DCPLive is a blog by library staff at the DeKalb County Public Library!
Feb 25 2008

Will Work for Travel

by Nolan R

Italy_lpI sometimes say the main reason I work is to be able to afford to travel. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you it doesn’t take much to get me started talking about places I have been and places I want to visit. When my wife and I were planning our first real overseas trip together, I stopped by a bookstore (that was before I was a regular library user) and browsed the shelves that held travel guidebooks. We were headed to Rome, Italy, and I wanted to find information about where to stay, what sights to see, and how to get around the city.

It soon became obvious that all guidebooks are not the same. The book that appealed most to me was Lonely Planet’s Italy. It gave directions on how to get from the airport into the city using the train system. It had good maps that were easy to read. It described hotels in all price ranges and had information about the tourist sights I wanted to visit. That guidebook sold me on Lonely Planet and I still pack their books when I travel outside the States.Honduras_moon

There are many other publishers of travel guidebooks, though. Two of the best known names in the business are Frommer’s and Fodor’s; their appeal is mostly to mainstream travelers. Let’s Go is a series written by college students and aimed at younger travelers, but they can be useful to anyone traveling on a tight budget. The design of Moon Handbooks is so similar to Lonely Planet it is difficult to tell them apart at first glance, and they are both aimed at “independent” travelers. DK puts out a travel series with a lot of pictures but less detail about hotels, transportation, and other travel information. Rough Guides are similar to Lonely Planet and Moon Handbooks in the type of practical information they contain. Rick Steves puts out good guides to European cities and countries. There are many other series, as well.

Thailand_fodorsThe point of all this is to say a good way to plan a trip is to take a look at different guidebooks and decide which ones have the information you need. DeKalb County Public Library has a great collection of travel guidebooks, so you can look at several different ones for the same destination. Each book will have information the others leave out, but you may find you have a real preference for one guidebook or another. A good website that goes into more detail than I have is http://www.howtodothings.com/travel/how-to-select-a-travel-guidebook.

To search the DCPL Catalog for travel books, try a keyword search using the guidebook series name and the name of the country or city you are interested in, such as “Moon Handbook Honduras.”  You can also search simply by series name, such as “Lonely Planet,” to see all the travel titles the Library owns by that publisher.

John S

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