Much as we love to explore new places, we can’t all spend our time fighting our way through the jungle or freezing our bits off in the polar regions. Sometimes, it’s better to explore the world from the comfort of your favourite armchair. There’s far less chance of being assaulted by creepy-crawlies for a start…

National Geographic’s World’s Best Cities is perfect for planning urban trips away. Sumptuous photography, paired with well-researched text, will beguile you into planning visits across the globe. It’s their pick of 220 of the most interesting city destinations from little known gems like Ashville in North Carolina, or Dakar, to tourist favourites Paris and Venice and surprises like Mexico City or Daruvar in Croatia. It’ll restore your wanderlust, but wound your wallet.

£30 from Waterstones, or £24.07 from Amazon.

By contrast, The Edge of Extinction by Jules Pretty is a melancholy exploration of vanishing traditional cultures far removed from modern city life. Although the book has few pictures, Pretty conjures up vivid images of living with the Maoris, Siberian nomads, Inuit hunters and Amish farmers. It’s a great book for people who fantasise about seceding from modern life and heading for their own tropical island, but couldn’t give up their phone or being able to order a takeaway.

£17.37 from Amazon.

Lonely Planet has a compact and bijou guide called the Best in Travel 2015, which is a wonderfully curated set of top ten lists of the best countries, regions and cities to visit. The focus is on quirky, underrated areas that have a lot to offer the traveller, with the benefit that you are unlikely to meet boozy Ryanair hen parties. You’ll find everything from Northern Norway to Nepal, Belize to Bulgaria and the best places for proposals, extreme eating and peculiar plumbing. It’s perfect for dipping into for getaway ideas.

£9.99 from bookshops.

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