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Travel Books, Guides & Map News
by Lorry Patton
Walk in any book store and you will see travel guide books on every destination in the world.
You may think they are all the same, but they are not. Some give you a brief overview on the
subject, while others go into great detail. Some are armchair books that will take you away
without you ever leaving your home, while others will guide you step by step through every
possible situation on your adventure. Some books have lots of inviting pictures that entice you to
the country and others just stick to text. Some are personal and humorous, others are just the
facts. Some ferret out the most unusual and bizarre, while others stay with the tried and true.
Some guide books list accommodations and places to eat without personal reviews while others
offer a rating system. Some publishers accept pay from the services and properties that are listed,
others are chosen by the author. Some guide books are offered freely by the official tourist
organization and list members properties and services.
What does this mean to you as a traveler? It means you have to know not only your destination
but exactly what you plan to be doing. For example, if you plan a solo hiking adventure in the
Andes, a trusted detailed guide book is essential. If you are going to one place and your time is
limited you need a guide book with a good overview so you don't miss the highlights. If you are
going on a tour with a reputable tour operator a narrative guide book will give you insight to a
place and culture and make your trip much more rewarding.
Ultimately, nearly every guidebook has something to offer. Just remember to read the front and
back cover and the prologue so you'll know a bit about its style and content before purchasing.
Even with all the information available on the internet, there is something special about a book.
Perhaps it is because a book lets you pause and look away; a book lets you close your eyes and
rest the pages on your chest. A book lets your imagination take over.
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