Free Online Vs Hard Print Travel Guides

The travel publishing industry has known a lot of changes during the last decades. If the second half of the 20th century represented a booming period for the travel books, nowadays we are living in the digital era dominated by free online resources. Thus, sales on the traveling niche of the hard print market have constantly gone down, while the number of websites providing free travel guides has increased exponentially. Besides what the interested parties would argue, there are pros and cons to both types of travel information.

Researched and updated information

Publishing houses representatives use this argument in order to defend and advertise their products. Indeed, behind any reliable travel book there is at least one year of research. This includes traveling to the recommended holiday destinations, getting informed on the landmarks and things to do, living the traveler’s experience, checking the accommodation, dining and visiting options and prices as well as researching historical and cultural facts. Despite the positive aspect (comprehensive information), there is a downside to all this: the time spent with research and the months the publishing process takes. This can make even the latest edition be out of date.

On the other side, free travel guides published via blogs and personal websites do not require so much preparation time. As their posts usually focus on a narrow aspect, the research time is considerably shorter. Moreover, they can be published within a few minutes, once the content has been written.


There is no doubt that nowadays a website or iPhone app is more attractive to the general public than a hard cover book. Although this is not a positive phenomenon overall, manufacturers and distributors have to adapt themselves to the contemporary consumers’ demands. Some publishing houses have understood this trend a while ago and have doubled their efforts. They continue to issue hard print destination guides, but they have also built highly informative and media enriched websites for their digital clients.

Credibility of recommendations

At this point, opinions go both ways. There are those travelers whose trust goes towards the hard cover travel materials and there are also those who prefer to get their travel information from online resources. While the first group argues that travel books are written by experts, the latter one rely more on fellow travelers’ recommendations. Actually, both sides can be wrong.

First of all, free travel guides available online are often compiled by a team of specialists coming from different fields and having high profile backgrounds. Secondly, opinions expressed on forums and blog posts by the so-called fellow travelers can be a disguised positive or negative marketing technique.

Therefore, there is no straight answer to this dilemma. While we must admit the authority of hard print travel books and we certainly acknowledge the impressive research efforts behind their creation, we have to realize that free travel guides come with their share of advantages. They are available in an instant; they are media-enriched; they provide updated information at no charge; they don’t add weight to our backpack; they include personal experience actually lived by a fellow traveler.

Travel Guides- An Overview

You can get reliable, useful information from
guidebooks. Yet, some are better than others
and often, it’s important to know what you’re
looking for when you travel, what your goals
are and what your pocketbook can handle.

As I often tell my fellow Traveling Paupers,
a guidebook is just that— a guide. Not a set
of rules that are fixed in stone. Never let any
guidebook chain you down to a fixed itinerary.
Be adventurous, add your own mix of wonder
and discovery to the trip you plan, and use your
guidebook as an introduction to the locale,
not the final arbiter of what is valuable.

That being said, I’d like to explore some of
the guidebooks I’ve found useful in making
trips around the world. It is, by no means, a
comprehensive listing of all the books
available to you. But this sampling should
give you a very good starting point to discover
what travel books can offer.

The Michelin Red Guides

Provide detailed information about European
hotels and restaurants, while the Green Guides
focus on European art, history, and places of
interest. They tend to be best suited to travel
that isn’t too budget conscious. Upscale.

The Fielding Guides

Provides a candid, well written guide especially
good at finding off-beat, unusual destinations.
I recommend them to Paupers that wish to travel
off the beaten track. Unique.

Fodor’s Travel Guides

Recently celebrating their 60th birthday with almost
100 titles in the Gold Line series. They emphasize the
West, but the Fodor’s Guides cover countries though-
out the world. They provide good historical and
cultural information as well as practical recommendations.
I like it for those who wish to stay on the middle
of the road. Perennial Bestseller.

The Frommer Series

The old $5. A Day series has become the $40 a Day
series. They offer touring guides, city guides, and special
editions. While emphasizing Europe and the United States
they take pains to describe restaurants, hotels and
nightlife as well. Budget.

