Travel Books: A Jet-Setters BFF

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 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!


About how bout some cake

I'm a 20-something woman with an insatiable thirst for adventure. I love red wine, chocolate cake, and comments from my lovely readers.
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16 Responses to Travel Books: A Jet-Setters BFF

  1. albucco10 says:

    When I spent a semester in Europe, allllll I used were travel books. They’re so much easier to page through and mark up, and like you said–especially in Europe–you might not always have cell service! I say they’re a do 🙂

  2. I couldn’t agree more! I relied heavily on two travel books when planning our trip to Maui for all of the reasons you listed above! Since I’m Canadian we didn’t have access to the internet on our phones while we were out and about so the books were so useful for directions in that sense. I loved all the reviews of the restaurants and accommodations and found them invaluable when trying to decide where to eat and stay. I did use Trip Advisor for a couple of things because I really liked reading what I bunch of people had to say. Travel books are definitely worth their weight in gold!

    xo jen

  3. Wow, I had no idea I’d be preaching to the choir!

  4. henatayeb says:

    lol.. never used a travel book. I use the internet, keep notes and have print outs of anything of need. Might give a book a try on the next trip

  5. Couldnt agree more!! But sometimes internet is useful!! Your Maui guide is amazing!!

  6. Sweet Perdition says:

    que me gusta tu blog! amo Amsterdam!

  7. AJ says:

    This is a great suggestion! Thanks for sharing! I’m a new follower, thanks to Rachel at Life Unsweetened. 🙂


  8. I couldn’t agree more with you. When my hubby and I plan our trip we rely heavily on travel books because we look to highlight and bookmark what we want to do and then we take them with us on the trip. Plus, it stays as a reminder on our bookshelf where we have been together.l

  9. MC says:

    We are army family in Germany and travel a lot. I tried a book (it was one of the Frommer ones) and I didn’t like it. It was too dry and mostly stats. I use tripadvisor and there’s travellers pages on facebook (i personally use one of the army wives one in my area) and the interaction and information is more up to date and helpful eg where to park, is it crowded, what train passes to use etc.
    When I tried the book I so wanted it to work and was disappointed. So far my own research online has been great 🙂

  10. Ok, I’ve actually never used a travel book. But then again, I haven’t made many big trips on my own yet, so this is a great resource for me. Planning a trip somewhere you’ve never been before is so hard and even the internet can’t be a great help sometimes. I’ll definitely be buying some travel books for my next big trip!


  11. Pingback: Five Tips for your First Trip Abroad | Meet Me In Paradise

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