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First time backpacking - which book to get?

BilboBaggins

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  • Added on: July 4th, 2010
Im interested in backpacking through Europe(mainly western) after my first year of university this year. My birthday's in 6 days and I want to know which travel guide I should ask for. I narrowed it down to the following.

Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2010: The Travel Skills Handbook

Europe on a Shoestring Travel Guide

Let's Go 2009 Europe

Which should I get? Ive never travelled outside of north america or backpacked so this trip will be quite different than what Ive ever done before.

Thanks!

Wild Jasmyne

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  • Added on: July 4th, 2010
The Europe on a Shoestring is good, but outdated. Let's Go seems to be a good brand. I'd recommend, however, the Rough Guide: First Time Europe or Europe on a Budget. Rough Guide has a good variety of background information and itinerary help along with great suggestions for all budgets on accomodation and eating. I've always used LP in the past but now am going more for the RG's. Hope this helps and have a great time!
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C-and-C

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  • Added on: July 4th, 2010
I agree with Wild Jasmyne... Rough Guide First Time Europe or Europe On A Budget both give great overviews on individual countries as well as specifics on getting around, accommodation, and essential info to know - especially helpful in the pre-planning stages. I really enjoy the writing style of Rough Guides - very down-to-earth and professional, but with a sense of humor too.

My bf and I used both books on our travels, in addition to various books by Rick Steves, who I love for his authentic traveling style. His books were our bible when it came to finding local restaurants and lodging, plus he offers self-guided walking tours in most of his books which are very useful in getting your bearings and hitting the must-see sights.

Have fun!
Last edited by C-and-C on July 4th, 2010, edited 1 time in total.
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BilboBaggins

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  • Added on: July 4th, 2010
wow thanks for the quick replies, so Im guessing from the responses so far(keep em coming!) that Rough Guide First Time Europe would be the best for me?

Thanks

Felix the Hat

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  • Added on: July 19th, 2010
Let's Go is written by Harvard students, and meant for university students/recent graduates. The upside/downside to this is that every place you go that's listed in the book will be full of that target audience.

Lonely Planet tends more toward a midmarket crowd that it once did. The last time I used it for Europe was in 1998, and it was quite good then, but my experience isn't exactly fresh.

I used Rough Guide in Spain in 2001, and it was quite good.

I'd suggest spending an afternoon in a Borders or Barnes and Noble, browsing the travel section. Buy the one you like the most.

seraphim

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  • Added on: July 19th, 2010
I also prefer RG over LP generally.

For specific cities, the best guide to get (or download for free off their website) is In Your Pocket. They mainly focus on central/eastern Europe, but are branching out towards western Europe more and more. Their guides are updates every 3 months, so they are always up-to-date. And they are generally more reliable and more complete than any other guide. I think they can only be bought in the city itself though, so not something to ask for your birthday.
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heymikey

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  • Added on: July 21st, 2010
BilboBaggins wrote:Rick Steves' Europe Through the Back Door 2010: The Travel Skills Handbook

Europe on a Shoestring Travel Guide

Let's Go 2009 Europe

The first book you mentioned isn't really a guidebook but a how-to book. Instead of buying it, I suggest you just borrow it from your library since you don't need to bring it with you on your trip. It's something you read before you leave. It's mostly common sense stuff but really helpful. I actually recommend it.
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: July 23rd, 2010
For the record, I like LP.

But then, there are others. Just not Lets go..

Nicolas De Corte

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  • Added on: August 31st, 2010
Each guidebook will have its upsides and downsides.
The problem with LP is that 85% of the travellers uses them. This has as a result that the hostels/restaurants listed there are crowded with backpackers, which often means an increase in price and a decrease in quality. On the other hand, LP update their guides more often than others.

I would go for the most up to date version. If you have to choose between a LP of 2007 a LG of 2005 and a RG of 2009, they'll both contain more or less the same info, but you'll have a better change of up to date train schedules in the RG.



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