The third book in Lonely Planet’s fantastic travel series, Great Escapes, is just as much of a treat as its two predecessors, Great Journeys and Great Adventures, were. Its subtitle states “Enjoy the world at your leisure”, and that’s exactly what this book is about – short escapes, usually no longer than a week or long weekend getaway, that you can either take when you need a break from the rat race or can add on as something extra to a longer trip.
The book is divided into ten sections: Culture, Luxe, Food and Drink, Romance, City, Chill-Out, Shoestring, Family, Wild, and Party. There should be something in here for just about anyone looking to spoil themselves with a quick retreat from the daily grind.
The premise of quick escapes is, ironically, also my biggest gripe with this specific book. Their recommendations would be perfect if you were based in Europe or the USA, but for someone like me, situated at the bottom of Africa, absolutely nothing in this book is economically viable (except maybe the rhino watching in Namibia). It’s just not worthwhile flying twelve or more hours there, and twelve or more hours back, to spend three days walking along the banks of the Thames or waltz a weekend away in Vienna. Not to mention the fact that, although they give a rough indication of budget and there is a whole section on cheaper holidays, most of the trips seem to be on the pricey side. I mean, not just anyone can afford a weekend in James Bond’s Jamaican pad or a quick hop over to Tokyo for a night of boozing it up in the party district.
That said, there are some wonderful ideas in here for things to include in longer trips, and a few of them I have even done already (flamenco and tapas in Spain, anyone?). In particular, I would love to follow Germany’s fairy tale route, take a tiger safari in India and float around in the Dead See in Jordan. If I could combine them with some of their other suggestions, such as the summer solstice festival in Stockholm, camel caravanning in Rajasthan or visiting temples in Bhutan, then all my complaints will fade away into nothing.
As with the other books in this series, Great Escapes is highly recommended for the armchair traveller and if you’re looking for something short and sweet to do over a free weekend or two, then this book has all the perfect ideas to help turn your imagination into reality.
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