I always prepare before we go out and travel. Although I usually don't make super-detailed daily plans, I do want to have an idea of what attractions are there and where they are on the map in relation to each other. In recent years, I've googled most of what I needed about restaurants and hotels, but the sights themselves I usually come back to good old paper books. I just can't bear to print on paper! Sure, I've bought the occasional digital guidebook over the past few years, but the cons outweigh the pros. Mobile batteries run out very quickly if you constantly need to read on the screen (been there, done that), while a paper book never runs out of battery. I love going through the guidebooks with highlighters and highlighters, all to quickly find my way back to what I most want to see. I don't always buy guidebooks from the same publisher anymore (sorry Lonely Planet!), but I buy the book that best suits the purpose of the trip. In a big city I need completely different information than in a national park. So here are my five tips for good travel book series - depending on the purpose of your trip!
Weekend trip in a big city
For weekend trips I usually buy First Class Pocket Guides Top 10 (in Swedish) . They are small (fits in your purse), affordable, light weight (good if you travel with hand luggage only), incredibly compressed with top lists and lots of pictures. Perfect if you want to get an overview of a city without having to spend so much energy on the search. Focus on areas, so you can easily navigate. A wrapped city map is always included, very good and durable!
road trip where you have booked accommodation in advance
I'm a very visual person who needs to see pictures to decide if I'm interested or not. Insight guides have succeeded in both writing informatively about culture, history and politics and at the same time having at least two color pictures on each page. Good if you want to know everything about the area you are traveling in and are not so interested in hotel and restaurant tips.
Slightly longer holidays with lots of nature/culture
When I'm going to spend an extended period in a city or out on the road, I always have one with me First Class Travel Guides (in Swedish) or DK Eyewitness Travel Guide(in English). Fantastic pictures and informative maps - here I quickly get an overview of the area I'm going to. However, the guides are a bit big if you are going on a weekend trip and weigh a lot, but are perfect for, for example, a road trip in New Zealand or a week in New York! Here you even have maps of all the floors of the biggest museums - really good!
Long vacations without plans
For me, there is only one guidebook that works for trips where you take the day as it comes and don't plan too much. The classic Lonely Planet. Half our bookshelf at home is filled with dark blue book spines. Not at all particularly easy to digest and with few pictures, these books require a little more commitment than the above. But most of the time there are incredibly good tips here on everything from hotels to lunch spots. Just a small warning - when we traveled around Australia, we carried LP's big Australia book with us. It weighs almost 1 kg. Really not something for the purse.
Lonely Planet has a new (?) “green” series called “Lonely Planet Discover”, which is a bit of a cross between Första Klass and Lonely Planet. More pictures than the usual "blue" Lonely Planet and with good route suggestions and top lists - this could become a favourite! However, it should be added that the series so far does not have that many titles, so in many cases I have had to choose another book. But well worth looking out for!
All books in this article are selected by me and opinions, texts and images are, as usual, my own.
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