Carrying Guide Book vs. Notes

Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:02 PM
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Carrying Guide Book vs. Notes

I have several tour books I have been reading while planning my trip. We have typed up what we want to see each day in each city. Do we have to carry our book(s) around with us each day or can we just rely on our hotel to point us in the right direction etc.? I don't feel like carrying a book around with me all day. If I xerox some pages to fold up and put in my purse, what is helpful information to have? Hours for the museums? Just looking for other suggestions that you have found helpful. Thanks.
kct is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:11 PM
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Have you used a map to cluster your daily destinations so that you aren't zig-zagging around? That would be essential, I should think - also bringing the map with you. Your hotel will surely be able to get you going in the right direction, but unless you want to be stopping and huddling over a map all day, I think you should have a clear idea of the lie of the land before you leave so that you don't waste time being disoriented. If you're planning on using public transportation you should research which buses/trains/metro lines, etc., you will use to get you from place to place and have that information readily available to you.

Other than that, what you want to carry with you each day is up to you. I don't usually walk around with guidebooks in my purse, but I do bring them with me and study them at hotels or in the car as we go along.

Where are you going, by the way?
StCirq is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:16 PM
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I guess I don't have a thing to add except to say thank you to St. Cirg for such helpful information.
1jan1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2004, 06:31 PM
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So sorry --St. CirQ
1jan1 is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 04:58 AM
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this may sound complicated, but it isn't really. I create a grid, either by hand or in Excel. One or two pages, easily folded.

Across the top are column headings for each day of my trip. There is an additional column heading for neighborhood or metro stop. Along the left side are row headings, one for each sight or venue that interests me. The venues are clustered by location or metro stop. In each box I indicate what the hours of admission are for that sight for that day, or if it's closed all together. I leave enough room in the box to add a little extra info like "good lunches at cafe Shmo at 123 Main St" or "Museum has good gift shop" or "Ask to see the secret crypt."

I do carry a guide book with me if I will be visiting a museum or chruch or site that has special significance for me and I want to notice the details during my visit.
A few pages photocopies would do as well.
elaine is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 05:13 AM
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Prior to leaving my hotel room I check and plan on a map exactly where I will be going and write down each and every turn in my SMALL notebook which I carry.(also if taking the tube or metro I also plan that and write it down). I also rip out pages from my guide book any pertinent info that I might need and take that along. I carry a small underground and street map.
SusieQQ is offline  
Mar 24th, 2004, 05:21 AM
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Hi kc,

I write out my full day's itinerary, including directions for walking, metro, bus, etc.

I include places to eat, sights to see and writeups on each sight.

At the end of the day, I make note of all the things I didn't do so that I can plan my next trip.
ira is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 02:59 PM
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I have downloaded notes from this board and from other web sites to a word document, then condensed it to the bits I want to keep by city and transferred that to my palm pilot. This is my first time to use one of the Fodor's PDA guides (Budapest) so I thought I'd get rid of the rest of my paper, too. I'll let you know how it works. (of course I have to take the charger for my Palm along with me.)
Vera is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 04:46 PM
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When are you going? I use my PDA ALL the time at home, but have not made the committment to hauling yet ANOTHER piece of electronic equipment to Europe. I would love to hear how it works out for you.
CarolA is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 07:30 PM
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I've downloaded some walks from the Frommer's site, they seem to cover everything and I make a mini report on my own about the things I've read that Frommer's missed.
I make tons of notes on my maps.
mcgeezer is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 07:34 PM
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Method 1: Tear out the guidebook pages you'll need that day, leave rest of book in room.

Method 2: Xerox, download, cut and paste, re-xerox onto 2 sides, at home before you go. Carry only the pages of the day.

