I deemed today as ‘Traveling Thursday.” One of the things I mention in my profile is that I love to travel. Next month, in 33 days, I will be on my way to Prague, Vienna, and Budapest-in that order via LAX then train between the cities. That photo up there is the Charles Bridge with the spires of Prague Castle up on the hill; in the background.
Few things are more relaxing to me than having a glass of wine and watching Rick Steve’s travelogues or PBS’s aerial travel series. Now I didn’t say the most relaxing, but it’s in the top 5.
For months prior to the trip I’m a madwoman on TripAdvisor and Frommer’s. If I’m booking my own flights and making my own itinerary it’s a 6 month project with fare alerts from Kayak and Bing, in addition to the TA and Frommer’s.
The hunt for the appropriate travel book begins three months before the trip. If Triple A cuts me a good deal I get the book there, but that is few and far between. They don’t have a big selection and they like Rick Steve’s’ books. Now I don’t have anything against RS, in fact see the 1st paragraph, I love watching his show. But his books are 5 pound weights.
I need all available luggage space for my own stuff because I haven’t checked bags for 3 years, after landing in Paris without my luggage for the entire 8 days.I didn’t even need to check the damn thing, but my sisters checked their two suitcases, each, and I’d have to end up waiting at the carousel anyway. Bad decision. But half way lucky for me, I had an extra set of undies, blouse, and shawl in my carry on tote, with my toiletries. Their luggage was also lost, but for only 3 days. British Air shipped my bag to me a month later.
I went through a period of cutting and pasting info from various travel sites onto MS Word and then folding the 3 or 4 pages into my purse. Triple A has some great maps called ” MapEasy’s Guide to…” They’re awesome and the Travel Agent usually gave them to me for free or half off. But this method is cumbersome. The map is 10 inches tall and folds out three times the width.
The perfect travel book has to have a pull out map, not too thick and not papery thin. A transportation guide for the metro, bus, train has to be included. The book has to weigh less than 1 lb and smaller than 8×8 inches. And it has to have pictures, in color and have print that is at least 10 font (really 12 is better or I have to don my 99cents reading glasses). Organization is very important as well as the highlights of the area. If the book throws in history, culture, helpful phrases, and all that stuff then it’s a keeper.
With all that said, I do have one favorite and that is DK Eyewitness Travel Top 10: Your Guide to the 10 Best of Everything. The book is a little over 4×6 and contains all of the above material. The books are approximately 152 pages and less than 1/2 inch thick. With my Borders coupon I usually buy them for $10.
So on Traveling Thursday’s I’ll share some tips and stories about my travels throughout my life, from the first time I went to Tijuana with my friends, when I was 18, to my trip to Costa Rica last year. If you want you can grab a glass of wine, cup of tea, bottle of beer or water and meet me here next Thursday.