Travel Guides – Do You Have a Favorite?

So in the past few years I’ve done some pretty wonderful travel, thanks to some great opportunities and my amazing husband. This year we’ve been in the process of a huge transition, and though things are finally coming together and we’ll be moving into our more-permanent apartment in June, the thought of planning and taking a big trip (much less applying for research funding, etc.) has not been overly appealing. For the first summer in my academic career, we’re staying put. Mostly.

We’ve found ourselves back on the east coast, where we are both from. And one of the things I’ve always wanted to do is go up to see the Bay of Fundy. I’ve been to Toronto and Montreal, but I’ve always been more of a city-destination person and it’s only been since meeting Matt that nature has started to play a bigger role in our choosing destinations. So I think this summer we’re going to take a road trip – up to Nova Scotia. Which is great because it will be lower-stress than some of the bigger trips we’ve taken in the past few years, and I still get the joy of planning a trip.

Here’s the real thing: I love buying and having guide books. I keep them for places I want to go (hello, Egypt) and places I’ve been. I read them for pleasure, discovering all the amazing things in the world that I hope to someday see myself. But I’ve never found a favorite “brand.” My dad swears by the Fodors. For years I was a Lonely Planet girl, but last summer in Peru it seemed a bit low-end (i.e. gross) and not as interesting as it had been in other countries. I once used a Moon guide, and liked it, but didn’t have strong feelings about it. I often get two or three. I’ve done Eyewitness in combination with Fodors, Lonely Planet in combination with Rough Guide. Frommers on top of Moon. And I still don’t feel like one “brand” has consistently met my interests and needs.

I’ve used Fodors and Lonely Planet the most, but I have reservations. Sometimes the Lonely Planet people seem too snarky and “cool” to delight in the (perhaps popular, but for a reason) tourist-destination things; sometimes the Fodors seems too afraid to dip their toes into the local scene. So, has anyone out there found a consistent favorite among the travel guides? Or is it just a matter of each brand has different strengths, and to round them out you need a few?

4 comments

    • If only we had the time! We have to sort of parcel out our travelling now in a way we didn’t before because of Matt’s job… But we’ll add that to the “next summer” list, which keeps getting longer than our summers!

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  1. Anonymous

    Actually I’ve been using on line free TripAdvisor now for several years and many trips. It’s the collective wisdom (and lack thereof) of the unedited general public, but so far so good – I’ve actually found some great local spots.

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  2. Great post! I love travel books as well, and my library includes Frommers, Lonely Planet and many others.
    I usually start with Eyewitness. Their country guides are really comprehensive. From there it’s onto the Eyewitness Top 10s – they are really great once we’ve set our itinerary out. I also use Trip Advisor a lot as well.

    Like

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