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Would you bring a guide book to France and Italy or just rely on the web?

Would you bring a guide book to France and Italy or just rely on the web?

Aug 29th, 2012, 08:11 AM
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Would you bring a guide book to France and Italy or just rely on the web?

Travelling alone to Italy and France in October. Just wondering if it is worthwhile carrying the weight of a guide book or books around with me. I plan to take my kindle 3G and also smartphone so could look things up as I go.But am unsure if it is wise to rely solely on the internet. I pretty much have accomodation organised so really am just interested in knowing the sights and restaurants. Will be visiting Rome, Amalfi coast, Paris, Dijon, Laval, Marseille.
Pelligrina is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 08:28 AM
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I now have mixed feelings about my possible response. I've really changed my own practices.

Before the Kindle, I just tore out a guidebook's applicable pages to keep my suitcase weight light.

And even as a dedicated Kindle user for the past 3.5 years who often sends PDF compilations of vital material to all travel party members via THEIR Kindles, I still found that having one paper guide book was really helpful.

Lately, however, my husband has been bringing his Ipad. And I've found myself stealing it and looking up needed info there. He only uses it in free wifi, the availability of which is constantly expanding. I did not consult my Turkey guidebook once this past summer.
AlessandraZoe is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 08:28 AM
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Guide books are really heavy to drag around. Many people just tear out and bring the sections they need and toss them as they go. It always pains me to deliberately damage any book, so I tend to photo copy (double sided) the few pages that I really need. You don't need the accommodation pages and there are lots of apps about eating in various places. I make sure I have the safety/emergency info, consulates etc which is usually only one page. Since my activities are roughed out, I have most of that info on a spread sheet already. have a wonderful trip!
jane1144 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 08:42 AM
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I'm probably biased here, but I'd never rely solely on the web, especially in a foreign country where web access might be limited to hotels that offer free Wi-Fi with long stretches where no access is available except at a very high cost. I think the various strategies for lightening one's load are sound, and I do many of the same things (tear out specific sections that I need or photocopy them). I've also created my own digital PDFs on a scanner so I can take guidebook content with me on my ipad, but like AlessandraZoe I find that the print product is more useful.
doug_stallings is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 08:56 AM
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I still can't rely on just my tablet. I find it easiest to use paper if I'm going to be flipping back and forth. Electronic text is good when I'm just reading something in a linear fashion, but I find it a pain if I'm doing any sort of research--such as consulting a guidebook for a destination or restaurant I hadn't already had on my itinerary.
PegS is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:00 AM
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I also take a belts and suspenders approach, and create a document that I print prior to going, so just in case, I have a paper backup. This last time, I actually copied things into a document over the course of my research, then edited and printed it prior to travelling. Good luck!
dunia123 is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:01 AM
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A book, no one is going to pinch a dog eared guide, no one is going to mug you for a book.

The day they plug a chip into your head to beam you in the internet there will be people cutting your head off! When kindles cost $20 I may take one with me.
bilboburgler is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:15 AM
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This is a joke post, right?

What you read on the internet about France and Italy is 99 percent untrue. Lots of misinformation.

People bring a lot of stuff they never wear in their suitcases, and then spend a lot of time on their trip lost or going to closed museums or missing something beautiful they could have walked to because they didn't know where they were.
stracciatella is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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I would take the michelin guide to Italy with me, preferably an old-style one from before they started to put hotels and restaurants in. you might try the library for one of those. ditto for Paris.

for the others, i like the Cadogan guides.

i've tried using guides on kindle and trying to navigate round them drove me mad. bring a book.
annhig is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:28 AM
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Electronic device: $500
Guidebook: $20
Never having to recharge your guidebook: Priceless.
AJPeabody is online now  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:53 AM
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AJ Peabody - you're priceless. Excellent analysis. Guide book pages with circles and arrows, folding maps with red lines following a route, margin notes. 20 - 30 - 40 years later, you'll pull those out of a drawer, gasp, then sit back and remember. I have my Paris map from 1972 with my hotel location marked. The Francois. I run my finger across it, and remember that young woman, her awe and delight. Priceless.
Shanna is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 09:59 AM
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I never leave home without a good guidebook.
Underhill is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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Pelligrina, you don't mention what type of accommodations, but there has always been guidebooks in any apartment I've rented.

