Why I Love Travel Guidebooks
Last year I traveled with a group of people to Mexico City. Our goal was a simple one, but it took a good chunk of time to actually prepare myself for the adventure that awaited me. I searched countless websites and blogs for suggestions on where to stay, visit, eat, etc. I found the most rewarding advice I received was from a few friends who gave me guidebooks that had been passed down to them by other friends prior to their own trips. The highlighted areas and folding pages helped me in ways I never would have imagined. We embarked on a trip of inspiration. We stayed in one of the most art influenced neighborhoods that exists in the city, visited countless museums, walked down Amsterdam St. daily, followed a free guide through the ruins, we ate like royals for every meal. On the way home from our trip I could not stop thinking about what we would have done without this trusty guidebook. In that sense I had to ask myself, “What makes a travel guidebook worthwhile?”, “what are the best travel guidebooks?” and if it wasn’t gifted to me, “What free travel guidebooks exist for those on a budget?”. Things I didn’t even contemplate before our trip were now questions I had answers to without having to work that hard for them.
Travel Guidebooks For The Solo Traveler
Traveling with a group is a wonderful way to travel, but perhaps it’s the American mindset of independence that pushes us to do so by ourselves. In that sense I feel a travel guidebook is not only important, but sets the tone of your travel even before you step onto the plane. Having this trusty book by my side gave me comfort knowing I could open it at any time when I needed a suggestion or tip on what to do, where to eat and what to see. I brought this book along with me again when I traveled alone to Mexico City the following year. I asked myself for a second time what made this travel guidebook so worthwhile? I knew Mexico City would not be the last place I visited outside the U.S., but how do other travelers ensure they buy the best travel guidebook for themselves visiting new places? After a little research and some help from friends, here are the 5 essential considerations for identifying the best travel guidebooks.
1. Suggestions Written From Experience
The information included in a travel guidebook has been verified by a travel professional. One of the reasons these guidebooks are so successful is that people trust the writer to provide good thorough information.
2. It’s All In The Book
The best travel guidebooks provide you with all of the travel information you need in a single book. You are not relying on a cafe to have wifi or looking for the closest outlet to plug in your computer before heading out to explore for the day. As long as you have the guidebook you can get the information you need when you need it most.
3. Travel With Confidence
In my experience, the best travel guidebooks have given me a feeling of confidence to both plan and proceed with my travels. Traveling outside the U.S. usually means limited access to power and/or internet so a travel guidebook can be very useful to use wherever you are traveling. Save that phone power for documenting your trip instead.
4. Photocopy Pages Instead
The best travel guidebooks are concise and provide enough valuable information on a few individual pages that if you don’t want to carry the book around you can simply photocopy those important pages instead. Reading through your guidebook before traveling is a smart move and if you find that there is some information you can live without just photocopy the pages you need before your trip. An even lighter way to travel with lots of information.
5. eBook Travel Guides Might Be More Your Style
We understand some people just don’t want to carry a book around throughout their vacation and if this is you then fear not! The best travel guidebooks offer digital editions in an downloadable eBook. If you choose an eBook travel guidebook option you have a lightweight way to learn and explore without adding weight to your luggage. You can also search the eBook for keywords so that you can find the information you need faster.
Where Do I Find The Best Travel Guidebook For Me?
Ask your friends, employees or acquaintances first. If you have any die hard traveling buddies like I do then you know these people have the experience and the knowledge on where to start. I loved my travel guidebook a friend lent me when visiting Mexico, which led me to fly fishing in Akumal, but when it came to my next trip in Iceland my options were coming up somewhat short as I didn’t know very many people who had visited there before. I found a travel guidebook on Amazon that I love. I took the time to read through handfuls of comments on every book I could find before picking one to purchase. I also went through various travel blogs and selected key information that I pasted into my own document to print out before my trip.