These days I do most my travel research online, browsing through blogs, fathom and conde nast traveller for inspiration and tips which I save to pinterest boards. While I would never be without the resources offered by the internet, I really love a good travel book, I always have done.
Like airports and travel posters, travel books come with a strong sense of possibility. Nothing beats the anticipation of browsing a book store to find just the right guide, the one with the right balance of fact and fun, a useful map and good pictures (yep, I am practiced). For me, picking the right travel book is nearly as important as booking the trip itself.
When choosing travel books, and on sheer practicality (and map quality) alone, Lonely Planet wins out every time. Super practical (think reinforced stitching and kindle editions), these books have seen me through everything from backpacking to city breaks, and are generally bang on the money. Really, I cannot speak more highly of them.
However, sometimes it is good to mix things up a bit, and 36 Hours -150 weekends in the USA and Canada is just the way to do it.
Born from The New York Times' "36 Hours" column, this book brings together expert and Olimpia Zagnoli's playful illustrations to create a book that is as beautiful as it is informative. This is a totally different league of travel book, beautiful, yet practical (albeit chunky), it screams inspiration!
I love the concept behind this book - as a fan of short city breaks I want to be able to get the most out of a trip in a short time without compromising the quality of my experience. The itineraries on offer in 36 Hours are well balanced and interesting, hitting not just the 'big ticket' sights but also some quirkier offerings (I would have loved to know about Economy Candy when I was last in New York!) and quality recommendations.
There is nothing worse than a tick box, rush, rush, rush approach to short breaks (which so many books offer), and 36 Hours gets that. Nothing feels rushed in the itineraries, there is a leisurely 'come, hang out and see some stuff' feel to the book (which entirely appeals to me) - like you are being shown a city by an acquaintance.
This is a book that has got me dreaming, and I am looking forward to using it to plan a trip in the not too distant future!