Navigating through the Travel Magazine Mountains - Curt Yeomans

Perhaps I do read too many travel magazines, but I do not care. They provide lots of interesting reading. Every month, these days, I faithfully pick up a copy of "Travel + Leisure" and "National Geographic Traveler" msagazines. Sometimes, I'll also pick up other, nation-specific magazines, such as "Ireland of the Welcomes," "Scotland," or "British Heritage."

There is a vast amount of travel magazines out there to read. There are so many, in fact, that I think of them as being almost like a mountain range that you can work your way through. Bookstores even have whole sections, within the magazine department, devoted solely to travel magazines.

Some of the other magazines out there include "Conde Nast Traveler," and "Luxury Travel Magazine." Then there is the whole, wide swath of locale-specific magazines that try to entice people to visit places, such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Savannah, Charleston, and wide chunks of Florida.

There is really nothing that makes one magazine stand out from the rest. You just have to know what you're going to find in each magazine, and use a little bit from each, if you are planning to take a trip.

I have to give "Travel + Leisure" props, though, because of the chances readers have to interact with the magazine. As you may recall, I wrote that they did "World's Best ..." reader's choice awards a couple of months ago, and were doing a similar awards contest for American cities.

My Rule No. 1 about travel, is to always scope out the opinions of other travelers. Nobody knows better about what works best for a traveler, than a fellow traveler.

And, here's an interesting Clayton County connection to "Travel + Leisure" magazine. In its 2009 reader's choice "America's Favorite Cities" awards, the only thing about Atlanta that the magazine's readers deemed worthy of a "Top 10" (or "Top 5" in some categories) ranking was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

According to the magazine's web site, www.travelandleisure.com/, voting has closed for the 2010 awards, and the results will be released in November. The magazine is asking readers to vote in its monthly travel photo contest right now, however. They have categories for "Funny Signs," "Locals," "Nature," and "Views."

"National Geographic Traveler" is also worthy of props, though, because it has some fantastic articles on international travel. You know how you have always been able to read National Geographic (the parent magazine) articles, on all of these different places, and issues, in the world, and you finish the article feeling like you've just been on a quick international trip?

Well, that is the same feeling you get when you read a "National Geographic Traveler" article. The writers really go into rich detail about the people and places they write about. A recent example was an incredible article on what Paris is like during the month of August. Granted, I have been to Paris, so I could visualize the places the writer described, but there was so much detail, I could actually picture what was written.

It's web site, travel.nationalgeographic.com, has travel-related trivia, photo galleries, a list of 50 top guided tours in the world, and another list, of 30 top family trips. The lists are chosen by the magazine's editors.

So, in summary. My recommendation to everyone is to pull up a seat at the local bookstore, and take some time to flip through a few travel magazines. There is a wealth of knowledge to be found there.

Curt Yeomans covers education for the Clayton News Daily. He can be reached via e-mail at cyeomans@news-daily.com.