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Lonely Planet's Best Travel in 2009    by Lonely Planet order for
Lonely Planet's Best Travel in 2009
by Lonely Planet
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2008 (2008)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Lonely Planet's Best Travel in 2009 offers '850 Trends, Destinations, Journeys & Experiences for the Year Ahead'. It begins with a world map and ends with a handy monthly Best in Travel Planner that optimizes destinations by time of year. Colorful and inspiring photographs catch the imagination throughout the guide.

Suggestions for 2009 destinations and experiences are organized into sections on: Top 10 Countries; Top 10 Regions; Top 10 Cities; Water The Ultimate Traveller; and Top Travel Lists. The entry for each recommended travel spot begins by placing it on the world map with a one sentence description and set of statistics (including costs). Other information provided includes the area's Defining Experience, a Recent Fad, Festivals & Events, and (perhaps my favorite) Most Bizarre Sight.

While it was interesting to browse through the top countries, regions and cities (and a few are on my list of possibilities for 2009), I was most intrigued by the Water section, which has ideas from great ocean journeys (like the Northwest Passage) to Water Safari and Water Festival opportunities, and Fabulous Ferries around the world, supplemented by disturbing environmental commentary. The latter tells us about the 'first climate refugees' and suggests that 'to witness the front line of water-gone-haywire, head to Arctic Canada and hang out with the Inuit.'

Looking for a specific experience? Then delve into the Top Travel Lists, that start with Most Spine-Tingling Commutes and end with Eccentri-city. While Lost Cities of the World, Most Interesting Traditional Foods, Flashiest Lighthouses, and Best Places to Take a Bath appeal to me, everyone will find their own favorites. These lists include one paragraph entries for each destination, identifying the top three recommendations.

The guide ends with World Profiles 2009 that update the status of different countries - from Afghanistan (not a viable destination) to Zimbabwe (also not recommended) - for 2009 travel. If you're planning to travel next year, and looking for something unusual, then Lonely Planet's Best Travel in 2009 is a very good place to start. It also makes a great gift for any keen world traveller on your list.

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