Travel Guides- An Overview

You can get reliable, useful information from
guidebooks. Yet, some are better than others
and often, it’s important to know what you’re
looking for when you travel, what your goals
are and what your pocketbook can handle.

As I often tell my fellow Traveling Paupers,
a guidebook is just that— a guide. Not a set
of rules that are fixed in stone. Never let any
guidebook chain you down to a fixed itinerary.
Be adventurous, add your own mix of wonder
and discovery to the trip you plan, and use your
guidebook as an introduction to the locale,
not the final arbiter of what is valuable.

That being said, I’d like to explore some of
the guidebooks I’ve found useful in making
trips around the world. It is, by no means, a
comprehensive listing of all the books
available to you. But this sampling should
give you a very good starting point to discover
what travel books can offer.

The Michelin Red Guides

Provide detailed information about European
hotels and restaurants, while the Green Guides
focus on European art, history, and places of
interest. They tend to be best suited to travel
that isn’t too budget conscious. Upscale.

The Fielding Guides

Provides a candid, well written guide especially
good at finding off-beat, unusual destinations.
I recommend them to Paupers that wish to travel
off the beaten track. Unique.

Fodor’s Travel Guides

Recently celebrating their 60th birthday with almost
100 titles in the Gold Line series. They emphasize the
West, but the Fodor’s Guides cover countries though-
out the world. They provide good historical and
cultural information as well as practical recommendations.
I like it for those who wish to stay on the middle
of the road. Perennial Bestseller.

The Frommer Series

The old $5. A Day series has become the $40 a Day
series. They offer touring guides, city guides, and special
editions. While emphasizing Europe and the United States
they take pains to describe restaurants, hotels and
nightlife as well. Budget.

The Lonely Planet Series

Called, simply enough, the LP, they have earned a great
reputation for worldwide budget and independent travel.
There are five series offered, but my favorite is the
On A Shoestring guide, coving everything from a
specific country, to a region or continent for the low
budget traveler. Eclectic.

The Travel Handbook Series

This series contains more than 50 books from Moon
Publications and are updated annually. That’s their
greatest value in my judgment. Contemporary.

Europe Through The Back Door

Authored by Rick Steves. You get an itinerary
and “must see” list of sights for limited European
trips. A no brainer.

The Rough Guides

Focuses on college-age travelers in Europe. Much
the same flavor as you will find in the LP series;
irreverent and directed to the budget conscious.
Street smart.

A good guidebook makes travel vastly easier. Use them
even when you’re only traveling in your arm chair.
The best spark your imagination and lead you to
unknown discoveries and adventure.

Victor K. Pryles©2005 –
[http://www.paupertravel.com]

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