Browsing Posts in Travel books

Italy travel Carrara

Sometimes editor types joke about the “three I’s of travel” that grace so many magazine covers: Italy, Ireland, and India. They’re photogenic, look exotic, and have nice luxury hotels with ad money to spend. You’ll rarely find a travel magazine that goes a whole 12 months without one of the three on a cover.

In the current issue of Perceptive Travel, we subbed in Iceland for Ireland. (Don’t worry, you can still find the latter plenty of places on our blog.) Iceland is also photogenic, can look exotic, and has some nice hotels. As usual though, we don’t tick off places you’ve already seen a hundred times before. We like to take the road less traveled. In this case we’re literally on the road with Luke Armstrong as he tries to learn how to drive a stick shift on the fly. In a van. Going across Iceland in the “crazy season.” See Learning to Drive a Dinosaur in Iceland.

We also have a story about Italy, but toss out your expectations because Debi Goodwin is not going to check anything off your bucket list. This place was on hers though: the Italian marble quarries of Carrara.

Old Delhi

We had a story in the past on how the “Incredible India” portrayed in ads and glossy travel stories is like an alternate universe to the Slumdog Millionaire reality that non-luxury travelers see every day. Being sheltered from the grinding poverty is next to impossible if you go for a walk though, as Jim Johnston finds out in Hunger and Privilege: Dinner in Old Delhi.

As always we run down some world music worth listening to, from a globalFEST compilation to classical music with a Turkish twinge, through the ears of Laurence Mitchell.

Susan Griffith reviews three new travel books: one from a legend, one from a shipping industry reporter, and one from…well, you decide.

Need some new travel shoes?

We give away something cool to one of our loyal Perceptive Travel readers each month and last time Jack P. from Florida scored a nice $139 daypack from Granite Gear. In April we’re setting someone from the USA up with a nice $90 pair summer travel shoes: the H2O Escape Bungee Sneaker from Sperry Topsiders.

To win, you could follow PT on Facebook and pay close attention. The better bet is to sign up for the monthly e-mail newsletter.

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I think I can say with confidence that if an executive editor of Travel + Leisure or Afar tried to put this month’s batch of Perceptive Travel stories on the cover of their magazine, said editor would soon be looking for a new job.

We don’t like to play it safe though, so we’re going with our odd batch of travel tales from places that won’t make the trend-chasing travelers sit up and take notice.

Well, we do have Brazil in there, which is getting tons of press in 2014, but there will not be any World Cup matches where this article takes place. Volker Poelzl and his girlfriend take off on a canoe to paddle down a remote section of the Amazon River where there are more pink dolphins and caimans than people. See The River of Solitude in Brazil.

Ukraine travelJudith Fein corresponds with a pen pal in Ukraine for 20 years before finally paying him a visit. She’s there to research a new book (The Spoon From Minkovitz) and dive into the origins of her mother’s home cooking in Jewish Brooklyn back in the day. See Kishka and Kasha in the Ukranian Countryside.

I think I know a lot about the world and as a kid I was fairly obsessed with all the unsolved mystery stuff that was all the rage in the 70s—from UFOs to the Loch Ness Monster. I’ve never heard of this strange Nan Madol site in Micronesia though that Brad Olsen profiles. It’s a citadel of ancient kings, built with giant basalt “logs” that can weigh a couple hundred tons, and it defies all logical explanation as to why it’s there and how it was built. See Micronesia’s Mysterious Nan Madol.

Graham Reid cranks up some new world music albums, including the new Rough Guides collection Arabic Cafe and a new one from the legendary Gipsy Kings.

Bill Caverlee reviews some new and noteworthy travel books hitting the shelves, from yet another Lonely Planet coffee table book to the 80th anniversary edition of a beloved Footprint guide. See the latest travel book reviews.

Granite Gear packWe give away something cool for free each month to one of our newsletter subscribers. For February, an Australian reader named Hannah scored a free pair of new Vasque shoes. This time we’ve got a $130 daypack from Granite Gear that can work for hiking or just hauling around your stuff when you’re sightseeing. You’re on the newsletter list, right? If not, get on it quick to enter this month and every month.

I’ve saved the bragging for last, but if you’ve read this far, we’ve done very well in some award announcements lately. Perceptive Travel got a Silver for “best online travel magazine” from the North American Travel Journalists Association, as well as some individual awards. Then the Solas Awards came out and we took home even more in that one. See the home page of Perceptive Travel for more: best travel writing awards.

arctic hiking story

After a hiatus publishing our first most popular travel stories issue, we’re back with a batch of new travel stories from Panama, western China, and Arctic Canada. Plus reviews of new travel books and world music.

This issue marks the debut of Canadian writer Jerry Kobalenko, a many who thinks its fun to hike across snow-blown plains in sub-zero weather with an expedition partner he just recently met. See his story here: Crossing Labrador by Foot with Noah.

western China travelLuke Armstrong is back with a tale of getting roped into hiking Panama’s highest mountain at sunrise and seeing a killer with a knife at the top. Then having no ride when he got to the bottom. See The Horror Movie Atop Panama’s Volcán Barú

Can travelers make a positive difference in the local cultural attitudes? James Dorsey and his traveling partner find a way to do their small part with one ancient vendor in an Ughur area of China. See Giving Face in China.

Susan Griffith is back with a batch of interesting new travel books, including the latest on Africa from Paul Theroux. Laurence Mitchell reviews new world music albums that are all a mash-up of one culture and another.

