Book Reviews

Do You Use Travel Guide Books When Planning a Holiday?

Travel guide books, are still in this digital age, one of my favourite ways to learn about a new destination and research for an upcoming holiday. Yeah blogs are great and online articles too, but there is something about flicking through the pages of an actual travel guide that makes me feel excited. But why do I use travel guide books? And what are some of my favourite travel guide books out there at the moment? All will be revealed…

Why do I use Travel Guide Books?

So before I launch into some of my favourite travel guide books I wanted you to understand why I still use them when planning a holiday. It really all comes down to my love of books. Admittedly I do own a Kindle, but I still favour a printed version of a book. Paper over screen any-day. I can loose hours flicking backwards and forwards through a guide book, taking notes of some of the best things to see, do and eat. I’ll take note of Insider Tips and travel information provided in the book, and then use these to further and develop my research whilst planning my holiday. And I know this may sound silly to some, but I love displaying my printed version of my travel guide books in my home. They look great and are a constant reminder of some of the exciting adventures I’ve had or am going to have in the future.

Travel Guide eBooks and Travel Guide Apps

So as much as I love a print copy of a travel guide book, I have also started to move with the times and also use e-book versions of my favourite guides. For me it may not be as satisfying as burying my head in a print travel guide book for hours, but they still contain lots of important information, aren’t anywhere near as heavy to pack than a print guide, plus they save heaps of space on my (already full) book shelves. As well as ebooks a number of travel guide publishers have now got apps for you to use whilst planning your trip. Marco Polo Guides have a great touring app, which you can simply access on your phone (with or without internet) and you’ll be able to take part in your own guided tour of the destination you’re visiting, genius!

My Favourite Travel Guide Books

I’ve used a lot of guidebooks during my time and some have been super useful and others less so. But any travel guide book I have used, be it print or digital, has always provided me with some new and useful information to use when planning a holiday. Here are some of my absolute favourites that have come in handy for me when travelling.

Lonely Planet Pocket Bruges & Brussels

I actually purchased this book as a gift for Dan. It was my way of telling him that I’d organised a surprise trip to Bruges for his birthday way back in 2017. Being a pocket sized travel guide meant we could easily slip it into a small bag whilst we were out exploring. I’d been given some great recommendations by friends but one thing that the guide recommended that no-one else did was the St-Anna Windmills. The windmills (some dating back to 1770) were located east of the city centre, so not something we would have stumbled upon if it wasn’t for our guide! It’s also great to know we already have a travel guide book for Brussels too! If you want to purchase this travel guide you can do so on Amazon or the Lonely Planet website.

The Rough Guide to Southeast Asia, Rough Guides

This guide was an absolute pillar in my Southeast Asia trip planning. We poured over this travel guide book for hours in the pub, making notes of all the places in Thailand and Vietnam we wanted to explore. The book is helpfully split into sections based on country. Then within each section you can find a brief introduction to the country, information on arriving and departing (using various means of transportation), accommodation, festivals, place to eat and drink and things to see and do and so much more. We carried this book everywhere we went in Asia. With this guide we felt prepared, were armed with maps and everyday phrases and had heaps to tick off on our bucket list. It really helped make our first backpacking experience in Southeast Asia a lot less daunting. If you want to purchase this travel guide you can do so on Amazon.

New York Pocket Travel Guide, Marco Polo Guides

The first time I visited New York City I didn’t take a travel guide book and what a mistake that was! As much as we saw a lot of incredible stuff, we also missed out on some real gems that the Marco Polo Guide suggested for us this time around. Not only did it help us navigate the subway with ease, it also helped us find the Strand Book Store (we’re talking 18 miles of books) and Barcade, an awesome venue in Brooklyn, where you can play old school American arcade games! I’ll be taking this travel guide book on any future NYC trips as I barely even scratched the surface of the city using this guide! If you want to purchase this travel guide you can do so on Amazon and Waterstones‘ website.

Denmark- The Essential Guide to Customs & Culture, Culture Smart

When I was gifted this ebook by Culture Smart, I had already visited Denmark once before, more specifically the capital city of Copenhagen. It was really great to read more about Denmark, a country that I loved exploring and would absolutely want to return to in the future. As well as learning a little more about the value and attitudes of the people in Denmark I found it really interesting reading about the customs and traditions that the Danish hold dear. Especially useful was the list of public holidays in Denmark, which makes planning a trip around (or to include them) super easy. If you want to purchase this ebook travel guide you can do so on Amazon or the Culture Smart website.

Do you still use travel guide books when planning a holiday? I would love to know if you do and why. And if you have any favourite travel guide books you’d love to recommend just leave a comment below. I’m always on the look out for more books to add to my collection.

Until next time.

*NB* I was gifted all the above Marco Polo Guides and my e-book copy of Denmark- The Essential Guide To Customs & Culture was gifted to me by Lena Mistry (Kuperard Publishers & Distributors for Culture Smart) but please note all views are my own. The links to the books (which I would have put in anyways) are using either a Waterstones, Lonely Planet or Amazon Affiliate link, but this does not cost you any extra and may earn me a little extra money (to put towards more travel guide books!)

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