It was my birthday last week and, apart from the huge amount of chocolate I received from my son, I think my favourite gift was the book Travel – Where to go when which I was sent to review by the company Presents for Men. They had no idea it was my birthday although I’m pretty sure they were aware I wasn’t a man. The company doesn’t just offer gifts for the man in your life: they have items for both sexes and all ages and I’m partial to perusing their Travel Paraphernalia brochure when it pops through the letterbox. Did you know I once helped our team win a school quiz because I was able to spell ‘paraphernalia’. I had quite a dispute with one member of the team who insisted there wasn’t an ‘r’ in the middle. I was right.
This 336 page coffee-table book is published by Dorling Kindersley, whose Eyewitness Travel guidebooks are renowned for their stunning photos combined with essential facts for holiday planning. I have a fair few of their Top 10 city guides: Barcelona, Berlin, Paris, Venice etc which have proved their worth on our trips over the last few years. This book, however, is designed to inspire the traveller, to provide some suggestions of where to visit and at what time of year. The consultant editor is Craig Doyle, who used to present the BBC Holiday programme. I met Craig once at a blogger event in London a couple of years ago. Very knowledgeable and very good-looking.
I digress. Again.
For each month there is a Weather Watch section plus suggestions on where to go under the categories Festivals and Culture, Unforgettable Journeys, Natural Worlds, Luxury and Romance, Active Adventures and Family Getaways. More detailed information is given for 11 holiday destinations for each month: how to get there, eating out, accommodation, what to do each day and a few dos and don’ts. All accompanied by superb full-colour photographs.
To give you an idea, for August the editors suggest Lucerne and Edinburgh for Festivals and Culture, Norway’s North Cape and the Germany’s Black Forest for unforgettable journeys, the Manu Rainforest in Peru for Natural Wonders, The Hamptons in the US and Mozambique for Luxury and Romance, Mount Cotopaxi in Peru for Active Adventures and Slovenia for Family Getaways. I’m sure people have their own ideas on the best time to visit these places but remember, this is only a guide. It is a starting point, sowing the seeds of a destination and allowing you to dream and plan the next adventure.
As with any guidebook, as soon as it is published it can be out-of-date. This edition was reprinted with revisions in 2009 so there will be some changes, particularly with prices of accommodation and food. With this in mind, I still think it’s a worthwhile publication and I can report that I have been a very happy armchair traveller (or should that be sun-bed traveller) this week, soaking up the sunshine and planning our next escape. October half-term: the autumn festival in Budapest, the Eden Project here in England or Japan’s Takachihokyo Gorge?
|Victoria Falls, Zambia and Zimbabwe|
‘Travel: Where to go when’ is priced at £19.99 and is available from ‘Presents for Men’