Impulse Buy

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.

Stay tuned!


20 Comments on “Impulse Buy”

  1. VivianaAyre May 22, 2012 at 10:12 am #

    I have a ton of guidebooks, feel no fear! I honestly love flipping through guidebooks.


    • Brian May 22, 2012 at 10:27 am #

      We used to have a whole bookshelf full – both places we’ve been and places we hoped to of go. It was kind of neat to look. One shelf holding our memories and our dreams. Now, space is limited so we only carry ones that may be helpful with our immediate plans.


  2. Grant May 22, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    If my galivanting travel heroes do not consult me about a Southeast Asia trek, I will be thoroughly perturbed – for obvious reasons. Will be in touch…. 🙂


    • Brian May 22, 2012 at 11:22 am #

      Oh don’t you worry. We’ll be picking your brain about this if we decide to pull the trigger. We really wanted to make a stop in New Zealand, too, but it looks like airfare is pretty horrendous to do it that way.


  3. KY May 22, 2012 at 10:53 am #

    This will be fun but one word of warning, try to avoid the monsoon (rainy) season, depending on where you plan to go, it can be during Oct-Dec or May-July. And it’s very very hot out here.


    • Brian May 22, 2012 at 11:24 am #

      If we go, it will probably be Jan-Feb just like this past winter’s trip to Central America.

      We’re always open to advice, so keep it coming – an thanks!


  4. cravesadventure May 22, 2012 at 12:29 pm #

    Sounds like a good impulse buy to me:) Have a Great Day!


  5. IshitaUnblogged May 22, 2012 at 12:41 pm #

    Fantastic Brian… get set and just Go!


  6. theplaceswevebeen May 22, 2012 at 6:32 pm #

    It’s true, nothing really beats a guidebook.


    • Brian May 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

      For pure efficiency, flipping pages really does beat clicking web links – especially when your internet connection blows, as mine often does. 🙂


  7. Cabbie Notes May 23, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    The internet is quite efficient, but I, too, love guide books. DK is a favorite series of mine and I usually pick one up in my travel planning process. I love the pictures, the maps, and the descriptions all bundled into a focused book.


    • Brian May 23, 2012 at 8:06 am #

      I find the internet efficient for answering specific micro level questions: where to eat in Albequrque? I find it really cumbersome to answer general macro questions: what’s to do in South East Asia?


  8. P. C. Zick May 23, 2012 at 7:21 am #

    I agree! But I’m having difficulty finding a good guidebook for Spokane, Washington area. I purchased one on amazon that was used and two days later was informed the book was no longer available from that seller. I went to the local BN and could only find Pacific Northwest and Seattle books. Any suggestions?


  9. Aura Azarcon May 24, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    You’re gonna love it in the Philippines! 🙂


    • Brian May 24, 2012 at 12:47 pm #

      No doubt. Our only “problem” is that the area is so large we can’t possibly get everywhere we’d want to go in a month or two. When we fly out that way, we’d also like to hit New Zealand and Australia. A stop in Hawaii would be great, too, because we’ve only ever been to Oahu and Maui. And then there is Fiji . . .

      I think we really need to set out on an open-ended tour of the world. 🙂


      • Aura Azarcon May 28, 2012 at 9:59 am #

        Well if the winds really do bring you here, check out Palawan. (Coron, El Nido and Puerto Princesa) 🙂 The pictures are wonderful, but people who have been there say it’s even more fascinating in real life. 🙂


        • Brian May 28, 2012 at 5:53 pm #

          We’re always looking for travel suggestions and tips, and these are most welcome. It is true, too, that few places are really captured by the camera.


  10. writecrites May 26, 2012 at 5:45 am #

    If you get to Hawaii, I’m at your service (I’m the travel writer for the Destination Hyatt books covering Oahu, Maui and Kauai). Lots of great stuff that most tourists never see. I wish Hyatt had a hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii b/c it’s a most fascinating place. But for off-the-beaten-track sights, definitely get some of the “Hidden” Hawaii guidebooks. Oh, by the way, Hawaii is great any time of year. Bring your suntan lotion.


    • Brian May 26, 2012 at 7:04 pm #

      Now that you offered, we will certainly hit you up when we get back to the Aloha State.


  11. BagspackedI'moff June 5, 2012 at 2:15 pm #

    The number of times I have come out of a bookshop with a guide book to a completely different destination than planned!
    Great blog, I will have to follow you to see where your next adventure will be.


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