The Lonely Planet Series

Called, simply enough, the LP, they have earned a great
reputation for worldwide budget and independent travel.
There are five series offered, but my favorite is the
On A Shoestring guide, coving everything from a
specific country, to a region or continent for the low
budget traveler. Eclectic.

The Travel Handbook Series

This series contains more than 50 books from Moon
Publications and are updated annually. That’s their
greatest value in my judgment. Contemporary.

Europe Through The Back Door

Authored by Rick Steves. You get an itinerary
and “must see” list of sights for limited European
trips. A no brainer.

The Rough Guides

Focuses on college-age travelers in Europe. Much
the same flavor as you will find in the LP series;
irreverent and directed to the budget conscious.
Street smart.

A good guidebook makes travel vastly easier. Use them
even when you’re only traveling in your arm chair.
The best spark your imagination and lead you to
unknown discoveries and adventure.

Italy Travel Guide

Italy can be ranked as one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, so there is an abundance of information available for anyone who wants to travel to Italy. Italy travel guides can be broadly classified into two categories–the first category includes those guides which contain all the relevant information about various tourist spots in the country, and the second category includes those travel guides which give information about a particular region or city.

A number of tour and travel operators, private publishers, and hotel and resort owners often bring out such travel guides. But it is always best to refer to the official web site and publications of the tourism board of Italy, as they provide authentic information.

In some of the private travel guides, there might be deliberate attempt to promote certain hotels, restaurants, resorts, shops, etc. This could actually mislead a tourist, especially one who is traveling to the country for the first time.

Italy seems to have endless number of tourist spots. Visiting all of them may not be possible for a tourist, even during the course of a long vacation. So it is always better to go through a good travel guide related to Italy, select the places you want to visit and get your reservations well in advance. Most of the Italy travel guides also provide information about hotels in various regions, along with a list of their rentals.

Several online travel guides provide free information about Italy’s popular places. However, it is always better to verify the information provided by non-governmental web sites. This could be done by using online travel and tourism guides provided by the Italian government and several city administrations. While traveling within Italy, a travel guide with maps of various Italian cities could always be a prized possession.

Travel Guides For Budget Travelers?

How many times that while out traveling in Asia that I see budget travelers clutching their travel guide books like some sort of oracle in print that will deliver them to the perfect holiday vacation. For seasoned travelers they know the part is never in the book but right in front of them in real life color.

In Asia many times the books are only partially updated and much of the information is dated, especially when it comes to the prices, which hey if you are a budget traveler is very important information, if you are going to remain on target for your travel goals. Who really wants to get a job when they are traveling because the estimates they made were based on dated information? Unless that was part of the plan to begin with for instance, when they are going to Australia if they are from Untied Kingdom or Canada, but even then having current information is vital.

Travel guides come in 3 basic varieties the most commonly used being books and internet sites that are often times connected to the books, and periodical travel magazines. There are also travel companies that are travel guides, but for most budget travelers this is a more expensive way to travel as opposed to being self directed they can be a good option if your time is limited and you want to jam a lot in but your on vacation not at work, so take it easy should be your mantra. The travel guides that you chose should give you ideas and then you take it from there.

Where to get the most current information?

Budget travelers many times move on the same routes some coming in while others are going out. Look for the local areas where the other budget travelers are is going to get you the most current information. In Bangkok the best places to meet fellow adventurers would be Khoa San Road or on Suhkumvitt between Soi 4 and Soi 56. In Phnom Penh the lakeside or riverfront areas would be the best place to find them. In Bali try Kuta anywhere near the water especially when the waves are up! Saigon your best bet is in the Pham Ngu Loa district. In Sydney try the Kings Cross section or near the beach in Maruba. In Beijing try the south side of the Forbidden City. In Singapore the Little India section of the city is where the most backpackers call home. If somewhere not listed, again, ask the fellow travelers.

The other place to get the most current information is on the internet. Blogs and forums are a good place to start as they usually have the most up to date information and if you give your email people can connect direct with you.

Best Thailand Travel Guide

This Best Thailand Travel Guide combines useful information about Thailand in many aspects in order for travelers who wish to experience this country to have a brief view of the nation. The Guide will first explain about the country in general before describing what it has in each region so that travelers can decide where they want to go to make the most out of their trips.

