Choosing Travel Guides

How do you choose travel guides? I’ve always been a big fan of the Eyewitness Travel Guides by DK Publishing. I like all the glossy pictures because they make me want to go see it for myself. And, to be honest, it helps me to be sure that I’m where I’m supposed to be when I get there. However, as I’ve been preparing to move to Istanbul (read about the whys and whens here), I’ve found that the Fodor’s travel guide has been much more useful. I don’t know if it’s old age, or the fact that I actually need to know this information that has made me prefer a book bogged down with words and facts instead of pictures.

I’ve bought both the Fodor’s Turkey travel guide as well as the Eyewitness Istanbul guide, but the Eyewitness one makes me feel like I have A.D.D. I can’t concentrate on the words and find myself skipping through the book and only stopping to read the captions on pictures that catch my eye. The Fodor’s seems much more informative, has plenty of tips, and gives readers the opportunity to send in their own opinions after they’ve been to the suggested places. I love anything that gives real people’s opinions, especially when it comes to travel.

I’ve also been reading a Let’s Go travel guide about Europe, which I have found to be quite helpful, yet brief. Granted, it’s trying to cover some 24 countries in one book (1124 pages!) so brief is a good thing, but I feel like if it were the only knowledge I had of those places then I’d miss out on a lot. With the abundance of travel guides available out there, I find it difficult to know which ones to choose or trust, so I often end up picking them at random, which is why I’m curious about what you all think of the travel guide industry. What do yo do? Do you always buy the same brand? Do you even use travel guides at all? How do you go about choosing the best guide for your vacation?

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Published in: on June 8, 2009 at 7:16 am  Comments (8)  

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8 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. One of my favorite guidebooks I've ever used was the National Geographic China book … beautiful pictures, totally inspiring … completely worthless to actually making the trip happen …

    I usually lean towards Lonely Planet, but the best bet is to just go with whichever reputable guide book was published most recently …

    If you can afford the extra $20 bucks, springing for a glossy book to go with it is a nice bonus …

  2. Thanks for the comment Devin. I've thought of buying one of those National Geographic ones before, but for some reason stuck with Eyewitness. I bet the photos would be amazing in Nat'l Geo.

    Good suggestion on choosing the most recent. I think that's why I went with Fodor's Turkey guide instead of a Lonely Planet one. I had never used either before so it was really just a crapshoot over which one I chose since I was buying them on the internet.

  3. I like the article, "Choosing Travel Guides". It is both informative and useful. When planning a trip reviewing different travel guides is better for us. Our website is [url] http://www.itistimetotalk.com [/url] Thanks!

  4. There are many travel guides almost everywhere. Barcelona travel guide, Madrid travel guide or train travel guide in Europe. You better choose wisely before taking the advice.

  5. This is an awesome site, good work! Have any suggestions for a useful Iceland book? =)
    Slightly different part of the world, but the best travel book I have ever come across by far is "The Big Island: Revealed" by Wizard publications, if you're planning on living there or simply visiting it is like the bible to hawaii, for the authors live in the locations they write for…unfortunately I've only seen these books for hawaii.

  6. Ok it's the extreme end of the scale but I read this article yesterday that made quite a good case for banning travel guides altogether!

  7. I like DK books… the pictures are awesome. Best of luck with your trip, it sounds very exciting and scary at the same time! I hope it ends up being everything you hoped it would be 🙂

  8. Anon: Thanks for the link to that article. It really is an interesting argument.


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