Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Do we still need guidebooks?

I caved in. I thought I could hold out. But it just all got too much.

Too many tweets, blogs, top tens, reviews.
So much history, power shifts, religion, myths.
I got cross eyed and overwhelmed but still seemed to be uninformed.

So I ordered the Lonely Planet guide book for Egypt.

I didn't want to, I actually sort of grimaced during the purchase – but I had no other choice.
It was either buy a Lonely Planet or go to Egypt like an American* – uninformed, and I couldn't do that.

I have surfed the whole world wide web, I have read pages of websites, blogs, reviews, top tens and everything else thrown in. And although of course these sites hold such valuable information (feel like I am doing myself out of a blog here) they didn't satisfy my need for a comprehensive overview.

I want to know what are the main attractions, I want to know the history of the country, the important struggles and more importantly I want to know how Egypt got to it's current situation.
And a few reviews of restaurants or tours wouldn't do any harm.

All of these 'need to know' things can be found in various forms online and print, but I have less than three weeks to take off and I don't have time for extensive research.
But Lonely Planet is the most trustworthy publication (in my opinion) to collaborate all the info into one bulky book.

I have used Lonely Planets all over the world, some for only research pre-holiday and in other cities a battered Lonely planet map has helped us direct a campervan or rental car around the streets!

Any guidebook should be used as such – as a guide.  
It is not the be all and end all, you do not organise your entire trip around it's paragraphs. But for an outline, a general idea or rough sketch then they can be invaluable.

But what about tripadvisor apps and widgets and google maps and you know the new era of smart phones and info at your finger tips 24/7?

Well they are super, time saving, colourful, helpful, interactive etc etc
But I am on holidays, my phone will be mostly off.
I want to look around me, not into a screen.

Anyone else still feel the need to purchase a guide book for holidays, trips and adventures?

*I threw in that terrible stereotype in to annoy you, to push you to continue reading and maybe send me an irritable comment – please do!

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