“Excuse me, could you tell me how to get to the train station?”

It’s always good to be prepared when you travel. Whether you’re headed to a secluded beach, a mountain top or the heart of a bustling city, the chances are good that someone who’s been there before you has written a book about how to make that journey a smooth one.

You can purchase a travel guide for almost any destination on the planet, and that makes it real easy for you to find the best route to the Eiffel Tower, a good pizza joint in Lake Havasu City or figure out where to turn your dollars into Danish crowns. Here’s a quick look at some of the best new guides.

Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries

Most people travel to Africa with the intent of marveling at animals, and this guide gives you the lowdown on the best places to sight game in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, South Africa, the Congo and a dozen other east and southern African nations.

Detailed information on bush camps is provided, and if you’d like to really do something different, you can find out here how to take a safari by camel, on an elephant’s back or in a hot air balloon. Many safari providers have gone “green,” and this guide tells you which ones are most ecologically minded.

Also available: African Safari Journal (Global Travel Publishers). africa-adventure.com

Bradt Guide to Borneo

This giant island in Southeast Asia is shared by three countries: Malaysia, Indonesia and the tiny nation of Brunei. Only Brunei and the Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah are covered here, but that’s enough to plan a fabulous Borneo adventure. Stay overnight in a traditional longhouse, look for orangutans and homely proboscis monkeys, maybe even see if you can tolerate the foul odor of the Rafflesia or “corpse flower.”

Lots of very colorful photos of flora and fauna (even bugs!) are included. bradtguides.com

Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships 2009

Each year there are more and more options for cruisers, not just in itineraries, but in the variety and number of ships plying the seas. This guide offers detailed information on 272 ships right down to what kind of entertainment they have in the cabaret and makes specific recommendations for cruisers who are single, honeymooners or physically challenged. The best shore excursions are listed and if you’re really adventurous, you’ll love the chapter on traveling by freighter. berlitzpublishing.com

Fabulous Quebec City

Quebec City is one of the most picturesque cities in Canada, and besides information this guide is packed with stunning photographs including many taken in Vieux-Quebec, the main tourist area overflowing with street-side cafes, alluring boutiques and historic 17th century buildings.

Part of this area rests atop a bluff, while the other portion lies far below along the St. Lawrence River. If you’re feeling energetic, follow the guide’s directions to the Escalier Casse-Cou (break-neck stairway) or better yet read up on how to get to the funicular that transits the two points in mere minutes. ulyssesguides.com

Frommer’s Ireland 2009

This guide covers the entire island, including the territory that’s part of the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland. Chapters like “The Best of Ireland” feature info on things like castles, gardens, literary spots, picture-postcard towns and of course, pubs.

In-depth coverage is given for each county, so you can easily plot your route around Kerry County’s scenic Ring of Kerry or head to Galway County to see if you can spy a Galway hooker (that’s a boat.) Everything you need to know to navigate the bustling city of Dublin is here too, including directions to the U2-owned Clarence Hotel. frommers.com

Mobil Travel Guide: Southwest 2009

If it’s worth doing or seeing and it’s in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico or Utah, it’s mentioned in this invaluable aid for road-trippers. For each destination, say Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon, you’ll find listings under headings that include “What to See and Do,” “Restaurants,” “Spas,” “Hotels” and “Special Events.”

Mobil is the originator of the “star” rating system, and all restaurants and hotels get a rating between one and five. Planning on eating at Boogie’s Diner in Aspen? The guide explains what you should expect from their one-star rating. mobiltravelguide.com

Paris Day By Day

Paris really is one of the most exciting cities in the world, and a visitor is never at a lack for things to do there. Sure it’s fun to discover by wandering aimlessly, but the streets of Paris are notoriously maze-like and sometimes maps can be confusing.

This guide sorts it all out for you, offering everything you need to know about getting around and plotting out 22 different itineraries to suit every taste. There’s even a suggested tour that takes you through Ernest Hemingway’s Paris that includes directions to his first apartment in the city. frommers.com

The Rough Guide to Central America on a Budget

A good dish of chicken stew at La Fresa in Guadalupe, Panama will set you back a whopping $1.50, and the drinks at Bambu in Tegucigalpa, Honduras are “ridiculously cheap.” Thousands of similar tips about traveling in these countries and Belize, El Salvador, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Costa Rica allow you to enjoy your trip without worrying about what’s in your wallet.

The guide also contains a 12-page glossary of basic Spanish, so you’ll know how to ask for una mas cerveza. Also available: Southeast Asia on a Budget; Europe on a Budget. roughguides.com

SAS Crew Guide 2009

This is probably the most unique travel guide ever written – it’s comprised solely of tips and recommendations from the pilots and flight crews at SAS (Scandinavian Airlines) and their partner airlines. Get their insider information on where to eat, lodge, buy, play and recover in Asian, European and Australian hot spots as well as major American and Canadian cities. crewpublishing.com

Top 10 Washington, D.C.

Our nation’s capital was already a favorite vacation destination, and it’s become even more popular now that we have a new president in residence. This latest pocket-sized guide in DK Publishing’s Top 10 series features chapter after chapter of Top 10 lists guiding you to the best in everything from museums and art galleries to the hottest of night spots and coolest of green spaces.

All the monuments and memorials are covered, as are the Top 10 things to see at places like the Library of Congress. The guide also includes a pull-out map of the city.

Also available: Top 10 Mexico City. traveldk.com