Odds are really good that you are familiar with Mr. Freeman, or at least with some of his photographs. According to his website:
"One of the most widely published photographers worldwide, Michael Freeman has worked for most major international magazine and book publishers in a long career. A leading photographer for the Smithsonian Magazine for three decades (more than 40 assignment stories), Freeman has also published more than 120 books on subjects as varied as Angkor, Sudan, ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia, the Shakers, and contemporary Japanese design and architecture. His 50 books on the practice of photography are standard works, and have sold almost two million copies in more than 20 languages. His contribution to teaching is the photography courses at the UK's Open College of the Arts, now to degree level in the national curriculum. London-based, Freeman travels for half of each year on shooting assignments, principally in Asia. His latest large-format reportage book is The Tea Horse Road, the result of a two-year exploration of one of the longest trade routes in the ancient world, between China and Tibet."
Measuring a little over 4.5 x 6 inches by slightly more that 1/2 inch thick, the book (like all books in the Field Guide series) is designed to be taken with you - to fit in a pocket or to be tossed in your bag for handy reference in the field. With an opening chapter dedicated to preparation, and later chapters on subjects like, well, subjects and on themes to bring some unity to your travel picture, the book is well designed and well laid out. The chapters are tabbed internally on the outer edge with corresponding tabs on the back for quick searches.
There is clearly much in this book that applies far beyond travel photography. The chapter on planning has many great tips on learning as much as possible about the destination and setting goals for the photographs - which helps you decide what equipment to pack. The next chapter covers being on the road and contrasts the frequent need for spontaneity and "going with the flow" with the need for careful forethought and packing from the first chapter. It has great tips on how to find the best positions (and use the best equipment) for special events such as parades and festivals. There is a section on dealing with obstructions, with some creative fixes that are doable in our digital world. There is even a great deal of information about climate and weather during various seasons in various parts of the world - and the ramifications of that for photography gear.
The book covers such basic subjects as using good manners and what is acceptable and not acceptable in different cultures and religions - certainly information that is helpful when visiting new countries (and which should perhaps be required reading for all Americans based on our collective reputation abroad). There is great advice on lighting, best times of day for various subjects and effects, basic flash photography pointers, and even some great thoughts and suggestions on ways to unify photographs from a trip using themes, such as "the journey," "street life," and "landscapes," with encouragement to design your own themes based on your own tastes and interests.
This book, by its nature, covers a lot of ground and is more impressive for its breadth than its depth. However, it fits a good deal of information, and inspiration, in its 192 pages, and has some truly wonderful photographs throughout. Mr. Freeman is a professional photographer of the first magnitude, and the photos evidence his mastery of people, landscape, nature, wildlife, street and city life photography. His writing is concise and clear. All in all, this is a very worthwhile book - not just if you are going on the trip of a lifetime, but really any trip. Really, even if you want some inspiration to shoot your hometown with fresh eyes as much of what is in here applies to photography in general, not just when you are X miles from home. I would say that if you have been into photography for a few years, and have read a few books and magazines, there may not be a lot in this book that is brand new information to you on the photography side. It is aimed at someone who has just bought a nice camera for a trip and who isn't already an expert. Or who wants to learn more about places they would like to travel and who are contemplating a potential career in the (I assume) very competitive business of travel photography. However, because of the subject and the size of the book, it would be good for anyone who just wants to carry something with them as a handy reference and refresher while "on the road." And the non-photography information, including coverage of weather, climate, electricity sources and ratings by country and tips on negotiating customs in foreign (sometimes corrupt) countries from this man, whose wife calls him a "professional tourist," may well be worthwhile even to long-time photographers unaccustomed to international travel.