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Blue List: 618 Things to Do & Places to Go    by Lonely Planet order for
Blue List
by Lonely Planet
Order:  USA  Can
Lonely Planet, 2005 (2005)
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Having done a fair bit of traveling in my PK (pre-kids) years, I was intrigued to find out how many of the '618 Things to Do & Places to Go' in Lonely Planet's recommended Blue List, I'd already covered and how many were left for the empty nest years looming not too far ahead of me.

The Lonely Planet authors tell us 'It's no easy task coming up with the debut list of things to do and places to go when you have the whole world to select from ...' but they do an impressive job of this first in an evolving series. Introductions cover potential new travel experiences (such as Everest and outer space) as well as recent travel trends (e.g. sustainability, impact of natural disasters, and terrorism). And - something I find very useful - a Travel Planner maps places to go and things to do onto the months of the year. Enticing color photos throughout the book will prompt readers to start packing.

Part One of the Bluelist takes the perspective of Things To Do. Categories range from Most History Per Square Mile and Most Extraordinary Festivals to Biggest Adrenalin Rushes. I've enjoyed several Japanese onsen (featured in Places to Get Naked) but will skip the 300 Club, Antarctica. I'm already one of the 'sociable and sophisticated locals' of Montreal, mentioned in Cities on the Rise so don't need to travel for this one, but I'll give a miss to Tough Travel Destinations, including Afghanistan (was already there for one of the Russian invasions). Did several of the Most Awesome Treks when I was younger and now like the look of Best Beaches to Swing a Hammock.

Part Two of this travel planner looks at Places to Go - the Americas, Asia, Australasia & Pacific, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. As well as the usual information on language, currency, festivals, etc., the authors include for each country insights like Recent Fad (such as frog juice, yecch, in Peru or the use of Pinglish by teenagers for text messaging in Iran); Don't Mention (what not to say, to avoid giving offense); and Hot Tips for Travellers. They even highlight books like The No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency in the Botswana pages, and of course Lord of the Rings for New Zealand.

Want to take a trip but not quite sure where or when or why? Blue List is full of ideas, to help you work out where to go. Read it cover to cover, or dip into different sections, looking at travel from all angles. And submit your own bluelist experiences and tips at the Lonely Planet website, so that others can benefit - you might even get a mention in the next issue of this useful travel guide.

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