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It’s no secret that I absolutely love travel guides. I buy them for every destination and never travel without them. Find out what are the best travel guides and why you may or may not want to pack them!
The Best Travel Guides
I love using Lonely Planet as a travel reference and think that they have the best travel guides on the market. You can shop their entire collection here!
Before smart phones, travel blogs, or Wikitravel, travelers used guide books. In fact, in 2008 when I first started traveling, LP’s thorntree forum and its guide books are what helped me get familiar with the world of backpacking and I have found them to be a valuable resource ever since.
While I love to read travel blogs for wanderlust and inspiration, when it comes to advice on the go, I turn to the guide books for certain information.
You may be thinking: wait, can’t you just find this information for free online on Wikitravel or other websites?
Yes, I’m sure you can but in my case, I can’t worry about having internet or taking time to search through Google’s results for the right answer. With my travel guides I know I can find what I need in one convenient location.
However, the biggest downside to using guide books is that they’re usually extremely heavy and can take up more space than a pair of shoes!
Fortunately, this is no longer an issue because you don’t need to pack them – you can now download them online! I don’t travel with an e-reader and instead save all my guides to my smart phone and access them via Amazon’s Kindle Reading App or read them as PDF files on my laptop.
I have all the convenience that I love about the travel guides without the inconvenience of the bulk!
Keep reading to find out more about why I consider these to be the best travel guides and why you should consider using them, too!
Don’t know where to start? Get your destination guide and start reading. They offer you an easy summary about what you need to know including itinerary ideas, which are one of the handiest tools for planning and maximizing your time. In addition to specific destination information, they also offer history, cultural dos and don’ts, common language translations, currency information, weather, and other practicalities.
I swear by Lonely Planet’s Shoestring Guides. They’re geared towards backpackers and people on a budget so they show you the most cost effective places to stay and how to get there on the cheap.
One of the biggest ways to save money when you travel is by taking local transportation. These guides usually do a great job at showing you how to get from point A to point B on your own. This is particularly useful if you’re in a country where you don’t know the language and asking locals for directions isn’t an easy task.
I have to admit, the transportation feature is reason enough to invest in travel guides when it comes to budget or long-term travel.
Even if you want to avoid other travelers like the plague and prefer to stay in lesser-known accommodation, the guides help give you a place to start your search. Take a taxi, motorbike, train, or walk to one of the places featured in the guide and you’re almost certain to find many more places to sleep nearby with as many or as little other travelers as you would like to see.
Not all solo travelers want to explore the world alone and many people find it useful to stay in accommodation where they know they might meet fellow travelers. I love to make new friends around the world whether local or global and staying in hotels recommended by the guides is an easy way to do that.
Seeing another traveler reading a guidebook is also a good conversation starter. Don’t be shy and say hi! Exchange your travel tips and you might even learn about things not featured inside the book. This is how I found Guatemala’s best kept secret.
Off the Beaten Path
The guides may not help you get off the beaten path but they do serve as a general map of the area that you plan to explore. You may choose to use the guide’s tips in busy tourist destinations and then once you’re there you can get off the grid and discover new places not mentioned in the books. It doesn’t hurt to have a reference available to you if you like to balance out your travel experiences with local and touristy destinations like me.
While travel guides also give you information about where to drink and eat I rarely reference these sections but I do find the rest of the content very useful! For food and drinks I just seek out local hot spots.
Travel guides may or may not be for you but if you’re new to travel, they’re definitely worth considering! Check out Lonely Planet Guides on Amazon.
What do you think are the best travel guides? Please comment below!
For more travel tips, please read:
- 5 Things You Should Always Pack in your Personal Item Before Flying
- 7kg Baggage Allowance? How to Pack for the Carry-on Crackdown
- Save Suitcase Space with these 15 Packable Travel AccessoriesTraveling with Children: 11 Must-Haves For Flights With Preschoolers