NEW YORK -- Whether you're planning a trip in the new year and need some practical advice, or you'd like to give a coffee-table book filled with inspirational photos to someone on your Christmas list, there's a travel-themed book for you. Here are a few recently published books to consider, including the relaunch of Frommer's guidebooks.
Food and travel
Many travelers are passionate about food, whether it's enjoying that perfect meal on vacation or hunting down authentic local cuisine. Travel + Leisure magazine's "Where to Eat Around the World" ($35) spotlights food in 27 destinations in a coffee-table book, from the lunch canteens and taverns of Istanbul to barbecue in Texas. Travel + Leisure has also come out with a 2014 calendar, "World's Best Places" ($15).
Lonely Planet's "The Food Book: A Journey Through the Great Cuisines of the World" ($25) is a reference guide to cuisines from 47 countries with details on ingredients, dishes, drinks, eating habits, local produce, etiquette, shopping, culinary traditions and even utensils. Also from Lonely Planet, "A Fork in the Road" ($16) offers 34 stories from chefs from Marcus Samuelsson to Madhur Jaffrey.
Arthur Frommer and his daughter Pauline have relaunched their guidebook enterprise with 30 new titles. The relaunch marks a new publishing chapter for the Frommers, who sold their brand to Google in 2012, then reacquired it earlier this year.
"We regained the travel series on April 3 and spent the next six months working around the clock," Frommer, 84, said in a phone interview. "I never dreamed at my age I'd be working this hard! We created freshly researched books from beginning to end," written by authors the Frommers had worked with previously who "have devoted their lives to writing about the destination where they live."
There are 10 new Frommer's "Day by Day" guides, which are compact paperbacks ($13.95) with removable maps, packed with everything from sample one-, two- and three-day itineraries, to recommendations for shopping, night life, restaurants, excursions and neighborhood tours. The new "Day by Day" guides cover New York City, San Francisco, Honolulu and Oahu, Prague, London, New Orleans, Paris, Rome, Boston and Philadelphia.
Frommer's has also newly published 20 "EasyGuides" priced at $10.95. "The EasyGuides create a new price point," Frommer said. "Plenty of travel books sell for under $10, but many of them are just 40 to 60 pages long. These books are 256 pages and contain a full-size foldout waterproof map bound in the back."
The EasyGuides cover Alaskan cruises and ports of call, Australia, Colorado, Costa Rica, France and a separate book on Paris, Hawaii, Ireland, Israel, London, Las Vegas, Madrid and Barcelona, Miami and Key West, Montreal and Quebec City, New Orleans, New York City, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Walt Disney World and Orlando, and a single guide to Rome, Florence and Venice.
E-book versions of all the new Frommer guides are due out in January, but as Frommer points out, the actual books have one advantage: "They don't run out of power."
For the armchair traveler or the vacation planner, National Geographic's "Four Seasons of Travel: 400 of the World's Best Destinations in Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall" ($40) showcases destinations near and far by season. Périgord, France, for example, is noted for its wintertime truffle hunts, while Sweden's Gotland Island marks a 14th-century battle each August with jousting tournaments, banquets and more.
For powderhounds, "Fifty Places to Ski & Snowboard Before You Die" by Chris Santella ($25) looks at snow sports destinations around the world, from the European Alps to Chile's Portillo to Kashmir in India to ski areas all over North America, from New England to the Rockies to Alaska.
"Rome Secrets: Cuisine, Culture, Vistas, Piazzas" ($60) by Susan Wright is a visual love letter to the city, its architecture, food, streetscapes and people.
More feasts for the eyes are found in Lonely Planet's "Beautiful World" ($40), which offers a collection of stunning photos, mostly landscapes of natural phenomena, from sand dunes to icy waterfalls. Lonely Planet's "Great Escapes" ($40) provides ideas and photos for 75 trips, such as the "Belgian beer odyssey" or visiting the Dead Sea in Jordan.
Also from Lonely Planet, "Best in Travel 2014" ($15) offers vacation inspiration in a paperback. For kids, Lonely Planet's "Not-For-Parents" series is out with "The Real Wonders of the World" ($20), introducing young readers to cool places from the Great Pyramid of Giza to New Zealand's "Lord of the Rings" locations.