Quick Tip #5: Use a Guidebook as a Resource, not a Bible

Finding the perfect guidebook is like finding the perfect travel companion who just happens to know everything – well, almost everything.

With so many dependable travel guides lining the shelves of your favourite bookstore, it can be tempting to use them like a magic eight ball, whispering questions softly as you flip through the pages for an answer oozing with wisdom and dripping with the experience of the author who has directed hundreds, maybe thousands to the best accommodations, eateries and top things to see wherever your travels have taken you.

Unfortunately, the problem is just that; everyone who has ever traveled to that very same destination has frequented the exact same places creating an experience that has almost been predestined from the get go! Use your guidebook as a resource if you’re unsure or uncomfortable at any point during your travels; for example, if you find yourself in a city where lodging can be dangerous, it’s not a bad idea to book at a hotel/hostel that has been reviewed by a travel expert in order to avoid unnecessary complications along the way. Utilize the language tips, read the history section and by all means, take full advantage of the maps provided therein. But don’t – I repeat – do not rely solely on your guidebook when it comes to determining what is, and what isn’t worth seeing along the way. Not only do people naturally have different interests but one country or city simply cannot be turned upside down by the author of one guidebook, no matter how incredibly wise he/she may seem.

Keep in mind that normally, the most memorable adventures or those that we stumble upon by accident. Pick one or two restaurants that is highly recommended and include it in your itinerary but venture outside the book.

One more tip? Be sure to source multiple experts before taking off. Even guidebooks have biases and are often partnered with organizations, hotel chains, restaurants etc on the ground. Later on, I’ll take you through some of my favourite guidebooks for any type of holiday, on any budget … stay tuned!

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