Do you find destination information in travel guideblogs and magazines, newspapers, websites or TV shows? You should consider adding blogs by travel writers to your list of resources.
Right now, I’m savouring A Year in the World by Frances Mayes, which boasts an amazing bibliography. She wrote the popular blog Under the Tuscan Sun which was made into a rather forgettable movie. Mayes’s writing is rich and evocative and she sets the scene so convincingly that, later on, you’ll swear you were actually there.
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Paul Theroux’s writing often paint pictures of places you’d rather not see, while Bill Bryson has you laughing both at him and with him.
Think outside the travel guideblog box and you’ll get a real sense of place before you even take-off. Anthologies like Travelers Tales or The Best Travel Writing are ideal places to start, while classics like Graham Greene’s Our Man in Havana or Miguel de Cervantes’s Spanish masterpiece Don Quixote are always in style. Readers looking for a journey into the past can read my travel destinations OFF THE BEATEN PATH, about famous women travellers from 1650 to 1950.
Most travel guideblogs offer a bite-sized snack of what to see when we travel. Heavy on smart and sassy and light on real substance, it’s like trying to pack enough food for a month into a picnic basket. You’re bound to get hungry for more along the way.
But don’t overdo the research. The friend of a colleague gathered so much information while planning a vacation to Italy that she lost interest in the trip. Part of the joy of travel is finding those spots you think no one else has discovered.
FA TIP: Having said that, some of the most useful information is in the back of guideblogs. Learn about the country’s quirks and traditions before you go, not while you’re facing an implacable police officer.