100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do

Image of 100 Countries, 5,000 Ideas: Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do
Release Date: 
February 14, 2011
National Geographic
Reviewed by: 

To make informed decisions about our lives, we need to know about places.

We need to not only know about these places directly affecting our lives, but also to make decisions about whether to travel to distant places for place experiences—especially in light of the challenges confronting the global economy and technological advances that substitute virtual activity for physical presence.

While there is proliferating interest in and information about particular places, there is a striking paucity of parallel information resources to assess, compare, and choose among different places.

This great need for information about other places motivated the National Geographic Society to address through 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas, a compilation of information organized at the country level. As the subtitle suggests, this book informs readers Where to Go, When to Go, What to See, What to Do.

The rationale for this book is conveyed in the foreword by Rudy Maxa, host of “Rudy Maxa’s World” on public television and radio: “The Internet is a boon to travelers, who can research exotic (and not so exotic) destinations on line. With a few clicks, we can buy a ticket to an opera in Verona, read restaurant reviews and book a table at a Hong Kong restaurant or look at web cam pictures of beaches in Australia.

“Today, the challenge isn’t so much finding information as it is making sense of the massive information available.”

Presenting 50 pieces of information on the 100 countries featured countries is organized in a consistent format, including a map locating the country on the globe, a summary overview of what to do and see, a “traveler’s notebook” of practical information concerning travel logistics, and country statistics, A chart suggesting seasons for travel is informed by preferred weather for different types of activities in various places within the country.

Information is organized by landscape, coasts, cities, monuments, flora and fauna, cultural heritage, archaeologies, festivals, and cultural heritages. The travelers’ notebook includes such useful information as required travel documents, travel time from New York and London, language and currency, population and religion, festivals and shopping.

Playing to its strength, National Geographic provides evocative photography communicating the allure, grandeur, and romance of the places.

While the proliferating volume of travel resources and guidebooks aid in planning the trip once the destination is selected and then serve as a portable reference for the trip itself, 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas is intended to be used as a planning resource with most information about a place in the several pages devoted to each country.

Those who long to travel but for whatever reasons may not be able to do so can access a virtual experience reading 100 Countries, 5000 Ideas, an important contribution to the literature of places.

As the jacket states: the book is “an irresistible blend of practical travel information and inspiration, hard working maps and charts and stunning color photographs—everything you need to fuel your wanderlust and plan your perfect trip.”