Travel Guidebooks- Useful or Useless?

GuidebooksDo you still bring guidebooks on trips with you?

For just about all of our international trips, Kim and I find a guidebook to be a necessary travel item.

Here is how I see it. Trips are an investment, whether it be paid for with our hard-earned money or miles & points. Being (somewhat) prepared and having ideas of what you’d like to see and do makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re away for a limited amount of time. You are paying all this money and or miles & points, why wouldn’t you spend an additional $20 or so to maximize what you see, do and eat…

While lots of information can be found online, I still like to have a guidebook to look through. Sometimes I’ll mark it up and/ or flag pages for future reference during the trip. (I still try to do some research online too.)

Our guidebook brand of choice is Lonely Planet which is probably not so surprising.

While no guidebook is perfect, we find LP to do an overall good job of covering popular and lesser-so sites that might be of interest. I also like learning some details about the country, the people and its history. These guidebooks are something like a CliffsNotes which pack a solid amount of info into a few pages.

During a couple of instances, we’ve even bought a second guidebook (not LP) for a specific part of a trip. We did this for our visits to Petra and also for Easter Island.

What are your thoughts on guidebooks? Waste of money and too much extra weight to carry or valuable trip planning tool for your travels?

4 thoughts on “Travel Guidebooks- Useful or Useless?

  1. Not a fan because I don’t want to carry around an extra book. They’re also heavy. What I do is research beforehand and print out what I need for that day. This way, I can throw it out as needed. I also don’t want to end up with a collection of travel books or spend extra money if I don’t have to.

  2. I am a guidebook junkie for international travel. I write comments in the margins, flag times with post-it notes, and even rip certain chapters out to carry with me and lighten the load. I do most of my destination research online but love reading most guidebooks.

  3. Ang- I totally hear your points. Great idea to print for each day and then toss when finished. I usually type up a sheet of info for short/ domestic trips.

    Denise L.- Sounds quite similar to me minus the amount you mark up your books and tear them apart! 🙂

  4. 2003 me was a big fan of hauling around paper guidebooks. These days, I have the e-books on my phone. Most of Lonely Planet’s guidebooks are part of the Kindle Unlimited program, for people who use that.

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