Travel Guide Books – Yes/No


Probably anyone who is going on a vacation would want a travel guide book. Lonely planet, Rough Guide, Rand Mcnally… They are actually helpful for us to know more about where we are going to. Details of the city, the province, hot spots for tourism, etc. are listed in these travel guides. They recommend restaurants, hotels, introduce the city’s specialties. Myself have read several travel guide books and not all the time I have good experience with them. I would like to give some personal opinions on how to use a travel guide book, what you should follow and what not.

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YES

I found travel guide books very obliging. Some people would prefer to explore the destination online via TripAdvisor or other holiday review website like Zoover, Holiday Check, etc. However, books are more preferable since you could carry around with you. What other great things about it?

City, province details are absolutely great. For cities, they provide you great information about all the popular attractions with pictures and maps. Sometimes, some destinations are not touristic but worth a vist, they also include in the books. As provinces details, I am very much into that. Travel guide books do a good job describing the culture and locality. What I really like about it that you know more about the area you are heading to and you may discover nice towns where your friends might have never been before.

Reading a guide book before you go is necessary. You learn more about the destination you are heading to. You could plan your trip in advance – list of where you want to visit, what you want to do during your travel, what kind of food you are facing in that area… A preparation is always important. However, I still encourage you to do it spontaneously if you are ones easy to adapt with new environments.

Tips for preparing your trip with a travel guide book:

  • Know exactly how many days you are spending at one place so that you can manage how many attractions you are going to visit.
  • Read the guide book before you leave, not wait till you are at the destination (it’s all about preparation)
  • Doing a small research about what the highlights of the region/city are (some books state in the beginning or at the index)
  • Always check the transportation section because you need to move yourself around. It’s very important to know how the transportation works in the city (including price, website, timetable, stations)
  • Don’t be afraid of make the book dirty, use your pens, highlighters, spot where you want to visit. You don’t want to take time to find it again when you need it
  • READ, NOT SKIM!

NO

(These are only my personal opinions)

You probably think it’s better to use the E-book instead of a real book. However, you know it’s cooler to do the traditional way, right? But it is not why you would say NO to travel guide books. Here is more likely what and when you say NO to travel guide books.

I acknowledge the benefits guide books give us during travel. However, at some points I don’t really need a travel guide book. One of the reasons is to be spontaneous. Sometimes when I go to a place, I know exactly what I want to see. I just simply check it on the internet and I’m good to go. However, I am always fond of exploring so I’d like to have a guide book with me.

So what NO? As my experience with guide books, I definitely do not recommend you to follow the restaurant list. It is really hard to tell what is good, of course, especially everyone has their own taste and references. However, I followed the book few times and I really ended up disappointed. The rating seemed really good with good descriptions. The quality was a big disappointment. This does not apply to all restaurants, just some, but it is always a pain to find a good restaurant.

Tips on how to pick a restaurant from a guide book

  • Your friend is a guide book too, so ask them if they experienced good restaurants in town
  • Don’t fall for blazing descriptions, it might sound good but you never know its quality
  • Pick a restaurant depending on the area/district. Sometimes at a certain district it is popular for good local food and restaurants. This you can ask the local for more references
  • Don’t go big, small cafés sometimes offer you great food. They are more likely local than touristic
  • When you find a restaurant, try to take a risk by going to small places where just only  local  youngsters go. This you can recognise easily. 

I really hope that this info could help. Good luck with the summer preparation and enjoy!

(If you are interested in tips on travelling in a budet, click here)

 

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5 thoughts on “Travel Guide Books – Yes/No

  1. Planning my trip to Vietnam, my boyfriend and I just bought one of these. I think it is okay, maybe you could get all the information online, but it is true that it is quite handy to take the book guide with you when traveling. So far, so good. But I am not sure I would buy one for each place I would go!

    1. For Vietnam, the book is alright even thought it would be too much to look into. It depends which area you want to go or the whole Vietnam, best is to explore those local areas which are not known by the tourists. Well some attractions you should miss like Phong Nha or Halong Bay… If you want more recommendations about the country, feel free to write me an email. I can write all the details for ya 🙂

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