Tuesday, 29 January 2013

How To Choose The Right Travel Guide For You

As far back as I can remember my first real 'trip' aged 10 where I traveled around Greece with the rest of my Latin class (I'd been to France a lot before that, but I see France as more of a second home, rather than a holiday destination) I have absolutely loved to travel. There are so many European cities that I've been to that I'm just itching to go back to and explore a bit more in depth, and I have been absolutely relishing the opportunity to explore and enjoy everything Los Angeles has had to offer me over the last few months here. Now that I'm older, 'grown up' and a lot more independent  while I'm sure I'm still going to look forward to exploring new places with my parents, I've been thinking a lot more about where I would like to go off and see for myself now that the only thing holding me back from seeing the world is that I have to earn the money to do so for each trip first; and that brings be onto the topic of this blog post; travel guides. 
garypepper_iceland50
Image via Garry Pepper Vintage

As you can probably guess, I get most of my information on most topics these days from the internet or from various apps. When people ask me how on earth I find all the restaurants I feature, both in London and in Los Angeles I would have no idea how to list all of the various sources where I get tips, but whenever I'm going to head off to a new city or area, some of the go to travel sources that I always check is the Time Out website for my given destination (I do not know where I would be without Time Out, or their London food twitter feed) as I have got some great food and gallery recommendations from them in the past, the Urbanspoon website if they have one for my destination, as I've found a lot of my restaurants on there (they also have a great app which gives you restaurants nearby depending on your location at the time) and I take a gander at the lovely Petite Passport blog to find places that are a little off the beaten track to check out. But, while I have thousands of websites I can check for fashion or beauty related questions, as far as my travel concerns go, this small list is just about it. Which means I have to resort to traditional travel guide booklets.

When I decided to get a book to read up on some places I ought to visit in Los Angeles last Summer, it was the first time I'd ever purchased a travel guide. I remember taking the DK Travel book on Greece out for the school library when I was a kid before that trip, and we had picked up the same edition guide but for Brittany, the region of France we live in to keep in our French kitchen when we were first getting to know the area, but that was about it with my experience of travel guides. As I was familiar with them, and I'd found them really useful in the past, I had planned to get the same edition of the guide for Los Angeles, but they did not make one. So I was stuck for which guide I should use. It was only when I was standing in a travel bookshop in West Hollywood flipping through different London guides to see what they were recommending tourists should do in my city, I realised the key to choosing the right travel guide for you. 

Before I arrived in Los Angeles, I had chosen the Wallpaper City Guides Guide for LA, and while it had some interesting things to do and see, it did not really suit my tastes and needs in regards to what I like to do and see in a city. The reason I had not got the Time Out guide in the first place while I loved their websites, was because of their websites; I felt I could get everything I wanted for free, online. So, while I was flipping through London guides, I found some of them listed the sort of places I loved to eat at, and I used to frequent, as well as galleries and museums I loved, spots I kept on returning to, and some of them I don't think would have been much use to me if I had been armed with it on a trip to London for the first time. So, when you want to find the perfect travel guide for you for any given destination head to a bookshop, look through all the guides to a city you're really familiar with, pick the one that matches up how you like to spend your time the most, and the chances are very, very high that the guide to your destination from the same collection or series will be best suited to your needs - it is as easy as that, and I'm still kicking myself that I did not think of it before! (On a side note, I came upon this revelation while looking through the Luxe Guides for London and Los Angeles; I'd never seen them before, but if you are looking for something stylish, compact, humorous and with some really cool hangouts listed, I recommend you take a look!)


Where is your dream travel destination, or the next place you are going to be heading off to on your travels?

23 comments:

  1. I'm off to Iceland at the end of the year, and have just picked up 'The Rough Guide...', which I don't think is as good as the one for Barcelona we had last year. There's quite a lot of information and I'm sure it'll be useful but it's just a bit dry. Although, as long as it points me in the direction of a geo-thermal spa I'll be happy!

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  2. Thalia Fairweather29 January 2013 at 17:42

    Dreaming of visiting Italy! So so cool that you got to visit Greece with your Latin class, would love a school trip like that! Lovely post as always xx

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  3. your methods are quite similar to mine! i basically just read read and read. there can never be too much research into the place where you're going. i have no idea where to go for spring break :( still need to plan but i feel doing so so soon after coming back from winter break :P


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  4. Ohh, looking forward to hearing where you choose - I love reading your travel posts!

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  5. Currently on my list is Miami (typical but I've never been!) and Charleston, SC where there is a lot of history and interesting cultural things to do with a much warm climate to match! I just want more sun really.

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  6. Ohh, I'd love to see posts from Miami! (However if you've ever wanted to visit LA, I think I've seen enough of the city to play tour guide now!)

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  7. I would love to go to Italy, Germany and Switzerland... oh, and Australia! I have a long traveling wish list. :)

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  8. these are really helpful tips, thank you! Goodness, I'm dying to go back to Europe. I visited Italy last summer and had such an amazing time. Greece, France, Spain, Amsterdam, and London are a few places I want to visit in the next few years! Wouldn't it be nice:)
    xx

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  9. London is amazing, and I'm not just saying that because it is one of my 'home' cities! If you do end up heading there, and you need any recommendations for places to eat, drink and visit, all you have to do is ask x

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