Discuss a good book to read on a trip or movies that make you long to be on the road. Share your recommendations for music - both your old favorites and the new ones you discovered overseas. Brag about run-ins with the hottest upcoming bands.

LP vs DK vs RG vs Moon etc.

travel droppings

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  • Added on: August 28th, 2010
OK, so maybe this has been covered but what is the general consensus on what brand guidebook you use and why? I am aware that many people are very defensive on what they use. I do think the book you follow does say something about you though.

I am a Lonely Planet guy. I guess I relate to the authors or something like that. I like the layout too. It is funny that when you get onto your type, it is hard to switch. Anyone else find that to be the case?

When I think of gangs of dedicated guidebook users coming together I imagine that scene from Ron Burgandy where the different news crews have a "street fight".... but I Digress

So what guidebook do you use when traveling?
Work and Travel Abroad: A few ways I have worked my way around the world
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Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: August 28th, 2010
Alright- I like the most accurate and smallest book, regardless of title.

For Asia, I find LP to be most accurate

For the Americas- its Footprints all the way. It is a much smaller book to take that covers all of South America, or Mexico and Central America.

FP has some issues:
It is sparse on the descriptions. When it says Good view, it means very good, and when it says very good it often is spectactular. It is sparse on directions, and the maps are not the best. LP has the best maps. But, the maps HAVE improved and if you speak Spanish, as I do, the rest of the faults go by the wayside. There's nothing wrong with asking people to confirm directions. In fact, in places like Lima, its a very good idea, considering there are good blocks, and patently unsafe blocks in the city.

IN terms of lodgings and sights, FP in the Americas can't be beat. They have the full gamut.

Restaurants are always questionable in all guidebooks. By the time the guide is published, they may have gone out of business or fired their good cooks.

Other books? I find them too wordy, too involved with being cutesy or politically correct to be worth my time, considering they leave out good options to obtain this extra verbiage. The reality is, none of these books give any more low end possibilities than the other, within reason, though:

I've found the hostels named in Footprints seem to be signifcantly different than those in LP for the Americas, with some prominent exceptions when a hostel is really popular.

Hint: When Footprints says 'popular with tourists", but is not recommended, it means its cheap but has significant drawbacks, usually very rude or rowdy guests. I tend to go to the 'recommended' hostels, and have never been disapointed.

Other hint: If possible, its good to go to all the hostels in the book for one reason. If you are dis-organised, you may have lost your reservation slip or the paper that gives the hostel name and address when you arrive. If its in your book, you just go to the book and point to the entry. VBG.

I did this once, but luckily, I managed to REMEMBER how to get there by walking from a landmark and that got us there.

Don't forget the other option, increasingly used:

Hostelworld.com and other sites of its ilk. Hostelworld gives real online reviews that are fairly accurate, if there are more than a few of them. Also, it saved my butt one time. I was going to stay in a hostel that I'd reserved through Hostelworld, when I got a message from the site organisers that the Hostel was closed for some reason the day before I was slated to go, so they'd apply my reservation and deposit to another hostel of my choice. That was very good of them, since the hostel itself never managed to contact me. I ended up in the Broadway Hostel, which was quite good as well, though not so close to Penn station where I wanted to be the next day.

rhythm_blues

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  • Added on: August 30th, 2010
I've always been a Lonely Planet fan, especially for Asia. I've sometimes used other books for other regions. Moon is better for Latin America than Lonely Planet, I think.

I've also used Insiders, Insight, Frommer,and Traveler guidebooks (National Geographic). Sometimes I've received guidebooks as gifts, or borrowed one from the library, and so I'm happy to use whatever I've been given. If I'm choosing, though, I'm most likely to choose Lonely Planet or Moon, depending on the region.

sarahg

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  • Added on: September 2nd, 2010
I like that Lonely Planet guys have the section at the beginning summarizing lifestyle, the national psyche, and all that. I just avoid them because I've found that when I read Amazon reviews, LP guides almost always have the most bad reviews for having out-of-date or inaccurate info in them. I prefer Moon guides if one is available, they almost always have the most and most accurate info in my experience. If there isn't a moon guide I like Rough Guides, but I'm also always traveling on a backpacker budget and like outdoorsy things -- I see how they'd be less useful for someone else. I also like how Rough Guides seem to always mention the things I actually care about in accommodation reviews, like whether the place has AC/private bathrooms/TVs/etc. Lots of guides will wax on about the atmosphere of a hotel or hostel and leave out that sort of info, which I find odd -- who picks a hotel because of a description of the atmosphere by someone who may not have even spent the night there?

Philip_P

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  • Added on: March 19th, 2011
Generally I will use LP, though they aren't really that up to date (that's the nature of guidebook publishing I guess) and some of the authors have an annoying know-it-all style.
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