What’s the Best Travel Guidebook?
Are you sitting down? Because I have some sad news to tell you. Lonely Planet and I broke up. Now, now. Don’t worry. I’m going to be fine…in time. It was for the best, really. We’ll be happier now. I’m ready to play the field again, see what’s out there.
What happened? Well, we got in a bit of a row while I was in Thailand. You see, LP mentioned in passing that we might experience “high winds” in Koh Samui in November. I live in San Francisco! High winds are nothing! I laugh in the face of high winds.
When LP says “high winds,” apparently he means “monsoon season.” My husband and I arrived for a dreamy beach honeymoon in the middle of a torrential downpour–and it didn’t stop the entire week. Surely, this was an anomaly, I thought. I asked the locals, “Is this unusual weather?” They laughed and laughed. “Oh no. It’s always like this in November.” (Okay, fine. We should have checked with other sources to confirm the weather situation. But I was planning a wedding! I was busy!)
Recently I was planning a trip to London and I wasn’t sure where to turn for reliable information, now that I had broken up with LP. We’re in an age when travel deals are super-easy to find but sifting through the embarrassment of guidebook riches is nearly impossible.
And so, after reading tons of Amazon reviews, I bought Time Out London and I’m here to say, my heart will go on. If you haven’t tried these guidebooks yet, you must. I felt like I was traveling with a very savvy friend who knew all the best pubs, lounges, and restaurants–and who wasn’t afraid to give me his real opinion on them.
But the problem is, I don’t think I want this type of guide for, say, my upcoming trip to Peru. In hip, modern capitals, Time Out is awesome but they don’t even publish a Time Out Peru or a Time Out Lima.
Do you have a brand of guidebooks you swear by? I’m all ears! Maybe I should use different brands for different kinds of trips?
My name: Alison Presley
Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.
How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!
What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.
Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.