The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Globe Life

April 25, 2008

Book review: Going somewhere? Consult the 'Complete Travel Detective'

Spring has finally sprung, and summer will be here before you know it. So, thoughts will soon turn to vacations, and we can help!

The Joplin Public Library has a fairly extensive travel collection, including Fodor’s, Eyewitness, Rick Steves’, Mobil, Let’s Go, Compass American, Frommer’s, Passport to History, Rough Guides, Lonely Planet and Traveller’s History series guides, some more complete than others. We have travel information on everything from Branson to Disney World to Beijing, both books and videos.

One of our latest travel books is “The Complete Travel Detective Bible: The Consummate Insider Tells You What You Need to Know in an Increasingly Complex World,” by Peter Greenberg, the travel editor for the “Today Show.”

There’s a lot of stuff here that anyone who has ever traveled would (or at least should) know, but there is also a lot of less obvious information to make your travels more fun and less hassle. It may date the book in the near future, but there are a lot of Web sites mentioned, including sites that give you maps of airport terminals, where to track real-time status of flights as well as pricing sites for all kinds of travel and lodging that I’d certainly never heard of (above and beyond Expedia, Travelocity, etc.), seating charts and seat space (how much room you get) for various planes, and lots of other fairly obscure but useful information. If you’re interested in cruises, there are Web sites to help you figure out which cruise line suits you best; if you’re interested in lifestyle travel (seniors, families, gay/lesbian, solo, etc.), there are chapters for each with many online resources.

Even for readers who are not Net-savvy, there’s a lot of great information about all of the aforementioned subjects as well as passports and visas, traveling with pets, health and safety (particularly for air travel and cruises), a revealing look at air miles programs, helpful information about car rentals and other options for ground transportation, including trains. There is everything you could want to know about insurance, ranging from trip insurance to what to know about your own health/car/homeowners etc. insurance as it applies to travel. Plan to keep in touch while you’re gone? Everything you could want to know about cell phones around the world — all here.

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The United States is considering deploying about 150 soldiers for military exercises to begin in Poland and Estonia in the next few weeks, following Russia's buildup of forces near its border with Ukraine. Do you think we should deploy these troops?

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