Are you thinking about taking a trip? It’s not only fun to explore new places, discover unique foods, and experience a different culture, it’s actually enriching for all your senses. Travel is an exciting way to create lasting memories. Need some inspiration? Not sure where to go? We have plenty of books like 1000 Places to See Before You Die, Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising and Cruise Ships 2014, and The Backpacker’s Bible. Aside from traditional travel books like Frommer’s and Lonely Planet, we have many other helpful sources.
Don’t speak the language? You can check out an audiobook on a wide variety of languages or use Mango, our online language program. It’s free and there’s even an app for your smart phone. Whether listening to the audiobook or practicing with Mango, you can learn the conversational basics to make travel easier.
Have a long car ride or flight? Check out audiobooks on CD, Playaways (pop in a battery and headphones to hear a pre-loaded book) or use Kentucky Libraries Unbound to download e-books to your tablet or smart phone. You can even download movies or stream them with Wi-Fi. Like magazines? Use our Zinio subscription to read magazines on your device, including National Geographic Traveler to check out new and interesting places to go.
Need help choosing a place or finding lodging? There are tons of travel websites:
- Trip Advisor and Yelp let you check out ratings for places to eat, stay, or visit. Reviewers add their two cents to help you make better decisions. Should you stop and see the largest ball of string? Is the food really good at that expensive restaurant? Was the bed and breakfast clean? Find out before you go. You can add your thoughts about places you visit.
- Expedia, Kayak, Orbitz, Booking.com, and Travelocity are all websites that can help plan your trip if you’re looking for airfare, hotels, and rental cars. They offer package vacations and even travel insurance, in case you need to cancel. It’s nice to check prices on these sites, and then check the individual airline, hotel, or rental car company to see if they are offering a better deal.
- Flights with Friends is terrific for making travel plans with a group. You can add flights from different locations and let others have their say on the flight and lodging choices that appear for your destination.
- VRBO, Airbnb, and HomeAway offer nice options for those who would rather stay in a house, condo or apartment instead of a hotel or resort. They have properties all over the world and can be anything from minimal to extravagant. Choose the time you wish to travel and add filters to specify pet friendly, number of guests or bedrooms, swimming pool, or handicap accessible. Guests who stay can add reviews, so you know right away if there are issues with a property, like odor or a poorly stocked kitchen.
- Google Maps and MapQuest will help you find your way from here to there, even locally. You can add additional stops, choose the shortest or fastest routes, avoid toll roads, include gas stations or restaurants or even find biking paths, walking distances or bus routes.
Is there an app for that? Most websites have them! Here are some cool apps you might explore on your smart phone or device’s app store:
- CheckMate takes your preferences to help find you a room in hotel, like one that’s away from the elevator or close to the pool, let them know when you’ll arrive, and some hotels let you check-in without having to stand at the counter.
- Flashlight is a handy app that is free and can light your way!
- WhatsApp Messenger lets you text or chat and avoid international charges. If Wi-Fi is available, you can send photos, too.
- City Guides is a way to create your own guide for a city that includes places to visit or eat and then tracks where you are at any moment in relation to those places. Friends can add their favorite places or use a guide someone else has created.
- XE Currency lets you know the current exchange rate for money around the world.
Traveling locally? We have a great way to break up a humdrum weekend – take a day trip using one of our Road Trip kits. Stop by and pick up a bag for the city of your choice! Each bag is filled with brochures, maps, guide books, a family DVD for the kids to watch, and games to entertain the whole family. We have kits for Cincinnati, Louisville, Lexington, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and more.
While on the road, most libraries will let you have free Internet access. Look at our parking lots on any given day and you’ll see out-of-state license plates. Plenty of people stop by to check email, print maps, and update reservations from our locations. Whether locally or abroad…we can help you have the vacation of your dreams.
Jinny Ussel is the Training and Design Specialist for Boone County Public Library. She loves to travel and in her next life, she’d like to be Samantha Brown.