Here is an update on a number of helpful resources for travelers.
Alternative Travel Directory: The Complete Guide to Work, Study, Travel Overseas (Transitions Abroad, $19.95). This is only for those who are ready to leave the tour bus _ and their "cultural baggage" _ behind, way behind. It offers the how-tos on becoming part of another place, rather than just taking its snapshot. Lots of resource lists.
Karen Brown's Austria: Charming Inns & Itineraries (Fodor's Travel Publications, $17.95). Takes you by the hand from village to village, points out the sights and does what Karen Brown is best known for: detailing the ambience, decor, prices and contact information on hotels and inns.
Upscale Traveler (10 issues/year, $96; introductory subscription, $77). Newsletters typically are designed to deliver facts in a flash. Most tell you how to get discounts, but several are geared to a niche readership. In keeping with its title, Upscale Traveler is slanted toward first-class, business and executive consumers: how to get more frequent-flier miles based on how much you paid for the ticket, how to get rebates on first-class tickets. The April issue has a list of Mobil's five-star restaurants and news of Delta's Executive Women's Travel Network. (310) 823-1970.
Las Vegas Advisor (12 issues/year, $50). Dining and entertainment recommendations, casino and gambling news, easy-to-use events calendar and hotel room-rate guide. April issue interviews Jean Scott, who wrote The Frugal Gambler. (702) 252-0655.
Travel Smart (12 issues/year, $44; introductory subscription, $37). Deals on air fare, hotels and cruises, as well as warnings and alerts to scams. March issue had roundup of New York City hotels under $135, "insider" report on Prince Edward Island. (914) 693-8300.
The Shoestring Traveler (6 issues/year, $29). Air fare deals, readers' reports, free pamphlets and guides, quick destination tips, festivals. April issue has roundup of couriers' reports. (561) 582-8320.
MSNBC's Travel page (http://www.msnbc.com/news/ travelfront.asp). A recent browse turned up stories on how hotels are using business-travel technology to lure leisure guests. Features Expedia booking links, sound bites from interviewees, weather reports, a currency converter and plenty of links to sponsor Continental Airlines. The terrorism map, though, is small, crowded and hard to read.
Surf and Sun (http://www.surf-sun.com). Sentimental roundup of the world's beaches, even in places that don't sound very beachy, like Croatia. Airline, hotel and road-trip links.
The West Point Story. This is not exactly a travel video, but if you are planning a trip to West Point, it will give you a thorough background. Through interviews with graduates such as Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf and astronaut Buzz Aldrin, this two-volume set ($24.95) covers West Point's strategic geographical role during the Revolutionary War and traces the part its graduates have played in military and civilian history. Call Goldhil Media, (800) 250-8760.
Paths of Life: American Indians of the Southwest. This offering ($19.95), also not strictly a travel video, is based on an exhibit at the Arizona State Museum. It allows the Navajo, Hopi, Tarahumara, Pai and six other cultures to describe their legends, their history and their land. Call Video Learning Library, (800) 383-8811.