I love visiting new and exotic places, but it can be hard to plan a trip to somewhere you’ve never been before. Well, that’s where travel books come in. Second only to having a local friend, I’m completely convinced that they are the best resource for jet-setters.
Now, I know what you’re probably thinking: travel books are so 1988, hasn’t this girl ever heard of the Internet!? It’s got everything there is to know about everything, and it’s interactive (i.e. has a search feature). Plus it’s (basically) free. Obviously, someone’s gone cray cray and needs to return to her cave.
Let me explain why that’s a fallacy:
1. If you’re going somewhere really exciting (i.e. out of America), then you’re unlikely to have internet on your cell phone- especially if you have Verizon (like me). And even if it does work, excessive foreign data usage is likely to break the bank. Travel books offer unsurpassed portability and are a great value.
2. The authors know their shit. They provide an insider scoop like only a local can. Other tourists can offer helpful info, but only to a point. You don’t really know a place until you’ve lived there- and most of the travel book authors do.
3. The Internet is full of lies. There’s no gatekeeper or fact-checker to guarantee useful, up-to-date information. So much of the information is sponsored or biased, it can be hard to tell what’s trustworthy. Not true with travel books. I’ve never had one let me down!
And for the record- travel books also have a “search feature”. It’s called an index, ever heard of it? 😉
They were indispensable resources back in ’06 when I was studying abroad and didn’t have reliable internet. To be honest, I’d kind of forgotten how great these books were until our trip to Hawaii. I leaned on it heavily when planning excursions and meals- and like I said before, it never disappointed! Every restaurant was a winner, and we were fully prepared for each activity (I knew which needed to be booked weeks ahead, which would require warm clothing, how much everything would cost, etc.) I honestly credit the book with the whole trip’s success!
But wait! There’s more! Not only are they an invaluable resource, but they’re practically free! Well, technically they cost the same as regular books, but here are some things I’ve done in the past that makes them super cheap:
- Buy used versions on half.com or amazon. Even getting one that’s a year old isn’t a big deal because most stuff doesn’t change that much.
- Go to the library. They have tons of travel books there. Sometimes, you only need a few pages out of one and you can make photocopies for like 5¢. Why buy a whole book on France if you’re only going to visit Cannes, for example?
In addition to providing information about local sights and eateries, books offer travel advice, logistical information (for example, train schedules are especially helpful in places like Europe), historical info, walking tours, and sample itineraries. Literally, everything you need to know about your destination of choice.
So I challenge you to use a travel book when you plan your next trip. I’m pretty sure you’ll be a believer, too!
P.S. Please go check out Life Unsweetened today, I’m making a little bit of a cameo!