The lure of different cultures and climates stimulates many millions of people to travel outside their own country each year in search of fun, frolicking and adventure. Overseas travel is exciting for most people and knowing how to make the best of your destination is critical for full holiday enjoyment, or even the efficient execution of a business trip.
Indeed, knowing which accommodation to book and which to avoid at all costs, where to savour the best meals and drinks, or even solid tips on the best time to visit popular sights is made easier by a proliferation of travel guides. For example, business travellers, unless they are extremely lucky, seldom have time for sight-seeing or finding their own way around a city or destination meaning that they especially need to be fully clued up before they arrive. Travel guides can help make getting from A to B so much easier, as well as highlighting great places to stay and where to eat and drink; so taking much of the guess work out of avoiding poor choices, for leisure travellers too!
Although traditionally printed in book form, many travel guides are now available on the internet and alternatives are also available in other formats such as i-pod downloads. It is important to understand that unless hosted by a trusted publication then beware of such internet guides. Many rogue sites are set up merely to attract customers to particular establishments and attractions or even just to generate links to and from other sites, which therefore may not be totally unbiased or even written by independent travellers. Other websites may purport to give genuine travellers’ reviews, but again may not be wholly independent as individuals from commercial organisations can also pretend to be unbiased reviewers.
For the best travel guides many travellers choose to stick with printed material. Books are easily portable and can be read anywhere, especially on the plane, boat or train on the way to your destination. They tend to have been thoroughly researched, well written and independent of commercial influences. Because they are published by mainstream publishers they can also be trusted and there is recourse for the buyer if the guide is woefully inaccurate. Of course, given the lead times to get things in print and depending how long after it went to print, that when it is purchased things may be out of date; but this a lag time that is likely to occur with any medium.
But, here’s a thought. If printed travel guides didn’t do the job, would so many be on sale at so many newsagents in most of the world’s airport departure lounges?