I don't bring guidebooks to places I frequent (like Paris), which is probably an obvious statement. I just keep a running Word doc between trips with notes from sites like this. As I get closer to the trip, I'll edit it and add addresses, Metro stops (cross streets in NYC, etc.) to places I think I'll actually go.

If it's a brand new destination and I'll be there more than a couple days, I would definitely throw one general book, with decent maps, if possible, in my suitcase (and my printed Word doc.) With as many destinations as you have, I like the idea of tearing out/photocopying some pages.

Have a great trip!
YankyGal is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Kindle's fine for books to read, but utterly useless for referring to things.

You can't get onto the internet in most holiday cottages or at most museums or archaeological sites except through your phone (there are just too many criteria in selecting cottages streets ahead of wifi. Above all: can the Flannerpooch have his own room?) and that costs a fortune.

These days, it's just possible to find online material to rival decent guide books like the Blue Guide about half the time, and with energy it's very often possible to answer those infuriating questions guide books don't answer online. About 10% of the time, information's better online tan in any guidebook

So it's guidebooks mostly, the lightest weight laptop or tablet with decent functionality as well, and if you're not staying in hotels frequent pitstops at internet cafes or the like to check on what exactly that quote from Racine was.
flanneruk is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 11:20 AM
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Always a guidebook. I use Fodors and Frommers for planning and Rick Steves, whose books are smaller, for actual travel--as long as it has all the destinations I want.

On my last trip, to Spain, I tore out pages from an old Frommers.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Neither. I don't carry a guidebook OR any electronics.

I print out or copy what I think I'll need from online or guidebooks, then pick up free tourist information along the way.

I do take maps and a dictionary/phrase book.
suze is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 12:08 PM
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I use the LIttle Black Book for Paris and London. LIghweight , concise, and helpful I think there is one for ROme too. Fr the rest of the countries, i keep a file of printed pages in consecutive order, and toss them as the trip progresses. It'sad when i rech the lst few!
CaliNurse is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 12:09 PM
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First, with what you are bringing: kindle and a smartphone (of right kind), you CAN bring guidebooks WITHOUT the weight or the bulk. This is not an either / or issue. You can do both.

The resources used during the planning and the execution phase do not have to the same.

I use paper versions from a library during planning. For actual trip, I takea few electronic version I found useful and download them onto my kindle, pc kindle reader, and my android kindle reader.

And what is useful depends on the type of info you seek which may be completely different from what others think. While some have the same way of doing this for all trips, I use different media depending the objective of the trips, familiarity of the destination, how much time I have at destination to be able to use resources.

Since I always have a smartphone with me, having the itinerary, list of attractions I plan to visit during the trip, opening hours, and electronic version of guidebooks on the smartphone allow me to look up references on a fly without WiFi or mobile internet accesses.
greg is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 12:11 PM
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We always took our fave guide book. Sorry, Doug, it was Eyewitness. I also spent the year picking out places, and making a spread sheet of their locations, days open, bus route, etc. I did print outs of train schedules as well. This became a soft covered notebook whose pages we tossed as we went along.

Once we arrived at any destination, we went to TI and grabbed brochures. We got into conversations with as many people who had time to talk. Most waiters are very busy so don't make them be rude to you.

stracciatella, I'm not sure what your experiences have been but if what you say is true, why are the rest of us having pretty good experiences relying on the internet and guides???
TDudette is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 01:31 PM
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annhig, I join you in taking the older Michelin Green Guides from the thrift shop. There is a ton of stuff that is not in there, but it tells me what I want to know about the obvious places.

I have a friend who collects and uses old Baedeckers. I have my mother's Muirhead's Paris and its Environs from about 1921 and find that it is still amazingly useful (Notre Dame hasn't moved) though I am sorry I missed things like the once extensive tram lines.
Ackislander is offline  

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