armchair travelers. Come check these and other books out at the library, located at 233 Warrior Way.

For more information call the library at (775)-588-6411.

– Dan Doyle is the senior library technician of the Douglas County Public Library.