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Guide Books, List them here!

Travel Forums Round the World Travel Guide Books, List them here!

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1. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 21 Jun '08 06:17

Hi Folks,

There's plenty of guide books out there. A lot depends on where you are going, budget, and type of travel.

For me it's the backpacking style of travel. I came across a great Japanese guide book for the middle east when I was there. Yes it was in Japanese, but I was traveling with a Japanese girl at the time so the translation was not that painful! It was a great book, full of hostel reviews and quirky places to go. My Lonely Planet Middle East paled in comparison.

Point I am getting to is does anyone have any recommendations on guide books out there, good or bad - better say why!

Currently I am looking through South America books online, and see the old Favorite Rough Guides is still a No.1 for the area. While Lonely Planet are pushing the whole One book, one country thing. Anyone been their recently and want to tell us about the book/s they used?

Keeping backpacking in mind. Anyone got some suggestions or opinions on guidebooks they've used?

2. Posted by loubylou (Travel Guru, 664 posts) 22 Jun '08 00:25

I'd agree, the Japanese guide books put LP and RG to shame...they are so much more informative and have far more budget options in them!

When we used guidebooks we usually went for LP just because we don't like the format of the RG. We used the big South America on a Shoestring book, it was ok. We also got the individual country books from the library and copied (at work!!) the pages we needed for the places we were going to visit. So when we were finished with them we just threw them away and didn't have to worry about getting rid of the books and it is easier to put pieces of A4 paper in your pocket than carry a great big LP everywhere...it sort of advertises you are a traveller/tourist! We sold the SA on a shoestring just before we left SA to another traveller. We do wish we hadn't bought that big book as it wasn't as useful as we had hoped, but we were just starting out then and needed the comfort of a guidebook.

The SE Asia on a Shoestring is an utterly useless book...everything was wrong (prices, hotels, restaurants, maps) and we ended up throwing it in the bin after a month in Asia.

Now we don't use guidebooks...we try and buy a cheap one, read about the places (ignoring restaurant, hotel and places to see recommendations) and make a list of where we like the look of. Then we read other people's travel blogs and form an opinion on places to stay, things to do etc. We also use wikitravel and the travel guides on here to help plan our time in a place.

For us, the guidebook has died a death just because we have found they are always wrong, as soon as these books are published they are out of date and we prefer to rely on travellers blogs as they are recent and 'on the ground'. When we write our travelblogs we always try and put in prices, travel times and travel info to help other people like us doing it without a guidebook.

3. Posted by TLWH (Travel Guru, 516 posts) 22 Jun '08 06:59

All very valid points. I committed the crime of the century to some and tore Iran and Turkey out of the mid east book, as they were the remaining ones I wanted. And sold the rest to a couple going to Syria etc. The small bit on each part of Iran for example was enough, the rest I downloaded.

The only reason I constantly feel tempted to buy a LP or RG is very often I travel alone and it makes a good 'comfort' feel to have aback up to a place to stay when you get off a bus at 3am. Also the maps. As much as I curse the guide book city maps, they have come in handing for very rough ideas on where certain things are. Even if the LP did have me walking 2 hours in Brasnov Romania due to the road not leading onto the right street. No I am not bitter about that.

I know people use Google maps, but in some places it's just not possible, either no data, or quite frankly time to be marking out places of interest on a map and then hostels etc.

If Wikitravel were just that bit more filled out with useful blog links, or the guide here. USeful blog links being key.

I remember stumbling onto a guys blog for Hong Kong, fantastic. Listed a host of places to stay, and places to see. Prices and the some tips, really good. There's another blog with a guy who did an RTW on a 4x4 who went into so much detail from budget to contracts for extra passengers its incredible.

So lets include great travel blogs in this post as well. With useful specific information on places :)

4. Posted by nics26 (Budding Member, 55 posts) 29 Sep '08 09:49

I just wanted to say that after looking up this post while deciding on which guide book to buy im still confussed lol ... Im embarking on my first RTW AND first backpacking trip next year and I dont know where to look for guidence. The internet is so limited (surprisingly) and theres too many guide books to know which to trust. But I do agree blogs seem to be the most useful ... I just wish I could put them all in a book and take them with me (I hate bits of paper and notes, I can never read what I've written lol).

