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Buy a travel guide

Why buy a travel guide? You spend a lot of money on your holiday, you invest your time planning for it, you look forward to it; to make the most of it we suggest you buy a travel guide and do a little background reading before you go away. It can really help get the best from your time.

There are two schools of thought about where to buy a travel guide. The first says that you should buy a travel guide before you travel then read as much as possible before you go. This gets you in the 'holiday mood' and, when you arrive, you 'hit the ground running'. The second says that you should wait to buy a travel guide until you arrive and then buy one locally since they may be more up to date.

We go with the first. If you're about to go on holiday, we suggest that you invest a few pounds to buy a good quality travel guide and a map to get some background information and advice on your destination before you travel.

Travel guides are an inexpensive way of getting valuable tips and suggestions about places to visit (or not), where to eat (or not) and how to get around. Many travel guides also include a local map and street maps of central city areas.

But before we send you off to Amazon to buy your guide, check out the free information available on the following websites. Not only will do they provide useful information, it will help you decide which guide to buy.

Web Travel Guides
Most of the well-known travel guide publishers have websites that provide very detailed information on holiday destinations. These sites offer information on hotels, restaurants, nightlife, local customs and a few handy phrases in the local language.

Lonely Planet - aimed at younger 'travellers' rather than tourists, this site has plenty of useful features and information that will help you plan your trip.

Rough Guide - provides comprehensive and up to date coverage of around 200 destinations worldwide. The country and regional guides include in-depth information covering a range of budgets. City guides provide comprehensive coverage, including where to stay, eat and places to visit.

Time Out - not so much a travel guide but more of an in-depth review of entertainment in over 30 major cities around the world, with the main focus on Europe and the USA.

Frommers - an American content-oriented travel site aimed at the cost-conscious traveller, it contains information on and recommendations for a wide range of destinations. The 'Destinations' section is easy to use and contains one of the most comprehensive City Guides we have found.

Fodors - another American site but has a less formal feel than Frommers. It draws on over 60 years experience in traditional travel guides and concentrates more on providing travel information than Frommers. The 'Expert Advice' and 'Resources' sections contain useful general travel information.

London Guide - is a new and fresh london travel guide. If you're going to london, it can help you plan your trip to make the most of your time there.

Where to buy your guide?
Each of the companies listed above publishes its own travel guide that you can buy, in addition to maps, phrasebooks and even music on their sites. However, are they the best places from which to buy your travel guide? The answer, from our experience, is 'No'. Where should you buy to get the best price? We use Amazon.

Amazon - the daddy of all online booksellers. They provide a comprehensive listing of books and maps on almost every destination at prices we found to be around 20% cheaper than the publisher's own websites.

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