NEW YORK — Sure, there are apps and websites — not to mention Facebook posts from all your friends and relatives — to help you decide where to go and what to do on your next trip. But there's still a place in travel for the old-fashioned book — from lavishly illustrated hardcovers to information-packed guides.
Here are a few recently published books with grand itineraries to inspire you and practical advice to help you plan.
—Lonely Planet's "Best Trips" series, which includes first-ever editions for Italy, Ireland and France ($25 each), along with fully updated second editions for California, New England and the Pacific Northwest ($23 each). Each book includes about three dozen itineraries for road trips. The contents include maps and detailed directions for each itinerary, classic trips with well-known destinations and top activities, ideas for detours to local spots, and recommendations for dining and lodging.
—Travel + Leisure's "100 Greatest Trips" ($35). This collection of stories from the magazine and its international editions features memorable destinations from exotic locales like Zanzibar to driving itineraries in Florida and Texas. Other stories include shopping in Brooklyn, N.Y., a beach escape in Mozambique, arts and culture in Milan, outdoor adventures in Costa Rica, and culinary tours of Hawaii, Paris, Singapore and Tasmania.
—"500+ All-American Family Adventures" by Debbie K. Hardin (Countryman Press, $25). The book is designed to help families plan vacations and day trips that are both educational and entertaining, all centered around the American experience. The book has a chapter on every state plus Washington D.C., with listings that range from natural parks like Zion in Utah or Denali in Alaska, to fun activities like surfing in Hawaii or visiting Coney Island in New York. Also featured are numerous historic sites and museums, from Lincoln's birthplace in Hodgenville, Ky., to the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.
—"Hiking and Traveling the Blue Ridge Parkway: The Only Guide You Will Ever Need, Including GPS, Detailed Maps & More," by Leonard M. Adkins (University of North Carolina Press, $18). The book advertises a "detailed description of every official trail along the Blue Ridge Parkway," which stretches 469 miles (755 kilometers) through Virginia and North Carolina. It also includes information on trails that connect to the parkway, including the Appalachian Trail, the Mountains-to-Sea Trail and others. Descriptions include trail length, difficulty and points of interest, along with recommendations for places to eat, lodging and campsites, and side trips. There are even calendars for roadside blooms.
—"The Yellow Book: CDC Health Information for International Travel, 2014" (Oxford University Press, $47.50). For travelers and others in need authoritative information on staying healthy around the world, this book, first published in 1967, provides up-to-date advice and recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. The book lists vaccines recommended by country, along with prevention strategies for disease, where to find health care abroad, and advice on coping with common problems like diarrhea, jet lag, insect bites, sunburn and altitude sickness. There's a section with advice for different types of travelers, such as pregnant women, humanitarian aid workers and students, along with advice by region and country. The book is also available as an app for iPhone, iPad and Android and is advertised as appropriate for both laymen and medical and travel professionals.