Researching Your Trip, Buy A Book!

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Its important that you do a lot of research for a round the world trip. By the time you leave, you need to be an expert on your chosen destinations. Being techy person, I usually look no further than the net for this sort of information, but in this case splashing out on a book could be the best thing you do!

I’m sure the info is there on the web, after all there is no end of excellent travel blogs (like this one wink wink) and travel info sites, but I think the problem is there is so much on the net that it can be hard to wade through the stuff you don’t need, to find the stuff you do need.

This is what we have found anyway. On a number of occasions we have spent hours painstakingly trying Google search after Google search to find out this and that, only to find out later that if we had just opened one of our books, we would have had the answer almost instantly.

So what books do we have?

Well, we’ve got a number of them but the two mains ones that we have used the most are “South America On A Shoestring – Lonely Planet” and “South American Handbook 2010 – Footprint“.

South America On A Shoestring

Lonely Planet hasn’t become such a well recognized travel brand without good reason. This book is extremely detailed, and I would even go as far as saying its an essential if you plan on going to South America.

One of the things I like most about this book is the Fast Facts section that is at the beginning of each country section. It lists all the basic, but at the same time, valuable information you need to know about traveling to each country. For example, estimated daily budget with a break down of costs, languages, seasons, time difference and currency etc.

Obviously, the book goes into more detail further in, but it is really useful to have this info on hand at a glance.

The Footprint book, although less well known, is also very good, and I would say that both the Lonely Planet book and the Footprint book are on par with each other.

South American Handbook 2010

Its nice to have two different perspective on things, and the South American Handbook still provides heaps of really useful information.

Anyway, this post was not intended a book review, so I’ll stop talking about how good the books are, and instead, give you a few examples of how they have helped us.

Well, they have helped us with a number of annoying small things, and I’m sure they will continue to help us, but so far one of the most useful aspects of the books has been their info on transport.

Before looking in the books I spent ages trying to find out about traveling overland online, searching through hundred of blog posts and forums to no avail. With the books I was able to find out things like journey costs and estimated times no problem. I wish I looked there to begin with!

Investing in these books has also probably saved us a fair amount of money in the long run. For example we are going to book our first hostel in Rio in advance because our plane arrives at 22:00, so we don’t fancy searching for one at that time. Again we made the mistake of looking online first. We didn’t mind paying a bit of a premium to get one that was close to the airport, so we decided to stomach the £114 it looked like it was going to cost for the three of us. Luckily, by chance flicking through our books we soon found a number of options for around $15 each! That is a huge saving and some of them even provide free shuttle buses from the airport!

Another instance is insurance. We are in the process of sorting this out at the moment, and I will write a post about it once we have got it. Before the book, using just the internet, most our quotes where coming in around £200. After looking in the book we quickly got quotes of just over £100 each. Again another huge saving that we definately wouldn’t have found other wise.

Just these two instances pay for the books and more! Now a days we all rely on the internet far too much, and this is a great example of how sometimes you can’t beat a good old book.

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  • Ben Bramall

    hey zeff and everyone, also I have “The Rough Guide to South America on a Budget” which has great all round summaries of the countries as well as great guides to hotels, average amount to be spent in and around each country, which insurance to use, travelling in and out of countries. This has helped me and at only £13 it has been worth every penny and I’m now thinking of getting one for New Zealand and Australia as they are so usefully and I would use it again.

    I would recommend to anyone getting one but do research into the different books are there are many different books. For example I got a cheap “South Africa – AA Spiral Guides” book for my travels this winter but although it was only £5 the information was minimal and focused on the tourist spots and not the travelling around or other useful information. They maybe a little more expensive but a well recommended book which are aimed at the type of trip you are taking are really worth it. And if possible always take a look at the book before you buy, bookshops aren’t libraries but do try before you buy.

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  • A guide is great to have, we usually download them on the lap top (even Lonely Planet offers downloadable guides!) or on our iTouch, it’s really great if you want to avoid the heavy weight of books!

    • Yes I am thinking of taking my iTouch now for this very reason, this a good tip thanks!

  • Thick books, hard to carry around…