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Michelin, Fodors, Rough Guide, or ???-What's your favorite travel guide?

Michelin, Fodors, Rough Guide, or ???-What's your favorite travel guide?

Nov 8th, 2005, 04:31 PM
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Michelin, Fodors, Rough Guide, or ???-What's your favorite travel guide?

I was curious what all you seasoned travellers consider to be your favorite all-around travel guides? And why?
Also... how many travel guides do you end up buying to research a trip to a specific area?
(First posted this in US by accident--wanted to do it in europe!)
dina4 is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 04:54 PM
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Rick Steves is always what we start with, because we get a rough outline from his books, which offer manageable information about limited areas he favors. We like it because it gives us a starting point, where we might otherwise not kinow where to begin.

In addition, we virtually always buy Frommer's, primarily for the expanded and detailed hotel listings, but also for their background information.

Beyond those choices, I confess that what we buy may depend on what's available at the local bookstore, which will occasionally include a Fodor's book.

We often buy the Eyewitness travelers' guides. I like the condensed history and culture information, but most of all I like the illustrations.

Finally, we always buy a brief history of the countries we'll be visiting.

When we travel, the only books we take are Rick Steves, Frommer's, and the history book, which I often read aloud to my sister and myself in the evening in our room, while sis is cross-stitching, or when we're driving on long stretches and the scenery gets boring.
Mary_Fran is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 05:06 PM
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I don't have one favorite, though I usually find that having a Michelin Green guide AND a Fodors basic are indispensable. Eyewitness has pretty pictures but I don't like the way they are laid out, they are too heavy for me to carry, and so I use them for pre-trip reading but don't take them with me.

And some places have unique books that are indispensable. For Paris and for London, the thin Map Guides always go with me.
elaine is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 05:28 PM
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Like elaine, I find the Eye Witness books heavy. I carted one to Paris during an early visit and haven't travelled with one since. I do like them for planning, though.

I suspect that your choice of guide might be influenced by what things you are most interested in seeing and doing. We have a passion for history and scenery (well, food, too); we travel with the Michelin Green Guides. Our second choice is the Rough Guide. I like their sometimes saucy style, and they very thorough on practical information.

AnselmAdorne is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 06:17 PM
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I still like Access Guide books and Frommers Irreverant guides.
I like to look at Fodors Best in 3 -7 days in a city..

Our first trip, I had SO many books and lists and ended up hardly using them, I even took a few of them with us.
Now I take notes and lists .. but then, I like to research months ahead so I have a lot memorized by the time we leave
My husband likes to read a guide on the plane.
Scarlett is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 06:38 PM
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I like the DK/Eyewitness books for planning too. And I always get the Access guides for big cities. I like the way they are laid out by location, so I can look up restaurants that are close to where I'm going to be on a given day. I like Rough Guides for background and historical information, they are more in depth than most.

I'll take out Fodor's and Frommer's because my local library usually carries them, and I can use them to cross reference hotel recommendations with other guide books and websites.

I always buy too many guide books though. I try not to travel with more than 2. Sometimes I copy useful pages from the other books.
china_cat is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 06:54 PM
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Fodor's, especially CityPacks. Followed by Rough Guide.

When I was in my 20's, I preferred Lonely Planet and Let's Go.
hunnym is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 06:57 PM
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Absolute favorite is DK-Eyewitness (very modern/updated presentation) and Michelin green guides. For whatever reason, Lonely Planet Guide just doesn't do it for me.
klondike is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 06:58 PM
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Michelin Green Guides are excellent if you're driving, but less so otherwise.

The other guides are geared for people on various budgets (backpacking/hostelling, cost conscious, or high-end, etc.) and interests (culture, shopping, dining, etc.). All of them have their strengths and weaknesses. For example, some people find Rick Steves' hotel recommendations to be too budget-minded and others find DK/Eyewitness recommendations to be too upscale. The maps in the Steves books are terrible, but he gives good info on transportation logistics.

Hopefully, you have a good bookstore nearby. Compare what you find and consider your budget and travel style. You'll probably end up buying at least two books and perhaps some maps.

