Monday, January 29, 2007

Travel World: Guidebooks

As many of you know, I teach "How to Travel the World on Your Budget" and one of the first questions my students ask me is about guidebooks. Why are they important?

Guidebooks act as a silent travel advisor. They provide recommendations on hotels, restaurants, and attractions in one place. These detailed profiles provide you with prices, addresses, websites, menus, and more. This allows you to prepare your daily itinerary and budget.

Some guidebooks document the history of your destination, allowing the traveler to understand current cultural and social environments. For example, by reading a Laos guidebook, I learned local women covered their shoulders. Because of this, I adjusted my wardrobe before my trip to become socially conscience of their rules.

Travelers differ in their perspective on travel and so do the guidebooks, so before you start to plan a trip, identify your travel personality. Interested in budget travel? Try the Lonely Planet and Rick Steves guidebooks (see below). Traveling with the family? Check out Frommer's that often cater to travelers with children.

Here are a few tips to choosing the right guidebook:

  • Find a guidebook that is a good match for what you like to do and how you want to focus on during your travels

  • To help you decide, head to your local bookstore or library and do a little hands-on research

  • Examine and study every guidebook available for your destination

  • Does the guidebook provide concise and informative maps and descriptions of attractions?

  • Visit the guidebook publisher’s website

  • Read reviews of guidebooks offered by shoppers on Amazon

Hope this helps!

Terah Shelton
Traveler. Writer. Ingenue

1 comment:

Denene said...

My favorite guidebooks are the "Let's Go" series. I like that they publish a "Alternatives to Tourism" section that lists school, work and volunteer ops. I found the language school that I attended in Florence in a "Let's Go: Italy" book.

That's my two cents!

Nice job on the blog, Terah!!