You either love them or hate them. I personally, love to have guidebooks for before and during my travels.
I have used almost every brand of guidebook during my travels and there is no one brand that I stick to in all situations. However, for certain types of travel I do have certain preferences.
Backpacking/ Traveling trip
When I am actually on the road, traveling around a place and only spending a few days in each destination I prefer Lonely Planet. I find that Lonely Planet offers great destination information as well as good transport and accommodation info. They seem to hit on all the types of attractions I like while offering just enough background info to help me understand a place. I find Lonely Planet is really useful when I am planning a trip as the information provided really helps me determine just how long I would like to spend in each place and what my route should be.
Working holiday/ moving to a new location
When I am going somewhere new to spend an extended period and I want a little more in depth information I usually choose Rough Guides. I find that Rough Guides provide way more cultural and historical information which help me understand a place better. I find that while Rough Guides explain more about a place, they do tend to lack in transport and accommodation information which is the type of info I need when I am on the road all the time. That is why I think Rough Guides are perfect when you are staying put for a while.
Off the beaten path
For destinations that are a little less traveled, and which don’t receive the attention that they deserve from the other big guide book companies, we turn to Bradt. I find that these guides really offer great in depth guides for places that are otherwise hard to research. They also have really great “quirky” guides. My favourite is the Quirky Guide to London.
Fun and inspirational
When I am looking for fun and inspirational books to help me plan or research a journey, I love books like “The worlds best….”, or “Bucket list to….” type guides. Recently I was sent The Great Canadian Bucket List which we got just in time for our trip through Canada. I love books like these for getting inspiration and finding about destinations which may be glossed over or left out of other traditional guidebooks.
I loved this particular book because it made a point of focusing on quirky destinations and experiences in parts of Canada that many tourists forget about…. like my home town of Winnipeg. And best of all, it is super in depth. In the section about Prince Edward Island, a small island whose main industry is fishing, it has a whole section dedicated to “how to shuck on oyster” and a short guide to edible sea plants.
In my opinion, any one abut to travel to Canada, and especially those about to do a road trip, should add this book to their luggage.
It’s guides like these that inspire me to explore even more.