One of the distinctive points about Thailand is the Thais. Many people know this nation as the Land of Smiles as the Thais are easy-going and always smiling. Thai people are normally kind, warm and welcoming to foreigners. Tourists can feel quite comfortable asking for directions or helps from Thai strangers during their trips. Some believe that this is the influence of Buddhism, which is the religion that approximately 90% of the population is believed in.

Besides the friendly people, the country has a great combination of unique culture, interesting long history, amazing cuisine and beautiful nature. As a result, Thailand has a vast variety of holiday destinations and activities for tourists to enjoy. Tourists can choose to experience many things in this territory from thick jungles, all-night parties, stunning beaches or something else that would appeal to everyone. Besides the tourist attractions, Thailand is also an excellent place to shop due to the incredibly low price items available. To make this article the easy and the best Thailand travel guide, the content in terms of attractions will be divided into regions, North, Central and South; due to the distinctive characteristics of each part of the country.

As mentioned, each part of Thailand has different characteristics and cultures. To the north of Thailand, especially in Chiang Mai, you will find some beautiful mountain landscape with many orchid farms and elephant training camps which would give visitors some unique experience that hard to find elsewhere. Up To Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle area, travelers can visit the hill-tribe people that still have strong native culture and rituals. With the extremely different way of living for these hill tribes, travelers can experience another world on this same planet. In addition in this area, tourists can have a chance to see nice view of Me Kong river, one of the World’s greatest rivers originated from Tibet area and divide Thailand territory from Laos. Moreover, if ones wish to enjoy camping in the greenish forests up the hills, this can also be done in the northern region due to plentiful of the green areas that still beautifully exist in this part of the land.

Next is the best Thailand Travel Guide in the central part of the country. In this part, there are still a lot of natural attractions in boundless national parks with some stunning waterfalls. Additionally, there are more of the ancient cities with the existed ruins in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai that can say a lot about the long history of the nation. Last but not least, the capital city, Bangkok, is also located in this region.

To introduce Bangkok separately as it is the place where most visitors begin their journey in this country due to that Bangkok International Airport is the major arrival spot from flights around the world. Bangkok is one of the most crowded cities in the world with lots of traffic congestion, large amount of population and high-rise buildings; yet, it is the city with complete facilities, convenient transportation systems and large shopping malls and streets.

Finally for this best Thailand Travel Guide is the southern region, the slimmest and longest area of Thailand. This region is the land in the middle of the Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea so that beaches are the highlights of this area. Tourists are guaranteed to experience amazing beaches, stunning beautiful tropical islands and sparkling blue water. Moreover, many alternative western-standard accommodations are available from world-class hotels to backpacker places that can be matched with every taste and budget. Due to the existed beautiful reefs and underwater creatures, Scuba diving and snorkeling are normal activities visitors often choose to enjoy in this area.

There is a Thai joke saying that there are 3 seasons in Thailand: hot, hotter and hottest. Normally, most Thailand travel guides would say that the most recommended season to come to Thailand is during November to February as it is the least hot period, yet, the sun still shines beautifully. March to May is considered too hot as it is the hottest period, which could be less tolerable for visitors especially westerners. And as the rain would then arrive during June to October, it is considered as too wet in the monsoon season of Thailand. However, this Best Thailand Travel Guide would choose to also recommend travelers to consider this wet season because this would be less crowded time to visit many attractions such as well-known beaches, ancient cities or temples. The best thing is that during this time with occasional rains, travelers can pay for much less for air fares and accommodations. Well-known hotels can reduce their rates up to 50-60% so that visitors can enjoy superior facilities at minimal expenses.

The Importance of Australia Travel Guides

If you plan to go to Australia, it is important that you take a look into Australia travel guides first. Australia travel guides are a great source of information that will help you better enjoy your trip to this beautiful country. There are a lot of things you likely do not know about Australia, and these travel guides can help educate you before your trip.

The number one most important thing about reading a travel guide before your vacation is you will learn how Australia works. From the banks to the post office to their business hours, you will learn everything you need to know to get by in Australia.

Another very important aspect of these guides is that they will teach you about Australian language. Sure, they speak English just like we do, but they have their own unique slang terms that do not get used in North America. It is best you know these terms before you go, so that you are not confused during conversation.

