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Ask Arthur Frommer Guidebook

On my first trip to Europe in 1966, of course I used Arthur Frommer‘s Europe on $5 a Day—as did every other American traveler I saw during that trip.

Over a half century after first publishing his world-changing guidebook, Mr Frommer is still going strong, publishing books, magazine articles, a nationally-syndicated newspaper column and radio program, and even a popular blog.

I think I can safely say that there is no one in the entire world who knows more about travel than Arthur Frommer.

It’s not merely that he knows the best places to go, the most enjoyable things to see and do, and the tedious tourist traps to avoid. More importantly, he continues to steadfastly advocate the kinds of travel that educate, edify, inspire and delight.

Far from “It’s Tuesday, this must be Belgium,” the Frommer traveler actually does go off the beaten path—even along the route of that path. Unaware travelers will be browsing the touristy souvenir shops on the main square while those following Frommer’s advice will be in an artisan’s workshop only a few blocks away enjoying a thoroughly authentic and unforgettable local experience.

Well, then. Imagine taking that half-century-plus of travel wisdom and experience and distilling it into one 484-page book. That’s what Frommer has done with Ask Arthur Frommer & travel better, cheaper, smarter: the ultimate travel guide that answers every major question.

No matter where you’ve been, no matter where you’ll go, Ask Arthur Frommer can truly help you to travel “better, cheaper, smarter.” It contains a wealth of up-to-date insider tips on how to get the lowest fares on flights, ships and trains; exhaustive and detailed information on the best accommodations worldwide and how to get them for the best price; adventure and special-interest trips and treks throughout the world; shopping and saving anywhere at all; how to get the most and best from travel industry agents and staff; and a shopping list of great destinations from Amsterdam through Turkey to Vietnam and even Washington, DC.

The benefit is obvious: you can’t possible know all this, I can’t either, so the book is a no-brainer buy. It pays for itself by Page 10.

Surprisingly, the book’s best feature is not its encyclopedic, practical and highly useful tips and information. The book’s best feature is Frommer himself: candid, eloquent, entertaining, enthusiastic, opinionated and outspoken, Frommer revels in his role as advocate for honest, down-to-earth, life-enhancing travel far removed from the Mandarin-elitist, photo-stylist $1000+-a-night vacations described in breathless prose by the glossy travel magazines.

Frommer made the point in his very first book: budget travel, in which one engages the world and truly learns about, is superior to luxury travel in which the real world—and its infinite beauty—is kept at a “safe” distance and one’s preconceptions and prejudices are never questioned, let alone challenged.

If you love travel—as you must if you are contemplating a trip to Turkey—you’ll find Ask Arthur Frommer to be a priceless encyclopedia of on-the-road wisdom, and a worthy “bible” of the aware travelers’ creed.

Ask Arthur Frommer, by Arthur Frommer. Hoboken NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2009. 484 pages, with illustrations. ISBN 978-0-470-41849-9, US$19.99/CN$23.99/UK£13.99. (Click here to order.)


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