100 Countries 5,000 Ideas

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100 Countries 5000 Ideas from National GeographicAlan’s already regretting the fact that National Geographic sent me the travel book 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do to review. This baby boomer doesn’t need any encouragement in that department. But for me, the next best thing to being on an active baby boomer trip is a travel book filled with ideas to rev up the old planning motor. Yes, I know, the internet is filled with travel advice to spark my enthusiasm. But there’s something about holding a book in my hands, especially one that has beautiful photographs.

If you’re a baby boomer looking for detailed trip planning advice, 100 Countries 5,000 Ideas is not the book for you. For example, a trip to the United States is covered in 15 pages and China garners only 11 pages.

Flipping through the more than 400 pages, boomers will quickly discover that this softcover travel book is about dreaming, albeit with lots of practical advice, just in case those dreams come true. Each country’s section includes introductory text and a map of the country. More information follows covering descriptions of the landscape, flora and fauna as well as explanations of cultural travel and monuments. I found the sidebars to be helpful, especially “What to See and Do” and the “When To Go” sections.

100 Countries 5000 Ideas from National Geographic
Photos like this make me want to travel.

Two more charts round out the coverage for each country. The Traveler’s notebook includes practical information such as travel documents required for a visit, travel time from London and New York City, average cost of a stay, health and safety issues, festivals and demographics including official languages, currency, population and religions. The Advice chart lists brief pros and cons of visiting plus special tips.

The book’s front section discusses themed travel such as Spa Vacations, Unforgettable Nights and Traveling With Children. But where was the information about active baby boomer travel or solo trips? This section was my least favorite part of the book. I would have preferred to see those pages dedicated to including more countries or providing additional information for some of the larger countries.

An appendix includes more charts. The Right Trip For You lists details about cost, health issues, travel documents, required travel times from New York and London, infrastructure, safety and peak season for all 100 countries in an easy to read chart. And one look at the color coded chart, The Best Time to Travel in Tropical Climates, gave me an idea of when to avoid the heat or storm season in tropical countries.

I do take issue with The Right Trip for Your Lifestyle which breaks down different types of travel (couple, with children, senior, long weekend, adventure and more), by country. Sorry, but this one needs more work. According to the chart Alaska, Antarctica and much of the rest of the world isn’t right for senior travel. And Alaska wasn’t included in the adventure category. National Geographic must not have read my post about walking on Baird Glacier.

100 Countries 5000 Ideas from National Geographic
Travel worth dreaming about

Overall, 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas is a travel book worth reading, if only to browse the outstanding photographs. Since I might not get to all 100 countries in the remaining days of my baby boomer lifetime, reading about Armenia, Niger or Uzbekistan will just have to do.

Would you like to win a copy of 100 Countries 5,000 Ideas? To enter, just post a comment at the end of this post, telling us which country you’d like to read about. Please include your email address for contact purposes. Contest ends on Tuesday, April 19, 2011 at 11:00 p.m. Arizona Mountain Standard Time. Winner will be announced as soon as possible. Remember, according to our general contest rules, the winner must be a U.S. resident and respond within 48 hours of receiving the notification email; or we chose another winner.

All photos courtesy National Geographic.

Disclosure: National Geographic provided a copy of 100 Countries 5,000 Ideas for my review.

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