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BOOKED FOR TRAVEL

A Plum for Visitors to the Big Apple

August 20, 1989|DON WUDKE | Wudke is a Los Angeles free-lance writer

If you are planning a visit to New York City, "The Streets Where They Lived," by Stephen W. Plumb, will offer a different perspective. It's a walking guide to the present or former residences of movie and stage personalities, artists and journalists, as well as nearly 400 other celebrities. Also included are distinctive hotels and apartments. The 212-page guide of 37 one-hour-or-less walking tours provides maps and historic photos. The book is available at most bookstores for $12.95, but you can call toll-free (800) 669-4908 (MarLor Press) to get it.

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The area between San Diego and San Luis Obispo is a gigantic playground for children and adults. You can explore it all in "Places to Go With Children in Southern California," by Stephanie Kegan. The guide details hundreds of things to see and do in 10 counties, including Los Angeles. Various theme parks are only a part of what the guide covers. It includes canyons, trout farms, ghost towns, aquariums and missions. For $9.95 you'll find more than 400 entertaining diversions, many of them free (Chronicle).

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Buy the guides for "Northern California" by Mark Williams and "Southern California," by Kathy Strong, as a pair and you'll find some off-the-beaten-path diversions. Tour a Hindu temple, take a dip in the hottest mineral spring, visit lost gold mines or view the inner workings of the cable car system. Also, see a sake brewery, fossil diggings, a warehouse with more than 150 autos from 1903 and a tattoo art museum. The guides direct you to hundreds of little-known places, complete with excellent descriptions (Globe Pequot: $8.95 each).

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If you have ever had traveler's diarrhea or altitude sickness, tried to fend off mosquitoes or been concerned about the possibility of other diseases while traveling, the "1989 International Travel Guide," by Dr. Stuart R. Rose, should enlighten you considerably. The book is packed with checklists, maps, diagrams and explanations of worldwide diseases and illnesses and how to cope with them before leaving and upon arrival in more than 200 countries. (Travel Medicine: $12.95).

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"The Official Guide to American Historic Inns," by Tim and Deborah Sakach, is a travel book devoted to more than 1,000 historic inns and B&Bs. It also includes a complete directory to 5,000 historic inns nationwide. It is delightful, succinct, detailed and well-organized. Its easy-to-follow style includes more than 650 illustrations. It also has a supplementary listing of inns that were associated with the Revolutionary and Civil wars, with details on famous literary, historic and political personalities (Assn. of American Historic Inns: $14.95).

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The information in "Birnbaum's USA 1989--for Business Travelers" lists 44 business destinations. A vacationer also could find the information important, what with its selection of hotels, restaurants and vital services, as well as sightseeing and special events. The guide has separate sections on planning, budgeting, travel tips and driving routes. Each destination includes a map pinpointing specific sites and freeways (Houghton Mifflin: $8.95).

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When making a purchase abroad, many travelers have discovered too late that international apparel sizes are different from American sizes. Also, the products are often inferior. More than a few countries are adept at palming off all types of merchandise under the guise of getting a great deal. Not to worry. Fielding's "1989 Selective Shopping Guide to Europe," by Joseph and Judith Raff, lists more than 1,400 shops and markets in 17 countries where you can buy a $5 memento or a $500 luxury item with confidence. Many tips are included on what to buy, when to haggle, customs regulations and how to order by mail (William Morrow: $9.95).

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