Japan Dreaming: Pretty Good Number One

Pretty Good Number OneFishing 4 Deals focuses on budget, domestic travel.  But anyone can dream, right?

Lately, I have been dreaming about traveling to Japan.

There are a number of things that intrigue me about Japan:

  • the natural beauty
  • J-pop culture
  • traditional arts like pottery and paper making
  • the trains
  • manufacturing industries
  • hot springs
  • old Japan
  • fashion
  • the gardens and temples
  • and, of course, the food

To indulge my fantasy, I picked up a copy of Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo, by Seattle-based food writer Matthew Amster-Burton.

The book is about an American couple and their adorable eight year old daughter Iris, who rent an apartment in Tokyo for one month.

 Tokyo is the opposite of the DMV.  It is the least annoying place I have ever been to.  –Matthew Amster-Burton

Amster-Burton used Kickstarter to crowd source the publication of the book in ebook form.

Here’s what one reviewer said about  Pretty Good Number One: An American Family Eats Tokyo, published in February 2014:

The layers of the city, its extraordinary food pleasures, its quirkinesses, emerge as the author and his family spend an intense month living in Tokyo and exploring widely . . . Warning:  this book will make you hungry.  You’ll yearn, as I do, to catch the next plane to Tokyo, so you can get eating.  —Naomi Duguid, writer and traveler
Japan by RailAmazon has the kindle version of the book on sale for $3.99.I am not going to Japan any time soon, but in the meantime, I enjoy reading travel books.

I’ve picked up a copy of Japan by Rail, which offers incredibly detailed advice, down to how to find your platform, where to stash your bags, and where to exit the train station.

I am planning my miles and points accrual strategy with this trip in mind, focusing on collecting United miles and Ultimate Rewards points for the airfare, and Barclaycard Arrival points for the Japan Rail Passes.

The goal is to stay at hotels as close to the train stations as possible.  Japan Rail has a network of hotels throughout the country adjacent to rail stations.  These hotels offers discounts to rail pass holders.  The JR hotels would be super convenient but are mostly lux properties on the expensive side.

Continue reading —>

Deal Alert: Rick Steves’ Europe Through the Back Door 2014 Edition

Rick Steves Europe Through the Back DoorYesterday, after I featured two new Lonely Planet travel guides available for free from iTunes and Amazon, The Deal Mommy alerted me to an even better deal!
Amazon has discounted the 2014 Kindle edition of Rick Steve’s travel skills handbook:  Europe Through the Back Door.
The ebook retails for $24.99, but for the month of March, it is on sale for just $1.99.
I snapped up a “copy” right away!
Rick Steves, of public television fame, shares his favorite off-the-beaten-path towns, trails, and natural wonders.
The 856 page book tells everything you need to know when traveling through Europe, including how to:

  • Plan your itinerary
  • Pack light
  • Find value hotels and restaurants
  • Travel by train, bus, car, and plane
  • Avoid crowds and tourist scams
  • Hurdle the language barrier
  • Connect with locals
  • Save money

While you’re at it, you can pick up a Kindle today only for just $49!

This post contains affiliate links.  Thanks if you choose to use them!

Two New Free Lonely Planet Travel Guides for Your Kindle or iPad

Free Lonely Planet Guide to Top 10 Warm Weather Getaways
Free for Kindle or iBooks

With another snowstorm headed to the East Coast, you may be dreaming about your next tropical getaway.

Just in time, from Lonely Planet:  Warm Weather Escapes: A travel guide for finding the perfect winter getaway.  

This ebook, published in February 2014, is available free for Kindle from Amazon, or for iBooks from iTunes.

I love to peruse these free Lonely Planet guides when I have a long wait or commute.

Turquoise seas, white-sand beaches, palm trees and fruity drinks – all the ingredients for a dreamy, tropical getaway.  So – how to choose?
Inside Top 1o Warm Water Getways:  

  • World map and comparison chart to help you decide on your destination
  • Preview of selected favorites – Thailand, Costa Rica, Mexico, Hawaii, Los Angeles & Southern California, Florida, Bahamas, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and Jamaica
  • Highlights – the top activities and recommendations
  • ‘Best for…’ snapshot featuring what’s great about each location
  • Spectacular images to inspire
Lonely Planet's  Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth.
Free for Kindle or iBooks

Need some more inspiration?  How about Lonely Planet’s Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth.

This ebook, published in November 2013, introduces 52 travel experiences to whet your travel appetite.
Paraglide in South Africa; rock climb in China; sleep in a tree-house on Canada’s Vancouver Island; take a cooking course in Jordan or a flower-arranging course in Kyoto; go clubbing in Berlin; and much more. 
Inside Travel Resolutions: 52 New Ways to Experience Planet Earth:

  • Get inspired  highlights, expert suggestions, and gorgeous photos help you choose your ideal trip
  • Insider insights  hidden gems that most guidebooks miss will lead you to a richer and more rewarding travel experience
  • Discover more  actively engage with the world via a wide variety of suggested activities, including swimming around the Greek Islands, practicing yoga in India, learning Spanish in Argentina, rafting or kayaking in New Zealand, detoxing in Brazil, studying Tibetan culture in China, witnessing the Northern Lights in Alaska, scuba diving in Belize, falling in love all over again in Venice, and hunting Dracula in Transylvania

Whimisical and Nostalgic 2014 Travel Calendars

This is New York 2014 Wall Calendar When we were in New York City over Thanksgiving, we visited Rockefeller Center and went up to the “Top of the Rock” for a glimpse of the illuminated city.  What really caught my eye, however, was a classic children’s book in the gift shop.  This is New York, the iconic children’s illustrated travel guide, first published in 1960, has been reissued in book and calendar form!

