Honest Review – Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips

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No one knows the world like National Geographicand in this lavish volume, we reveal our picks for the world’s most fabulous journeys, along with helpful information for readers who want to try them out.

Compiled from the favorite trips of National Geographic’s travel writers, Journeys of a Lifetime spans the globe to highlight the best of the world’s most famous and lesser known sojourns. It presents an incredible diversity of possibilities, from ocean cruises around Antarctica to horse treks in the Andes. Every continent and every possible form of transport is covered.

A timely resource for the burgeoning ranks of active travelers who crave adventurous and far-flung trips, Journeys of a Lifetime provides scores of creative ideas: trekking the heights of Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania… mountain biking in Transylvania… driving through the scenic highlands of Scotland… or rolling through the outback on Australia’s famous Ghan train… and dozens of other intriguing options all over the world.

Journeys of a Lifetime also features 22 fun Top 10 lists in all sorts of categories. What are the world’s top 10 elevator rides, bridges to walk across, trolley rides, ancient highways, or underground walking adventures? Readers will love evaluating and debating the selections.

Each chapter showcases stunning photography, full-color maps, evocative text, and expert adviceincluding how to get there, when to visit, and how to make the most of the journeyall packaged in a luxurious oversize volume to treasure for years to come.


If you take one trip a year and never go to the same place twice, even the most fortunate person will probably visit no more than 50 different places in a lifetime. What a great idea it is to be more aware of what your choices are before taking one of those 50 trips.

The book is organized around nine themes as described thusly on the contents page:

1. Across Water (Unforgettable voyages, from luxury cruises to dugout canoes)

2. By Road (Chasing the horizon: legendary drives and secret detours)

3. By Rail (Watching the world pass by your window)

4. On Foot (The pleasures of the oldest and greenest mode of travel)

5. In Search of Culture (Life-enhancing odysseys for lovers of all the arts)

6. In Gourmet Heaven (Seeking out the world of flavors)

7. Into the Action (Hands-on adventures for those who’d rather do it for themselves)

8. Up and Away (Flights, skyways, and bird’s-eye views)

9. In Their Footsteps (Pilgrimages for readers, dreamers, and history fans)

Typical trip choices are usually described in one or two pages with color photographs and maps taking up at least half of the space. An entry contains brief advice on when to go, how long the trips last, how far ahead to plan, special packing advice, and Web sites for more information. Highlights of such a trip are also briefly described so you can get a sense of what you’ll see and do. Some trips are, however, listed in as little as a paragraph.

Naturally, you have to judge a book like this very carefully. By definition, you haven’t taken most of the trips!

I looked at trips I’ve taken that were terrific and noticed some weaknesses in the advice. Here are a few examples:

1. Each entry is treated as though there’s nothing else nearby that might be of interest. As a result, you need to check the geographies to see how you might combine several trips listed in the book into one. For example, many of the New England trips are located not too far from one another and you should consider doing more than one on a visit.

2. The timing of how to enjoy other events isn’t always considered in enough detail. For instance, Boston’s Freedom Trail is listed in the book. But you aren’t told that if you come around Patriot’s Day (a Monday in April) you can also see re-enactments of the battles of Lexington and Concord and the running of the Boston Marathon on the same trip.

3. Some of the advice seemed just plain wrong from my point of view. When I went to the Galapagos, I was there for 10 days in the dry season and 4 days in the wet season. The wet season was awful! People there said to be sure to always come in the dry season (which ends around the beginning of winter in North America). The book made no mention of this issue in discussing when to go. Also, many of the most interesting things to do in the Galapagos aren’t mentioned.

As a result, use this book to start dreaming a little about what you might go see. I was fascinated by some of the choices for Australia and New Zealand that I had never heard of but which looked very beautiful. But do plenty of homework beyond the book to find out what you really need to know before choosing and organizing a trip.

Bon voyage!

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