Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Travel guides vs. travel blogs

Do you use travel guides, either when you're planning your next holiday or when you're on the road? In spite of the fact that I read a lot of travel blogs, I do use guide-books as well. In fact, I love them!


Some travel books I keep in my room


Compared to travel blogs, I find guide-books on specific destinations more reliable on things concerning history and cultural insights. I tend to dislike people who don't make the effort of reading a little bit about the place they're visiting or they're going to visit. And mind that this doesn't mean only jotting down the names of a couple of places where you can eat or drink! Some of the most famous travel bloggers take pride in avoiding travel guides at all costs, but sometimes they misinterpret the places they are visiting, even inserting a couple of wrong historical facts in their posts. This hurts me, especially when it happens with my country, Italy, or the town where I'm living right now, Venice.

On the other hand, I find resources on the web more useful for things like updated information about bus timetables, hostel reviews and the like. Moreover, travel blogs can give you that personal experience a travel guide-book can never have. I read travel blogs because of the people who write them. I want to know what they found cool and what they found disappointing, I want to read about their misadventures and their discoveries. Above all, I like to read their personal opinions and views on the places they visit. 

There are two favourite books I love to browse.

The first is Travel Eyewitness (published in Italian by Mondadori). It's a book full of images and can be very helpful when you're planning what to see, because it gives you a comprehensive view of a country or a city, together with plans of the main attractions, just to give you an idea on how big and how many things there are to explore. The Travel Eyewitness series also helps me identifying things and paying attention to details: it has plenty of pictures of architectural details, which I love. It's also an excellent book to keep at home and it's perfectly enjoyable to browse after your trip. 

Reading about Campo Santo Stefano while looking at the church of the same name


I prefer a Lonely Planet guide when I'm on the road for many reasons. One is that Lonely Planet is geared towards independent travellers and it gives plenty of advice on how to get from A to B with public transport, and it provides you with detailed maps for when you need to find that bus station or the exact location of a museum. It also gives good advice on restaurants and cheap eateries. I like to read about the options I have - in terms of attractions and activities - before leaving, and then I store my guide in my backpack (if it's not full already!).   


Planning my trip to Crete

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