Travel guides - worth their weight in experience and adventures
Lots of people ask me how I know where to go and what to do whilst in a different country. Well I hate to ruin the illusion, but something a traveller has plenty of, is time, and I spend my time reading travel books.
Whether they're the Aeroplane travel magazines or a decent Lonely Planet or Frommer's guide, travel books hold invaluable ideas and options for places to go and see. It may seem like common sense but I've met so many travellers that have missed special places and entire countries because they didn't know what was on offer.
Of course you don't need a travel guide, you could just turn up in a country and try and figure it out when you get there, but you may just end up annoyed and disappointed that you missed a great nightclub, historic birthplace, famous cathedral or a hidden pub serving delicious beers.
A great idea for those of you (like me) on a tight budget is to pick up guide books second hand from Charity / Opportunity shops. You should be able to find a slightly aged, yet still very relevant Lonely Planet 'Europe on a Shoestring' guide that way for a couple of dollars or pound
Then, when I start my trip I tear out the relevant section of my guidebook and leave the rest behind. That way I'm not lugging around a huge book of information on places I'm not going to. When I'm finished I simply throw the 'abridged' version away. Needless to say I only do this if I buy my guide book on the cheap and they aren't in the best condition.
-note- I am not in the habit of tearing up books, in fact I have a house full of books because I can't throw them away, however some of these guidebooks are really heavy and carrying extra weight is a backpackers least favourite pastime. (Just don't let Arthur Frommer or Tony and Maureen Wheeler know what you're doing to their books!)
"A good traveler has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving"
If you would like a new copy of any Frommer's or Lonely Planet guide you can pick one up here:
Lonely Planet goes digital
Lonely Planet have now released virtually all of their travel guides in PDF format for you to download to your laptop or mobile phone. These guides come without usage restrictions and are available by chapter. No postage costs, no shipping times no extra weight in your luggage!
Download just the Lonely Planet's chapters you want at the only site to offer them Guide Gecko
Don't forget you can find real bargains on second-hand travel guides online. I bought my last Frommers' Guide to Eastern Europe online and it cost me just $11 - bargain!
-note- Keep in mind delivery times to countries other than the US and UK, that last Frommer's guide took 6 weeks to arrive in Australia.
Just promise you won't be lending your new travel guide to friends or leave them laying about hostels – up-to-date versions are always in high demand to other travellers.
I never miss an opportunity to check out charity shops for decent travel books. Even if I have no plans for a particular country I buy them and read them anyway – you never know where you might find yourself on your travels.
for money saving tips on backpacks and rucksacks