I have done a lot of travelling in my time. And I have to admit, I never usually go for the good old guidebook option. However much I love doing my research on places before I go, I tend to either write down a list of all the things I want to do on my phone for easy access, or even print out a few pages of ideas to take with me – and I somehow always tell myself I wouldn’t ever have enough room in my handbag or case to fit in such a hefty book.
But since I’ve come away on this big year of travelling, I have a new-found love for guidebooks! One rainy afternoon in Vietnam, in an attempt to escape from the rain, we dove for cover into one of the many souvenir shops lining the streets and came across a photocopied version (sorry Lonely Planet!) of a guidebook on Australia. For the few pounds that it was being sold for, we thought there was nothing to lose – and it would give us a bit of reading for the next few weeks in Asia before we set off to the land down under.
Well, I literally don’t know how I have ever travelled to a place without one! Hours and hours of highlighting later – on plane journeys, on the beach and in hotel rooms – I had learnt about the history, culture, transport, location and had a tick list of things to do in places which before I hadn’t even planned on visiting or even heard of! And it’s written in a really clear, accessible and entertaining way.
I’m now excited to gradually build up my collection of guidebooks when I get home – and I will now always leave room for one to slip in the side of my bag every time I’m off somewhere new!