Guidebook publishers are paying close attention to travelers’ special interests and enthusiasms, whether that means delving into regional cultural traditions, prioritizing sustainability, or, in the case of Hardie Grant Explore’s Green Scenes (Mar.), highlighting legal cannabis destinations across the U.S.

Author Lauren Yoshiko, who has been covering cannabis culture for more than a decade from Portland, Ore., focuses on small, locally owned enterprises that ethically source their product. Yoshiko emphasizes businesses owned by women and by people of color, who are working to make the industry more inclusive than it’s historically been, says Hardie Grant Explore commissioning editor Megan Cuthbert.

“People are really concerned about making sustainable, ethical choices when they travel,” Cuthbert says, “so we wanted to make sure we were providing that kind of content.”

The book covers dispensaries in 15 states that have legalized marijuana and suggests weed-friendly accommodations and activities, such as a collection of tree house rentals in Monroe, Wash., where guests are welcome to light up, and the cannabis-infused dinners hosted by a Phoenix, Ariz., events company.

Lonely Planet is targeting the sustainably minded traveler with Electric Vehicle Road Trips USA & Canada (May), a coffee-table presentation of 60 routes accessible to drivers constrained by battery range. Itineraries traverse Kentucky’s Bourbon Trail, the Massachusetts Turnpike in leaf-peeping season, and British Columbia’s winery-dotted Okanagan Valley, and note relevant information such as accommodations with on-site or nearby chargers.

Like many publishers, Lonely Planet has expanded its notion of what constitutes a guidebook. With its newest titles, says Becca Hunt, LP’s publisher, illustrated and gift, the goal is to “create content that combines the love of travel with other passions.” The spiritual seeker, for instance, may gravitate toward Lonely Planet’s Guide to Death, Grief and Rebirth (July), which illuminates 30 cultural observances. Local writers offer perspective and explain how readers can respectfully witness certain traditions, such as a jazz funeral in New Orleans or Day of the Dead celebrations in Mexico.

Mexico remains a top international destination for U.S. travelers, says DK publishing director Georgina Dee. Following the template of 2019’s Be More Japan and 2023’s Hello, South Korea, the forthcoming ¡Viva Mexico! (May) is organized into themed chapters—social ties, arts and culture, etc.—that aim to enrich the traveler’s experience. The color-saturated hardcover provides travelers with context to better appreciate the nation’s Indigenous heritage and peoples, regional languages and food customs, and popular culture touchstones, such as the lucha libre wrestlers.

“People want to understand why the foods have become what they are or why the culture in this part of Mexico is different from that part,” Dee says. She expresses a sentiment in line with the current wave of deep-dive guides: “The way I approach any book we’re doing is by thinking about what information a traveler needs to have a better experience.”

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