Favorite / best travel guide book creators?

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by wanderlust, Feb 19, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. wanderlust
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    wanderlust Silver Member

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    Rick Steves? Blue guides? Lonely Planet? Fodors? Frommers?

    I really enjoy travel books, even just flipping through the pages and day-dreaming. Problem is, there are so many choices. What's your favorite, and why?
     
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  2. It really depends on the trip. I like Lonely Planet and Rough Guides for the logistical details like bus station locations and train schedules (more and more are available online so it's not as relevant). If I'm traveling with my father, I like looking at the low end of Frommers for hotel, food and travel agency recommendations . I've found Blue Guides or location specific architectural/history guides to be the best for actual guidance at sites. I think I own almost every guide to Angkor that's been published!
     
  3. Westsox
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    Westsox Gold Member

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    I like Eyewitness Travel Guides. I like pictures of places in my travel books.
     
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  4. b1513
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    b1513 Silver Member

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    Eyewitness is my favorite followed by Michelin.
     
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  5. Lalala
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    Lalala Silver Member

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    Time out guides and Michelin. Cadogan and blue guides for more specific historical or architectural info.
     
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  6. JasonH
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    JasonH Silver Member

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    After a quick peek at the bookshelf, I consistently gravitate toward Frommers apparently. I did pick up one from Insight (an arm of Discovery Networks) for Philadelphia. It was pretty good.

    My best travel guide came from a blog though. I found a US expat in Luxembourg and she gave me the low down on places to go and see when we visited. It was worth gold!
     
  7. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    Our favorite books are small ones to accompany our carry-ons, e.g. Eyewitness.
     
  8. Tiki
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    Tiki Silver Member

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    I've been a Lonely Planet girl for years so the only change I made is I now just buy the pdf chapters I want instead of the whole book, then just give it to someone when we leave the place.
     
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  9. travelingmore
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    travelingmore Gold Member

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    Best ones for Hawaii: the "Revealed" series by Wizard Publications (Big Island Revealed, Maui Revealed, Oahu Revealed and The Ultimate Kauai). These are very detailed, written in plain talk, by authors who live in Hawaii - you may have seen the distinctive blue paperback covers of the books. Many maps, reviews of restaurants and sites, etc. - they visit and revisit the sites anonymously. IIRC, owners of the books can also access more up to date online information, and additional information beyond some shorter reviews in the book. Current editions available are 2008-2010, with Maui being the most recent (2010) - there are new editions periodically.
     
  10. Wurm
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    Wurm Silver Member

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    One thing I do is to study the book intently before leaving, then photocopy the pages that provide the most vital data (I can dispose of those pages once the site has been visited, etc). I try to avoid being at some site or location with my nose buried in the guidebook. I want the book author(s) to guide me, not to dictate every millimeter of my visit. I like to be serendipitous and mercurial when I travel (to a certain point, of course). :)

    For book publishers, I join in liking the Eyewitness guides, and have also used Cadogan for certain areas (rural areas of Italy, for instance).
     
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  11. Nicole Blaess-Smith
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    Nicole Blaess-Smith Silver Member

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    I am a Lonely Planet addict through and through (and suffering from such affliction since I was 12 O_O;;;)
    It may be because of my student budget, it may be because I like supporting an Aussie company (now British owned) but most of all I like the details and they layout of the books making it easy to find information. I have also found LP to be a wee bit more comprehensive and not as 'boring' as other guidebooks I've thumbed through.

    For the pretty pictures and intereting facts I love DK Eyewitness'. I took one around NYC the first time I visited and I think my family wanted me to shut up with all the random facts pouring from my mouth.

    (I would like to point out that I have not really used any other brand of guide other than LP and DK so I am rather biased... would be interested to hear what people say about the Footprint series and the Let's Go series!)
     
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  12. Biu
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    Biu Silver Member

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    Yeah I'm also a fan of the LP series, and I find it really useful to load the pdfs onto my phone (or computer) for fast Ctrl + F searches in case I need a quick reference to the bus stop or whatnot. I like the old-school LP guides with the geographic divisions more than the new editions (often the City Guides), where they separate the chapters by dining, accommodations, etc.

    Also 100% agree with the "Revealed" series for Hawaii, especially for Maui. Really feels like it was written by a local for a local!
     
  13. Rick Steves series for Europe, Lonely Planet guides for Asia and South America, Trailblazer adventure guides for Hawaii.
     
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  14. savydog
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    savydog Gold Member

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    I like the Insight Guides, particularly useful planned walks in some of the city's that I have visited. Gave me a good introduction and a feel for the place before venturing further from that base.
     
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  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

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    I second that. I have them all, and they are better than any others I own or have looked at.
     
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  16. linsj
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    linsj Active Member

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    Me too. But they're so heavy to carry with me!
     
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  17. linsj
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    I get a lot of use out of these, no matter how many times I've been to an island. This month I took a friend with me to Kauai. Since she's never been there, I loaned her my book so she could plan what she wanted to see and do.
     
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  18. neil
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    neil Silver Member

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    Frommers and TripAdvisor
     
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  19. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    I like Bradt for Africa and Footprints for South America.

    Eyewitness is useful for the city books, but the country books are too sketchy.
     
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  20. Fredd
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    Fredd Gold Member

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    The Rick Steves guides, although useful, sometimes seem a little prescriptive. "Walk another few yards, skipping the boring statues on the right before you turn left and exit. Return to your B&B, where Mme. Peignoir will offer you an aperitif if you identify yourself as a reader of this book." [​IMG]

    Okay, I'm being unfair and we're eternally grateful that Rick introduced us to Italy's Cinqueterre, even though the first time we went there it seemed that every third person on the trail was also carrying his book. [​IMG]

    There's no "one" book for us. We look at a variety, check Frommers, Fodors, FT, TA, and now MP online. As for carrying, we'll photocopy pages and/or save info on our netbook, and when possible we'll carry a small book, our most important criterion as roll-aboarders, such as an Eyewitness book if we're in a large city.

    We also check our local libraries and more than once have checked out a travel guide to take with us rather than buying one.
     
  21. TRAVELSIG
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    LUXE city guides are excellent.
    The website asmallworld is also bang on 99% of the time.
     
  22. TRAVELSIG
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    TRAVELSIG Gold Member

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    Rick Steves, at least for Italy, gives very bad advice- unless you want to meet up with 5000 fellow Americans in Cinque Terre.
     
  23. TRAVELSIG
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    For Central Europe, inyourpocketguides.com are very good for restaurants and events.
     
  24. schnitzel
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    schnitzel Gold Member

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    I'm generally in the Lonely Planet camp, although I do really enjoy Rick Steves for Europe, with one caveat: he gives the WORST restaurant advice of any guidebook I've seen. He's all about saving money and making communication work - there's no sense of adventure to his food recs. The guy (or his scouts) is not a foodie at all, and, especially when traveling, that's a huge part of the experience.

    So, when in Europe, Rick Steves for everything but food.
     
  25. mhnadel
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    mhnadel Silver Member

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    One of the key things here is what it is you are using the guidebook for. I tend to use them primarily for sightseeing suggestions. Fodor's and Frommer's often have good walking tour descriptions, for example, and I often download those from their websites. I find the descriptions in Lonely Planet tend to be too sketchy to be of much use. But LP can be good for lodging info (particularly at the lower end). Eyewitness has the best maps. Rough Guide and Cadogan tend to have good background info.

    Going to the library and looking at the relevant sections from several books is the ideal overall approach for me.
     

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