Everyone loves to travel but for those who do not do so often or are going to new places it is challenging to plan everything. That is because when planning a vacation you must choose not only where to go, but where to stay while there, what to see and where to eat. If you are going to an unfamiliar place, you could easily get lost both physically and in terms of what to do, which is why many people buy a guidebook. These travel books help tourists plan every element of their vacation and make sure that they have a good time. But not all guidebooks are equal so here is what you want to look for in yours.
One of the most challenging things about going to a new destination is navigating your way around and this is especially difficult if you are in a foreign country and do not speak the language. The good news is that all reputable travel books will have several maps in them. If you are choosing a guidebook for an entire country, you want one that not only has a country map, but ones of each state and major city as well. If the book is only for a specific city, you should expect the maps to have more detail. In both cases you want to pick a travel book in which all the major tourist destinations have labels on the map.
Although travel books are great for when you are actually in your destination, they are equally important during the planning stages, particularly when selecting where to stay. While you could always look online at review sites for hotels, it is hard to know where to start. A good guidebook will not only have a list of hotels and hostels, but it will also give brief descriptions, contact information, a map showing their location, an average price and their expert rating of the quality. Having all this information your fingertips can make choosing where to stay much simpler.
The main thing that people want to do when on vacation is of course to see the tourist sites. That is the reason that most people will even consider buying a guidebook. While all travel books will have the most popular sites, the better ones will have ones that are smaller as well. They will also include descriptions of what makes the site so special, if there is an entry fee and how to get there as well as showing it on a map. The best ones will even have at least a page or two describing the history of the site.
Food is another one of the most important things to look for in a travel guidebook. That is because while you are on vacation, you will most likely not be able to cook. This means that you will have to eat out for every meal. The best guidebooks will list a variety of restaurants of all price ranges and cuisine types. Like with hotels, they will also list the average prices, contact information, show the restaurant on a map and tell you how to get there. Having all of this information at your disposal is essential to ensuring that you are able to make the best decision about where to eat.
Almost all travel books will include at least several maps, but this is not always enough. Some people are bad at reading maps or simply get lost easily. In other cases, distances are too great to walk so you need to know how to get between places. That is why the best guidebooks will not only include all the sites and hotels they mention on a map, but will also tell you how to get there using public transportation they will also tell you how much the public transportation costs and how much more you would spend by using a taxi.
Even if a guidebook has all the information listed above in it that is not always enough; organization is also important. While most travel books are well-organized, some can make it impossible to find what you are looking for. The best guidebooks will have both a table of contents as well as an index. Ideally there will be a content index which includes sites of interest, restaurants, hotels and cities as well as a street index to help you navigate when walking around the city or country. You also want some organization within the book itself in terms of the order it lists things. For example, while a book that lists hotels in alphabetical order might make it easier to find the one you are looking for, it is much more useful in terms of planning if the book arranges them either by location or price range (or both).
If the country or city you are traveling to speaks a different language, you want to find a guidebook that at least has a very basic dictionary. While it not at all practical to expect to find one with a complete dictionary, the best travel books will at least have common phrases such as: greetings, asking for help, food vocabulary, numbers and health related words. In addition to a basic dictionary, you want to find a guidebook that has a glossary of words you may not know. This will usually include words that are native to the country but have no direct translation in English.
History And Culture
It is impossible to fully appreciate a country without understanding its history and culture and that is why the best travel books will have at least a brief history (a few pages) of the city or country as well as an introduction to the culture including traditions, customs, common foods and other information that could be useful for your trip.
Room For Notes
One last thing you want to look for in a travel guidebook is space for you to take notes. This can either be on the side of pages if you want to add information about a particular hotel, restaurant or site but a better option is to have a few empty pages (preferably lined) in the back of the book for you to make lists of what you want to see or do or write any information that is relevant to your trip.