Travel books, for gifts or your own coffee table

BETH J. HARPAZ, AP travel editor

Shopping, romance, bucket lists, inspiration and information: All of these things and more can be found in books for travelers that are out this season in time for the holidays.

In addition to being gift-worthy, some of the titles make a nice addition to your own coffee-table collection; others are useful for trip planning or may serve as fodder for travel dreams.

“111 Shops in New York That You Must Not Miss: Unique Finds and Local Treasures,” by Susan Lusk and Mark Gabor (Emons Publishers, $20), is a fun guide to retailers around the city, from well-known emporiums like Eataly and ABC Carpet & Home, to unusual specialty shops selling books, vintage jewelry, skateboards, hats, lingerie and more.

“Places for Passion: The 75 Most Romantic Destinations in the World” by Pepper Schwartz and Janet Lever (Frommer’s, $23) offers inspiration for couples’ getaways from sophisticated cities and exotic destinations to beaches, resorts and outdoor adventures around the world. Schwartz, a “love and relationship expert” for AARP, is also one of the experts on A&E Networks’ FYI channel’s reality series “Married at First Sight.” 

“World’s Best Cities: Celebrating 220 Great Destinations” (National Geographic, $40) is a gorgeously illustrated hardcover book that offers an inviting glance at cities around the world from New York to Abu Dhabi, along with curated lists of best cities in categories like eco-smart, oceanfront, high-altitude and all-American.

“You Only Live Once: A Lifetime of Experiences for the Explorer in All of Us” (Lonely Planet, $30), also a lavishly illustrated hardcover, describes experiences rather than places, from tasting the world’s hottest chili peppers to the best birding, safaris, train rides and castles.

Other books out this season from Lonely Planet include “Best in Travel 2015” ($15) with lists of top countries, cities, regions, freebies and more for the new year; “The Best Place to Be Today” ($20), with a recommendation for every day of the year; and “Best Ever Travel Tips” ($10), a small, cute flip book that offers advice on how to book trips, how to complain, how to stay healthy and even what to bring _ like a $20 Casio F91-W watch “straight out of 1981” that works “for ages” and will never be stolen.

Finally, a travel book that doesn’t fit neatly into the usual categories: “Travel: The Guide” by Doug Lansky (ebook, $5, hardcover, $60). “This guide won’t provide hotel suggestions, give you packing tips, or tell you where to go,” Lansky writes. “Instead, this book aspires to hold a mirror up to our travel behavior.” So, with colorful photos and clever graphics, the book offers interesting factoids on topics like travel safety (road accidents are the leading cause of tourist deaths worldwide); accounts of what it’s like to travel in a wheelchair or if you’re overweight; and photo comparisons of “English breakfasts” served by airlines worldwide.

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