The Art of Trip Planning | Wyatt’s World

Collecting travel books can be an exercise in frustration. There are manifold places patrons want to visit, the books become quickly dated, and the number of series and spin-offs can eat up a budget line in no time. Here are five different ways to approach thinking about the collection, from old standby titles to less obvious choices, each using Paris as a case study (because really, who does not want to go to Paris?).

Visual PlanningParis

  • Paris (Eyewitness Travel: DK).
    It is hard to beat the visual detail and sheer eye-appeal in the DK line of guides. While other references provide more information, as a source of inspiration and daydreams, this series is a winner.

Solid Guidance

  • Paris City Guide by Catherine Le Nevez & others. (Lonely Planet).
    Reliable trip planning with a direct approach and authoritative detail are the hallmarks of this highly regarded series. Combine them with the Rough Guides and the Michelin Green Guides, and just about every angle of getaway preparations will be covered.

Familiar Standbys

  • Rick Steves’ Paris by Rick Steves & others (Avalon Travel).
    Along with the Fodor’s and Frommer’s guides, this is perhaps the best-known travel series thanks to the popular PBS show Rick Steves’ Europe. Readers who like to plan with old friends near to hand will want to consult these three guides first.


  • Knopf MapGuide: Paris (Knopf).
    A quality map is essential. Apps and smartphones aside, sometimes you just want to hold the plan in your hand and trace it beyond the confines of a tiny screen. Maps that combine guides are even better, as this series proves. The Moon MapGuides are great, too, just the thing for savvy repeat visitors or newbies who like to build their own itineraries.


  • The Food Lover’s Guide to Paris: The Best Restaurants, Bistros, Cafés, Markets, Bakeries, and More by Patricia Wells (Workman).
    Travel is more than a list of sights and suggested walks. All tourists, no matter how touristy they may be, have special interests—be it bike shops or hat stores—that deserve our attentions as well. For foodies, nothing could be better than a tour of what to eat and where to eat it in Paris. Round out your collections with titles like this and you support not just the basics but the stuff travel dreams are made of as well.


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Neal Wyatt About Neal Wyatt

Neal Wyatt compiles LJ's online feature Wyatt's World and is the author of The Readers' Advisory Guide to Nonfiction (ALA Editions, 2007). She is a collection development and readers' advisory librarian from Virginia. Those interested in contributing to The Reader's Shelf should contact her directly at