hello folks, I'm sure this has been asked before but my internet access is kinda limited so I can't trawl.....
anyhow, I'm trying to plan for a rtw trip, and would like to get a guide book. I don't want to get individual country ones because
A) far too much money would get spent on books
B) wouldnt want to carry them around
so in your honest opinions, which ones should I be looking for?
I would always opt for lonely planet books as I think they offer the most useful advice and info. you should be able to get regional guides for most places to save you carrying around loads of books, ie South East Asia on a shoestring, South America on a shoestring etc.
I agree. Lonely Planet have always proved themselves the best for me. I've tried many others, and have never liked them as much.
For a round the world trip, you will most likely have to buy more than one book. I know there are a few intro type guidebooks about planning a RTW trip, which you might find useful initially, but the info they would be able to provide for individual countries would not be practical on the road.
The guides Bex mentions - "South America / Southeast Asia / Europe etc...On a Shoestring" are great if you are planning on a hitting several countries in one region and will save buying a few different books.
But resist the temptation to buy a whole crap load of books before you head out on the road. That's just a waste of money, and as you mentioned, you don't want to carry them with you. If you are going to buy one, buy one for the first country/region you are going to. Once on the road, you can buy the next one you need, and sell the one you are finished with. Many travelers centers, like Bangkok, have tons of second hand bookstores catering to tourists where you can unload your old guides, and pick up some new ones for a decent price.
So how do you plan for your trip before you go? Easy, head to your local library. I bet you'll be surprised how many travel guides your library will carry. You can check out all the guide books you need, study up, take notes, make a plan, and and when it's time to leave you haven't wasted a cent on guidebooks you can't carry. And most big chain bookstores don't mind you standing and reading their books in the shop. When I'm planning my travels I go and hang out at book stores for hours.
hmm, well thanks guys, not really the answers I was looking for, but thanks again for answering. I'm thinking of hitting america, then japan, then australia / nz, then thailand and then india. As far as I can gather that's at least 4 books, which over here is around about 60 pounds worth, not a chance. Guess I'll wing it .
Sorry, I don't get you.
You are willing to spent a few thousand pounds on a RTW but are too cheap to buy some decent guidebooks? Guidebooks that can make or break your trip? I would definitely get one. For the US and Oz/NZ you might be able to find a lot of info online, but even that has its limits. It might be allright to research a 1-3-weeks trip online but anything longer?
Go to ebay and amazon and check out whether they have used copies of recent editions of the books you want/need. I got several of my guidebooks that way.
Well I'm quite sure what answer you were looking for. I guess you were hoping that someone would tell you there's a company out there with a series of guidebooks costing only $5 and miraculously take up no room in your bag? Sorry, it doesn't exist - guidebooks are expensive and heavy. That is why I suggested going to the library from pre-trip planning. And then that is why I suggested buying the first book or two that you'll need to take with you. Get them at second hand shops to save money, or buy them online. You don't have to buy them new as long as they are a recent edition. I know that once you get to Australia, you will find many book shops in places like Sydney, Perth, Airlie Beach, and Cairns that cater to travelers and will probably carry the book for your next destination. Once in Bangkok it will be absolutely no problem to sell any books you may still be carrying for America, Japan, and Australia/New Zealand. You can probably do a straight swap with two of them for a Thailand Guide and be able to get a novel thrown in. Before you leave Thailand, get rid of that book and swap it for an India guide. No problem. In the end it all shouldn't cost too much money.
And t_maia is right, guide books can make or break a trip. Don't be so cheap - get one.
Just to add to this. I hate guide books, but always carry one I think more of a back up than anything else. The maps are not always great, but better than nothing, and they always have a back up of places to stay.
I have seen people without them, and either they try to leach from someone with one. OR end up spending a lot of money. A typical example is a guy I met without one trying to be on a 10 USD budget a day, he'd just ended up spending 15USD arriving my taxi from the train station because the touts there were having a field day with him.
It pay's to research.
If I have time I often copy out addresses and places and write them out when travelling to avoid carrying the big book around.
I also avoid staying at many of the places listed to avoid a mass of first timer backpackers (just a personal thing no offense to anyone)
Either way, enjoy your trip