Use the Library Travel Section
Use the local Library Travel Section to do your basic research on traveling especially if is your first trip. Most libraries have plenty of travel books and DVDs. They contain items from all the major travel magazines, guidebook publishers and many other travel books.
Everything in the library is free for the price of a library card.
I never, ever buy a travel DVD. They are way too expensive. They are all down at the library travel area for me to browse and choose the best. I usually buy the guidebooks, at least two, for the area I going to. I watched the DVDs and take notes.
There is an exception; I usually buy the older series of DVDs for a given year or years from Rick Steve’s Library Travel Series. He will have all of his DVDs from one or more seasons in a large set for a great price. Check the Rick Steve’s link below for details.
I usually pencil in notes in the margins of the travel guide pages that I will be using for that particular part of the trip. That way all information I need during the trip is in one place, ready for me to access.
You can browse through all the guidebooks and pick the ones that best works for you.
Library Travel Sections are found in the 910 area of the Dewey Decimal system.
Library Travel & Geography - Dewey Decimal System - 910
- 911 Historical geography
- 912 Graphic representations of earth
- 913 Ancient world
- 914 Europe
- 915 Asia
- 916 Africa
- 917 North America
- 918 South America
- 919 Other areas
Remember not all libraries are the same. Go to as many libraries and library systems as possible and find out which are the best. I found that large cities and cities with large commercial supporters have the best travel sections. (Deep pockets have their advantages.)
Here's my pick for great guidebooks, library travel magazines, and library travel books:
1. Guidebooks, a sample in order of my usage.
- Lonely Planet is based in Sydney, Australia. I like it because its focuses on the whole world. Australians make good travelers. Their journeys usually take one to two years, while they go around the world. They are constantly finding new ways to expand their experience and make their money last. Great insights. Great tips. Thoroughly well written guidebook.
- Rick Steves' Europe is based in Seattle, Washington and deals mostly with Europe. Rick's writing style makes it feel like you're getting great travel advice from your best friend. His book, Europe Through the Back Door, completely concurs with my own travel experiences. I consider it required reading for any European Travel. It pays for itself a thousand times over.
- Let's Go Guidebook is a Harvard Student based guide. I used their guidebooks religiously in my travels in Europe during the 1970's. Its young, student abroad viewpoint and observations made it easy for me to hitchhike from Portugal to Ireland to Turkey back to my university in Reutlingen, Germany where I was an exchange student. It's like getting the inside story from your roommate at college.
- Frommer's Guides is a common sense based guide that started the Cheap Travel Craze way back in the 1956. It was the best selling Europe on $5 a Day. Today, Arthur Frommer's guidebooks are the world's best sellers. Well written and full of fun facts. I consider his magazine, Budget Travel, a must subscribe to.
- Rough Guides is based in London. It covers the world. I consider the English to be some of the world's best travelers, and these guidebooks show it. The guidebooks are sometime hard to find in the United States.
- Moon Guides is Berkeley based and covers North and South America. They are well written and timely. I've used them for my trips to Brazil and Chile and had a great time.
- Fodor's Guides is what I call a perfect guidebook for the Middle Class, family based traveler. It focuses on Europe and is surprisingly thorough. It will show you a good time and keep you comfortable, too.
- DK Eyewitness Guides - I used these for my trips to London including its museums.
If you're going to read any section of a guidebook, read the pages about cultural and religious norms.
- It's remarkable how just a bit of culturally specific information can help you avoid misunderstandings. Rolf Potts
2. Best Library Travel Magazines
- Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel Magazine Subscribe to this awesome travel magazine right now. Each issue is a blessing with timely information including travel tips, road trips, destination pieces, and great budget tour offerings.
- Transitions Abroad was THE magazine for living abroad. It was a sad day when they discontinued the magazine to concentrate on the website. The Website is a must for long term travel and living in other countries. Great tips. Timely advice. Much need support for us innocents abroad.
- Wanderlust Magazine. It advertises itself as the world's most exciting travel magazine. I agree. Again, I believe the English to be some of the world's best travelers. Wanderlust magazine showcases great travel like no other. I love it. It has articles on Health, Travel Advice, Columns, Interviews, Lists, Routes, Reviews, Trip planners, Events, Hot Offers.
- Lonely Planet Magazine. This is a brand new travel magazine brought to you by the same wonderful people who bring you the Lonely Planet guide book series. Lonely Planet Magazine showcases itself as a monthly magazine for people who love to travel and enjoy new experiences. It's easier to subscribe to than Wanderlust Magazine, since it's published here in the US. I think it will be a great source of travel info far into the future.
3. Travel Books, a sample.