Longitude's Book of the Month focuses on a travel title that inspires us to leave our armchairs for new destinations. This edition centers on Lonely Planet's new edition of The Travel Book.
The reviews and interviews are written and conducted by our editors. Our selections are culled from the Book of the Week feature on our blog.
The Travel Book
By Lonely Planet
Lonely Planet's The Travel Book was first published in 2004 to much acclaim, and has since sold over one million copies, becoming an essential part of any traveler's library. Just released in its third edition, this encyclopedia of fun facts, essential travel information, excellent recommendations and vivid color photographs is an armchair traveler's best friend. Each country profiled, no matter how big or small, gets a double-page spread in this big, glossy celebration of travel.
All the countries––from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe––are portrayed through a portfolio of color photographs, a map, brief overview and fascinating facts. The best time to visit Algeria is from November to April. Vienna's Christkindlmarkt (Christmas market) is one of the top things to see in Austria. Travelers should read Ismail Kadare's Chronicle in Stone before traveling to Albania. The drink to order in Guatemala is a velvety hot chocolate and Zacapa rum.
The editors even managed to capture each destination "in a word." Australia: "G'day mate!" Algeria: "Salaam aleikum (Peace be with you)." Altogether, we find the beautifully produced third edition of The Travel Book to be––in a word––complete.
A Longitude Interview
To celebrate the release of the new edition of The Travel Book, Lonely Planet's Managing Director of Publishing Piers Pickard answered a few of our questions about the production of the
book––and on the state of travel in general.
LONGITUDE: We were thrilled to see this updated third edition of The Travel Book. What new feature, destination or photograph are you most excited to reveal in this version?
PICKARD: We're most excited by the fact that every single image in the book is new––that's more than 800 photographs of 230 countries and regions. Our authors have also updated the text of every entry so readers can be sure they're receiving an up-to-the-minute profile from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
LONGITUDE: The first edition of The Travel Book appeared in 2004. What was the initial inspiration behind the coffee table book?
PICKARD: Lonely Planet's guidebooks do an incredible job of helping you find inspiration once you've decided where to go. So we wanted to make a book that helps you make that first decision––where am I inspired to go next? To that end, we thought that a focus on incredible photography was best––there's nothing more inspirational than a jaw-dropping image to get you planning your next trip.
LONGITUDE: Lonely Planet's Travel Book has since sold over a million copies. What do you think appeals to travelers?
PICKARD: My observation of people reading the book is that––after they've looked up their home nation or the place they are going next––they will start looking up all the places they've heard of, but have no idea about. People are amazed to see how incredible countries like Surinam, Burkina Faso or Palau are. That's the power of this book––it's such an easy way to explore places you don't know.
LONGITUDE: As firm believers in reading before you go, we're delighted with the "Getting Under the Skin" feature, which outlines what to read, listen, watch, eat and drink for each destination. How were the book recommendations selected?
PICKARD: Our authors and editors are well versed in their chosen destinations and often live in the countries they cover, so they love recommending the books that helped them understand a particular place. Obviously for some countries the competition is intense: how do you pick a book to sum up France? For some of the smaller islands it's more of a challenge, but we've not failed yet to recommend an illuminating book.
LONGITUDE: What's your favorite "random fact" gleaned from this book?
PICKARD: Estonians developed the weird and wonderful sport of kiiking, whereby competitors stand on a swing and attempt to complete a 360-degree loop around the top bar.
LONGITUDE: Any up-and-coming destinations that you see taking off in the next few years?
PICKARD: Everyone's talking about Cuba at the moment, but our tip is Colombia. Its political troubles were resolved over a decade ago, and travelers are discovering a country with beautiful colonial architecture in cities like Cartagena,
pristine Caribbean beaches like Palomino, high mountains and untouched Amazon rainforest.
LONGITUDE: Any other big publishing events, series or books you are looking forward to in the near future?
PICKARD: We're seeing great success at the moment with another new release, called The Best Things in Life are Free. It's packed full of money-saving tips, tricks and recommendations in over 60 major cities around the world.
LONGITUDE: Each country profiled in The Travel Book is encapsulated "in a word." For example, Albania's word is "Tungjatjeta (hello)"; Guatemala's word is, "De heuvos (cool)."
How would you describe the latest edition of The Travel Book, "in a word?"