"The Air Traveler's Handbook" appears to be the most complete guide available on air travel, airplanes and airports. It provides anything a first-time traveler or frequent flier might want to know, including information on aircraft design and structure, control towers, emergencies, holding patterns and cabin service.
Climbing aboard with this guide should relax your concerns because it explains the complexities of flying, the workings of airports, flight procedures and how to overcome the white-knuckle approach. It's an excellent resource for anyone planning to take off (St. Martin's: $12.95).
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"The Traveler's Guide to Latin American Customs and Manners," by Elizabeth Devine and Nancy L. Braganti, is a great primer on the various challenges facing anyone venturing into that part of the world.
Some hints from the book: (1) never eat on the street in Bolivia; (2) wearing military-style clothing in Guatemala could get you behind bars in a hurry; (3) If you're a woman traveling alone in Paraguay, tell them your husband is joining you the next day or you'll be questioned extensively.
The guide will help you to converse, avoid legal problems, bargain, tip and make friends (St. Martin's: $10.95).
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There are no photos or cartoons, but a new guidebook, "Orlando and Disney World" by Bob Martin, provides in-depth coverage of those popular destinations.
It can best be described as two books in one, offering help in exploring Disney World's four corners, including this year's newest attractions--the Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park, Pleasure Island and Typhoon Lagoon. The guide's format simplifies planning, providing travel facts, what to expect and a directory.
The second part is a mix of attractions in Orlando and environs, including the Elvis Presley Museum, Gatorland Zoo, Sea World and Train Museum.
The book contains 53 maps, so you shouldn't get lost. There is also information of where to eat and where to stay. Bookstores may not have the guide yet. To get a copy, send $10.95 (plus $2 handling) to Teakwood Press, 160 Fiesta Drive, Kissimmee, Fla. 32743.
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"The Spa Book" by Judith Brode Hirsch is a guide to the top 101 health resorts in America. Whether you go to a spa to lose weight or just to relax with a therapeutic massage, sauna or whirlpool, there are a variety of stress-free environments to chose among. Most of the spas are set in beautiful surroundings and include a choice of golf, tennis or other sports. The guide details essentials--costs, accommodations, whether there are mineral springs, what to take along and what to look out for (Putnam/Perigee: $10.95).
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For vacation fun in Northern California, try "Weekend Adventures for City-Weary People" by Carole Terwilliger Meyers. It's chock-full of things to see and do, from Morro Bay north to Eureka and east to Reno and the Sierra Nevada.
Each destination includes a selection of where to stay and eat. Families will find activities ranging from camps and houseboats to river and pack trips. The guide has 13 maps. Bookstores can order the guide, or you can send $11.95 (plus $2 handling) to Carousel Press, P.O. Box 6061, Albany, Calif. 94706.