The fine folks over at The Independent have put together a nice guide on choosing the proper travel book for your journey. I’ve run across plenty of articles summarizing “the best” guide books out there, but this one takes a slightly different approach by asking the very questions that you usually wonder about while consulting the book in the middle of your vacation.
For example, when you try a place your guide book suggests and it really sucks you find yourself asking whether “writers stay in every hotel and eat in every restaurant that they recommend?” According to The Independent, the answer (after some tap dancing) is no. Big surprise here.
Some of the other questions addressed: How up-to-date is the information, are the recommendations independent, do guide books ruin the world, and how can you go about doing a better job and becoming an author yourself? The article also dispels the myth that travel guide writing is the best job on this planet.
I’ll leave you with an example presented in the article that illustrates one of the reasons why tourists can have experiences completely contradictory to the reviews in a guidebook. Apparently after a restaurant owned by a deaf-mute in the Vietnamese city of Hue received wonderful reviews, the owner of a competing restaurant next door began acting like he was a deaf mute in order to dupe tourists into thinking his restaurant was the one mentioned in the guidebook.