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The World Traveler

Planning a trip? How to choose travel guide books that are a good investment

You’ve been saving up all year long for your dream vacation. You go to sleep with visions of adventure, sightseeing and a new perspective of the world at large. You’ve taken care of your airfare, transportation, insurance and a general itinerary. If you’re going far afield from your home base, you know that travel guide books are a necessity.

You need at least one general travel guide book which covers the basics. Sightseeing must-do’s, getting around, a few restaurant and hotel recommendations, and a brief recap of museum attractions are all you need, right? Not so fast! If you’re not a seasoned traveler, you might be shortchanging yourself with the basic, all-around travel guide book. Let’s take a look at some of the specialized travel guide books that can make all the difference between a ho-hum experience and a truly enchanting and memorable trip.

If your itinerary involves traveling from city to city, your hotel accommodations become more important. Check your bookstore for travel books that review hundreds of hotels, residencies and B&B accommodations. Such books are written by dedicated and frequent travelers who search out those cheap sleeps and out of the way hotels, with an eye to value, charm and amenities. Such a travel guide is worth its weight in gold. Wouldn’t you love to stay in a medieval castle with modern plumbing, for the same price as a plain-Jane chain hotel? If your stay is extended, wouldn’t you like to know where you can stay in a fully-furnished apartment for the same price as a hotel? Take advantage of this type of travel guide book.

If you’re into museum hopping, make the most of your trip with a travel guide devoted to museums. Your trip time is limited. A museum guide can help you zero in on the ones you’d kick yourself for missing.

If you love shopping, or are on a business buying trip, investing in a shopping travel guide book pays you ten times over. This variety of travel guide book is written by a shopaholic, well versed in those little out of the way shops you’d never find on your own, except perhaps by accident. Detailed descriptions of the type and quality of goods available in any given shop will save you lots of time and research, leading you by the hand to insider gems.

If you’re going to a non-English speaking country, a travel guide book of conversational phrases can be very useful! Such books cover many common foreign dilemmas. When are the banks and post offices open? What’s the current etiquette on tipping? How about ordering at a restaurant? Where do you do your laundry? This type of travel guide keeps you on the planet, so to speak, in a foreign country.

Come to think of it, perusing the travel section in your local book store just adds to the excitement of your upcoming trip. A great way to stretch your travel dollar and your memories, once you’re back home.


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