8 Reasons you should still buy a travel guide!

Does anybody buy travel guides anymore? I go into Waterstones, or surf Amazon, and see thousands of options, but none of my friends seem to want to buy them.

I, on the other hand, own a stack of them! Perhaps I’m a tad old fashioned, but I can’t understand why nobody else is buying travel guides to line their shelves. Here’s why I think you should go out and buy one!

  1. Get off your screen!

When I go abroad, I hope that I don’t have to spend one solitary second on my phone!

Even so, be it work calling me up, the landlord pestering me about rent, or feeling obliged to check the world news, a whole host of things will inevitably draw me to my mobile.

That’s why I don’t want anything else pushing me towards it! That means, if I need travel advice or recommendations, a travel guide is perfect.

I have a paperback in my hand with the relevant information I need and without having to glue my eyes to the screen I’m always looking at when I’m home. It’s a holiday for my eyes too. Sounds preferable to me!

  • All the information you need is in one place!

Personally, I don’t mind sifting through and collating huge swathes of information from across the internet, but that isn’t for everyone.

Of course, there is a wealth of information online that you could never fit into a book you can squeeze into your hand luggage. The downside of the internet though, is that there is so much information online that, even if you did extensive research, you’d never be able to read it all. Conversely, a good travel guide will be a concentrated vault of information, more than you can possibly need, but not way too much. Moreover, you’ve got all that in one place!

For planning, or spontaneous decisions in-country, a good travel guide will give everything you need as a tourist to experience your destination like a local!

  • Your book doesn’t need batteries!

This one’s obvious, but maybe so obvious that you wouldn’t even consider it.

I’ve been in a whole host of countries where my phone has died in my hand. Without a trusty travel guide in my backpack, I’d have no idea where to go or what to do.

Yes I love exploring and, sometimes, I go with spontaneity and explore in an off the cuff manner but, on days where I want a little structure, I like to know that my travel guide is going to be there no matter what!

You just can’t guarantee that with your phone so grab a travel guide!

  • There’s no Wi-Fi where you’re going!

I love to go to countries that other people won’t necessarily!

That often means Wi-Fi is less accessible than you’d like and mobile data can be hard to come by. When your phone has no access to the internet, it is almost as useless as if it were out of battery.

Moreover, if you’re going to have to pay for local Wi-Fi or data, it may well set you back a pretty penny! Your mobile is going to be a dead weight on your wallet and, as a thrifty traveler, that doesn’t sit too well with me.  

That is why you should again consider buying a travel guide, for when your phone lets you down!

  • There’s no Wi-Fi on planes and trains (although this is changing).

One of the most boring part of travelling can be… The actual travelling.

I personally love a flight or a train journey, but sometimes you need something to keep you busy. A lot of planes and trains still don’t have Wi-Fi so what better way to spend your time than learning about the company you’re going to than with the travel guide you purchased?

  • A guide is better researched and written than most blogs (not that I want you to give up on my content!)

Have you ever read a travel blog online and asked, can I trust this writer?

I know I have. It’s hard not to be cynical when you don’t necessarily know the credentials of whoever is writing. It could be a seasoned traveler with years of experience or a kid who’s never left his home county.

I personally write plenty about places I want to go, but I know that there are people who know a little more than me out there. I hope that what keeps you interested is that I have a lot of travelling experience, and the fact that I’m not a bad writer!

Even so, the benefit of a travel guide is that the information is vetted fantastically by professionals in the industry. You can trust what you’re reading and that’s critically important wherever you might be going!

  • Travel guides can be up to date!

Some people might tell you that travel guides go out of date fast.

I’ve heard that. Why would you buy a travel guide when you can get up to date information on your phone? Well I’ve already articulated several reasons why relying on your phone can be a problem; however, I want to address the elephant in the room.

Travel guides don’t just go out of date with a click of the fingers. If that were the case, why would anybody buy factual books? Good restaurants and attractions last. Moreover, local culture lasts. Most of the information contained in a good travel guide will therefore last.

Yes, there are always new attractions popping up and some things will change; however, a well-researched travel guide will provide timeless recommendations to form the backbone of your trip.

You don’t want to rely on your guide for every second of your time abroad, but if it can give you enough information to help you build a fantastic basis for your travels, it’s done a great job!

  • They’re actually a great thing to have on the shelf (particularly right now in lockdown)

Sitting here in lockdown, I am constantly perusing my bookshelves.

I have hundreds of books from fantasy fiction to self-help manuals; however, I am a traveler at heart.

Be it a guide on Madagascar, Europe, or Canada, I can’t help but keep picking all of them up and reading through. I’m planning about 50 different trips at the moment and my travel guides are providing a great source of escapism!

If you think that you’d get a similar sort of use out of a travel guide, pick one up today!

Conclusion

Personally, I see no real downside to buying a travel guide. It may cost you a few bob to pick one up, but they aren’t particularly expensive in the grand scheme of things. For the sake of a few square inches of space in your hand luggage, I see real value in owning one of these guides.

Reliable information that you can carry with you at all times, even when your phone fails you… What’s not to like about that?

Author: The West Laine Wanderer

I'm a resident of Britain and part-time traveller of the globe. I'm passionate about conservation, writing, photography, and travel. I'd love for you to check out my blog! I post new and original content each week so you have content to read when you most need it!

8 thoughts

  1. I wholeheartedly agree! I usually buy the digital version because I use my tablet to do walking tours with the downloaded version. I like to use them to review a general area of where I am going in advance. Rick Steve’s versions are the best!

    Liked by 1 person

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