If you're an independent traveler, eager to explore the world and willing to make your way on your own, Edward Hasbrouck's The Practical Nomad is a book for you.
And if you're one of those people frequently seen on military-style package tours dozing in those huge motor coaches outside the Duomo and the Uffizi, weary from touring more museums and cathedrals in two weeks than you ever cared to see in two lifetimes, no longer certain if you're in Nice or Naples or Norway The Practical Nomad is a book for you, too. It could change your whole attitude toward travel, and only for the better.
Edward Hasbrouck is a travel agent who specializes in independent travel rather than merely peddling cruises and package tours to walk-in customers. When he began offering general tips and advice on the art of travel on the Internet, his answers proved so popular and useful that he wrote this book. The Practical Nomad is subtitled How to Travel Around the World, and the emphasis is on the first part. This is not a destination book but rather a handbook on the general principles of travel, developed from actual experience by widely knowledgeable travelers.
Here's how Hasbrouck describes it:
It is a unique "how-to" handbook of advice and tips for independent, on-your-own travel anywhere in the world. It's for anyone considering, planning, or preparing for long-term, complex, multistop, or multicountry international travel; first-time international travelers; travelers new to different regions of the world; and would-betravelersinterested in learning more about travel planning than any guidebook to a specific destination can or does say.That's a fair description. Hasbrouck covers in detail such topics as choosing the right destination for you; visas and permits; health and safety; how to manage and handle your money, and how to get more on the road; how to cross borders; what you do and don't need to bring with you; how to select and handle luggage; how to use local and Internet resources for more specific information; plus sensible advice on everything from phones and faxes and mail in foreign countries to culture shock and different attitudes toward sex and gender.
Along the way, Hasbrouck dispels some of the most widely held myths and misinformation about travel, especially about prices and costs. Round-trip tickets are not necessarily the cheapest. Prices are not necessarily lower at the other end. Travel agents simply are not, no matter what you think, in the business of getting you the best possible deal. But the myths won't mislead you after you've read The Practical Nomad.
The focus of this book is not on how to save money and find the best deal, but it is a fact that experienced travelers who understand the principles of travel do save money and do find the best deals on transportation, meals, lodging, everything and furthermore, such travelers have the richest experience of the world and absolutely the most fun. That's Hasbrouck's contention, and mine, too.
There's no substitute, of course, for the actual and exciting experience of traveling on your own, but The Practical Nomad will put you years ahead in mastering the art of travel.