who needs a guidebook?

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who needs a guidebook?

Postby Verena » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:15 am

Hello all,

my name is Verena Leitner and I am a postgraduate Tourism Management student at the University of Derby/Buxton. For my final year dissertation, I am writing about how important it is to be informed about the culture, lifestyle, ideology of a foreign destination, before going on holiday there. And how the information written in a guidebook can prevent, respectively minimise culture shock and smooth down the relationship between hosts and guests.

My questions therefore are the following:

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?

I am happy for any kind of answeres and discussions. It will be very helpful for me.

Thank you all very much!!
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Postby francine_16 » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:15 am

I definetly use guidebooks before I go on holidays. I like to check and see the hotel that is the joining hotel for the trip in the guidebook and see what is nearby to do because I usually get to the country the day before the tour starts. The biggest reason I like the guidebooks to help pick out restaurants in the cities that I will be travelling through. On my last trip to Vietnam there was a lot of time spent on a bus and we would sit with our guidebooks and decide where we were going to eat when arriving in the next city. Also, the maps are helpful for walking tours of the cities.
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Re: who needs a guidebook?

Postby colduphere » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:18 pm

My questions therefore are the following:

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?

I always try to find out about the culture and the people of the countries I am travelling to. It can make dealing with the locals much easier and they can be much more receptive to you even if you know only the basic customary greetings and salutations. Body language can also be a factor in dealing with the locals. Example head nods in Bulgaria are the opposite of those in North America. Can be quite confusing at times :D. I find that guide books can be quite useful, but shouldnt be relied on soley. As places can change and they sometimes dont have some the coolest places to go in their books. They do make the travel experience much easier as you dont have to search for a good place to stay after a long day of travelling, you just open the book , find a place and head there. Hope Ive been helpful with my ramblings.
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Postby bottlenose71 » Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:50 am

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
Yes I do try to read a couple of guides even if I leave on a guided tour. I also check on the web and usually try to learn a few words in the main language of the country I'm visiting.
-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
Yes, when possible I read more than a guide ( fortunatly there's a big library) and try to find a recent one. I read especially the part on culture, people and uses, especially if I travel to a country where culture is very different from western one. And when on location if possible I try to ask locals more.
.-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why? Yes indeed, for instance it's a good way to get ready for the trip, if I know I have to spend a day on my own in a certain place I try to understand which places are best to visit, that is why I prefere books with opn foot itineraries, especially for big towns. If the guidebook is too big to handle I just take the photocopies of the pages I might need with me.
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Guidebooks

Postby SmartAlec » Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:49 pm

I have always found Lonely Planet and others such as that very helpful - also another name is Let's Go to (fill in Country). I island hopped through Greece that way - a month and twelve or thirteen islands and it was invaluable. Particularly for ferries, pensions, and cultural sites you need to have a guide book otherwise you simply waste valuable touring time.
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Postby ed » Mon Apr 02, 2007 11:48 pm

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
Yes and no. I do some investigation to pick destinations, but frankly, my life is too busy to spend very much time researching the trips I take. That's part of why I like GAP trips. I don't have to research every hotel and bus. I've met many so-called independent travellers along the way who take great pride in going it alone. They all read the same guide books, stay at the same hotels, take the same routes, they just spend a lot of time figuring these things out along the way. That's time on my trips that I can spend seeing the sites and meeting locals.

-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
I have brought books along or borrowed from fellow passengers to read a bit about the history of places on the way and find out a bit more about the sites to take in. Often my best times have been just getting lost and trying to find my way back to the GAP hotel with those splotchy photocopy maps they give you when you start your trip.

-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?
If it's easier to know where all the other backpackers will be, then the books make it easier. Yes, they do give some good info on local customs, but often this is inaccurate. Before my trip to China, I looked at a typical guide book and arrived expecting to see everyone spitting and sh*tting in the streets.
Last edited by ed on Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Guide Books

Postby SmartAlec » Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:20 am

Yes that is the advantage of any organized tour - they do things for you so you dont waste time getting lost and looking for an entire day for some cultural spot. Places like Europe are so expensive to stay that you cant afford to waste time.
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Postby Lotusflower » Tue Apr 03, 2007 11:04 am

- do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
This is the part I do before choosing a destination. I have the travel bug bad and each time I look at the GAP website I pick a new "must do" trip. To narrow it down I decide what time of year I want to travel, how long I can be away from work and my budget. With that decided I look at my ever growing list of places to visit and choose the best trip based on the above and the local conditions.

