If you plan to travel more this year, or at least travel better, you might look at travel newsletters for inspiration and information.
Oxbridge Directory of Newsletters, (Oxbridge Communications, $295), available at most public libraries, lists 140 travel newsletters. Issued monthly or 10 times a year, newsletters focus on special travel interests and needs. Some popular titles:
"Consumer Reports Travel Letter": This monthly from Consumers Union emphasizes good value and service by highlighting industry developments and current events that may affect travel. Each issue features current travel tips; profiles a domestic and foreign city; rates airlines, cruise ships and hotels for comfort, service, cost and cleanliness, and keeps a scoreboard on long-distance telephone rates.
It also publishes reader comments and answers reader questions. The "Traveler's Notes" section and "Flash" insert page update discounted fares and list other timely items.
At $37 per year, $57 for two years, or $5 per issue, this is an all-round best bet for frequent travelers. Write Subscription Director, Consumer Reports Travel Letter, Box 53629, Boulder, CO 80322-3629.
"Travel Smart": A budget-oriented consumer monthly offers eclectic coverage of seasonal destinations, cruises, travel deals, senior citizen travel and business travel.
At $44 per year, $79 for two years or $4 per copy, from Communications House Inc., 40 Beechdale Road, Dobbs Ferry, NY, 10522.
"ALPS (AirLine Passenger Services)": This monthly evaluates airline club rooms, airport facilities and other aspects of airline travel. Lists in-flight movie schedules for domestic and international routes.
It's $75 a year from Carlson Publishing Co., P.O. Box 888, Los Alamitos, CA 90720. Also available are annual seating guides for U.S. ($39.95) and foreign ($44.95) airlines and guides to domestic airports ($6.95) and airline safety ($14.95).
"The Educated Traveler": Offers information on how to pursue special interests such as photo safaris, painting workshops, cooking classes, ecotourism, bicycle tours and pub crawls.
Cost for 10 issues is $75 from The Educated Traveler Inc., P.O. Box 220822, Chantilly, VA 22022.
"Andrew Harper's Hideaway Report": A monthly dedicated to peaceful vacations and executive retreats for the upscale traveler. Subscriptions limited to 15,000. Caribbean resorts, Canadian hideaways, ski or surf retreats _ historic and new _ are described in tantalizing detail.
Subscriptions are $90 per year, $7.50 an issue, from Harper Associates Inc., P.O. Box 300, Whitefish, MT 59937.
"Gardens & Countrysides": Subtitled "A Journal of Picturesque Travels," it details journeys to landscaped places ranging from elegant estate gardens to ornamental kitchen gardens.
Ten issues are $75, or $10 each for single or back issues, from Travel Publications Inc., 401 Austin Highway, Suite 209, San Antonio, TX 78209.