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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, 01:37 PM
Join Date: Feb 2006
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annhig, I join you in taking the older Michelin Green Guides from the thrift shop.>>

lol, ackislander, i mostly take them off my book shelves. i have a collection of some of the old ones before they decided to try to be all things to all men. i've bought a couple of the new style as well but they aren't as good and they're heavier too.
annhig is online now  
Aug 29th, 2012, 02:27 PM
Join Date: Nov 2010
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Last few holidays, I have not been taking a guide book with me.

But prior to my holiday, I do a whole lot of research on the areas I want to visit and write down on a notebook the places, opening times (this is so important) of tourist attractions and other venues, etc that I plan to visit each day, even the names, addresses and tel. nos of restaurants that I shortlisted in the area which would have good reviews, so that my husband would put in the address on the GPS (sometimes I book a reservation online before I depart for the holiday and he puts the address on the GPS prior to the holiday.)

Last Chirstmas time I wanted us (as always when we are in Italy during this season), to visit a living nativity scene in some town or village. So I listed down the villages and towns in the areas we were in that organized this event, and the times they started and finished, so that we would then choose which one to go to, depending on the time or day we would have availible.

It does take some planning, but I prefer to do the research before I depart rather than having to flip through the guide book during the holiday, and risk missing out something that interests me. Then if I have doubts on anything or want some information, I go on the internet and check it out, if possible on the website of that particular place so that the information would be correct.

But each to his own. Others prefer to take the guide books with them, especially if it is a first trip to a particular country, or if they do not have time for preplanning everything. If you feel more comfortable taking one with you, then do so.

One thing my husband would never go on holiday without is his precious GPS - even though it sometimes takes us the longest route, or even a dead end, but even though we would have lots of maps with us of the area, he just panics like if it would not be functioning properly. At times me and my map would be giving better directions, but the GPS is always in control over us, lol - he faithfully obeys its directions.
Anna_Galea is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 03:11 PM
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ziggypop is online now  
Aug 29th, 2012, 05:55 PM
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I always bring several books with me for a trip of 2 or more weeks. I LIKE books. You can fold down the corners of the page and make notes in them (I often insert brief comments from people here or articles in travel mags of the NY Times.

I also take real books to read - since one of my joys on vacation is an afternoon - or even morning - with a good book on a day that is too wet or too hot or something. (Another reason we never do 1 night stops.)
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 29th, 2012, 06:23 PM
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You won't be able to use your smartphone in public for fear of being assaulted and robbed and/or considered 'stupid' by 'savvy' travellers, and you've already organised your accommodation, so why bother? As bilbo said, no one is going to mug you for a book [some may already have one at home].
farrermog is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 02:33 AM
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WOW, Thanks Fodorites, they were really great posts! As someone who has read the Lord of the Rings 9 times I have to confess Farrermog hit a chord mentioning Bilbo.I'm cautious but not overly concerned about getting mugged but I think I will bring an old guide book because I love books. If I get sick of carrying it I can always give it away to someone. Thanks everyone for all your interesting and helpful comments.
Pelligrina is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 04:46 AM
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yeah bring one
planelover747 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 04:49 AM
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@anna_gaela *christmas
planelover747 is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 04:53 AM
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Another vote for a good "real book" guide book. We tried a guide book on our Nook on our last vacation and like other posters found it hard to locate the information we wanted.

I do a lot of advance reading and planning and put together information from the internet and pages from other guides but want to have one good book with me, too. I like the Michelin green guides, too and collect them at book sales.
Vttraveler is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 06:32 AM
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Thanks for the ideas about buying used travel books and taking out just the sections needed. I'm going to search our local used book stores to find some Italy travel books before there is a run on them by Fodorites Deborah
DeborahAnn is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 07:06 AM
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There was a time when I took guide books with me. What a waste. I never opened them. I was too busy seeing and doing. Now that luggage weight is seriously restricted, the decision about carrying books is settled.

I photocopy the info I want to take, especially the walking tours. It takes more time to prepare, but I learned how to copy on both sides of a sheet of paper, which really saves on carrying unnecessary weight.
wesleymarsh is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 07:22 AM
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I like bringing certain guides which speak to history and cultural issues. I read them while I am there and I enjoy them. I like books and consider tham well worth the weight.
jubilada is online now  
Aug 30th, 2012, 08:39 AM
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Sometimes I like to take one guidebook and read it on the plane ride over. I leave it behind at the last place I stay.
suze is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 09:47 AM
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If you do take a guide book, use a tip I learned on this forum;I think it Ira who posted this idea. Take the book to FedEx Kinko's and ask them to cut off the binding, then choose what chapters you want to keep and have a spiral binding attached to those pages. This is very inexpensive; sometimes they don't charge to chop the binding off.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Aug 30th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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nytraveler, you could have guidebooks and reading books both on a Kindle. All downloaded ahead of time so no need for a connection of any kind. And nice and compact and lightweight. My most recent Kindle cost about $100. I even downloaded a gastronomic dictionary for our trip to France and consulted it while reading the menu in restaurants.

Tdudette those Eyewitness books are HEAVY. I really like them for researching ahead of time however.

I used to bring 8 or so paperbacks for reading while on trips. My bags always got searched. Guess those square books looked like something more dangerous.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 11:32 AM
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But I LIKE books. I like - as I said - to fold down the pages, to make notes on them - not just guidebooks. I hate reading on a screen - to me it just isn't the same. One of my failings is that I can't pass a bookstore without buying something - and we're not in the process of getting more bookcase for the guest room - since they're starting to pile up again. (I did try a friend's NOOK - and it just isn't the same thing at all. Another device that is a PIA.) A laptop, iPad and iPhone are enough already.

And frankly I don't care about the weight. I'm past the stage of being pack mule woman and my luggage is carried by cab drivers or porters or bellman - not me.
nytraveler is offline  
Aug 30th, 2012, 05:42 PM
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Not to sound harsh, but you really ought to be extremely concerned about being targetted for you're electronic devices if you use them near common tourist areas. By all means take them, but leave them in the hotel safe. This type of crime is epidemic right now.
EuropeNewbie1 is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 09:05 AM
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nytraveler, do you need both the iPad AND a laptop? I'd think one or the other would suffice.
Mimar is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 09:49 AM
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I bought a Kindle and ended up never using it. I like to read books. I especially find Kindle useless for map reading or travel research on the road because it is so much easier to flip through a book when you are standing in a train station and need to know something, or looking for something like a restaurant recommendation or how to catch in bus in the middle of Rome.

I have tried using Kindle 3g/intenet features on trains in Europe and the connection keeps dropping. (Too many tunnels or mountains). I do a lot of my travel planning on trains, in motion. I need a guidebook to do that.
aguamineral is offline  
Aug 31st, 2012, 11:37 AM
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I agree entirely with you about the use of a kindle on the move to look at maps or research - it's pretty useless.

but do have another go at reading books where you're not wanting to flip backwards and forwards, like novels. it took me a bit of time to adjust, but i love being able to slip it into my handbag, not needing a bookmark, not having to lug heavy books on planes with me, etc. etc.

I load it up before a trip and never need to use the internet function after that until i get home again.
annhig is online now  

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