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Leafing Down the Book Lane

October 05, 1986|DON JAMES | James is a Los Angeles free-lance writer.

It will be easier to see the country the natural way with Hammond's "America's National Parks" ($3.95). It has keyed area maps and vignettes of facilities of 48 parks and 250 areas administered by the National Park Service. Included is a 25-by-38-inch full-color map that pinpoints locations, plus a transcontinental highway map. The color photos make one want to hit the road.

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Go forward with confidence with a copy of "The Women's Travel Guide" by Jane E. Lasky and Brenda Fine. It's an excellent mixture of tips on how to operate like a native in 25 American cities. Where to dine, stay, go after dark, shopping, getting-around maps and much more will help you to make the right choices and avoid mistakes (G. K. Hall: $12.95).

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Frommer's "Australia on $25 a Day" by John Godwin describes the essentials on how to do it the budget way. It clues you in on low-cost hotels, restaurants and tourist facilities ($10.95).

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Independent travelers, whether on a budget or with mid-range travel dollars, should find the "Getting Around New Zealand Guides" for "The North Island" or "The South Island" most useful. Sean Millar includes an above-average assortment of maps, timetables and tips on accommodations, sightseeing, skiing. They are $6 each at your travel bookstore or post-free direct from Millar Publishing, P.O. Box 6443, Wellslay Street, Auckland 1, New Zealand.

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Rand McNally's "Weekend Escapes--Southern California," ($6.95) edited by Mike Michaelson, is a collections of sights to be seen, things to be done, places to be visited and foods to be tasted. It's full of getaway ideas sure to please the family or the romantic twosome. The how-to-get-around information is good, the photos better left out. Escapes are briefly outlined for San Diego, San Bernardino and for short drives north of Los Angeles. Equally as good are the "Weekend Escapes" for "North and South Georgia, Carolina, Alabama and Tennessee" and for "Southeast Texas," also $6.95 each.

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"The Virgin Guide to London," edited by Mark Williams, is not a total manual, but it will make London easier to deal with. The chapters are divided into categories of hotels, restaurants, features, tours, offbeat items and entertainment opportunities that reflect the author's recommendations. It furnishes some "smarts" that the savvy insider or residents already enjoy (Pantheon: $7.95).

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Christopher Turner's "London Step by Step--The Walking Guide to London's Streets and Sights" offers one of the best ways to appreciate its history, architecture and colorful life while you hoof it. And you cannot really get lost with the excellent two-color maps. For only $6.95 you won't miss anything worth seeing (St. Martin).

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Berlitz pocket guide "Cities of Europe" ($8.95) is a concise and excellent information resource for travelers. It presents vignettes of the moods, traditions, cultures and histories of many areas. The gastronomy explorations clue the reader about national foods and their preparation. An armchair traveler can tour 34 of Western Europe's most famous cities, aided by photos and full-color maps. Another equally informative Berlitz guide for "Toronto" is available for $4.95.

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"Health Information for International Travel" is worth browsing through as you plan your next trip. It lists potential sicknesses in most areas of the world, what vaccinations are needed and possible side effects. It's available from your local U.S. Government Printing Office or from the Superintendent of Documents--Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, for $4.75 (refer to H.H.S. Publication No. CDC 86-8280).

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Tim Haydock piques the imagination in "Treasure Trove--Where to Find the Great Treasures of the World." Most of the locations described are on land and Haydock says whether the treasure was lost or hidden. Fairly good maps are provided to aid a search. Tantalizing information and generalized photos of historical insight offer clues that could render startling rewards. Your next vacation might pay off if it is planned where one can explore the various sites (Henry Holt: $9.95).

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"1,001 Questions About Canada" by John Robert Colombo presents most of the answers, in a question-and-answer format, on the geography, politics, people, culture. Students, teachers, researchers or trivia buffs should find it a worthwhile reference, with answers longer than the questions (Doubleday: $18.95).

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