I have a little addiction, it’s with guide books, I just love buying them and reading up about places we are about to visit. I have book shelves full of them! The last (big) overseas trip that we took (road trip around America) I brought not only one but a silly three in total. Shocking I know but like I said, I have an addiction!
The two (branded) guide books that I normally buy are published by ‘Lonely Planet’ and ‘Frommers’, they are normally the meatier ones, which makes me feel like I am at least getting more bang for my buck! Only down side to this is that they are also the ones that weigh more as well.
Why a concern about the size and weight you are thinking?
Well I am also an avid shopper, now I wouldn’t say this was an addiction more a fact of life (though Calvin would have another way of putting it) taking my (meatier) guide books take away from my shopping!!! Now these books take up two to three kilograms of our luggage.
NOT a biggie your saying!
What’s two to three kilograms between a pair of shoes? OK read this then and see if you change your mind…
Sorry, you can’t buy that ‘out of this world’ pair of shoes that you can’t get back home; you have two books to carry back with you”.
Or how about if shoes are not your thing…
“nope that jacket you are eyeing up, yep the one that is half the price that you can get it for back home, nope there are two books to return home, so sorry you can’t buy it!”
I know this, because as this is what actually happened when we were over in America the first time around! It even got to the stage that I left two of the three books behind in a hotel room somewhere in Texas, just so I could fit a pair of knee high boots in my case!
Why waste the cash in buying these books, then leaving them behind to never use again! I know better now! I know that from the last trip I didn’t use those books all that much while away, I normally used other means to get the information we were looking for at the time. So what other means am I talking about?
Most if not all hotels have wifi, maybe not for free but there is normally a café etc that has free wifi for customers if you don’t want to pay for it. While in the USA we found so many free hot spots, that it really wasn’t that big of a problem to get online where ever we were. There are so many official and non-official tourist sites to check out as well and countless travel blogs, local information websites etc etc etc and even the hotels that you are staying in normally have information about local attractions so the need to lug about with travel guide books are now a thing of the past.
When you think about it, by the time you have brought the guide book some if not most of the information is not current. Places and prices change very fast these days, while the history you find in the books can be interesting, you can always read this very same information online.
Once they were the best source, but things have changed – and those once shady websites that used images from some other resort are few and far between. Just to help you out if you don’t already have your own sources here are a few of mine to start you off with. s
The Good, the Bad and the ahhhh forget about its….
Google: well isn’t this nearly everyone’s first point of call nowadays? Even my brother Percy goes to Google to find stuff and he is the most non internet-friendly person I know, so that one is a no brainer and really do you want me to waste any more time of this one?
Trip Advisor: Now this site is awesome for reviews, make sure you check more than just a few. Like everything you do get people that just like to complain for the sake of it and then some of them that I have read I have wondered if it’s not the owner of the place, that the review was just TOO good to be true! After reading 5 to 8 of them you do get a pretty good picture of a place.
Seat Guru: This is a spin off from Trip Advisor; this is the place I go when I am picking which carrier I am going to use for our flights. Wonderful site all you need to do is now the flight number and the carriers name and you get the lay out of the plane and which seats have/do what. Even to the detailed information of how wide your seat will be and how much leg room, (well I should say lack of leg room) you will get. Very handy when you are using internal carriers in countries where you haven’t been before and have no idea what they are like to fly with!
App Store: I don’t care which any brand but there are a stack of apps for travel info. Even Lonely Planets has one! Just search ‘travel’ you will be surprised what it out there and for free to boot!
E-books: If you’re like me, you won’t be able to help yourself; the need to have at least one guide book will get to you. I don’t know about you but I at least take my iPad with me when we are away (I say at least one as I normally take both my iPad and my laptop). Most of the good brands are producing ebooks no-a-days so it’s very easy to find most books you want.
Gov sites: these are the boring but very important ones to visit, from these sites you will be able to get travel advisories for places as high risk for tourists or where you can check visa requirements and for most sites (of your home country) register for travel details. Boring, like I said, but none the less important.
Timeout: If you are travelling and want to see what’s happening in the towns you are about to visit or even if you want to see what is happening in your hometown, check out the make site of timeout.com from there you will be able to search the towns site to get more details from there. Awesome site to check out.
Virtual Tourist: As the single largest source of user-generated travel content in the world, Virtual Tourist is a great resource for travellers seeking an insider’s perspective. Get real travel tips, reviews and photos from real people who have actually been there and done that.
Any way I have gone ON for long enough AND IF you actually managed to get to the end of this post … PAT YOURSELF ON THE BACK LOL
POST NUMBER 5 of 25