When I was seven, I travelled to Edinburgh, in my mind.  Friends of my parents gave me a copy of This is Edinburgh by Miroslav Sasek as a souvenir from their trip overseas.Miroslav Slovic  The beautifully illustrated book told me everything I needed to know to get to Edinburgh, and what to see when I got there.  Even though I never have been to Scotland, the images of Edinburgh from that book are still etched in my mind.

Along the way, I also acquired This is London.  But I never realized that this was a whole series of children’s books covering over two dozen great cities of the world.

When we got home, I looked for the New York book on Amazon.com, and was pleased to discover that dozens of Miroslav Sasek’s whimsical books have been reissued in the last couple of years.  This is London 2014 CalendarThese books make great gifts for kids pre- or post trip.

What’s more, several of the books have been published in wall calendar form.  The wall calendars are only $9.99.

I immediately ordered a 2014 wall calendar for myself and one for a friend!

Continue reading —>

Today Only: Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2014 – Free on iTunes

Lonely Planet's Best Travel 2014

Best in Travel 2014 by Lonely Planet offers an inspiring collection of travel tips to plan your adventures in the coming year.

Not only does it rank the top ten countries, regions and cities to visit . . . the 200 page guide also details 17 top travel lists such as:

  • best value destinations
  • best family travel
  • best honeymoon destinations
  • best adventure travel
  • best beaches and small islands
  • best Beatlemania
  • best luxury boot camps
  • best classic car rides
  • hidden foodie highlights
  • best sites for cat lovers, and more!

    Continue reading —>

Traveling to Britain? Free Lonely Planet Travel Guides

Ye Olde Britain
Free from iTunes

Lonely Planet Travel Guides are among the best, so whenever there’s an offer for a free download, I try to take advantage.  The Apple iTunes bookstore is offering free downloads of a number of Lonely Planet guidebooks, including several specialty guides to travel in Britain.

The best free guides include:

  • Recession-Busting Britain — Best Free Experiences
  • Culture Vulture Britain — Best Cultural Experiences
  • Tasty Britain — Best Eating Experiences
  • Ye Olde Britain — Best Historical Experiences
  • Mini Britain Britain– Best Experiences for Kids

    Mini Britain
    Free on iTunes

These guidebooks to England, Scotland and Wales are full length 100+ page books, though there is a fair amount of overlap between them.  A number of the other books are merely teasers for the full-priced version of the guidebook.  Hat tip to Miles From Blighty.

The USA Best Trips free book includes excerpts on road trips to three regions — the Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 101 Oregon Coast, and Coastal New England.

One other full-featured free book worth mentioning is Discover the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.

Continue reading —>

Molvania — Massive Markdown on the Essential Travel Guide

Map of Molvania
Map of Molvania
by Jetlag Travel

If you are a fan of Borat, and favor Lonely Planet travel guides, you might get a kick out of the parody travel guide:  Molvania.

This small Eastern European country even has its own website and public relations bureau.

We got this book for my father-in-law to read on the plane when he travelled to Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

Molvania is available in used condition from Amazon.com for the truly incredible price of just one cent, plus $3.99 for shipping.

The book is by Rob Sitch, Tom Gleisner and is published by Jetlag Travel Guides.

In format and page layout, this inspired send-up of a travel guide looks exactly like the real thing, and it displays an acute feel for all the clichés of the genre. —New Yorker on Molvania

Subsequent Jetlag Travel guides spoof Phaic Tăn, a nation in Southeast Asia, and San Sombrèro in Latin America (A Land of Carnivals, Cocktails and Coups).Molvania

On a less frivolous note, adventurous travelers may want to check out New Girl in the Air’s trip report on the beautiful countries of Slovenia and Croatia.

Free Lonely Planet Guide to Northern Honshu, Japan

Lonely Planet Japan Guide

There is a prepublication offer from travel publisher Lonely Planet for a free download of a chapter from its forthcoming 2013 guide book to Japan.

The chapter covers the northern third of Japan’s main island of Honshū. This region of Tōhoku experienced the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, and the meltdown of the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant.

The chapter covers not just the typical tourist attractions — it also offers information on how to volunteer in the recovery effort.

Lonely Planet writer Rebecca Milner visited the region to research updates to the Japan guidebook.

She reports that area of the coast hit by the tsunami is still in rubble, but that the inland areas that were affected only by the earthquake have largely recovered.  Of course there is still a 20-km exclusion zone around the nuclear power plant.

Milner reports:

Continue reading —>

Volunteer Travel Guide: Free from Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet Volunteer Guide
Lonely Planet Volunteer Guide

For travelers looking to volunteer on their travels, Lonely Planet is offering a free download of its book:  Volunteer: A Traveller’s Guide to Making a Difference Around the World.

The book is a comprehensive resource to those looking to volunteer abroad.

It includes chapters on:

  • how to choose a volunteer experience;
  • what to expect when you are there; and
  • how to extend your experience once you return home.

It also provides a directory of organizations around the world that accept volunteers.

This guide is not a pamphlet — but the full 272 page book that sells for $14 on Amazon.

2013 Must Sees — Free E-Book from Lonely Planet

If you love quirky, offbeat, and adventurous travel, it’s time to make your plans with a great freebie from travel guide publisher Lonely Planet.

Free E-Book from Lonely Planet
Free E-Book from Lonely Planet

During the month of March 2013 you can land a free electronic copy of their “Best in Travel 2013” book.

The 208 page guide details this year’s “must sees” –the best trends, destinations, journeys and experiences for 2013.

The free e-book is offered in celebration of the publisher reaching one million followers on Twitter and one million likes on Facebook.

The guide contains a roundup of travel lists:

— The Best Value Destinations

— The Best Back-in-Time Entertainments

— The Unluckiest Places in the World

Continue reading —>