Trips can be made or ruined by the guidebooks one takes with them. Let’s Go was my favorite post-college guidebook. However, I quickly learned that when I followed their advice for the best bar or restaurant in a particular city, it would be packed with other American college students clutching their copies of Let’s Go. Sometimes there wasn’t a local in sight.
Good guide books should get you to the right places without ruining it themselves. They should educate, be up-to-date, and offer recommendations that fall within your budget. But which ones to choose? Although I lean towards Lonely Planet these days, I usually pick up at least one other guidebook for variation and a second opinion, if you will. Considering that 4,000 guidebooks are published each year, this is never an easy choice.
I was therefore pleased to run across a rather intensive study of the major players in the guidebook industry, printed in The Sunday Times, which balances the publisher’s PR claims with input from various travel writers. Since every traveler’s needs are different, the article does not rank the books, but rather educates the reader on their strengths and weaknesses. After reading through the reviews, however, I’m still sticking with Lonely Planet-although it’s opened my eyes to some other interesting publishers out there for my secondary travel book.