-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why?
I usually use my guidebooks for information prior to going on the trip. This gives me a good indication of local customs/cultures (ie it is customary to eat with only the right hand in India, what we consider waving is like a 'come here' gesture in parts of Asia), gives me an idea of the things I absolutely want to see, things that are close to my joining hotel (since I try to arrive a day in advance). I tend not use guidebooks while on the trip.

-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why? Absolutely! Since we are going to experience the local culture, it is best (in my opinion) to learn a bit about it. What to do/what not to do, how to dress, etc to ensure that you do not offend anyone.
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Postby Sierra_Travels » Tue Apr 03, 2007 5:13 pm

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?

Yes. I want to have an idea of what there are for major sites, any important customs, etc. I hate missing out on big things, but I also want to know if the local big thing is a tourist-crazy waste of time! :)


-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?

Yes, but much more frequently these days I go to first-person-written travel websites (ie. IgoUgo.com) where people give honest opinions about the places they see on a much more timely basis than most travel books. (Most travel books are updated either yearly, every other year, or less frequently.)

-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?

Yes, by giving some tips on local travel issues, and giving some idea about things like opening hours, local hotels, things to avoid, etc.
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Postby Nicky » Wed Apr 04, 2007 9:51 am

- Do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
Definitely. I find it very useful to read about where I’m going (or hope to go) and what I can experience while away. Always a good idea to have several different travel guides around the house. It helps to make a bad day better when you can dream of future travels!

-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why?
For me, catching a small glimpse of how others live is such a pleasurable part of the journey. Reading guide books is a great way to be educated so as not to offend local customs. They also help with the must sees and off the beaten path ideas. I journal while on holiday and having one close by often helps to fill in the gaps of what can be information overload at the end of a busy touring day.

-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why? Yes. Money, customs, hotels, food, basic phrases etc. these are all invaluable when traveling.
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Postby kittymeredith » Thu Apr 12, 2007 5:52 pm

I always read a good guide book before I travel, whether I am traveling independently or with a group. Often I will read additional books as well, and do some research on the web.

This information gives me a start toward understanding the history and culture of the country, and also information on lodging and eating. However, I find that I usually eat wherrever it is conventient, after first looking at the menu and the restaurant. I prefer restaurants and street food where the locals eat.
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Yes for Guidebooks

Postby mj » Sat Apr 14, 2007 9:43 pm

Q1: do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
A1: Not as much as I should. I always bring on my trip a guidebook and refer to it on location. As I usually travel in small groups (trips similar to those offered by GAP), I rely on the tour guides to give me the information I need during the trip.

Q2: Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
A2: Because I travel in groups, with well informed tour guides, I bring a guidebook that does not have too much information on hotels and restaurants since this is taken care of. I write in my guidebook, next to the place I visited the dates and other relevant information. I use the guidebook when I return to add comments and notes in photo albums.

Q3 Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?
A3 Yes I think they can. Before going to India I had read a "First Time Asia" book with tips on customs etc. This was very helpful in several situations with people I met, because I was aware of some of their customs. When I was travelling alone, I found the guidebooks very helpful for helping me find a place to stay, eat and sites of interest that should not be missed.

Good luck and happy travels!
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Postby sinecure » Mon May 14, 2007 2:31 pm

-do you inform yourself before going on holidays? Why yes/not?
Yes, I try to find out as much as I can. To maximize my experience, making sure that I know about the hidden treasures that the average tourist won't find. Also to know the pitfalls of the city to prevent me from parting from my money.
-Are you using guidebooks for the information you need? Why yes/no?
I use TV documentaries, the web to a small extent, a city map, and normally one or two guide books.
-Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists? Why?
I believe it can for some tourists. But not all tourists want to be completely informed or willing to take the time.
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Postby NatureFreak » Mon May 14, 2007 11:06 pm

Yes to all three questions.
However guide books never allow for the full picture. They take up to a year to get to print, so in developing countries things often change too quickly for the guidebooks to provide relevant information.
I prefer online resources and recommendations form travellers who have recently been where I want to go.
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Postby Tall Paul » Thu Oct 18, 2007 12:25 pm

Hey;

Do you inform yourself before going on holidays?
No. I like to be surprised. The guides will tell me what I need to know while I am with them in the country of interest.

Are you using guidebooks for the information you need?
No. They seldom contain the information I need at that exact moment. Better to ask the questions while there of someone knowledgeable...like my guide.

Can the guidebook make the travel experience easier for the tourists?
Only the maps are helpful to me. Even then, the maps and all the information I need can be gotten at the destination itself, with little trouble, in my experience.
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