If you're headed for the Soviet Union, make sure you have pre-departure visas for every specific stop. And don't forget that to get these visas, you need hotel reservations. Then bear in mind that even after the hotel is booked, you don't have any guarantee. If you've got a bit of grit and a lot of humor, you can make it past all these complications with the help of "Bantam's Soviet Union 1991," which covers many of the arcane things the traveler needs to know to plan a trip to the USSR, now attracting more visitors from the West.

China's tourism, which fell back after the Tiananmen Square events of last year, is beginning to revive, so Houghton Mifflin has a new edition of its guidebook, "The China Guidebook 1991," by Fredric Kaplan.

Many people consider the best way to see the sights is on foot, and for them come new walk guides from Henry Holt: "London Walks" by Anton Powell, "Paris Walks" by Alison and Sonia Landes, and "Venice Walks" by Chas Garner and Alessandro Giannatasio.

What to do in France? Why shop, of course. "Born to Shop France" by Suzy German and Judith Thomas (Bantam Books) is newly revised in its fourth edition. They review shopping for fashions, perfumes, antiques, food delicacies and other goodies.


A guide for eating, staying and playing in Florida, "Florida: A guide to the Best Restaurants, Resorts and Hotels" by Robert Tolf and Russell Buchan (Clarkson Potter) can help you sort out the choices. Newly updated, the book carries brief reviews of recommended establishments.

Frommer's Comprehensive Guides for '91-'92 include Tampa and St. Petersburg, by Patricia Tunison Preston and John Preston, and Salt Lake City, by Lois Friedland (Prentice Hall). Both offer sightseeing, excursion, shopping, accommodation and restaurant information.

New in the "2 to 22 Days" series of itinerary planners from John Muir Publications are entries for the Great Lakes and New Zealand, both by Arnold Schuchter. Besides listing suggested routes and sights, the books recommend places to stay, camp, and eat.

Five new Insight Guide titles from Prentice Hall cover the Katmandu Valley, Kashmir, South India, Madeira and Budapest. Emphases in these guides are photographs and background essays to acquaint the traveler with the culture and history of the destination city or country. The Budapest book, for example, covers not only the settlement of Buda back to at least 900 and the antique splendors still to be explored on Castle Hill and other historic quarters, but nightlife, food, shopping and other pleasures available - perhaps unexpectedly -to the Western visitor.

Real Guides to San Francisco and the Bay Area, Hong Kong and Macau, Turkey, Berlin, Venice, and Guatemala and Belize also are new from Prentice Hall. These guides give an overview of social and political climates in these locations, as well as practical travel information. Also covered are women's travel resources, suggested reading and films, and activities for gay and lesbian visitors.

Find the hidden treasures of Maine - nature walks, secluded campsites, fishing and backroads journeys in "Exploring Maine on Country Roads and Byways," by Michael Uhl (Clarkson Potter). In this informal, essay-style guide, the author even includes a chapter called "Midnight Raid on L.L. Bean," asserting that no one in his right mind goes shopping during the day because of the un-Maine-like traffic jams.