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As an Army officer’s daughter, I grew up in a peripatetic atmosphere. We changed countries and cities so often that the only constants were our clothing, books and household furnishings.Yet, I purely love the 910s, and the 914s and the 917 sections of the library, with those shelves of free, glistening travel books.
Trip Planning to the Max
If I’m headed somewhere, I strip the library shelves of books for that region and use Post-Its to mark the most valuable sections for photocopying – usually museums or shopping. Fodor’s? Frommer’s? I choose the most recent publication or sometimes just compare and contrast. Rick Steves’ strength seems to be Europe, and I like his take on what to see in museums.
My “Rip and Go” Method
Usually, you’re going to want up to date information, but I do have a use for the $1 travel guides you find at Friends of the Library book sales, such as the big sale at Woodside Library on Saturday, April 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. If the guides are just a year or two out of date, I rip out the relevant sections for each city and walk around with the sheaf of pages; once I leave that city, I just toss the pages.
Filling Our Stomachs?
I have a fondness for the Let’s Go series since many of the student/budget guides recommendations suit me well.The restaurant sections, for instance, were fine in Italy for my daughter and me, although I do check Yelp restaurant recommendations, too. (I needed to find a lunch place to take my father-in-law in his area and came up with the Newcastle Cheese Shop in Newcastle just off Highway 80, if you ever need a good sandwich on the way up to Lake Tahoe.)
I have to admit that because accommodations require a chunk of change, I spend a lot of time researching online. I favor websites that book many European travelers, like Booking.com or Hotels.com, but I’m not crazy about shared bathrooms and read the fine print to make sure a bath is included.(And, as a note of caution, the prices quoted exclude hotel taxes, which can be very considerable in cities like New York.) Although the website is a pain to navigate, I actually use TripAdvisor to check out hotel reviews. For example, I booked a reasonably priced hotel in the Shinjuku district of Tokyo for two family members in January 2011, following travelers’ suggestions through threads on the Tokyo forum.
Word of Mouth Works, Too . . .
But the best way is just hearing from others and sifting through the suggestions.
Naoshima, an art island in Japan’s Inland Sea, was a travel destination suggestion from an art docent friend at the Asian Art Museum. Timely ideas for a New York City visit recently came from DeAnn O.’s post. I’m currently researching New Hampshire jaunts, and maybe a side trip up north into Quebec City?
Karen Y. now needs a modicum of comfort in a hotel room. She, however, can still walk her young adult children into the ground, whether exploring the streets of Verona, Italy or roaming the museums of Williamstown (The Clark Collection ) and North Adams (MA Museum of Contemporary Art ) in Massachusetts.