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Should I Take A Guide Book Traveling?

Published 20-10-2009
 
by Paul Dow ~ 1 min, 32 secs read
backpacking guide books

It's sometimes good to give you guide book a rest.

There are plenty of guide books on offer for those looking to travel the world.

From backpacker favourites such as the Lonely Planet, Rough Guides and Footprints to more middle of the road guides such as Fodor’s there is quite a range of choice when it comes to choosing a guide book.

Traveler’s preferences depend on how they like their information presented to them. I prefer the Lonely Planet’s guide book because I know exactly where to find key information I might need, where as with other guides it seems to take me longer.

This much depends on your own personal preference, visit the local book shop and choose one you are comfortable with.

Don’t always take what the guide book says as being true, often you’ll find the opposite

Guide books are great for giving you a general reference. They can give you a basic guide to certain place and often provide you with a map. These maps can give you an idea of a place but should never be taken as an exact mapping of the idea.

Don’t always take what the guide book says as being true, often you’ll find the opposite and recommendations shouldn’t always be followed to the letter. Word of mouth is often a lot more reliable and up to date if you want to find a hostel or restaurant based on recommendation.

Following your guide book too strictly you’ll find yourself traveling to the same towns, villages, cafes and restaurants as every other traveler. It’ll take some adventure out of your travels. Try to use the guide book as simply that, a guide.

Have you been guilty of over using your guide book? Let us know about you experiences in the comments below.


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Paul Dow is the Editor of TravMonkey.com and has travelled solo for 2 years through Asia, Oceania, New Zealand and South America. Now based in London whilst exploring parts of Europe and further a field when given half a chance.
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4 Comments, have your say...
  1. I used the Lonely Planet guide book a fair bit when I was in Australia but mainly just to find the big attractions and making a list on the go of what I wanted to see. It was big and heavy though. I could have travelled without it quite easily.

    I bought the New Zealand one just before I went there and didn’t even touch it. My whole time there was pretty much planned out by the bus tour I had though.

  2. Hi Ross,

    Cheers for the comment.

    What bus did you take in NZ?

    Thanks,

    Paul @
    TravMonkey.com

  3. I travelled a lot of places in Europe and still using 2003 edition of Lonely Planet covering all Europe.

    It's a bit heavy with over 1300 pages but saved my life a dozen times.

    By the way; "Try to use the guide book as simply that, a guide.", thats a great advice every new backpacker should listen.

  4. Fantastic advice. I never leave home without a guide book but I usually just reference it lightly. Far better to ask people for recommendations and follow your nose. You could miss some pretty exciting opportunities if you’ve got your head in a book the whole time :)

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