You will learn how to interact with people in Australia. Just like every country, they have their own set of customs and their own way of doing things that makes them unique. To make sure you know what you are doing, a guide can tell you.

The reason most people check out a travel guide is in order to find out about the tourist attractions so that they can better plan your visit. From the beaches to the city, you will find plenty of things to do in Australia.

Australian travel guides are just as important as packing your toothbrush. Without one, you will simply be entering this foreign country that you know nothing about. Keeping yourself educated before you get there is your first step to having a wonderfully fun and unforgettable visit.

Free Brochure Travel Guides – Where to Find the Best Free Travel Advice

In all honesty, free travel brochures can be informative, inspiring, and inviting. They can also be poorly disguised sales pitches that do more harm than good. As a travel agent, I’ve seen more than my fair share of travel brochures (our office gets several a day) and decided to share with you the best ones out there today: Talk about a concise name for a website, huh? They provide you with a pdf file of the brochure itself, which is really nice if you want to look at a half dozen or so. Their brochures are professionally done, and all include recommended routes, history, and a brief synopsis of highlights along the way. One unfortunate aspect is you have to provide personal information before gaining access to the travel brochures. If you want travel brochures for Southeast Asia, check out Travelfish, which is one of my all time favorite websites for travel in Asia. They provide up to date brochures and travel guides to Laor, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore. The Travelfish equivalent for the United States. Just scroll down the (incredibly) long homepage and select dozens of different brochures across the country. No where else can you find such a varied selection of destinations that can be downloaded at one time. Highly recommended.

The Man In Seat 61. This website ( is the definitive website for train travel. From California to Calcutta, they’ve got you covered, with full descriptions of itineraries, expected ticket prices and travel times.

Use these free brochure travel guides as a way to gain a deeper understanding of your trip prior to your departure.

Dubai Travel Guide – A Guide to the City of Contrasts

Dubai Travel Guide takes you to the exciting city of Dubai, one of the seven emirates of UAE, located in the Persian Gulf. This welcoming and prosperous city is increasingly becoming well known worldwide amongst tourists. The Dubai Culture is one of the important things that lure people to this lovely place.

Of late, this city has emerged as a dream destination for leisure and business travelers across the globe with different Dubai Attractions. The city is also popularly known as city of Gold because of its open gold markets.

Dubai is known as the shopping capital of UAE. In fact, shopping is one of the favorite pass times for people in Dubai and for travelers alike. Guests here can experience the magic of glitzy Dubai malls known for their international brands. Dubai Shopping Festival, held in the month of March, is a very popular festival among people from all over the world. The major highlights of this festival include discounts, Raffles, prize draws, cultural events, street entertainers, spectacular fireworks displays and so on. Another festival celebrated in Sharjah is the Ramadan Shopping Festival.

Besides, other Dubai Attractions include rocking nightlife, numerous shops and markets, entertainment and amusement parks, gardens and lot many other recreational activities.

Tourism is one of the backbones of Dubai and the state generates large amount of revenue from this sector. A Dubai Travel Guide is incomplete with visiting some of the fascinating places in Dubai including Dubai Museum, Jumeirah Mosque, Shindagha District, Bastakiya District, and Al Ahmadiya School in Old Dubai. Similarly, places that can not be missed out in New Dubai include Burj al-Arab hotel, Burj Dubai, Palm Islands and so on.

Other interesting things that the Dubai Map features include Beaches and sea, Desert Safari or Dune Bashing, Skiing, Dubai Creek Cruise, Golfing, Hot Air Ballooning and so on. With the availability of Business Class Air Tickets, a smooth trip to Dubai is increasingly becoming easy.

Dubai is the most populous emirate of UAE and one of the most cosmopolitan cities of the world. It is a place of harmonious existence of tradition and modernity. Dubai Travel Guide also features some mesmerizing sky scrappers that attract the attention of the travelers.

Dubai is truly believed to be the ideal place to be in and enjoy. Dubai Travel Guide offers travel packages and other facilities to different tourist destinations for rich as well as budget travelers alike. For accommodation, Dubai has a great number of options for affluent and budget people. Along with luxury resorts and 5-star hotels, Dubai also offers numerous budget hotels lodges for accommodation.

