Travel guidebooks

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During your planning you might hear about one or two travel guidebooks. While they were almost mandatory for travellers back in the day, they are becoming less popular since the internet is able to provide pretty much the same informations for free and faster. It still is a reliable source of information and might give one peace of mind. It comes with some downsides aswell though.

  • You get a lot of background knowledge about the country and culture you most likely wouldn’t get when just searching the internet. Travel guidebooks are written by professionals who put a lot of time and effort to provide a very detailed guide.
  • You can find certain rules of conduct (e.g. taking off shoes when entering buildings in Thailand) you wouldn’t read about in the internet. Locals will see you with different eyes if you respect their culture.
  • There might be specific safety guidelines you’d miss in the internet.
  • You will always have an adress for decent hotels, restaraunts, sights etc.
  • There is no need for an internet connection. Your information is always at hand.
  • The information in your travel guidebook can be outdated. That’s especially likely if you get a guidebook for regions that just got developed recently.
  • You might get tempted to just travel the author’s trip and not your own. If you get a guidebook you want to stick to it. That’s why you got it after all.
  • It sometimes may seem like there are some secret places and sights listed only in your guidebook. Well, guess what, you won’t be the only with that guidebook and therefore also not the only one visiting those sights. Guidebooks won’t get you off the beaten track, they will direct you directly to it.
  • Some of the hotels and restaurants listed in travel guidebooks abuse their popularity. The prices rise and the quality drops. Who cares, they have people coming anyway.

If you want to get a guidebook anyway I suggest you buy one for your first country and then get the other ones during yout travels. Guidebooks are usually quite heavy and big, so it doesn’t make much sense to buy several of them at the beginning already. It shouldnt be a problem to buy guidebooks of the bigger publishers in any country. If you plan to travel neighbouring countries you might even be able to trade them with other travellers.

I personally never used a single guidebook. It just felt to complicated to always search that book if I need some information. If you feel urged by others to buy one of those, even though you don’t want it – don’t do it. It is not a must by any means.

As always you are very welcome to leave additions/suggestions/opinions in the comments!

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