5. Posted by fussy (Inactive, 208 posts) 1 Oct '08 03:02

I always take LP, old habits die hard but I still prefer their format.

For our RTW trip commencing Oct 2008, I have used the internet non stop for reading up on places, checking advice and reviews and making accommodation and transport bookings where possible.

I have booked all first night accommodation at places we land and have even printed google maps of their locations. Sad I know, but it also seems so satisfying at the same time.

Sone tried and true help out websites include. For rail you can't go past sest61, for reviews of budget/ hostel accommodation hostelworld or hostelbookers.

In the planning stages, I have borrowed guide books from the local library, marvellous. Freeeeeeeeee.

Fussy

6. Posted by wotthefiqh (Inactive, 1447 posts) 9 Oct '08 05:25

Quoting fussy

In the planning stages, I have borrowed guide books from the local library, marvellous. Freeeeeeeeee.
Fussy

I went to Bali and Lombok last month for two weeks and took the 'Bali & Lombok' LP book from my local library with me (2007 version).
One small satay sauce stain and evidence of beer spillage but the library guide book really appreciated going to the places it describes.

I think I've sussed a way to travel with library guide books for longer than the 3 weeks loan period.
I'll take 3-4 books (including the travel guide book) out of the library a few days before leaving.
Just before the loan period is up, I'll e-mail home and have one of the kids take 1 book back to the library (10 minutes walk from home) and renew the others (including the travelling guide book) for another 3 weeks.

I also think my library now allows me to login to their system and renew my loan items (books, CDs and DVD's) as well so that would be even better.

7. Posted by MissCaswell (Budding Member, 77 posts) 14 Oct '08 16:59

I usually use a Rough Guide, the only country I didn't use a Rough Guide in was Japan and that was only because there was such hassle finding one - I ended up using Lonely Planet.

The Thailand Rough Guide was especially good, when I was there people that got to look in it usually wanted to trade me so they could use it.
It has really good town maps and realistic descriptions of places.
What I don't like about LP is how everything seems so perfect - for instance the LP guide to Thailand has a "perfect" picture of Phuket I think it was, white sand, palm trees and blue seas. The Rough Guide also has a picture from the same place and it's a buch of people sitting in a row at the beach.

8. Posted by Sander (Moderator, 4394 posts) 15 Oct '08 00:45

I swear by lonely planets. Have an even dozen standing proudly on top of one of my bookshelves, lording it over all the lesser books. The lonely planet format just makes the most sense to me; the way information is organized and everything. I love their background information. They're not as quirky anymore as they used to be a couple of editions ago, but still have enough personality for my taste (most of the time; this varies by author, of course). Most of all, the alternatives just aren't any good for me: The times I've picked up rough guides in bookstores to look something up or compare information, I couldn't find what I was looking for, and the one Moon (cheap US clone of LP) I've been in contact with was wrong on all the points where its information differed from that in my LP.

9. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru, 2026 posts) 17 Oct '08 14:46

Yeah Lonely Planet for me too, just like the layout better mostly (though maybe I've got too used to it). Also Rough Guides have a really bad habit of saying 'this place was great five years ago but now blah blah blah blah', which I can do without.

10. Posted by baluba (Respected Member, 407 posts) 20 Oct '08 03:06

I too, out of habit, use LP although quite often the information is outdated and sometimes completely wrong. In Madagascar it was affectionately known as 'the book of lies'! The Bradt guide to Madagascar was much more informative and current. I am also using the Bradt guide for DRC as the best advise LP can give, is not to go!
I now tend to use guide books as an overall outline and rely on other travellers, en route, for the best tips. The best bit about guidebooks is having them on the bookshelf, looking well used and scribbled in, a constant memory as good as any photo.