Jean is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 07:59 PM
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Without hesitation, I'd choose Rough Guides. Here's an example of why: when we were in Spain a few years ago, we were traveling by car through an area that had no famous sites or towns. I would look at the road map and check out in the book all the little towns that we were coming to. In this way, I discovered our favorite place of the whole trip, a little unknown town that had the most amazing Roman ruins we'd ever seen. The books are so thorough and deep, and you get a tremendous amount of background and history. We also find the hotel recommendations to be excellent, but then we like inexpensive, homey places, not Three Star hotels. It all depends on your traveling style, I guess.
dabodin is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 08:32 PM
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Eyewitness guides for getting the basics on a new place in an illustrated sort of way. They're great for getting excited about the prospects for a new place, but not so great for the nitty gritty detail.

I prefer the Rough Guides or Lonely Planet for that. Both similar and sometimes one wins out over the other.

I like the Fodors info sometimes, when browsing at B&N, but they don't always have the same detail and don't cater to our style of travel (and sometimes don't have a book that covers where we're going).

Frommers and Green Guide's layouts bother me. And - I've finally set down and mulled through a couple of Rick Steves books. They seem too incomplete for me, so I've put them back on the shelf. I like a book that covers the entire area/country listed on the cover, as much as possible. His seem a bit more like pre-planned "best of" itineraries, so they're likely for a different audience than us. Useful to those wanting that sort of approach(just one person's opinion, not to stir up a nest or anything.)
Clifton is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 08:36 PM
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Oh, and we never get hotel or restaurant recs from a guide book unless we're on the road and need someplace now. Usually though we get that sort of list of places from the internet. Guide books get outdated so quickly.
Clifton is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 08:43 PM
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Love the Dorling Kindersley books. I'm a visual learner!!
I like to cross reference hotel and restaurant recommendations, but my favorite restaurants are usually the ones we happen upon.
AuntAnnie is offline  
Nov 8th, 2005, 11:53 PM
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Circumstances means that it varies. The Blue Guides give far and away the best historical information, but the Rough Guide and the Lonely Planet- provided they are up to date give much more practical useful stuff.

In any case, my husband will tell you that we need a library van to cart around all the guide books I buy. I love them all. I guess I'm less keen on the Eye Witness ones. I always feel like I'm using the "Noddy Guide" to....
sheila is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:43 AM
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I always use only the Green Guides for both planning and taking on the trip. I find them quite compact, and I like their system of scoring the 'worth'of each place. Their views on what is worth seeing usually correspond with my own. They also have such detail on the inside of famous galleries, cathedrals etc that it is usually unnecessary to buy brochures on the spot. Finally, they have excellent walks set out through the historical centres of old cities and towns, with excellent detail. Finally, they don't use up a lot of space on hotel and dining recommendations, which keeps them compact. I use the internet for hotel choices and travel logistics. (more up to date, and better pictures and reviews)
Nicol is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 12:52 AM
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First choices are usually Green Guides and TimeOut
Next is the Hachette "Perfect Weekend" series...great pocket guides to Paris and Vienna (and other places, but I've only used those two).
I have several Eyewitness guides, but usually leave them at home unless we're driving (from the UK to continental Europe) and toss them in the car. Too heavy to cart around.
Certain magazines give great restaurant, hotel and shopping tips, in particular Cote Est (in French).
BTilke is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 01:26 AM
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Another vote for Michelin Green Guides. I love them, particularly for driving holidays. Although I am not a fan of Lonely Planet I have bought a couple of their "condensed" books on particular cities which I have found good value. Small and easy to carry and the suggested walking tours are good.
shandy is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 01:57 AM
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An Eyewitness guide and a StreeWise Map and I'm good to go! I also take condensed notes from this forum.
grantop is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 02:14 AM
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There's no such thing as a "favourite travel guide".

Go to Stanford's and browse is the best strategy for a new area. And then, if you can, make a beeline for a decent bookshop in the place you're going to as soon as you arrive. Time browsing in bookshops is NEVER wasted.

If you can't get to Stanford's, move. Otherwise the Rough Guide/Blue Guide combo is often a reliable fallback. Green Michelin only really in la France Profonde, and Red Michelin is essential as well in France and Italy. Three guidebooks have to be the absolute minimum for a couple to take if travelling anywhere interesting.

And at all costs, avoid the Noddy guides Sheila's so sensibly averse to. A group in which, ungracious though it may be to say, I'd definitely include our hosts and Frommers.
flanneruk is offline  
Nov 9th, 2005, 06:11 AM
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Am I the only one here who uses Cadogan Guides?
ekscrunchy is offline  

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