Many a travel blogger have written eulogies for the much maligned travel guide. “The internet is better. It has more stuff. Reviews and details are actually up-to-date on the web. ‘Crowd sourced’ information is far better than anything a lone travel writer can put together. Guidebooks are for dorks.”
It’s all true, too. The internet is wonderful for researching specific things.
But for macro level travel planning, guidebooks are still hard to beat. Twenty minutes spent paging through a copy of DK’s Eyewitness USA guide gives us an amazing overview of the country’s primary and some secondary sights. Assembling the same information on the internet might take several days or more of painful hunting and pecking through narrowly focused travel sites. Who has time?
Guidebooks help us narrow our focus. They show us the main attractions in a region so we can plan a route. From there we use the internet to drill down into specifics.
With that in mind, I stopped by a local bookstore today to see if I could find a regional guide for the western leg of our trip. That’s not exactly what I walked out with.
Instead, I ended up buying a guide to Southeast Asia on impulse. Does this mean we’re heading to Thailand this winter? Not necessarily, but we now have an easy way to start organizing such a trip. That, together with the fantasies such planning usually stimulates, puts Southeast Asia at the top of the list for our next big excursion.