Summer is on its way, and for lots of folks, that means it’s time for vacation preparation. Part of the fun of getaways is planning, from deciding where to go to exploring the destination’s restaurants, attractions and culture. When I take a trip, I do most of my research online and through travel guides.
Travel guides are a great place to start for general information. Unfortunately, they can be a little tricky to find in the catalog. Try this trick: using a keyword search, type in the name of your destination, the word “and,” and the word “guidebooks.” (For example, use “Pittsburgh and guidebooks.”) This search should retrieve all of the materials listed with the Library of Congress subject heading that includes that location’s travel guides. Another subject heading the LOC commonly designates is “Description and Travel.”
Travel guide publishers like Lonely Planet, Moon, Fodor’s, and Frommer’s are also good sites to look for itineraries, lodging, eating, commuting, and activity information. Some even feature interactive message boards where fellow travelers offer personal advice and anecdotes.
For international excursions, visit Travel.State.Gov for travel advice and the CIA’s The World Factbook for background information about the country. The CLP website lists more excellent links for country information.
Newspapers frequently include travel sections, like The New York Times’ 36 Hours column, in which reporters travel to various US cities, have as much fun as possible in one weekend, and report back to the rest of us who aren’t lucky enough to vacation for a living.
If your flavor is more under-the-radar, and you’re visiting a larger city, check the Association of Alternative Weeklies’ directory to find a local rag akin to Seattle’s The Stranger or New York City’s Village Voice that’s loaded with entertainment listings and reviews.
Of course, one of my favorite travel advisors is the ever-reliable CLP Tools & Research page, in the section dedicated entirely to Travel. These pages do everything from help you pack to explain how to phone home. They even offer advice to the armchair traveler.
We’re happy to help, even if only because we secretly hope you’ll bring us back a souvenir.