Books From Lonely Planet & Moleskine Make Trip Planning Easy!

My fella and I don't really do vacations. We both write at home and write to deadline, and often deadlines fall on weekends and holidays, so it never seems the right time.

We did take one last year, but that's the first one after being together for 5 years!

So it is with great pleasure and excitement that I am going to be visiting one of my very best friends out of the country for a couple of days. Not only will I get to see her, but I'll have some time on my own to explore the city and do some things that are just selfish delights like going to bookstores, ducking into a few, fabulous cafes and going to a few libraries and museums.

And I've got the best planning tools to help guide me through the city:

The Lonely Planet Encounter Guides give you a great itinerary to follow, to make the most of a short trip (which is exactly what I need!). There is a full colour, pull-out map to make navigating around a big city easy and the author recommends the very best in restaurants, clubs, theaters, museums and more, so you can actually use this guide from top to bottom, instead of having to carry a bunch around with you, trying to remember which had that box of a sushi place and which one suggested that vintage shop in the Village.

My favourite feature of this series is that they take people from said city and they tell you what they love about the place that they call home.

There are guides available for a lot of major cities - have a peek inside the Paris one to see how it's laid out!

And the Moleskine City Notebooks are fab too! They have a lot of cool features - an elastic closure,inside accordion pocket and three ribbon placemarkers, each in a different colour.

This is a city book that you change, update and modify each time you visit that city. It's meant to work with you and change when you change. How cool is that?!

There are 76 blank pages so that you can write down thoughts, directions, etc. with prelabeled and blank tabs to help keep it all organized. And my favourite part is the 32 removable sheets for "loose notes and for exchanging messages and 12 translucent sticky sheets, to overlay and re-position, so that you can trace your route as you go." It's like having a city official walk with you to your destination. Fanfreakintastic!

And for tracking my trip, making note of all of my favourite spots and thoughts that occur while away (I find such clarity in cities other than my own...), I am toting the Lonely Planet Travel Journal with me.

There are neat stories about different cities scattered throughout, as well as a world time zones wheel, useful web site addresses,inner pocket for storing cards, receipts and mementos,metric conversion tables, a detailed map of the world's continents plus calendars, name and address section, international dialing codes and more.

The black cover means that I can take it anywhere and it won't get too scuffed or marked up. It's softcover, but the cream pages are sturdy enough to handle whatever you have to tell them.

And to keep track of my schedule, I'm used the Moleskine Limited Edition Weekly Planner + Notebook 2008. It's got the week to view on one page with full pages for notes on the other. And it comes with a removable insert of tabbed pages in the pocket plus labels. And at 9 x 14 cm, it's just big enough to keep in my bag without taking up to much room or weighing too much.

It's the perfect traveling companion!

Next week, I'll highlight some great things to bring with you on the plane. In the meantime, go out and plan a trip somewhere, even if it's only for a couple of days. You deserve it!

Stephanie Dickison

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