By Caroline Hallemann
November 07, 2014
Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.
Travel - The Guide, cover
Credit: Travel: The Guide

Security lines. Passport stamps. Checked luggage. Have you ever stepped back and really thought about why we travel the way we do? In some ways, this industry is—pardon the pun—on autopilot. And that mindset is exactly what author Doug Lansky set out to question.

A project 10 years in the making, new e-book Travel: The Guide is anything but your typical destination handbook, a clarification the intro makes abundantly clear.

"This guide won’t provide hotel suggestions, give you packing tips, or tell you where to go," writes Lansky, a seasoned traveler perhaps best known for his popular series of Signspotting texts. "Instead, this book aspires to hold a mirror up to our travel behaviors and views—at least some of them."

When was the last time a commercial airplane actually deployed rafts for a water evacuation? (spoiler alert: It was 1962, when a DC-7C owned by Northwest but operating as a military transport charter crashed at sea.)

What's it like to travel deaf? Blind? In a wheelchair?

Is there some sort of tour-guide code that requires them to hold up colorful umbrellas?

With visually arresting—and sometimes irreverent—photo essays, interviews, and historical timelines, Travel asks all these questions and more, diving into controversial topics (ridiculously untrue hotel marketing photos, the cost of airport security) and lighter observations (the rise of travel-inspired tattoos, the history of the Hawaiian shirt) with equal care, exposing stereotypes, myths, and clichés along the way.

Available only in digital form, Lansky's guidebook is an unexpected complement to your dog-eared copy of T+L, Frommer's, or Lonely Planet. It won't teach you how to get to your destination, but it just might change the way your view the journey.

Travel: The Guide is currently available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon ($4.99).

Caroline Hallemann is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.