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Guide Books

Ok, will do.

Essex UK

let us know what your views are afterwards too, please.

ESW
Lincolnshire

Thanks for a very comprehensive reply. I’m going to follow your recommendations & give your prefferd guides a run out for my next trip & see if they fit. Thanks again.

Essex UK

Overall yes.

I like Eyewitness Travel Guides to begin with as they gives a good overview of a country. The first one I used was for China and I was hooked as it was so different to the other guides. They have decent maps showing where places are (much better than Rough Guide or Lonely Planet.) They also have more colour pictures – good for whetting the appetite. I like the 3D drawings of towns and insides of cathedrals etc.

They are easy to use and also mention many ‘off the tourist beat’ places ignored by the other guides. They may not have the same amount of detailed information on specific places than RG or LP but at this stage that doesn’t bother me too much as that comes later. I use the book to identify areas, places and things we want to see/do.

The only Eyewitness Top10 guide I’ve used was for Malta and I wasn’t impressed as I found it very repetitive as the same places kept featuring under the different headings. I’ve mixed views on the Eyewitness Back Roads Driving routes books too and again haven’t used many. Of those that I’ve seen I’d probably sum them up as "interesting – borrow from the library" I think both of these are probably designed for people who want to hit the must sees rather than get off the beaten track and get beneath the skin of a place.

I used to use Insight guides but overall have found Eyewitness to be better.

I don’t use them for ideas for accommodation or eating, so the fact that their sections on these are less good doesn’t worry me.

I’ve used both Lonely Planet and Rough Guides regularly for about 10 years. Both have reasonable town plans. Over all I’ve found that there is more information and detail in RG. I’ll give an example for New Zealand. The Milford Sound road can be closed because of bad weather (torrential rain or avalanche risk). In winter cars are supposed to have chains or carry chains. When we visited New Zealand in 2007 I had been using LP to plan the trip and got the impression that this was an easy and popular tourist drive. It wasn’t until I read RG later that warning lights began to flash I discovered the above problems. Googling produced several websites which really flagged up the dangers of driving the road. I emailed LP about this, so this may have been altered in later editions.

I know size isn’t everything, but RG usually have more pages than LP. I’ve seen some of the new look LPs (eg Normandy and Brittany) and have not liked them. They seem to be a triumph of design over content which has really been dummed down. The only purpose I could see for this one would be to leave on a table to impress friends….

I also like Bradt Guides and these rank equal (if not better) than RG. They have detailed information about history and culture and there is often more information about sights. They may not be as good for eating and sleeping.

Being retired I have the luxury of time to read up and research a holiday in depth and, as you have already noted, use a lot of guide books as well as the internet. Amazon is a good source of very cheap second hand guide books. Many can be picked up for 1p + £2.80 postage. The above comments are based on reading for many different countries including places like Greenland and Mongolia as well as more main stream places like Canada, France and New Zealand.

However it all comes down to personal preference.

ESW
Lincolnshire

Turning the topic back to guide books I have a question for ESW. I’ve read your reviews on the books for Tunisia & you have given Dk Eyewitness & Rough Guide 5 stars. It seems that, regardless of country, DK Eyewitness is your guide book of choice, with Rough Guide next & the others used to pick up extra information. Is that a fair impression?

Essex UK

They live in a different "on demand" world. Whereas we learnt some patience to wait for the news or even a trip to the library to find out a result or a fact that comes up in conversation, they just look it up on the phone there & then. Their generation want information or communication NOW! I totally agree though that its pretty frustrating to try & have a conversation with someone who is fiddling with their phone.
On the plus side, we went for a beautiful walk in constable country, accompanied by someone’s girlfriend in in USA. He sent her text & pictures as we went & I have to admit it was kind of enjoyable to include her in our outing in a virtual way.
Technology, as with many things has its pros & cons.

Essex UK

You don’t mention iphones in this house. Son-in-law has one and spends hours on it. You will be talking to him and out it comes so he can have a ‘play’. Daughter used to complain bitterly about it until she was given his old one and is now becoming as bad. They sit on the sofa both engrossed in their iphones…. It may be an outstanding device but I just wish they didn’t spend as much time on it!

(As you may have guessed, I am a technophobe.)

ESW
Lincolnshire
I used to suffer from the same problem with chargers however I now have an iphone. telephone, camera, internet, email, text, sat nav, ipad etc. all in one.

Outstanding device the iPhone.

Essex UK
Are you saying that a Kindle is classified as an ‘electronic device’ even when it is just being used for reading – like a book?? I would have assumed that the airline instruction regarding electronic devices refers only to those which are actively connected to the ether – due to supposed interference with air traffic frequencies, etc. If you are correct, then I guess it is back to the paperback books again…..

Some of the Kindles have 3G as well as wireless, so I guess they could be classed as actively connected. Most devices gve you the option to switch the connectivity off or go into flight safe mode but I guess the staff don’t have the time to go round & check & they don’t trust everyone to do it. So sadly they play safe & ask for ALL electronic devices to be switched off. I think this will have to change as more people switch to e-readers & tablets.

Essex UK

I used to suffer from the same problem with chargers however I now have an iphone. telephone, camera, internet, email, text, sat nav, ipad etc. all in one.

London
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