Travel Guide Roundup

by Country Inns & Suites
Monday, May 23, 2011

Have you ever had free time in a city but just didn’t know where to go, or settled for a mediocre restaurant because you didn’t have a recommendation? Travel guides aren’t just for exotic trips. They come in handy anytime you’re in an unfamiliar place. Especially if you’re travelling with family or want to do a lot of sightseeing, travel guides are great for insider tips and money-saving advice.

In Print

A lot of people prefer a physical travel guide that they can flip through, bookmark and take to their destination. Travel books offer maps, high-quality photos and listings in portable package. They also can be a fun way to get your family or group excited about an upcoming trip!

There is plenty of variety in the world of travel books to accommodate different travel styles and budgets. If you’re a visual type who values maps, photos and illustrations, check out DK Eyewitness guides. These books are especially good for family trips because they include floor plans of attractions, walking routes and tidbits from each region’s history.

Many travelers swear by Lonely Planet guides to help them discover authentic, local experiences. Lonely Planet caters to midrange and budget travelers who want to get off the beaten path.

Fodor’s travel guides may be mainstream, but they are reliable and packed with details. Each is written by a destination expert (usually a local writer) who recommends their favorite local spots.

On the Web

If you have a favorite travel book series, chances are the publisher has a robust website and even offers chapter downloads for your mobile device. Many of the traditional players in the travel guide market, such as Fodor’s, Frommer’s and Lonely Planet, have destination information and reader forums online.

For online recommendations and travel tips, no site beats TripAdvisor. Millions of users have rated and reviewed everything from Broadway shows in New York to Wacky Wahoo’s restaurant in Aruba. The candid comments help you decide what to skip and what you can’t miss at practically any destination in the world.

On Your Phone

If you have a smartphone, you’re in luck! There are plenty of great mobile apps that give you the information you need right on the spot. Using travel apps isn’t ideal if you want to browse, but they can’t be beat for finding restaurants and attractions based on your current location. Feeling hungry? Use Urbanspoon or Yelp to track down a restaurant near your location. You can filter by distance, cuisine and price.

There are many specialty apps for specific cities and attractions. Visitors to Boston, for example, can download an app for the Freedom Trail that maps the route and gives a description and photo at each stop or download MBTA apps with subway schedules and routes. Before visiting a new city, do a quick search of your favorite app website to see what’s available.