Are Guidebooks Really Necessary ?

A guidebook can be an essential part of a person’s holiday kit. However some travellers choose to steer clear of travel guides in an attempt to learn about a country independently. Your opinion on whether a guidebook deserves a place in your suitcase will be affected by the type of holidays you go on, and the type of tourist you are.

The Pros of Guidebooks

A guidebook can be filled informative and useful articles regarding your destination. This is ideal for those who are embarking on sightseeing holidays as a travel guide will tell you about the most visited and popular landmarks within a city. As well as telling you about top attractions, travel books will also educate you about the history and cultural resonance of a city and its tourist spots.

A reputable guidebook will be filled with top tips from travel writers who have delved deep into the destination. Following their recommendations will result in you enjoying a top quality break away as you will be visiting the attractions, restaurants and entertainments which have been rated highly by experts.

Following the suggestions within a guidebook will prevent you from visiting any dud tourist spots and avoid areas known to be dangerous. The book can recommend which tourists are suited to which sites, and you can tailor your holiday around these recommendations. This will stop you wasting your precious time on holiday as you can fill it with those activities which you favour whilst keeping you safe.

The Cons of Guidebooks

As guidebooks aim to appeal to a large audience, they may only contain the attractions and events which will be popular with the largest possible amount of tourists. If you are looking for an exploration away from the typical tourist trail, you may want to leave the guidebook behind. Asking locals or reading travellers’ blogs would be great ways of unearthing those unique and unvisited spots of beauty.

You may also not want to use a guidebook if you enjoy having a sense freedom whilst away. Without a travel book, you can discover things at your own pace rather than following a rigid path set out by another person. If your holiday is set to be an independent and personal journey, then taking a guidebook isn’t advisory as you will simply be following a path which isn’t your own.

Guidebooks have some other downfalls which results in travellers avoiding them. They tend to be expensive purchases, so people are beginning to look to the internet for information on their destination as this is free and easy to do. Also, backpackers may not want to take up some of their limited pace with a heavy book which may end up actually quashing their journey away. However If you do decide to purchase a guidebook you should buy along the way and buy cheap second hand guide from other travellers wishing to get rid of them.

Overall there are various pros and cons to guidebooks. Yes they are big and heavy and they may hamper your sense of freedom. But ultimately the benefits should outweigh the cons. After all you don’t have to follow all the advice in the guidebook, but they provide you with a useful insight whilst giving you travel ideas and most important can help keep you safe.

This guest post was written by Chris who publishes more travel tips, advice and amusing anecdotes over at www.mytravellogs.co.uk

Ponte Vecchio in Florence
Zucchero concert in Florence