$24.95, Countryman Press, 520 pages
The back jacket for this exhaustively thorough guide to day trips and multiday trips with your kids touts how travel can “augment children’s formal educations.” To which legions of kids collectively groaned, “No!!!” Actually, though, the book contains many trips that have a high fun quotient. If a little education is snuck in, well, the brood will survive. Hardin breaks down the trips by state. Each has at least five attractions, and Californians will puff out their chests knowing the Golden State has 24 trips listed. Only Washington, D.C., has more.
This is not a new product, but it’s a must for any airplane traveler. It’s an 18-by-14-inch, foam-filled pillow that’s much less dorky than one of those wrap-around neck pillows. It’s machine-washable (which you’ll need after a germ-laden flight) and can be smushed to one-fifth of its size and stowed in your bag.
Ultra-runner Anton Krupicka ascends a flat-iron mountain in Boulder, Colo., with the speed and agility of a mountain goat. It’s strangely fascinating to watch.
It may be New York-centered, but etiquette expert Lisa Mirza Grotts’ tips for surviving a taxi trip should be heeded anywhere:
1. Don’t take a cab that someone else has just hailed.
2. For safety reasons, when you enter the cab, make sure the posted ID matches the driver.
3. If the fare is to a major airport, ask if there’s a flat rate vs. a metered rate.
4. If the radio or speaker is too loud, it’s OK to ask the driver to turn it down.
5. Never eat in a taxicab. And be careful if you have a beverage with you.
6. If you feel your driver is “taking you for a ride,” so to speak, it’s OK to give him an alternate route.
7. Many drivers can be chatty. If you’re not up to conversation, one-word responses will soon give him the hint.
8. The standard tip for a taxi is 10 percent of the total fare in the United States, but you should give more if the driver has to wait for you or help you with luggage.
9. To report bad behavior such as rudeness or overcharging, write down the driver’s name and medallion number, and call the cab company and the local taxi commission later to complain.
10. If you feel the driver is putting you in danger with his or her behavior, make an excuse to leave the taxi, or threaten to call 911.