Perceptive Travel newsletter subscribers get a shot every month at scoring a new travel gear item. Last month reader Kim from Pennsylvania won a cool Bluetooth portable speaker from NYNE. This time someone will get a pair of great $130 shoes from Vasque that are so new they’re not even out yet. Here’s where you can get on the list. You’ll get an e-mail only once a month when we put out a new issue.

first time around the world rolf potts book travel the world for chea

Sure, you can read travel blogs full of advice from the road for free and get loads of great information. But you’ll have a read a few dozen of them until you’re bleary eyed to get the kind of structure and comprehensiveness you can find in a good book. Here are a few that are worth plunking down some cash for if you’re planning months, a year, or more on the road.

The Rough Guide First Time Around the World” is a good primer if this will be your first trip circling the globe. The fourth edition was released this year and this book goes into far more detail than most, covering all the things you haven’t thought of but should: visas, vaccinations, cultural taboos, credit cards, and much more. Especially geared to those on a budget, it will certainly save you far more than the $14.50 the paperback costs on Amazon.

Vagabonding by Rolf Potts is about taking time off from your regular life to discover and experience the world on your own terms. This is an entertaining and inspiring read, as much a philosophy of travel guide as a primer. It came out around the same time as the first edition of my book 10 years ago and has never been updated, so details here and there sound kind of dated. If that bothers you, get the Audible version Rolf recorded recently as some of the anachronisms were removed. Mostly though, it’s evergreen, still as useful today as a decade ago.

How to Travel the World on $50 a Day is blogger Nomadic Matt’s guide to traveling around the world on a limited budget. He’s been doing it for years, so there’s plenty of advice from the voice of experience on all matters of long-term travel. See my detailed review here that I wrote when it came out.

career sabbatical travel working while traveling

The Practical Nomad: How to Travel Around the World is from outspoken writer and travelers’ rights advocate Edward Hasbrouk. The author has spent a lot of time inside a travel agency selling round-the-world tickets and he knows the ins and outs of getting the best deals. This is the 5th edition, so it’s been through plenty of tweaks. It’s a detailed, well-researched guide that offers far more depth than most planning guides: one to dip into for guidance and education, not to just read in one sitting for motivation.

The Career Break Traveler’s Handbook is from Jeffrey Jung, who runs the Career Break Secrets blog. It’s not aimed at 20-something travelers trying to stave off the real world, but rather those who would like to step off the treadmill and take a break. A long break. Full of inspiration, planning and budgeting advice, and stories from those who have taken the leap and landed on the other side of the world.

Work Your Way Around the World: The Globetrotter’s Bible by Susan Griffith is the one to pick up if wanderlust is pulling hard but you’re not going to have enough money to last as long as you want to be away. Covering everything from fruit picking to hostel working to teaching English as a second language, it lays out all the ways to make a buck abroad. This is the 16th edition—16th!!—so there are all kinds of great examples readers have sent in over the years. Griffith is also the editor of Teach English Abroad, a book I used to guide my overseas exploits in Turkey and South Korea many editions ago.

off track planet book   cheapest places to travel

Off Track Planet’s Travel Guide for the Young, Sexy, and Broke is a silly, irreverant, satirical book about thrills and (beer) spills around the world. In other words, exactly what the YouTube party generation is looking for. From the website that gives you articles like “9 Places You Must Have Sex Around the World” and “Guide to Keeping Your Genitals Healthy Abroad,” you know this won’t be a dry, fact-filled travel book. If your priorities while traveling abroad are pretty much the same as your priorities were in college, this is your RTW travel guide.

The World’s Cheapest Destinations, now in its 4th edition, my guide focused on the #1 factor that impacts your long-term travel costs more than any other: where you go. Subtitled “21 Countries Where Your Money is Worth a Fortune,” it should save you exponentially more money than you spend on it by steering you to where your funds will really stretch or where you can upgrade your experience and travel better. Note that if you’re only going to one section of the world and want to figure out how to stretch a buck, there are regional editions too just for Asia, Latin America, or Europe.

What did you read before you took off or what are you reading now to prepare?

It’s time for another collection of the best travel stories from wandering book authors. This month’s issue of Perceptive Travel (just crowned with another “best travel writing” award), journeys to Japan, the Maldives, and the Peruvian Amazon.

We’re happy to have Edward Readicker-Henderson back, spinning a tale that’s strange even by our off-kilter standards, looking back through a warped lens on his time teaching English in Japan. See Osaka in the End.

Michael Buckley has swam with whale sharks and gone paragliding with hawks in Nepal. This time he goes Freediving with Manta Rays. At the top is a video he shot with a GoPro.

James Dorsey has visited all kinds of people who find ways to connect to the world beyond ours. This time he visits a remote village in the Amazon jungle to find the female Shaman of San Regis.

As usual we run down some interesting new travel books you might want to put on your wish list (via William Caverlee) and some notable new world music albums you might find intriguing (via Graham Reid).

Tifosi travel sunglasses

Our regular readers always have a chance to win some cool travel gear and last month a reader from Ohio took home a Goal Zero Guide 10 solar charging kit that folds up and packs easily. This month we’re giving away some sporty sunglasses from Tifosi Optics. If you’re on the newsletter list, check your bulk folder if you didn’t see the message. If not, go follow us on Facebook and you’ll see the contest announcement with how to enter.

Get in on the action next time around by hitting that newsletter sign-up button on the right side of the home page.