Do you use travel guidebooks?


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In this increasingly digital age, and especially as a title for a blog post, ‘Do you use travel guidebooks’ might seem a bit random. They are heavy, sometimes outdated and are often accused of only highlighting the ‘tourist travel’. With so many incredible blog posts, and resources out there, does it seem old fashioned to use a travel guidebook? Perhaps.

Image of why I still use travel guidebooks

However, I still use travel guidebooks and I love doing so! And here is why!

I use Travel guidebooks to build my excitement!

One of the first things I do when I have booked a trip, is to buy the relevant guide book for that destination! I love nothing more than reading about the places I am heading to and understanding a bit more about where I am going.

Even if you have a planned itinerary, trust me, nothing will build the excitement more than reading in depth about the facts and logistics about that destination. I love curling up on the sofa, with my guide book in hand, pouring over the places I KNOW I am visiting in the near future.

Paper vs screen

I know this is an opinion that divides people, but I one of those that still prefers to have an actual physical book in my hand, rather than reading on a kindle. And the same is sometimes true for when I use a travel guidebook. Having the actual physical book in my hand makes the trip feel much more real. Personal preference for sure.

However, I also love the way Lonely Planet now let you buy PDF chapters from their book. I have found this so convenient with shorter trips, city breaks or if I am only visiting one destination. It’s so great to have access to all of the information without having to buy the entire book.

Take a look at them by clicking here: Lonely Planet Publications

Image of how to use travel guidebooks

To start my research

We all know I LOVE to plan (and if you didn’t head over here to take a look at my process!).

I love using a guide book as a place to start. I feel comfortable knowing that all the information has been researched and checked. Yes, it may be slightly out of date but nothing a quick google search won’t solve! Guidebook writers do the hard, un-glamorous work of researching the history and culture of the place you are visiting. They also spend a lot of time finding out the logistics and facts, so you can be sure it is accurate. If a guidebook provided incorrect information, people would discredit and therefore stop buying!

The history of the country

I think this is something that is often missing from when people research a destination. But, I think it is so important to understand a bit of the background to the country. I love finding out about how the country evolved and the background.

Image of travel guidebook in Slovenia

Guidebooks are so good at this! I touched on this in the above point, but it adds another level of appreciation of a country if you know a bit of the history.

Don’t need to rely on WiFi!

When you are stuck in the middle of nowhere and looking for tips on where to go next, or practical tips on how to get there – then it’s nice not having to rely on WiFi! Your trusty guidebook is going to be there for you. I vividly remember sitting on a bus in the middle of Uganda, looking up my next destination. There was no WiFi to speak of, but I was building my excitement none the less.


My collection of travel guidebooks is my of my favourite souvenirs. I often don’t buy things from the places I visit, so I love watching the pile of guidebooks grow. Reminding me of how lucky I am to have visited such fantastic destinations!

Why I use travel guidebooks in summary

I don’t want this post to come across in the wrong way. I love guide books and I love to use travel guidebooks, but only as another resource available at my disposal! The best way to use them is in conjunction with other sources available. I frequently find something I read about in a blog post, and then look it up in my guide book. Or indeed visa versa.

I love to have them with me for all the above reasons, but I also love the personal experience that comes through from Blog Posts.

What about you? Do you still use guidebooks?

Please pin this post to remind you later!


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Treasured Travels March 2, 2019 - 12:02 pm

Great post Charlie, I completely agree with all of your points! I get so excited when I buy a new guide book and I love having them on my bookcase to remind me of my trip afterwards ๐Ÿ˜Š

I also think guide books come in really handy when youโ€™re travelling alone so that you have something to read to keep you busy if you got out for dinner etc alone.

Have an amazing time in Chile!

Becky x

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders March 2, 2019 - 12:55 pm

thanks so much!! And youโ€™re totally right, such a good thing for when your solo travelling. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š

LiAnn March 2, 2019 - 1:22 pm

I love my travel guidebooks, too! Especially the DK Eyewitness books. I donโ€™t usually carry them with me because I only travel with a daypack, but I love to use them to plan and dream ๐Ÿ™‚ The Top 10 are great for a quick city trip and can easily fit in the pack!

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders March 2, 2019 - 5:34 pm

Yes. The top 10 are fab! Definitely agree with the carrying them all the time. But sometimes I like to have them before just as much as when I am there ๐Ÿ˜Š

Kristen Guglielmo December 4, 2019 - 9:25 am

Great points on why guide books are still relevant! I’m with you, having something in print definitely has its pluses.

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders December 5, 2019 - 5:23 am

Totally agree! And thank you!

Alex | Backpacking Brunette (@alexnotemily) March 2, 2019 - 9:15 pm

Hi Charlie, I really enjoyed reading this post! Like you, I love guidebooks. Last year, I bought both LP’s “On A Shoestring” guides for Central America and South America. They’re a great for inspiration and look nice on the shelf when I’m not researching for an upcoming trip.

addictedtotravel25 March 3, 2019 - 6:42 am

I sometimes use guidebooks when I travel, I do find them amazingly handy if you find you have some spare time on your hands but aren’t sure what to go see or do. The maps are also a great help and I like when they suggest little day itinerarys for you. I usually combine guidebooks and blog posts into my planning and write myself a rough itinerary before I travel. I agree they are a great little souvenir to have after your trip!

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders March 10, 2019 - 10:14 pm

Such a great idea. The best way to combine a bit of everything. I find guidebooks so useful when I am away and out and about without WiFi

Paul February 27, 2020 - 11:06 am

All the yes! For similar reasons to you, theyโ€™re a good place to start, they go into the history and they just look great on a bookshelf. Lovely post ๐Ÿ˜€

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders March 7, 2020 - 11:55 am

I love my bookshelf of memories! Such nice to flick through to take me back.

Lindsay February 27, 2020 - 11:14 am

I totally agree with you. Iโ€™m a lover of real books in general so loving travel guide books is a given. I think having a book shelf filled with all of the places you have travelled is one of the best souvenirs

Charlie - Where Charlie Wanders March 7, 2020 - 11:56 am

I think so to! I love having the shelf of memories.


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