A. GREAT PICTURES, NOT MANY FACTS
B. PLENTY OF FACTS, NOT TOO MANY OPINIONS
C. SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE
D. THE MOST POPULAR GUIDES
E. STUDYING THE PAST
F. AN EXTREMELY USEFUL ADDITION
G. FOCUS ON FASHION
H. EVERYDAY LIFE AND THE ENVIRONMENT
A LOOK AT GUIDEBOOKS.
1. Most of us pick up a guidebook when we’re going away.
But just as there are many types of traveller, so there are many styles of book.
Whether you’re keen to know what to see, where to stay or where to go clubbing, it’s important you select the book that suits your tastes and your personality.
The same destinations are visited by different types of people, all requiring something different from their guide.
Travellers are very well served by the guides available, whether they are cultural guides or guides that place more emphasis on nightlife.
2. Blue Guides are for people who take their sightseeing seriously.
The guides are packed with history and full of architectural detail.
There are no pictures, but lots of diagrams of things like medieval building plans.
The publishers recently introduced restaurant recommendations for the first time, and were criticized by some readers, who said that such things should not be in the guides.
3. The Rough Guides approach has always been to explore countries as lived-in places, not just holiday destinations, and they have an in-depth emphasis on things like the kind of film the local cinema shows or the best bread in the local bakery.
There is high-quality writing in these guides and the cultural sections are very strong.
The founder of the Rough Guides recently criticized the casual attitude to air travel that could have a terrible effect on global warming. Warnings will appear in all new editions of the guides about the impact of flying and these will encourage readers to ‘fly less and stay longer’.
4. Eyewitness Travel Guides are colourful, easy-to-use guides with superb graphics.
For example, the building-by-building illustration of the Grand Canal in Venice is brilliant.
But historical detail definitely takes second place to the illustrations, and some people may find that there is not enough cultural information.
On the plus side, the ‘Visit Highlights’ sections summarize the aspects of every destination that no visitor to the place should miss.
This is an excellent feature for people on tours and only visiting places for a very short time.
5. If you care what brand of trainers you wear, Time Out guides are for you.
These are trendy guides which get much more excited about designer clothes shops than historic buildings.
They are great on restaurants, bars with a good atmosphere and people-watching, and they are written in the language of modern youth, which is either exciting or annoying, depending on your point of view.
6. Explorer Guides are straightforward and practical.
They cover all the basic information required in a guidebook well, and are nicely designed with lots of colour photos.
The unique selling point of these books is certainly the map, included in a pocket at the back of each book.
This is very valuable for those intending to travel by car because the amount of detail in maps you can buy locally in other countries can vary considerably.
7. Lonely Planet guides are very much aimed at back-packers and trekkers, rather than tourists on organized trips, and they offer such people a wealth of information on places to go and how to get there.
The history and culture of places are covered in a broad and general way, rather than in great detail, but the typical reader is the sort of person happy to find things out themselves and form their own impressions and views.
Although the publishers are Australian, the spellings are American, so there are lots of words like ‘color` and ‘center`, which British readers might find slightly strange.