Method 3, coming soon: Half of every guidebook is useless after you get there. I have my hotel, bought my air tickets, studied the culture as much as I ever will. The future: Downloadable info that fits in a PDA, where you can carry the whole guidebook on a chip.
AJPeabody is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 07:46 PM
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The future is here! Fodor's has a bunch of guidebooks. I'm hoping some other guide publishers will follow suit. Plus, you can paste together your own guide, as I pointed out, from Frommer's BB notes and web sites. To Carol A--I'll be in Europe the first two weeks in April.
Vera is offline  
Mar 25th, 2004, 07:55 PM
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An actual guidebook is still the best. Carrying a whole stack of photocopies are awkard to use, and you often don't have exactly the pages you need - if there's a change of plans, or if you suddenly need some other dining recommendations.

Yes, it may be somewhat heavy, but it's worth it, in my opinion. Espeically if you get one that has decent city and subway maps in it. That way, you don't need to pull out a large map most of the time.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 07:47 AM
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My wife and I each read two or three guidebooks and make lists of what we want to see and do. We also make lists of restaurants, often from recommendations on this board.

I then make documents, often in spreadsheet format, for sights and restaurants in each destination. After a few weeks of review and alteration, these are ready for printing. I will have purchased a map by then, and I put map coordinates on the spreadsheet, and order the targets by location, days open, are they on the museum pass, etc. I then try to find a mapping site and get directions from where we are staying to generic areas (Paris has an excellent site for this).

Just before leaving, I print the spreadsheets and directions, and put them in a folder, one folder for each location, and a misc. folder. Computers are great for organizing your information. I take the folders with us (the guidebooks are too bulky, and we will have already read them by the time we leave), and carry the city folder and the misc folder in my bag, with my map. I have been thinking of getting a laptop to replace the paper, primarily to be able to take bookmarks, but we haven't found the time on our trips to be finding internet access sites. We also carry a journal, since we always end up varying our plans, and we want to be able to identify the pictures we take from the journal. Actually, with a digital camera, I take more and more pictures of signs, so we will know where the next few pictures were taken.
clevelandbrown is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 07:58 AM
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I love my guidebooks but after lugging 7 or 8 around I finally starting making copies and basically doing what the others have said, planning each day, reviewing metro stops, places to eat etc. If you get desperate for that guide book I have always been able to find a book store, find the travel section and look up info I need. I cannot say enough about pre-planning, looking at maps, subway maps, neighborhood maps to familiarize yourself. Also read as much as you can on destinations before you go and when there journal journal journal
helenhopehana is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 08:28 AM
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I use to always use Let's Go Europe and rip out the map and the places that we were trying to hit...placed it in a pocket and pull it out when we were lost.
Baligirl is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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St. Cirq and others give good advice. I vote for not carrying guidebooks. As long as you cluster your destinations a little slip of paper or mini-notebook should cover your needs.

Before starting out discuss with your companions how much time they may wish to allocate each stop or do they want to go with the flow of what is interesting and not hold to some rigid schedule.

Some general advice: Paris is city that you can let come to you. Dont schedule every moment everyday. Leave some 'drink it in time'.

Have a great trip!

Powell is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 09:26 AM
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We carry a Steetwise Paris map, the Autobus de Paris, the Green Michelin Guide, and the Marling's Menu Master. This year, we're adding a small, spiral bound Paris par Arrondissements, by Michelin. It's #57, and I ordered it from Also, a very small walking book by Frommer's. In addition, I make up a detailed itinerary, with restaurant and museum information, and places we may want to stop in the various areas.

sandypaws3 is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 09:30 AM
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I agree with whomever said that half a guidebook is useless once you get there. On this last trip, I ripped out the sections I knew I'd use when I got to Florence/Venice (like museum tours, restaurant sections, not hotel sections since we were already booked and reconfirmed) I'd only carry the sections we planned on covering that day, along with a Streetwise laminated map. The only books I brought the entire copy of were my Cadogan Florence and Venice books, which were thin enough that it wasn't a hardship to carry them.
amyb is offline  
Mar 26th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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A map, subway and bus map, phrase book, Michelin Green Guide and a good mental plan.

These plus water, camera, snacks, seasonal clothing, umbrella are carried in a back pack.
jsmith is offline  

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