Fall Travel Books
PUBLISHERS WEEKLY ; AUGUST 28, 2017 34
Amid the vast sea of online opinion, a
well-researched guidebook can provide
targeted suggestions vetted by experts
and an antidote to information overload.
John W. Byram, director of the
University of New Mexico Press, says
that the publisher conceived its new
Southwest Adventure series with this
in mind. The focus, he says, is on
that;can’t easily be replicated with just
a Google search.”
The series launches in September with two titles by New Mexico
natives: Eco-Travel New Mexico by Ashley M. Biggers covers the
state’s natural and cultural attractions, green hotels, and farm-
to-table eateries. In Skiing New Mexico, Daniel Gibson profiles
resorts as well as cross-country and backcountry downhill skiing
areas. Future guides will look at ecotravel in Colorado and hiking
along the byways of Arizona.
Established guidebook publishers, too, are targeting travelers
with niche interests. In Moon Nashville to New Orleans Road Trip
(Feb. 2018), Margaret Littman, who has written several
Tennessee-based guides for Moon, zeroes in on food and music.
Highlights include the Stax Museum of American Soul Music in
Memphis and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville.
Trip planning tips abound: readers will learn the best time of
year to go to Graceland, and where to get the best dry-rub
Memphis barbecue after their visit.
Lonely Planet is putting a strong focus on the great American
road trip; it has several guides that help travelers explore the U. S. from behind the wheel.
February 2018 brings updates to several guides,
including Pacific Coast Highway Road Trips and
Route 66 Road Trips. Books in another Lonely
Planet series, Best Trips, suggest a variety of
routes within a region. Florida & the South’s
Best Trips (third ed., Feb. 2018), for example,
covers 28 itineraries, from two days to two
weeks, across roads including Highway 61 and
the Blues Highway.
“Travel has become a little more specialist,” says Piers Pickard.
“The smaller and more personal experiences are much more
The success of Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer, Dylan Thuras, and
Ella Morton (Workman, 2016) bears this out. The title, which
compiles offbeat locations worldwide (e.g., the cliffside coffins
of Sagada, in the Philippines and the Gold Pyramid House in
Wadsworth, Ill.) has sold more than 240,000 print copies, per
NPD BookScan. In October, the publisher is releasing the com-
panion Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Journal, which includes mini
guides to a dozen major cities and blank space for adding one’s
Rick Steves tapped the adventurous spirit
of his 506,000 Facebook fans to compile
one of the chapters in Rick Steves European
Festivals (Nov.), the release of which is timed
to a TV special of the same name. Promising
“no museums! And no art galleries!,” the
guide takes readers through a year’s worth
of parties, beginning with Carnival in Venice,
Italy; in Lucerne, Switzerland; and across Slovenia, all the way
through Christmas markets and other traditions in Germany and
Reader contributions led to the chapter on smaller festivals,
such as the Battle of the Oranges in Ivrea, Italy, and the Festival
of Fire in Valencia, Spain.
“Festivals give people the chance to experience the culture in
a very fun and first-person way,” Avalon’s Donna Galassi says,
“one that makes them feel like they aren’t tourists.”
Kuperard’s Culture Smart series likewise aims to help visitors
feel like natives, with country-specific advice on local dos and
don’ts. Several new titles pub in February and March, covering
destinations including Bhutan and Nicaragua. Books in the series,
which spans more than 100 countries, address diverse topics
including gender relations, religious sensibilities, body language,
and business style. For instance, series editor Geoffrey Chesler
advises against shaking hands in Russia and giving a clock as a
present in China.
More etiquette advice—e.g.,
never step on a tatami mat while
wearing shoes or slippers—is
found in Japanese Inns and Hot
Springs by Rob Goss, with photos
by Akihiko Seki, which highlights
40 traditional ryokan (inns) and
onsen (hot springs). Goss, a British
travel writer and longtime Tokyo
resident, says his goal is to guide English speakers to a traditional
Japanese experience. This can be hard to come by, he says, in a
country where the hospitality industry can be “polite to a fault,”
trying so hard to make foreigners feel comfortable that the
majority of hotels are indistinguishable from those back home.
“I grew up in the U.K., where lots of people go off to Spain and
have English breakfasts and go to an English pub in the evening,”
Goss says. “It’s nice and it’s sunshine, but it’s not travel. I want
to help people have authentic travel experiences. —D.D.