Saturday, October 24, 2009

Weekend Word to the Wise (Travel Guides)

Guidebooks. They are expensive but indispensable. The fact of the matter is if you plan on doing any travel, whether domestic or international, you would be wise to read up on the area to which you are traveling. A good guidebook can run you anywhere from $15 and up. Guidebooks are written to appeal to a certain genre of travelers and if you've already figured out what type of traveler you are, you will find a guidebook to meet your needs.

My personal favorite is a Rick Steves travel guide. The best one out there for general European travel is Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2010: The Travel Skills Handbook.

In this book, Rick Steves helps you to learn how to plan your itinerary and maximize your time and how to pack light. He has recommendations for where to stay and where to eat, and in general, how to travel to Europe as a local rather than a visitor. His books are great for all types of travelers but especially those of us who want to experience Europe outside of the usual hotel, sight-seeing, restaurant experience. If you're new to international travel and aren't sure where you want to travel to yet, this book is perfect becauseSteves takes you to the major areas of Europe you would probably most want to visit. Once you have a good idea of where you might want to travel, you can buy a guidebook that is written specifically for that area. Besides the fact that I likeSteves ' take on travel, I also know that he personally travels to all the areas he writes about and he goes there annually so his books are up to date for every year that they are written.

Make sure when you buy a travel guide that was published in or around the year you are thinking about traveling. A guidebook purchased at a used book store serves as a great introduction but make sure you buy the updated version when you've made your decision on where to travel.

Here are some other guidebooks I enjoy reading: Lonely Planet (very specific guides for all types of travelers), Eyewitness Travel Guides (I love their Top 10 books for quick insight on the top 10 things to see or do on location), Frommer's (for the budget-minded traveler), Let's Go! (for young, budget-minded travelers), and Rough Guides (also geared toward the younger traveler).

Don't limit yourself to these guidebooks. There are travel guides written for Christians, gay & lesbian travelers, solo travelers, senior citizens...the titles are endless!

Even if you aren't planning on traveling in the very near future, a good guidebook can whet your appetite for travel and fill your head with ideas to create your dream list of places to visit one day!

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