Why You Should Not Buy Travel Guide Books

Travel guide books used to be very useful several years ago but now, they are not so useful. They have lost so much of their uses now. They do travelers more harm than good these days. This is because they now mislead travelers more and more as days go by since the information in them are becoming more obsolete by the day.

Travel guide books are rarely updated. Some are updated once in about five years. You can imagine how obsolete the information therein will be since every city develops more and more every day. More structures keep emerging every time. If you visit any town which you visited previously, lets say after two years before, you are sure to see a whole of changes and development.

Now, do you think it makes any sense to use the same travel guide book you used the last time you visited? This is exactly the point. A lot of the information in it will no longer be correct. Because you already visited the town before, you can figure out that the travel guide book has wrong information. But a first time visitor may not be able to figure that out easily. So despite offering wrong, misleading and outdated information, it still thrives because of first time visitors. Suffice to say there will always be first time visitors to every city and town.

Another reason you should stay away from travel guide books is that the information in them are based on the opinions of a very few people and not the collective opinions of the majority. But the booby trap lies in the fact that the producers of these travel guide books make it look like they have the opinions of almost every stakeholder. Don’t be surprised when you find out that some of the information in those books are yet to be verified.

As bulky as some travel guide books are, they don’t have all the information. This is contrary to what most people believe. They don’t have answers to every travel related questions and neither do they have solutions to every travel related problems. But the most deceptive part is that the producers have a way of playing down the importance of any information that is lacking in the travel guide books. They make it look like those pieces of information are not important. It is better to go out on your own. You will get more information than what any travel guide book can ever offer.

For instance, you can never get the best reservation deals from travel guide books. In fact, some of them make you believe that you have gotten a discount that was not there in the first place. Several months ago, a friend of mine traveled to a city in Thailand. He was made to believe that he got off his charges just because he booked through one of the agents in his travel guide book. He was disappointed when he found another tourist who booked the same tour, paid even less just because he was able to negotiate in person.

When a secret is known by several millions of people, is it still a secret? Over a million of people will probably use the same travel guide book, so there is no uniqueness in the information within. A concession given to virtually every customer is no longer a concession. Rather, it is a general reduction in price.

Any item that is not of any use to you is just in your luggage to add to it. A travel guide book has become an unnecessary addition to luggage. Make necessary inquiries with the locals or other tourists where it matters. It is better than depending on a travel guide book that was written years ago. Imagine, when a hotel or an airline changes its name, you will still continue to see their old names in travel guide books. Isn’t that a big misinformation and misrepresentation?

Sometimes travel guide books make you develop a rigid mindset consciously, unconsciously or sub-consciously. Instead of basking in the anxiety of not knowing where you will go next, guide books make you plan your visit so much that you would have listed all the places you intend to go.

Instead of sitting down with your face glued to your travel guide book, it is often better and much more interesting to seek information from locals. They don’t just answer you, they sometimes offer to help further. Apart from that, you may end up becoming friends. Locals will answer your questions better with more up-to-date and realistic information.

There is nothing wrong with you doing some exploration on your own. There is a lot of fun in adventures isn’t it? You will discover much more than what you are looking for. Instead of restricting yourself to the ideas, opinions and suggestions in travel guide books, it is better to go the full-length on your own. You won’t regret it.

Get as much information as you can get from travel bloggers. These bloggers share regularly updated and interesting information on their blogs. And these information are not only useful, they are also highly inspirational.

Sai Karthik Reddy Mekala

Karthik Reddy has been traveling around the world since completing his M.B.A in 2012. He is passionate about photography, trying out new food, meeting new people, experiencing different cultures and explore places solo.

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5 Responses

  1. Nice Post!.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. I agree with each and every point. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Lynne Owens says:

    Not for one second do I expect you’ll publish my comment but I almost fell of my chair reading this article – one of the reasons why travel guide books are still both popular (you think Lonely Planet are going out of business any time soon?!) and, to many, invaluable is because so-called travel bloggers (you included) invariably present only their wholly biased -and often embarrassingly limited- knowledge and opinions thus failing to take into account anyone else who might have different needs or interests. And answer me this: for someone who is so anti-travel guide book, exactly how then can you justify being in possession of one (as clearly seen from the photograph of you in Bhutan clutching a copy of Lonely Planet)? How very short-sighted of you! Guessing it’s time for you to ignore my comment and hastily delete that photograph of you in Bhutan!! Maybe you can add my remarks to your article “How to p*ss off an Indian”!!!

  4. It was nice to know this kind of post. Looks interesting please post more

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