These days, there are many different tour and travel agencies, which offer great service including Business Class Air Tickets, accommodation, sightseeing, food etc. at discounted rates for travelers. With these services around, one can simply go ahead and have a wonderful vacation in the city. Dubai Travel Guide is easily available for tourists who can avail its facilities at low cost and have an unforgettable experience of a lifetime.

How to Get Free USA Travel Guides!

Are you planning a trip and want to know how to get free USA travel guides? Don’t worry, there are many places that are willing to help you and can even assist you with your plans. All you need to do is figure out where you are going and how you plan to get there. And if you still are not sure about where you want to travel, you can still get all the resources you need for free. Here are some of the best places to look in order to get information to plan your vacation!

1. Insurance Agencies:
Many companies provide tourist resources and brochures to help you with your plans. If you are a member of a company that provides services for travel, ask your agent or local representative if they give free USA travel guides.

2. Travel Agencies:
Travel Agents are motivated to provide their services to you and will often provide free materials to help you. If you are acquainted with someone in the travel industry, they can often assist you in finding what you need.

3. State Travel Bureaus:
Each state runs a travel bureau to market their state as a travel destination for tourists. They are more than willing to provide you with free materials for any place that you would like to visit in their state. Many even offer guidebooks and visitor packages about their state. They are a great resource for free USA travel guides. You can find their contact information on state websites.

4. Hotels:
Many hotels provide literature for local tourist places and events. Some will also provide information for counties and regions in their state. All of this material is free of charge as a courtesy to hotel guests. You will often find these information stands located within the lobbies of the hotel you are visiting.

5. Internet Websites:
Of course, the best place to find the information you will need is on the internet. There are literally hundreds of sites that can provide what you are looking for, all free of charge. All you need to know is where you want to go, or at least the areas you are interested in visiting. You can order free USA travel guides from any of the companies listed on the net, but your best bet is to stick with national or state travel bureaus who are more motivated to promote tourism free of charge.

Travel Publications will also offer freebies online as a way to get you to visit their site and possibly purchase other books and materials from their company. Check the sites and see if they offer brochures which would help you plan your trip. There are numerous ways to get the information you’re looking for. All you have to do is ask!

I Am Tired of Being Misled While Traveling – I Need Only the Best Travel Guides!

This is why airports always seem to have the highest concentration of annoyed people. Travel agents, tourist maps and offers, hotel mix ups, delayed flights and cancellations, all of these things happen on a regular basis and seem to automatically toss an unwelcomed wrench into the vacation plans of those that have come to need their private get-a-way. Finding the best travel guides has become quite the strenuous chore recently, but with a little help from me, you will be well on your way to Cancun without all of the expected travel mishaps that are caused by some travel agents’ not doing their jobs.

I would say that the best course of action would be to log onto the internet and compare all of the deals that a quick search on Google would bring up, but this might be where all of your troubles begin. Finding the best travel guides online has become an incredibly tricky endeavor lately with all of the scam artists that seem to have taken refuge there lately. However, I am not going to say that logging onto the internet in search for the best travel guides is a bad idea, it is just a matter of what to look for. There is a trust that any travel places in their travel guides simply cannot be violated, a sacred trust that must be maintained, lest their reputations will begin to precede them in ways that is, well, less than reputable.

This they know, the scam artists, I mean, and that is why they never use the same website twice. Switching their hosting servers, their URLs, even their business names in order to fool their potential customers has become rather common place for these crooks, making them extremely hard to point out. That is why the only businesses that you can really trust are those that already have a standing reputation for good service, and this requires years of public use and exposure in order to accumulate.

Finding the best travel guides on the internet can be difficult, but when it comes right down to it, it is a matter of researching these companies before using their services that eliminates the real traveling threat. In short, the real threat to your vacations sanity lies within your ability to spend the time needed to find whether or not your chosen company is really who they say they are. provides lots of critical information on some of the best travel guides [] around. Gareth Newfawn is a professional writer providing information on the best travel guides for [] – your friendly guide to travel.