I always pick up an Eyewitness guide to whatever place I'm travelling to. The longest I've been away (except for once when I was 9) is a month, so I like something quick and concise to read just to give me an idea of what to see. I love Eyewitness because it's created around some great pictures, with short text to explain the sights. It's beautiful and useful for my purposes. Plus it looks great on the bookshelf! The only downside is that it's a bit heavy to carry around...
im in the same boat as moonmonkey and tottally agree with him!
there is alot of eliteism and snobery not just here but around the travel community in generak about whos a backpacker and whos not and is guidebooks are bad or not etc etc. these elitists seem to enjoy getting stuck into those of us who dont travel the same way as them. it makes for very interesing debate but i for one am going to travel where i want how i want for what reasons i want and useing what resorces i want regardless if i get called mr touristy tourist tourer lol
that said im not going to be following guidebooks a whole lot, im figureing out what main places i want to go to and then filling in the gaps as i go, i have a very open plan and will probly change it as i go anyway as i make new friends and here about new places. but i sure aint gonna knock someone who does wanna follow the bokks more closely, remember alot of people are very shy or unconfident so just going in blind would scare the crap outta them
this is a very interesting debate
I get the impression that some people consider themselves some kinda great explorers. A month of backpacking in India does not make you the next Captain Cook.
As for guidebooks.. why wouldnt you take one? Dont you think your taking yourself a little too seriously? Why deliberatley make life difficult for yourself?
If you want to avoid the throngs of backpackers/tourists (which are the same thing by the way) then perhaps get a less poplular guidebook.
I find it a bit wierd that the guidebook is referred to as a bible, but if i think about it can understand where the reference has developed from.
I agree that there are certain backpackers that heavily rely on the information presented in the guidebook and i am interested why this is. When i look back to my first travelling experience i was very young and quite naive. I arrived in Thailand having had no prior experience of travelling alone and had never ventured outside of europe. It was a scary experience and i had no idea where to start. My Lonely planet proved invaluable..it directed me to khao san rd where i had a whale of a time meeting other youngsters like myself. I stayed in a decent hostel recommended by the book and following the LP advice managed to sort myself out with a trip down to Koh Samui where again i stayed in a nice LP recommended hostel. For me this was the ideal way to travel at this time as it took the scary edge out of travelling..i had instructions to follow and problems rarely occured. By the time i had finished my 4 month trip (incl Oz as well) i had relied heavily on my LP for guidanace and saw nothing wrong with this. However, on my 2nd and 3rd backpacking trips i have used my guidebook much less. I think this is because i am more experienced, know the 'ropes' as it were and feel more comfortable doing my own thing. I do still use the guidebook for research and help where necessary but am generally much more adventurous now.
So basically what i am trying to say here is that in my own experience (and this has been backed up other fellow backpackers) the guidebook is used as a safety device and is especially used heavily by first time travellers. As backpackers get more confident they tend to use it less. Therefore those that treat the guidebook as a bible are not less of a backpacker but perhaps just less experienced.
[ Edit: Edited on Feb 13, 2007, at 2:47 AM by spiden ]
there is alot of eliteism and snobery not just here but around the travel community in general about whos a backpacker and whos not and is guidebooks are bad or not etc etc. these elitists seem to enjoy getting stuck into those of us who dont travel the same way as them.
Amen to that. I'm often surprised at the number of threads that pop up in the General Talk section on what makes one a "tourist" vs. a "traveller" or "backpacker." And as Flanbos said, it happens out in the real world too.
That being said, I do tend to roll my eyes and sigh heavily when stuck behind some novice traveller at the airport or in a train station who has 80 lbs of luggage with them. "Damn Tourists," I will think to myself. That's how I discriminate - based on the amount of luggage you have. I don't care where you stay or what guide book you have, but if you can travel with just a single change of clothes, I am always impressed. If you have 2 big bags with you, I'm secretly hating you.
Human nature, I guess, to try and categorize everything, and (of course), try and place us in the best category possible. I'll try and be better in the future.
That's how I discriminate - based on the amount of luggage you have.
For me it's the people who hold up lines because they didn't prepare (yes, your carry-on luggage really has to fit the dimensions posted on all the signs, no you can't bring water bottles, toy guns or hand grenades in your carry-on bags), or those who stand clueless in the middle of the airport while 500 people are trying to get by.
Come to think of it, that's what bothers me about people in general.
I like to read my guidebooks in advance, prepare for my trip and find out, what's gonna b interesting to see/do. It saves me a lot of time and money really.
Then I take off, with my notes in my pocket, which is my 'plan' I'm always happy to change.
The place that sounded so awesome in the book, turns out to be nothing I expected, so I'm not gonna spend there a whole week (I remember being at Milford Sound in NZ on that stupid touristy boat, 100 languages coming out from the speakers, going out a little bit, making a turn, coming back and then u ask urself- that's it? man I was dissapointed and even the guidebook recommended the whole thing).
The hostel 'everyone' recommended, was totally not what we were looking for (thinking of that busy street- forgot the name- in Cape Town- that was mad!!)
I think being prepared is good, but u still need to b flexibel. It all depends on how much time and money u've got to spend. If it's the only holiday I have, I'll definitely plan ahead and make the most of it (and use a guidebook).
Travelling for me is: that's what I wanna do/see and can do/see (and maybe tomorrow I don't feel like it, so what), but there are no 'Must sees/dos', that's for sure!